“Hey, want to go check out Northampton’s art night?”

“Sure thing – ROADTRIP!”

And so the husbear and I were off late Friday afternoon to get a glimpse of goings on at Arts Night Out Northampton.

This spray painted mail box was about all of the art I got to see. Man, they weren’t kidding when they said it went from 4 – 7 pm. What gives! I was teased at the sight of old people walking around with wine glasses in the street when we got there (Noho is really bohemian). There was nothing going on at 7:12 when we rolled in to town.

Except for traffic, of course. So we did what we do best when we’re in Northampton, MA. Wander aimlessly.

We ended up at Packard’s to tuck in from the wind and review the Valley Advocate (it’s like a Metroland) to see if there was anything else going on.

I snagged a Berkshire Steel Rail Ale. $4.25 Nicely light & floral, but without the hoppiness of an IPA.

Packard’s was one of the places I went to with Albany John and his friends when I turned 21. Maybe I should have ordered a B-52 for old times sake.

It’s a cozy little place packed with warm little lights and wood finishing. Nice low-key spot.

Here I am saying “Cheese!” for one of the security cameras. CHEESE!

We couldn’t find anything else to do, but the Valley Advocate glowingly reviewed some fried pickles at Local Burger. Food for under $10, I’m so there!
They have all natural meats – that’s one of the good things about going to Northampton, MA. The area is so full of fruit leather hippies that a lot of restaurants source their meat and are vocal about it, so finding out where your food comes from is very easy.
And there are lots of free wi-fi zones, too. Albany John checked for signals on his PSP at EVERY. PLACE. WE. STOPPED.

He got a store-made veggie burger and the fried pickles. Nicely poofy sesame seed bun on the veggie burger.

The veggie burger came with your usual rabbit food, and tatziki sauce. Good stuff – the dill went really well with the smoky veggie burger. I was impressed with the moisture it had and all of the chunks of veggies in it (red peppers, whole corn niblets), but it reminded me a little too much of egg foo young, or some other Asian-y vegetable patty, after a few nibbles.

They were oddly addictive at first, but their batter seemed like it was mostly cornmeal. The picture from the Valley Advocate’s review had more batter on the outside. They were good but not great. It was nice to try them, but I wouldn’t order them again. I preferred the thin end slices that were crispy and fried to oblivion. Otherwise the novelty got old a little fast. The pickles weren’t really crunchy, more chewy after being fried.
After about 10 minutes they became soggy with oil and were too greasy to bother finishing.
Then we hung around town like some punk ass kids. Albany John ran into some friends from his high school who acted like he’d never left. HAH! Crazy, right? That’s that warm Western Mass attitude, right there!
After that we headed over to Mama and Papa Amherst’s house and got to spend an impromptu evening with them.

Mama Amherst took me to her gardening store the next day. Buncha’ pansies, if you ask me.



And then we got hippie style pizza at Hillside Pizza on Route 9 in Hadley, MA. Papa Amherst said the crusts were whole grain, or something like that, and the ingredients locally sourced.

They also have non-pizza foods. Wraps, salads, stuff like that.

We got the specials of the day on one pizza. One was artichoke, onions, olives, and pesto! The other half was a spinach and cashew-nut pesto.

Olive-y goodness.

I think this is like very good homemade pizza. Being a New Yorker, I try not to be an asshole about pizzas in other states. The crust was one uniformity, but firmer at the edges and softer/soggier in the center. It was a two hander.

The other special. This one tasted cheesier because, uh, I’m pretty sure it had more cheese on it.


First stop was Whole Paycheck Whole Foods Market. It was bizz-zay on a Saturday afternoon!

I made a bee-line toward my primary objective.

Mother fuckin’ honey roasted peanut butter! Freshly ground!

A sight I’m sure Daniel would be happy to see in New York – wine in the supermarket. Lots.

They even had samples of some terrible white wine. I’m glad they did, otherwise we might have bought a bottle (the bottle itself looked pretty cool).

Dr. Seuss Eggs Emu eggs. Eat with green ham. (And holy mother, these gigantic eggs were $24.99 each. EACH.)

It would seem that Saturday = Sample Day at Whole Foods, and this lovely lady was offering two kinds of smoked salmon, and her own cream cheese filling to wrap salmon around. The filling was cream cheese, dried cranberries, fresh scallions, and I think that was it. Good stuff!

Seafood counter! If I lived nearby I would be buying mussels from here every week. They’re only like $5.99 for 2 pounds of briny goodness.


Cheesey snack. A lot of Whole Foods items would be great to pick up for a little wine gathering, or a potluck. Tasty nibbles that aren’t too expensive.

This was some of their pizza at the hot bar. Ok, this looks pretty gross. How huge are those pepperoni slices?! I’ve never seen them so big!

I think the Co-Op sells this type of Gruyere – Reserve Gruyere. It tasted awfully familiar, and that’s the only place locally where I buy most of my fancy cheeses (or used to – they’re so expensive now I haven’t bought cheese from them at all this year).

Dessert display!! I love how the fruit tarts and little cakes look in the case. Like jewels.

Tasty, tasty jewels.

And then it was over to see… OH TRADER, MY TRADER!

Trader Joe’s was also P-A-C-K-E-D!

Cheese aisle – Belletoile brie for ~$4 a wedge. So much more affordable there than anywhere else in the area. It’s the only place I buy brie, so it doesn’t happen all that often. The cheeses at Trader Joe’s are such a nice treat – affordable and almost always delectable (except the goat brie. Eugh.).

How lazy are you?!

Frozen spaghetti. Are you freaking kidding me? Take a break from the computer and boil water for 10 minutes.

Bye Mass, I’ll miss ya! I know, I know, get my god damned Yankee-lovin’ ass out of your state.

  1. oh man Fresh Peanut Butter. You lucky lucky girl.

    I have to say that I just ate lunch and your pictures made me hungry all over again!

  2. derry X said:

    Everything about this post is AMAZING!!!

  3. DelSo said:

    Wow! Thank you – I've always wondered what it would be like to be manic. πŸ™‚ What an awesome post about a dazzling array of food.

  4. Oh no way! We went to the hippy pizza place last month. They sold Boyland seltzer and now I crave it daily. Can't seem to find it anywhere around here.

    Apple cider foundation…….drool drool drool

  5. I don't think I've been to Northampton since the early 90s. There used to be two really good ice cream places. Everyone had a preference. I preferred Bart's. Pretty sure the other place was named Herrell's. I think I might still have a Bart's tshirt buried in a closet somewhere.

    That main drag is a nice place to spend an evening.

  6. I haven't been to Northampton since the mid 90s. But this post is just mean.

    Whole Foods and Trader Joe's?

    Let me pull this knife out of my back, and return it to you. I'm pretty sure that sucking sound is just the state of our grocery stores in Albany.

    Dammit people, vote in the TU poll for Wegmans and Trader Joe's already.

    Here is how to do it:

  7. JoJo said:

    As a former Masshole, I appreciate this post!

  8. I love this post! And that fuckin' honey roasted peanut butter looked amazing…

  9. grace said:

    fried pickles, fresh peanut butter, and free cider–DEFINITELY a successful road trip. πŸ™‚

  10. Northampton is one of my favorite places for a day trip! Last time we went (in a blizzard- we're stupid, I don't advise that) we found this amazing Mexican place- La Veracruzana. It's right on Main St. you can't miss it. The best chicken tamales and my partner had something porky, can't remember what it was but it was goood. We said we'd go back just to eat there. And the prices were reasonable.

    Always make a stop at TJ's to stock up. I went to the Whole Foods there last time, my first time ever in a Whole Foods. I get the whole “Whole Paycheck” thing. I wasn't impressed although that cup of peanut butter looked mighty good.

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