March 16, 2008

Northampton Take Two: The Dirty Truth

Following the aforementioned ruin of last weekend, I was hoping for a little more relaxation and enjoyment this weekend. We returned to the Northampton area in Massachussetts to pick up Jesse's car, now fixed, and I figured this time around we would know what we were doing and have a better time.

Well I was wrong. I chose a cheaper motel for this trip, the Amherst Motel, and I do not recommend staying there. The heating was inconsistent, making it hard to sleep, and there was no hot water in the morning. While the owner who greeted us was plenty nice, and I would rather support a family-owned business than a chain hotel, just say no. There are plenty of other hotels in the area that will fill your needs better, such as Howard Johnson, where we stayed the previous weekend.

Then I didn't think to make a dinner reservation, so we wandered around Northampton hearing the same response of a 45 minute wait at every place, until we finally ended up at a sushi restaurant called Osaka. Which was fine, just not what we were in the mood for. I rarely have to make reservations in Brooklyn, so I forget that you might need them in a place that's not gasp!a big city.

Salvation came the next morning at brunch. Once again, we were thwarted by a 45 minute wait at what I had read was one of Northampton's most popular brunch spots, Sylvester's. So we decided to amble around and see if we could find a way to eat sooner. Luck came upon us when I saw the sign above - brunch! kegs and eggs! outside an unassuming place that ended up being The Dirty Truth Beer Hall. As we walked in the door we noticed a small Beer Advocate poster that ranked the place as one of the best beer bars in the country. It was then we knew we were at the right place. They had more taps than we'd ever seen behind a bar - 42 to be exact - and a huge blackboard listing great beers such as Allegash, Victory, and Bear Republic.

We really regretted not knowing about The Dirty Truth, or its sister bar, the Moan and Dove in Amherst, the night before when we had a few lackluster beers before dinner at both the Amherst Brewing Company and the Northampton Brewery.

I believe they have served dinner for a while, but this was The Dirty Truth's first day open for brunch! Jesse enjoyed a simple omelet, while I had what was called "Caitlin's Sandwich", featuring a firm fried egg, tomato tapanade, chevre, and spinach, on crisp whole grain toast. It was delicious, filling, and the kind of breakfast sandwich I would love to make at home. I didn't get a chance to have a beer, as it was too early in the morning for me to be in the mood, but I thoroughly recommend checking out this beer bar and gastropub if you are in the area. (To my sister Michelle who goes to college nearby - I am very sorry you have to wait three more years before you can enjoy this bar).

The moral of the story is, when going on a trip, make sure to a. check out Beer Advocate for good bars in the area, b.make a dinner reservation once you've found a good restaurant, and c. don't skimp on the lodgings.


Eat It Brooklyn said...

I used to live in Northampton, which, nice as it is, was hard to be as a New Yorker when it came to the food. If you head back, try Joe's for pizza. Amazing, and off the beaten path. Also, Woodstar for breakfast fare. It's a coffee shop, so it's not great on atmosphere, but the woman who owns it is thoughtful about food and ingredients and they have the best Chocolate Chip Cookies around. And bagels! As for lodging...try the Autumn Inn, or one of the many B&Bs. Since it's a 5-college town, it's hard to do spur of the moment stuff, so call ahead.

Julia said...

Thanks for the tips! I'm sure we'll be back at some point since my sister goes to college in the area.