East Side Cafe: Cheap and Easy
|Thin and crispy, charcaol oven-baked pizza from East Side Cafe.|
Many are pitched as "family restaurants” some are just plain ugly and the pizza is all over the place too. To be fair, I think we in the Berkshires have more than our fair share of decent pizza joints for take out and most of them are pretty good but there’s something special about the East Side Cafe.
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A Summer Place
|Perigee's mussels siam, mussels in a lovely coconut curry broth.|
This summer, I noticed they had a $7 burger on the sandwich board outside.
Like many Berkshire residents, we don't have a huge disposable income, so I am pretty careful about where we choose to eat when we eat out. A place that delivers pasta and has a $7 burger seemed about right to me. So, on a recent Thursday night, my husband and I made a reservation and went to Perigee for dinner.
Perigee is a good place to take your grandparents when they come to visit. Your grandpa can have the steak and, if you check with them before you go, whatever your grandmother chooses off the menu might be half price (but I would be sure to check in advance).
As for the burger special? They don't mention it inside the restaurant and there really isn't anything else on the menu that gets close to that price so if you want a $7 burger from Perigee, call them first and confirm that the special is available before you go. It is not available on weekends.
On the positive side, we really enjoyed the mussels siam, a small serving of mussels in a lovely coconut curry broth. The sauce was, as promised, wonderful when soaked up with the bread provided. The calamari, as our server suggested, was also very good. It was perfectly cooked, tender inside, with a crisp, light golden crust coating it evenly.
The host was very friendly and charming. She explained her favorites on the menu and encouraged us to give her feedback. Unfortunately, this was the place where we learned, if someone says they don't like duck but they like this duck because it doesn't taste like duck and you like duck — don't order the duck.
It was pretty apparent from the happy diners that the restaurant caters to an older crowd, and proudly so. One of their desserts: "The Brooklyn, just as you remember — yellow sponge cake in a paper push cup, topped with whipped cream and a cherry, served with a pretzel rod and a minature egg cream 'shot.'" I've never met anyone old enough to remember this and my husband lived in New York City for 30 years.
If you go to Perigee, the way to have a good time is to remember to double check the specials, be firm with your server, remember that they cater to a much older crowd, and stick to the steak.
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Baba Louie's Facebook Special
So it's Friday afternoon. Your energy is used up for the week and there's still a dinner to be made or bought or found. You find yourself idly scrolling through Facebook at 4 p.m. When you notice it — Baba Louie's is offering a special deal!
This happened to us last week and it's one of the reasons why it pays to "Like" your favorite restaurants on Facebook.
The Berkshires may not have a Groupon of its own yet but last week Baba Louie's offered a special as good as any you'll find on the major coupon sites. Come in, mention the key words from the Facebook post and you got 50 percent off your dinner tab. Not 50 percent off an entree — 50 percent off the whole bill.
I grabbed my partner in life and we left for Baba Louie's. Once there we sat at the bar and had the best gluten-free pizza I've ever tasted as well as a generous dish of linguine with chicken and artichokes and "Dawn's Delight," a small salad that was plenty for two and was so delicious I would happily eat it every Friday until the summer (at least).
Baba Louie's Facebook page has mouth-watering pictures.
"Dawn's Delight" is described as "Gorgonzola, pears, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts served on a bed of organic mixed greens with our balsamic vinaigrette." Yup, that's the stuff. The combination is completely delicious.
For a pizza we chose the unusual combo of shrimp, pineapple, and coconut on a gluten-free crust. It was a refreshing change from our usual traditional pizza and the crust was surprisingly good.
Baba Louie's uses local organic ingredients whenever possible and has plenty of vegetarian, even vegan, options for those who want them.
Our entire meal, a feast really, with wine, beer and a $10 tip, came to $45. Definitely more than cooking at home but a real bargain for a night out. (It's always nice, if you can manage it, to tip on the amount the meal would have been if you got it at the regular price since your server does the same amount of work and sometimes more.)
So if you're wondering what to do for dinner, go online, check out who says what on Facebook or Twitter — more and more restaurants are making use of social networking to announce specials that aren't available anywhere else, count yourself in and give yourself a treat. You'll be glad you did.
Baba Louie's has restaurants in Pittsfield, Great Barrington and in Hudson, N.Y.
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Moulton's Goes Supreme
Jessie Farquhar spins some pizza dough at the new Supreme Pizza on Main Street.
Anyone calling Moulton's Pizza in North Adams got a new message: "Hi, this is Supreme Pizza, formerly Moulton's."
The new salutation — along with new, slimmed-down menu — began earlier this week but the transformation began taking place some two months ago when Antonio's Pizza Group bought out owner Turgut Aydin. Area residents will also be getting the new menu in the mail.
The restaurant is open to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 on Friday and Saturday.
Manager Spencer Leonard said the group was bringing the same sensiblity to North Adams as it has to the original's Amherst — deliver fresh, healthy products in a reasonable time to a college town. Everything that can be made from scratch, will be.
"Our pizza dough is made here, our pitas are made fresh, too, and they take a lot of time to do, and are garlic bread as well, that's a lot of work," he said. The first order was cutting down the unwieldy menu of 263 items by 100 by talking to customers. "We really attacked that."
The result is a menu with more vegetarian options, including gourmet pizzas, and discontinuing some of the Greek and Turkish choices in favor of more Southwestern flavors. The pizzeria is also offering Fuze drinks over soda as more healthy alternative. Soup will still be available as a daily choice, but not clam chowder to start.
In addition to college students, Leonard said the pizzeria will focus on offering healthier fare for the working lunch crowd and specials for the budget conscious.
The delivery area has been whittled down to ensure faster service: All of North Adams, Clarksburg and Williamstown, and limited deliver to Adams with a $10 minimum.
The group has brought in new equipment and the position of expeditor to ensure quality, accuracy and timeliness in orders, and is stressing customer service. It's mostly new staff, including assistant manager Jessica Wells, with a couple holdovers from the previous management.
The name of "Supreme" was settled on after the new management learned there had been other Anthony/Antonios in the area and its working with city on signage. Leonard would also like to see the Main Street side of the building put to better use, such as having meal preparation moved to the front window so passers-by could see the action. That's off in the future but the area, which had been used for storage, has been cleaned out.
Aydin, who operated the pizzeria under the Moulton's banner since fall 2006, said back in January it was time to retire and do some fishing. He stayed on for several weeks as the new management took over.
The building on the corner of Eagle and Main streets, once the location of Rice's Drugstore, is still owned by the Moulton family and was briefly operated by them when the Pizza House closed in that location.
"We've gotten a very positive response," said Leonard.
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Mazzeo's Opens; New Eateries for Adams, North Adams
Mazzeo's Ristorante on South Street in Pittsfield is open for dinner business. The Italian restaurant opened quietly on Tuesday afternoon after months of preparation.
The new location of the popular Italian eatery is in the former Asters; the original building on Winter Street will continue to be used for banquets and will house the Mazzeo family's catering business.
We're told the new Mazzeo's is beautiful inside and offers the same authentic Italian cusine its been known for for years.
Hours at the new location are Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 9; Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10 and Sundays from 4 to 9.
Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant Pho
In North Adams, an Italian restaurant has been transformed into Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant Pho. The restaurant, owned by Nancy Nguyen of North Adams, opened last week at Valley Park Lanes.
The kitchen's been revamped and the decor changed to evoke more of a Southeast Aisan feel. The menu is limited for now with 11 items, including the namesake dish Pho Tai Bo Van, a beef noodle soup.
Prices range from $4.25 for two spring rolls with dipping sauce to $12.50 for steak dishes. Pho is open daily from 11 to 10 and offers takeout. The number is 413-664-6667.
In Adams, Izzy's Pizza and Deli opened recently at 85 Commercial St. with a full menu of specialty pizzas (including the artery-clogging "Heart Attack"), calzones, stromboli, pastas, sandwiches, grinders, burgers and appetizers. It offers 10 different wing flavors and BBQ ribs.
The location was vacated by Jim's Pizza, which moved to Howland Avenue.
Delivery from Izzy's is available in Adams and to the Viking Pub next door. It also offers catering off the menu.
Operated by AnnMarie Belmonte and Rick "Izzy" Solomon, the eatery is open from 11 to 9 Tuesday through Thursday; 11 to midnight on Friday and Saturday and 11 to 9 on Sunday.
Call 413-743-0445 or check out the Facebook page.
Have restaurant news? Send it firstname.lastname@example.org.
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