Keith is our resident foodie & self-made sommelier, and with it being Northampton's Restaurant Week, he'd already been out tasting the local fare every evening. We started off with a nice white wine, which Keith chose & we drank. The featured pre-fixe menu offered Sorrel Soup, Garden Salad with Great Hill Blue Cheese, Snails and New Potatoes in Parchment for appetizers; Entrées offered were Spring Vegetable Risotto, Chicken Escoffier, and Scallops for the catch of the day; for dessert there was Crème brûlée, Goat Cheese Cake, Chocolate Torte & a Carmel Tart. We pretty much tried every item on the menu, excepting the snails, which they had just run out of, and it was a wonderful meal and great company. We'll have to return sometime when it isn't restaurant week. Just around the corner was Bistro Les Gras; Alicia dashed in there just before we met up with Keith, Chrissie and James at Green Street Café to find a present for Keith. They have a wonderful selection of fresh cheeses and condiments available from their take out counter.
The next morning we made sourdough pancakes, fruit smoothies & chocolate pudding cupcakes for Cheryl's birthday, and for dinner Cheryl and I went to Arigato for Sushi in Amherst.
Cheryl's parents were expected to arrive sometime on Monday and would be with us through the week, so we figured we were in for plenty of eating. It's nice to live in the Pioneer Valley area, which in it's own way is sort of an arcade of eaterys; we have yet to try most of the places in the area since we pretty much stick to the ones that have become our favorites: Mi Tierra, Osaka, Soo Ra, Esselon and Gohyhang Korean Restaurant. Of course there are many, many more, but these ones always top the list when we consider going out to eat, especially if we have guests with us.
Monday evening, in an effort to beat off the heat wave that came for most of the week, we went to the Brewery in Northampton. Unfortunately for us, their air conditioner had conked out, so it was only slightly cooler inside than it was outside. Tuesday involved a trip to the outlet stores in Lee, and upon returning we stopped at Webster's Fish Hook restaurant for a huge mess of fried seafood. Then there was Wednesday...
Wednesday was sort of a centerpiece dining experience since Cheryl's parents wanted to go to the Summer Shack in Cambridge. We actually paced ourselves for this event, since we knew we could eat plenty of seafood in so many different variations and combinations. Well, we tried to, but eating at the Summer Shack is an extremely filling experience and I still felt full the next day. All in all it was an enjoyable meal which I would try to recreate here if it all wasn't such a hypnotic blur and, without the aid of a menu I don't know if I can piece together all of the components. Alicia, our bff, (every writer should strive to prove that they can slang with the best of them) joined us there, and we started with drinks, which for most of us were Mojitos. I opted for a local beer. Appetizers included sushi, crab and corn fritters and oysters; entrées included lobster, lobster rolls, & wood grilled Jamaican Jerked Swordfish with sides of asparagus broiled with parmesan & brown butter, and crispy fried vidalia onion strings. We all shared a slice of chocolate cake and three scoops of ice cream which included one scoop of Grand Marnier.
Before Cheryl's parents arrived, she received a three pound package which contained mostly licorice in a variety of styles, plus some sweet coffee candy. We continued this with a stop at an old fashioned candy store that still stocks hard to get discontinued candies from your childhood: buttons, salty licorice, teaberry & clove gum and other goodies. We picked up more licorice, some Necco wafers, anise drops, clove drops & malted milk balls. I was hoping that they might carry the rare, long sought after Screaming Yellow Zonkers that I loved as a child, but that seems to be long gone, along with the quavering soprano timbre of my adolescent voice.
Earlier in the week I had begun planning/ preparing a meal for Cheryl's parents, which we finally got around to having on Thursday evening. We had Asian seasoned country style pork ribs, fresh asparagus from Hadley, mixed braised greens from our farm share & a chilled pasta salad made of Chinese noodles, shitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, scallions & sesame seeds (I'll be writing out the recipe for this soon). This included a sweet & sour tamarind chili sauce and a hot & sweet mustard sauce for the ribs. I made the ever popular ginger syrup to sweeten our iced tea with, and afterwards, we all went to Creamy Delights for soft serve ice cream.
It was a good week of great eating & sharing with family and friends. This really is what our lives are all about and we rarely get to have so much of it concentrated and packed fully into such a short span of time; it's like all of our birthdays & Easter & Christmas & Thanksgiving rolled up altogether. Despite my feeling the need to decompress & fast from so much food, it seems so dreamy & comforting to think that life not only can be this way but it often is.