Cape Cod’s Culinary Mecca
No trip to lower Cape Cod is complete without a visit to the deliciously fragrant Atlantic Spice Co.. We talked with the owner, Eleanora, who with her husband Mark Irving, established the wholesale/ retail business in North Truro twenty years ago.
Olde Forge’s Kirk Grippo
Chef/ Owner of Popular Berkshire Hangout
Chef Kirk Grippo has owned and managed the popular Berkshire pub Olde Forge Restaurant, in Lanesboro on Route 7, for the past fifteen years. He was setting up for a party but paused long enough to chat with us. The annual Festival of Trees at the Berkshire Museum is among the events which he caters. He discussed how it takes a staff of 60 to keep up with the busy restaurant.
Olde Forge Restaurant in Lanesboro
There are 18 rotating taps for beers including imports and regional seasonals. With more than 200 bottled beers including high end Belgian brews. Add to that state of the art, famous wings. Bottom line The Old Forge in Lansboro, a short drive from Pittsfield, is a Best in the Berkshires destination. Expect long waits on weekends and a boisterous full house. For affordable comfort food the menu is diverse and ambitious.
Renowned Chef Gerhard Schmid of Haflinger Haus
Berkshire International Club Celebrates Octoberfest
Many recall the fine cuisine of Chef Gerhard Schmid from his Gateways Inn in Lenox in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, and the Devonfield Inn, formerly known as Haus Andreas in Lee, from 1980-1994. He is now presiding over the kitchen of Haflinger Haus an elegant mansion in Adams, Mass. Some 40 members of the Berkshire International Club gathered there to enjoy his special Octoberfest menu.
Top Chef Tom Colicchio Off Camera
Dissing Michelin While Touting American Cuisine
Top Chef Tom Colicchio attended the premiere of Dreamscapes, a Wolfgang Hissen documentary profiling Berkshire artist Stephen Hannock. His works hang in Colicchio and Sons and overall a dozen New York restaurants developed by the chef and Andy Meyer. During the recent the Williamstown Film Festival we engaged Colicchio in a lively and revealing dialogue.
Koto Steak House and Sushi Bar
The Hot New Berkshires Asian Restaurant
Since it opened just three months ago Koto in the Pittsfield Malls is a popular destination for dramatic Asian dining. It’s mobbed on weekends including long waits even with reservations. The Pit Bulls dropped by for a delicious, entertaining, and leisurely lunch.
Mad Jack's Barbecue in Pittsfield
Move to North Street a Culinary Setback
A year ago the Pit Bulls rated the hole in the wall rib joint Mad Jack's the best in the Berkshires for barbecue. Since then, there has been a move from a small space on Frenn Street to a major venue next to the upscale Spice Dragon on North Street. The change to a larger venue with increased overhead has resulted in a loss of focus on the quality of food and service. This review was the result of several disappointing visits.
Sweet Cheeks Serves Designer Barbecue
Top Chef Finalist Tiffani Faison Opens Hot Boston Eatery
In Sweet Cheeks Boston touts a contender for first team, All American Barbecue. At a price. This is an upscale designer rib joint pretending to have rustic charm in a densely seated noisy ambiance. The meat is awesome but some of the sides just suck big time. Former Top Chef finalist Tiffani Faison needs to step up her game.
Coyote Flaco in Williamstown
Mexican Food for a Winter Night
On Route 7 between Williamstown and Pittsfield Coyote Flaco is one of several restaurants clustered not far from Williamstown. It is one of seven restaurants in a chain. Overall the food is good for the price. On a busy Saturday night we were lucky to be seated promptly without a reservation.
Easy Ersatz Paella
Spanish Saffron and Seafood Essential
For a recent dinner party we made a deep dish version of seafood paella. While not exactly like what we have enjoyed in Spain it was a great success. It is easy and quick to prepare. But not cheap as it calls for the essential ingredient saffron. Definitely do try this at home.
Mission Bar and Tapas
A Hot Spot in Pittsfield
The Mission Bar and Tapas in Pittsfield has become a popular destination for live music and light dining. It will participate in 10x10 on North Street from February 16 to 26. Recently the Pit Bulls stopped by for lunch.
Desperados in North Adams
Lunch with Los Amigos
Hands down, Desperados is the best Mexican restaurant in North Adams. Since it opened a year or so ago it has been a popular destination with a combo of affordable, not very spicy food, in a tight space that makes for noisy evenings.
Panchos Mexican Restaurant in Pittsfield
Numbingly Mediocre Tex Mex
In the heart of Pittsfield driving or walking by Panchos Mexican Restaurant looks lively and enticing for those hungry for flavorful, affordable ethnic food. The cuisine however did not match the colorful decor.
La Fogata in Pittsfield
Miguel Gomez Serves the Taste of Colombia
For those seeking authentic Colombian cuisine La Fogata in Pittsfield has become an essential destination. It is readily accessible on a main route into the downtown. It has been a favorite restaurant of Pancho's for several years. We compared notes of multiple visits to give an in depth report on the full range of an extensive menu. The chef and owner Miguel Gomez brings family food of the other to the starving Berkshires.
Bounti Fare BBQ
All You Can Eat in Adams
Pancho took a pass on the BBQ buffet at Bounti Fare in Adams. He didn't miss much. If you are looking for a bargain and tons of food then check it out. But if you really deeply care about BBQ, well, that's another matter.
99 in Pittsfield
Not Exactly a Rib Joint
For a chain the barbecue at 99 was surprisingly good. The full rack of St. Louis style rubs was cooked perfectly. But finished with a generic barbecue sauce. No matter how they are done the steak tips at 99 are always terrific.
Flavours in Pittsfield
Malaysian Style Barbecue
Flavours, a basement restaurant at 75 North Street in Pittsfield is not what comes to mind when seeking out neighborhood rib joints. It is just an aspect of the diverse menu of the Malaysian born chef Sabrina Tan. Not just in the Berkshires, however, her Asian style barbecue is in a class by itself.
Legendary Florida Mountain Turnip
Unique Taste of the Berkshires
The mountain hamlet of Florida on the Mohawk Trail in the Berkshires is known for its legendary turnips. They are enormous, sweet and formidable to prepare. Mostly served during holiday feasts. It proved to be a daunting and rewarding culinary adventure.
Mad Jacks BBQ in Pittsfield
Launching the Barbecue Project
This is the launch of the Barbecue Project. The mandate is to seek out, taste, and report on ever restaurant and pit in the Berkshires. Of which there are now quite a few. We will focus on ribs and pulled pork as well as evaluate sides and the all important variety of sauces. We got off to a great start with Mad Jacks in Pittsfield. With a promise to return to JackJack's Soul Food, also in Pittsfield, when Terrell serves barbecue on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Nudel in Lenox Nominated for Food & Wine Award
Bjorn Somlo, Chef-owner Featues Unique Cuisine
Bjorn Somlo, chef-owner of Nudel Restaurant in Lenox, has been nominated one of the top 100 chefs for The People’s Best New Chef award for FOOD & WINE® magazine. This is Somlo’s second nomination for an award honoring up-and-coming innovators who have run their own kitchens for five years or fewer.
Dream Away Lodge in Becket
Legendary Berkshire Dining and Entertainment
Bob Dylan and Joan Baez put the funky Dreamaway-Lodge, hidden in the woods of Becket, Mass, on the map when they filmed it during the Rolling Thunder tour. Now it is a popular Berkshire destination for atmospheric family style dining and entertainment.
Santarpios in East Boston
Best Pizza in North America
During the grueling job of packing up and moving from East Boston to the Berkshires an enticing treat for the crew of starving artists was lunch at Santarpios home of the best pizza in North America.
The Williams Inn
A Fabulous Holiday Buffet
The Thanksgiving Buffet at the Williams Inn in Williamstown, Mass. was so wonderful that we returned for the Easter Brunch.
Vermont: Curtis' BBQ, Country Girl Diner, Sams Steak House
Famous Ribs in Putney
On the road in Vermont looking for country dining experiences including the classic Country Girl Diner in Chester. And the famous Curtis BBQ with home pit in Putney and the annex in Chester. Lip smakin good.
New Orleans Dining: Elegant to Funky
Gumbo to Mud Bugs
By far New Orleans is the dining Mecca of America. From a po boy sandwich, or a plate of oysters to oysters Rockefeller at the venerable Antoine's where they were first served, there is food of every taste and flavor to be enjoyed in the Crescent City.
New Orleans Reports: Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter
Serving Beignets and Coffee Since 1862
Located in the French Quarter on the edge of Jackson Square is the Cafe du Monde. It has served beignets, New Orleans style fresh donuts and coffee since 1862.
Pittsfield: Flavours of Malaysia
During the cold winter in the Berkshires the hot new restaurants to enjoy is Flavours of Malaysia tucked away in a basement on McKay Street just around the corner from the new Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield. On weekends reservations are recommended.
The Highland Restaurant in Pittsfield
Best in the Berkshires
In an Eagle story two ladies who lunch voted the down home Highland Restaurant in Pittsfield as their favorite destination. At just $8.95 I followed their tip for the generous scallop sandwich. It was divine. A best in the Berkshires.
Making Red Sauce
Sicilians Call It Gravy
Simmering huge pots of fresh tomatoes from local farm stands to make a classic batch of "gravy" for the freezer evokes memories of my Sicilian father in the kitchen.
The Restaurateur Danny Meyer
Profiled in Roger Sherman Film
The Restaurateur by Roger Sherman provided a tasty start for the second weekend of the Williamstown Film Festival. It was a nasty, stormy Thursday night but Images Cinema was packed for a film about New York entrepreneur Danny Meyer. He and Sherman were on had for a post film chat with organizer Steve Lawson. Then the audience decamped for a tasting party at Mezze.
Tasty Gourmet Food Trucks
Though Around for Long Time, A Strong New Design Trend
Starting in the 19th Century as Chuck Wagons on cattle drives, then becoming convenient lunch wagons in urban centers and a childhood memory as ice cream trucks, the growing and refined gastronomical convoy of Gourmet Food Trucks are now a provocative piece of the urban fabric. Their design and placement have many moving parts and add color, vitality and new sophisticated tastes to our lives.
Mazzeo in Pittsfield
Italian Comfort Food at a Moderate Price
Since 1988 Mazzeo's Ristorante has been a successful and popular destination. Recently the restaurant moved to a large venue with steady drive by traffic between Pittsfield and Lenox. We opted for the terrace on a sultry summer evening.
Route 7 Grill in Great Barrington
New Executive Chef Christophe Jalbert
Route 7 Grill in Great Barrington, listed as one of America’s best farm-to-table restaurants in Gourmet Magazine, announces new executive chef Christophe Jalbert, who started his post on May 31.
Paula Deen’s The Lady and Sons
Savannah’s Tarnished Shrine for Grin and Grits
Paula Deen the Queen of Southern Cuisine has fallen off her media throne. During a three week drive through the south with several days in Savannah we visited her flagship The Lady and Sons. While wildly popular with tourists and fans of her TV cooking shows the food was hardly exceptional.
Maria’s European Delights
Polish Deli in Pittsfield
After five years in Great Barrington the Polish deli Maria’s European Delights has relocated to 146 North Street in Pittsfield. Krzysztof "Kris" Sedowski handed me slices of sausage to sample while we discussed the nostalgia of food from the Old Country.
Five Guys in Pittsfield
Evaluating Berkshire Burgers
A franchise of the Five Guys chain of burger joints has opened in a Pittsfield mall. The Pit Bulls offer their reflections on the dining experience as well as views of the science of the perfect burger.
MediTerra in North Adams
Authentic Turkish Delight
It is difficult to find authentic international cuisine in the Berkshires. Owner Fahri Kakakaya has recruited a fellow Turk, Ahmet Alcay, as chef and relaunched the large space on Main Street in North Adams as Medi-Terra, American Mediterranean Bistro. There are Italian items on the menu but we opted to try the superb and unique Turkish Cuisine. We strongly recommend this for a winning combination of tasty, exotic flavors, affordable prices and a comfortable, uncrowded ambiance. Try it for salad and sandwiches at lunch or come back for a leisurely dinner with beer and wine.
Spice Dragon in Pittsfield
Asian Confusion Food
With a winning combination of Asian Fusion food, ambiance, and moderate prices Spice Dragon in Pittsfield is a popular destination. Over several visits, however, the food and service has been inconsistent. Busy nights stretch the limits of understaffed and inexperienced front of house and an ability to get food to tables in a timely manner. In Pittsfield, however, there isn't much competition for dining on this level.
The Smoking Brisket Conspiracy
Guilt Free Barbecue in the Berkshires
On a day off from playing violin at Tanglewood our musician/ chef decided to tackle barbecued brisket for a family gathering. His approach proves to be quite contrarian. He resists trends for fancy equipment and exotic recipes for rubs and sauces. His approach is to just go ahead and do it. Keep the flame low and slow and all else will be just fine.
Fresh Summer Herbs
From now until frost we are enjoying fresh pesto made with basil from our thriving herb garden. With the right ingredients it's easy to make and stash in the freezer for a fine meal on a gloomy winter night.
Pork with Sauerkraut, Beer and Tarragon
Cooking with Fresh Summer Herbs
With an abundance of fresh herbs in the garden there was an urge to make a favorite winter pork recipe. But with fresh tarragon a key ingredient. This is an easy, foolproof, quick and delicious meal.
Paul’s Restaurant in Pittsfield
Family Style Greek Cuisine
Located within walking distance of the hospital in Pittsfield, Paul's Restaurant features family style Greek cuisine. In a no frills setting the food is tasty and affordable although portions and ingredients reflect the price. We ordered the Greek standards Moussaka and the Gyro Dinner.
Adams Ale House
An Extreme Makover of Spacious Venue
There are too few places in the Berkshires to chill, hang out, and groove to a live band. Adams Ale House with a reported $200,000 in ongoing renovations opened in June. It has steadily become a local hangout in the former Polish community center a stone's throw from St. Stans. While nothing special it offers affordable pub food, flat screen TV's, a large dining room and soon banquet, dance and function rooms.
Moonlight Diner in Williamstown
Burgers with Rock ‘n’ Roll
With its vintage Rock 'n' Roll decor The Moonlight Diner in Williamstown offers a winning combination of comfort food at affordable. It was packed with families for Sunday brunch.
Mill on the Floss a Berkshire Landmark
Offering Fine Dining for 40 Years
For a special occasion we dined in the 200-year-old former grist mill in New Ashford on Route 7 between Pittsfield and Williamstown.. For the past 40 years the Champagne family has offered fine dining in the gracious and atmospheric Mill on the Floss. If you stick with the $30 prix fixe menu it's a Best of the Berkshires.
Sullivan Station in Lee
Lunch in Historic Landmark
For an atmospheric lunch or dinner consider Sullivan Station in Lee the gateway to the Berkshires. Enjoy the intact interior of the 1893 building with lots of vibtage memorabelia.
Irish Comfort Food
They say that a seven course gourmet Irish meal consists of a six pack and baked potato. Imagine then our surprise to discover traditional Irish food in cozy Dublin pubs. Washed down, of course, with a fresh pint of Guinness.
Firehouse Café Opens in Adams
Hottest New Restaurant in the Berkshires
With a mid January launch the Firehouse Cafe is off to a hot start in sizzling downtown Adams, Mass. Word of mouth is spreading like wildfire for the new restaurant that combines great service, fine dining, and tasty food at an affordable price. It's the spark that's igniting long dormant Park Street.
Café of St. Martin-in-the-Field
Cheap Fun Atmospheric London Dining
The top London destination for cheap hearty food with great atmosphere is found in Trafalgar Square. The Cafe in the Crypt below St. Martin-in-the-Fields is no secret. It is always noisy and crowded. Despite the inconvenience it's the best deal around in a very expensive city.
Contrarian Osso Bucco
Improvising on a Peasant Recipe
In upscale Italian restaurants when possible I always order Osso Bucco. Having read and absorbed some classic recipes on line, to the horror of my gourmet friends, I winged it and improvised. The resultant sauce was just awesome. But even at the suggested two hours the meat could have been more tender with longer cooking.