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Sunday, September 21, 2014

French Fries & Chocolate Cake, Plus 2 More Restaurants You Should Eat At

Recently Mr. Madley and I have been trying a few new restaurants.  Not that the restaurants are new, but they are new to us.  I am writing to give them rave reviews.

First, a shoutout goes to Sierra Grille in Northampton, which does cheesy melt-in-your mouth potatoes au gratin, which pair well with their delicious duck breast with cranberry-peach chutney and grilled vegetables.  We have now been there twice, thanks to the occasional coupon from the Save 30% store on the River.

Second, the Mission Cantina in Amherst.  I know this is old news, and we did go there about a year ago, too, but we were there again recently and it was even better the second time.  I ordered the quesadilla in corn tortillas with carnitas and could have easily eaten a second or third plate of them, had I not been so full.  It really is delicious Mexican food, which I can't seem to get enough of these days.
(And speaking of Mexican food, I am looking forward to the reopening of Mi Tierra in Hadley where The Butterfly restaurant used to be.  While you wait, you can find their homemade tortillas at Atkins Farms and Maple Farm Foods.)

And now, on to the french fries and chocolate cake portion of our post.  Last week, Mr. Madley and I made our way (finally) to High Horse, in Amherst where ABC used to be, and where the upstairs has billiards and the downstairs has dining.  Both floors have a bar with a fairly impressive selection of house-brewed beers.  I can't speak much to those, but perhaps we'll get lucky and Mr. Madley will do a guest post for you.  However, I can speak to their locally-sourced burgers -- delicious -- and their bottomless fries -- better fries I have never tasted.  Seriously.  I love fries and enjoyed my fair share of them at Local Burger and other such fine burger & fry establishments; HH fries topped them all.  And if you get them with dinner, they are bottomless!  Hot, crisp, salted, tender -- everything you want in a fry, and you can eat as many as you can eat.  Who could ask for anything more?  Well, sometimes I do.  Not very often, but it has been known to happen.

Last night we were out and about, looking for something to do after dinner (we ate at Miss Saigon) and not feeling a strong pull towards the cinema or billiards (in olden days this is when we would have visited Captain Candy, alas), we ended up looking for dessert at High Horse.  The dessert menu is small and simple, but the bartender assured us that each item was delicious (his must-have is the $5 milkshake, but it only comes with bourbon, so it was a no-go for me), and I ended up, surprisingly, with the chocolate cake.
I don't usually go for chocolate cake when I'm out.  I find them either too sweet, too bitter, too dense, or desperately in need of some lightening up.  I usually take my chocolate with fruit when I'm at a restaurant; I usually find that it's a more reliable combination.  However, last night I felt a tug towards the cake, and it was thusly delivered.  Delicious.  A reasonable-sized portion with no heavy or thick frostings, just a round cake with a chocolate ganache icing and topping of fresh, lightly-sweetened cream.  A chocolate cake I would eat again.  A perfect ending on a cool, damp evening.

French fries and chocolate cake.  Oh, so good.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Harvest Pride

Every year I grow my garden, and every year my harvest is not quite what I think it should be (or what I want it to be).  Nevertheless, every year there are some veggies that are delicious and beautiful and that make me a little proud.  This year, with my new variety of plantings (flour corn, oats, heirloom tomatoes, dry beans), there are more of those little bursts of pride.  Here's one.

Heirloom peppermint tomato, white scallop squash, caserta squash.
I expect that later, you will be seeing corn, oats, and beans....

As I walked through the exhibit halls of the Three County Fair (if you haven't gone yet, today is not too late!), I thought that maybe someday I would enter some of my vegetables or canned goods (or maybe even my chickens!) into the judging.  That could be fun!

Happy  Monday!