Guess who’s got two thumbs and likes turkey? THIS GAL!
Albany John and I headed over to Amherst this weekend to do early Thanksgiving with his side of the family. Which meant about three uninterrupted days of bliss and delicious food.
Manhattan Maka, CVS, Albany John and I ventured into town to get pizza from Antonio’s (31 N Pleasant St, Amherst, MA), where the boys had been getting pizza from since they were kids. Their strong suit is doing whatever it is you tell them to… When Albany John called in his order, he was on the phone for longer than I’ve ever seen because they kept asking him to specify stuff. And I think all of their topping pizzas come with two toppings? We ordered a BBQ chicken pizza and they kept asking for another topping and further specifications. And thankfully Mama Amherst chimed in with “extra cheese!” ’cause what can go wrong with extra cheese?
Hah, Albany John – that means you really are a New Yorker ’cause you’re used to saying “I want XYZ pizza” and that is the end of the conversation. They make you XYZ pizza.
It was definitely not a New York style pie. And there could have been a lot more BBQ sauce and more time to cook and crisp up the crust. But overall, it was not that bad. It was pizza, and cheap, too! Only about $15 for a pie with two toppings and a generous amount of chicken.
The next morning we went to Atkins Farms (1150 West Street, Amherst, MA), where you can eat cupcakes with puppy and kitten faces on them, or weird gooby alien face cupcakes.
Fresh seafood counter.
And FREE ICE CREAM!! One of the ice creameries was giving away gigantic ‘samples’ of ice cream cones. I got pumpkin, and Albany John got… something else. I think egg nog. They also had apple pie and vanilla. The pumpkin was awesome.
We went for a walk on one of Amherst’s many trails and pathways, so this ice cream was a totally necessary energy boost.
We came back home and Manhattan Maka and I put together an appetizer plate. I picked up some olives, tarmasalata, and sopressata from Roma’s in Latham before heading out. And smoked mozzarella from the co-op. Yummy.
And it begins. Turkey carving!
Albany John and I may or may not have run around the house taking nibbles of things cooling off. Stuffing, I’MMA EAT YOU! This stuffing was so good. Some nuts, tasty bread, sausage. I’d never really eaten stuffing before meeting these Amherstians, and now I can’t keep away from it.
Camera-ninja peeping skills still leave a bit to be desired. But check out those buns and asparagusssesss!
Dinner table’s set! And everything came out at the same time! Woo woo! There was a really tasty Menage a Trois red wine – really fruity and good.
Man, we must all be getting old – we could only manage one plate of food. But it was so tasty and good. This is a pre-gravy-slathering shot, but just imagine this covered in the best-tasting brown sauce ever, and you get the picture.
Mashed potatoes, crisply roasted brussels sprouts, perfectly moist turkey, lightly roasted asparagus, and insanely good stuffing. And rolls. And all kinds of cranberry sauce and relish. An Amherst Thanksgiving is the best kind of Thanksgiving (especially when it comes early).
Dessert! Ginger ice cream from Flayvors (evidently they have enough butterfat content to make Haagen Das blush, but that’s all they’ll say), lemon pie, and apple pie! My stomach opened up enough to have room for all of the above.
The next morning Albany John made a sandwich of epic proportions. It was really tasty, too.
We slowly made our way out and made our first stop at Maple Farm Foods (10 South Maple Street, Hadley, MA). It’s expanded from a mostly European grocery store to include a little bit of everything. But still a heavy Euro influence. Like this refrigerated wall of cured meats. Albany John loves the pate (the blur is his hand holding one and talking excitedly) and picked up two of them.
I love how many Mass native produce items they sell in many of the stores in the area, Maple Farm included. They had carrots for $0.99/2 lb bags! I had to pick some up.
There’s a deli section, and there were golumpki’s bigger than both of Albany John’s fists! They were like mini nerf-footballs. Gigantic golumpkis!
We made Trader Joe’s our final stop before heading out, which was something of a mistake. Sunday before Thanksgiving is NOT the time to go there. It was a mob scene, albeit a polite New England mob scene. The lines were back through the aisles, and the aisles were really hard to move through, especially when people with carts would just leave them in the middle or side of places.
I picked up a wedge of my beloved Belletoile brie and some tempeh bricks and was like “I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE!”. I managed to get in a shorter line… with one of the slowest people ever behind the register. Despite the fact that the entire store was packed with people, half of which wanted to check out, this cashier was leisurely checking everyone out. Keying in two items when it would have been faster to just scan them both, seemingly oblivious to the crowd around her. Most of the folks in my line didn’t have that much, which offered the false glimmer of hope that we would be out quickly, but the people in the line next to us that had cartful after cartful of items were out the door quicker than we were. About 10 painful minutes of three people with small hand carts of food later, and we were out.
The drive home was fairly uneventful, except for the fact that my car is starting to get old and lose the awesome control it used to have (just a little extra play in the wheel every now and again, nothing serious). Albany John and I kept drooling over the stuffing Papa Amherst made, so he requested I make some bread for our own Thanksgiving so he could try to replicate it.
I made a soft loaf of white and whole wheat, and had a bit of dough left to make rolls from. Also made some egg noodles with tomatoes and onions and couldn’t help but cut off a hunk of brie to eat with the roll. Good way to end the night.