We haven't commented on our lunch habits for awhile. We keep meaning to but the constant swirl of news keeps us pretty busy.
But a colleague and I had a chance on Friday to step away from the bustle for a sit-down at The Hub on Main Street in North Adams. We both used to go there too many years back when it was the The Capitol and Sprague workers were lined up to get in on a Thursday.
The Hub's proven pretty popular itself since opening three years ago under Kate and (chef) Matt Schilling. My usual selection to-go is the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese but the specials on Friday were to good to pass up.
Over the years, we've grown to love soup. This is Italian wedding at The Hub; you can also get good soup at Christo's (try the Greek) and Pizza Works on Ashland Street.
My colleague and I both selected a roasted chicken sandwich on herb flatbread with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil aioli dressing.
Verdict: pretty awesome. I'm not a fan of flatbread; it's often hard and chewy. This one was just right and a lot moister than expected. The chicken was pulled and tender, the cheese warm but not overpowering and the dressing, well, perfect. But then I'm a fan for anything with basil in it.
We also had the homemade Italian wedding soup — one of my favorites. The canned version by Progresso is a staple in my pantry. Matt's is far better and the cup was not enough.
We topped it off with homemade bread pudding and cream, another favorite of mine I rarely make anymore. (The kids weren't into it and eating a casseroleful by myself was a weighty affair.) It was served warm and had raisins in it. The texture was just right, not too creamy and not too chunky. It was a good-sized portion but didn't feel heavy.
Kate told us the restaurant will be changing the menu at the beginning of May. They've been experimenting hummus and plan to add a hummus sandwich and salad plate, along with a baby spinach salad. Given Matt changed our mind about flatbread, maybe he'll get us into hummus. We're willing to try.
The Hub also was given a permit last year for outside dining so expect to see some tables on the sidewalk once the weather warms up.
It sounds a little weird and it wasn't what I expected when I walked into Nana's Country Market in Adams. What caught me was the sandwich board outside that said "Ham and cole slaw."
It was about 4 p.m. ; going back to the office meant no dinner until after a city council meeting and a ham sandwich sounded pretty good. I've been meaning to stop in at Nana's and this seemed a good a time as any.
Jill Richardson and Frank Willis opened the tiny market and deli a few months ago. I'd watched the progress on the building just down from Angelina's as I'd sped by on my way up and down Route 8.
Look at that bread!
Getting there isn't all that easy. Columbia Street can be tough to cross at that time of day, so I turned around in the carwash and found a parking spot right in front.
Richardson was manning the counter as I perused the sandwich offerings, all around $5. The turkey with cranberry sounded good, so did the roast beef. (The market also offers sliced meat to go along with the staples of bread and milk.) But I came in for ham.
What's on the sandwich, I asked. "Ham, cheese, a slice of tomato and cole slaw on white, wheat or rye," she responded. Cole slaw on the sandwich? Yes, cole slaw on the sandwich.
This I had to try. My only change was the addition of some lettuce to hopefully help hold the dripping to a minimum. "You'll need a napkin," said Richardson.
Honestly, it wasn't that drippy. It was a nice mix of regular and red cabbage with carrots — not to vinegary and not mayo-gloppy. It went well with the sliced ham in between two slabs of homemade rye bread. Really good rye bread.
I could get used to having my side order on my main course and I'll definitely be trying Nana's next interesting concoction.