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Food & Drink

Forget Everything You Think About New York State Wine

Photo by Kai-Chieh Chan from Pexels
Photo by Kai-Chieh Chan from Pexels

by Nancy Koziol

I was living in Brooklyn on September 11, 2001. I was three years into the dumpster fire of my twenties and in more danger than I’ve ever been in my life. It wasn’t the attacks—the carnage and violence erupting in my city—that put me at risk. I was safely across the river. No, it was me who was responsible for the aforementioned inferno, but 9/11 that helped me start to put out the blaze.

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Unsung Eats: The Corner Lunch, Adams — 40 years of home cooking to please the palate…and the wallet.

House-made comfort foods for weekday specials are always big hits — and at the Corner Lunch prices, they're even hittier.
House-made comfort foods for weekday specials are always big hits — and at the Corner Lunch prices, they're even hittier.

With Unsung Eats there is only one thing better than a great meal at a good value, and that is if it is served with a side dish of a good old fashioned success story.

Today Unsung Eats finds itself in the historic town of Adams at a very cool little place called the Corner Lunch. The Corner Lunch is located at 50 Summer Street at the intersection of Spring Street.

Once inside, I felt as though I had stepped back in time. The original menu board, the round floor mounted stools at the counter, the nicely dressed tables with a flower vase placed next to the napkin dispensers all spoke to me with their old school charm and flavor.

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Unsung Eats: Desperados
North Adams — fresh Tex-Mex for the frugal

Desperados, at 23 Eagle Street in downtown North Adams, is part of an expanding constellation of restaurants that send your taste buds south of the border; photo by James Kennedy.
Desperados, at 23 Eagle Street in downtown North Adams, is part of an expanding constellation of restaurants that send your taste buds south of the border; photo by James Kennedy.

The rise in popularity of Tex-Mex restaurants in the U.S. is of no surprise when you consider the increasing cultural and culinary diversity of Americans and America itself.

When we consider what makes for a good comfort food, Americanized Mexican food (known as Tex-Mex) can hold its head high with its shredded meats and melted cheeses, the deep rich sauces, the contrasts of crunchy and creamy and spicy and cool.

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Glyphosate: Why we need a clean food revolution

Pl77 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Liquid spraying equipment at work in a corn field, by Pl77, [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

“If it was bad for us, they wouldn’t sell it.” This was the response I got from the maintenance man when I objected to his spraying weeds with Roundup. Well actually, that isn’t true. “A number of cities, counties, states and countries throughout the world have taken steps to either restrict or ban glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer,” notes Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman PC here in a recently updated list. The firm has links to several lawsuits brought against Monsanto by plaintiffs who claim their cancers were caused by Roundup, including the action of Edwin Hardeman, which was settled on March 27, for more than $80 million in damages.

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Unsung Eats: Berkshire Palate
Williamstown—Little Bun, Chicken & Waffle

Ordering up both the "Little Bun" cheeseburger and the "Chicken and Waffle" sandwich with a side of salt and vinegar fries turned out to be a good way to size up Berkshire Palate, this week's Unsung Eats; photo by James Kennedy.
Ordering up both the "Little Bun" cheeseburger and the "Chicken and Waffle" sandwich with a side of salt and vinegar fries turned out to be a good way to size up Berkshire Palate, this week's Unsung Eats; photo by James Kennedy.

Unsung Eats is all about finding great food for a great value all over North county, and today we find ourselves in picturesque Williamstown at a cool little eatery called Berkshire Palate. 

Berkshire Palate is located in the Colonial Plaza on Route 2 where there is plenty of parking.

Once inside, I sat down in the front window at the high counter and looked around. The place is cozy and clean with an upscale feel, and there were other diners there happily chatting away. A man named Paul came to greet me and take my drink order. We talked a bit and I discovered that Paul was part owner, going into business with his sons, opening Berkshire Palate less than a year ago.

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Unsung Eats: Hot Dog Ranch,
North Adams — Beef Stew

The Hot Dog Ranch in North Adams offers a home-style Beef stew that earns it's place on the Unsung Eats chart; photo by James Kennedy.
The Hot Dog Ranch in North Adams offers a home-style Beef stew that earns it's place on the Unsung Eats chart; photo by James Kennedy.

Only at the Greylock Glass can you find Unsung Eats; the column that takes the guesswork out of where to find great local grub for short money.

I’ve driven by the Hot Dog Ranch in North Adams before, and when I checked out their menu online I saw that their daily specials were actually very affordable home-cooked–style meals so I decided to take them for a spin.

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Colcannon, soda bread, and an Irish ditty

A super-nutritious (and satisfying!) staple of rustic Irish Cooking, colcannon can be prepared in a multitude of ways; photo by Sheila Velazquez.
A super-nutritious (and satisfying!) staple of rustic Irish Cooking, colcannon can be prepared in a multitude of ways; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

The traditional St. Patrick’s Day feast is corned beef and cabbage. Potatoes round out the meal and can be boiled or mashed. I make them as colcannon, mashed potatoes into which butter, milk, salt and pepper, and cooked and chopped kale is mixed. So simple, so good. I used the remaining container of frozen kale from last year’s garden to make the batch shown. Make extra, because it goes well with everything. I especially like a scoop on a plate of eggs. 

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Unsung Eats: Lee’s Dynasty
Szechuan Chicken

Szechuan Chicken, with egg roll and a soft drink, available at Lee's Dynasty in Adams for under $10; photo by James Kennedy.
Szechuan Chicken, with egg roll and a soft drink, available at Lee's Dynasty in Adams for under $10; photo by James Kennedy.

Maybe today you don’t feel like cooking. Maybe today you don’t have the time to stop at the grocery store and go home and drag out the pots and pans because your entire day has been mired in chaos.  The answer then is to go out to eat or order take out but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to break the bank and there are so many options to explore for great grub cheap in northern Berkshire County if you know all the hotspots.

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Turning Cabin Fever into Cabin Solace

Ice garden on a very old (1847) north-facing window of Lawrence Hall, home of the Williams College Museum of Art.
Ice garden on a very old (1847) north-facing window of Lawrence Hall, home of the Williams College Museum of Art; photo by Sheila Velazquez

A friend made the comment that “February is good for nothing.” I’ve never felt that way. I enjoy the peace and calm of the month to which “cabin fever” is so often attributed. Instead, I think of it as the month for cabin solace, the calm between frantic end-of-the-year activity and the longer days leading to spring. 

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Tea and Sympathy

Bulk spices and teas make luxury highly affordable, particularly when you buy with friends; photo by Sheila Velazquez.
Bulk spices and teas make luxury highly affordable, particularly when you buy with friends; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

The sympathy is for those of us, including me, who can’t seem to shake whatever bug it is that has invaded our chests, heads and thinking. The tea is part of that sympathy, because a hot cup of tea with honey and lemon, and perhaps a warm muffin, is the next best thing to mom holding you on her lap, wrapped in a blanket, rocking back and forth in time to the lullaby she is humming.

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Smoked Porter
Harvest Brewing

No one would look at you twice if you snuggled up with Harvest Brewing's Smoked Porter (left); photo by The Brewsicologist
No one would look at you twice if you snuggled up with Harvest Brewing's Smoked Porter (left); photo by The Brewsicologist

The Winter Brew Review is an occasionally published series that seeks to uncover the regional frothy beverages that are exactly what you’re in the mood for when the mercury dips below tee-shirt-and-a-flannel, and anyone trying to push a Pilsner on you is askin’ to get bipped on the forehead.

Some brews that make the cut are passable substitutes for 10W-40 in a pinch. Others would buy you forgiveness if a dinner party host says, “bring something for dessert.” All of them, due to their profound satisfyingness can produce papers proving their diplomatic, carbohydratic, calorofantastic immunity. I mean, why would they put holes east of the buckle if they didn’t expect you to use ’em, right?

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Dem Bones

Since we stopped hunting and gathering and turned to markets for our food and ingredients, cost-conscious cooks have depended on affordable basics to provide hearty, healthy meals for their families. Many of these items are now being appropriated and glorified by “foodies” who have “discovered” them. The gentrification of traditional foods has enhanced the plates of the few at the cost of the many.

Nearly all ethnicities have roasted, then simmered, soup bones for a stock. Used to be that you could ask a butcher for some, and he would give you a big bag, cut into perfect lengths, for free. Traditional ingredients have enabled the cook to serve a wholesome and tasty meal of soup for less than $1 per person, including the chunks of warm bread for sopping it up. Think of all the cultures that rely on soup for satisfying nutrition. With pasta, with vegetables, with grains and curries, with garnishes like parsley or green onions.

Plain bones (no attached meat) are priced at about $2 a pound in the supermarket. And if you want someone else to do the simmering, a quart box of bone broth is about $5. Shanks and oxtails are a step up from bones, with more meat and flavor, but they have become unaffordable for the cook with a large family to feed. Another of my favorite bones, or collection of bones, is one of the dishes that has not been discovered—yet. Pig’s feet are part of the German heritage on one side of my family. I think it may take some doing before they are appropriated by anyone else. Keep Reading

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