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Columbus Day: Eating Out, Part One

21.October 2010

After a period of radio silence, I’m back to tell you about two places you absolutely must check out if you find yourself hungry in Central-Western Mass.

A couple weeks ago, Dan and I took our traditional trek out West for Columbus Day.  (No, we don’t support Columbus, but we do support random days off in the height of Fall Foliage Season.)  After puttering around in Shelburne Falls and taking the scenic route through Greenfield and Turners Falls, we made our way to Montague and the Bookmill.  (Let me just say now, for clarity’s sake, that anywhere with a motto like “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find” is A-OK by me.)  We scored a couple of cheap paperbacks and a first edition of Oryx and Crake, then realized that the rumbling we kept hearing wasn’t the nearby waterfall, but was, instead, our woefully empty tummies.

We high-tailed it to the cafe attached to the bookstore, the Lady Killigrew, and ordered up some Grown-up Soda, coffee and a bread and cheese plate that came with apple slices and a heap of delicious, savory curried chicken salad.  It was my ideal curry chicken salad.  No mayonnaise-y BS, not too sweet, a little spicy, and topped with crunchy little bits of beets.  Delicious.  Combined with the soft bread, the sharp cheddar, and the tart apple slices, it was a perfect snack for the two of us.  Oh, and the warm sunshine and beer-garden-y picnic tables didn’t hurt.

In the category of other things you should know about me: I have a deep and abiding love of good Chinese food.  I don’t know about authenticity (having not yet been to China), but bear in mind that my idea of a Super Sweet Sixteen was having all of my artsy-fartsy friends over to our house for a massive Chinese takeout dinner.  When I first got to college, I immediately (we’re talking within the first week) searched out the Northampton’s best Chinese.  That would be Teapot.

Though I had grown up eating delicious Chinese at home, it seems that both Scallion Pancakes and Sesame Chicken weren’t part of our regional idiom (Are there Chinese Takeout Regions in America?  Or are we dealing with Chinese regional differences?  I don’t know.).  So Teapot was the first place I ate either of those things – now my favorites.

It’s not fancy, but their Sesame Chicken is lightly battered, fried crispy, but still tender inside and the sauce has that tangy, almost spicy, almost sweet taste that I dream of.  Basically it’s a good, solid Sesame Chicken.

The Scallion Pancakes, though, are transcendent (if a Scallion Pancake can transcend, that is).  They’re thicker and chewier than your traditional Scallion Pancake, with a much more pronounced scallion flavor.  Also, I think they’re actually fried in sesame oil – the traditional greasy coating is very flavorful, unlike most others.  The dipping sauce is super gingery and light and salty.  Delicious.  When we stopped at Teapot a couple weeks ago, I ate eight of them, I think.

They also have a big cheesy fish tank, so you can make eyes at these dudes while you wait for your food.  Yeah, it’s that kind of place.  (I found the one on the left mesmerizing.  What scary red eyes!)

Finally, if you know anything about Northampton and have heard about our new puppy, you had to know that this photo was coming.

Be back very soon to insist you go and eat lobster at my favorite place in Maine.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Jess permalink
    21.October 2010 14:23

    that little dog and his little beard and at-attenSHUN triangle ears. OMGOMGOMGOMG.

    • Darby O'Shea permalink*
      21.October 2010 15:05

      Yeah, he’s disgustingly adorable. Unfortunately he knows it and abuses us unabashedly.

  2. 21.October 2010 16:36

    Now I want Chinese food.

    • Darby O'Shea permalink*
      21.October 2010 17:25

      There’s a remedy to that, you know.


  1. Columbus Day: Eating Out, Part Two « Darby O'Shea
  2. Friday Clip Show: Montague Bookmill « Darby O'Shea
  3. December, Day 1: Holiday Shopping Guide « Darby O'Shea

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