This past weekend included a lot of dining out. Mmmm. I was in Central MA visiting my family and during that time, my mom and I spent a day in Western MA. It was fun to visiting the areas I don’t get to very often and trying some new restaurants at the same time. Boston, being New England’s biggest city, gets a lot of the culinary focus but I think there are a lot of other excellent restaurants that fly under the radar.

In Worcester, the Shrewsbury Street area is popular for dining out and has a variety of unique restaurants. My parents and I went to Mezcal Cantina on Shrewsbury Street for dinner the other night. Mezcal has been around for a few years and is a popular Mexican place. The atmosphere is chic but comfortable. I’ve visited a few times and we always order some of Mexcal’s guacamole to start, which is made to order. This time we had the original, which was excellent, but they also offer a crunchy version of guacamole with almonds, jicama and corn nuts and a tropical flavor with mango, papaya and cashews.

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For dinner, my mom and I shared the lobster and corn fritters and the blue corn encrusted tilapia. The fritters were piping hot and doughy. I would have hoped for more lobster but there was enough mixed in, I guess. The tilapia dish was a little different but delicious, served with various sides including some very tasty bbq beans with bacon. It also came with an average spicy coleslaw and an onion/spinach mix. I would order both dishes again.

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My dad ordered three tacos which came with soft corn shells. The waitress was very helpful, especially when my dad asked for gluten-free suggestions. My dad and I enjoyed our meal with some sangria (my mom had a peach pom margarita).

The next morning and I headed out to Western MA for the day and stopped at a roadside place for breakfast. It was my first time at the Roadhouse Cafe in Belchertown, MA. The restaurant is very casual and rustic with both a breakfast bar and booth seating.

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While it’s menu is fairly typical for breakfast, it focuses on organic and local ingredients. They make nearly a dozen types of bread in house as well as fresh muffins such as the peaches ‘n’ cream flavor that was offered the other morning. My mom chose to have a kid’s order of pancakes with walnuts and real maple syrup. She offered me a bite and the pancake was fluffy and sweet. I had a breakfast sandwich with homemade wheat bread, eggs, American cheese and turkey sausage. Expecting to get a large and messy sandwich, I was pleased to see my sandwich filling as an omelette – the egg, cheese and sausage were mixed together. The sandwich was very tasty – you can’t go wrong with homemade bread!  

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It was supposed to rain all day on Friday but most of the day ended up being clear, just a little humid. We stopped in Northampton to do a little shopping and wandering around before heading to a candy store in Deerfield and then went to Amherst. While I haven’t spend a lot of time in Amherst, it’s easy to see it’s a young town with many college students (hence UMass-Amherst) and a lot of young families. The town was having the Taste of Amherst this past weekend so we thought about stopping by but it wasn’t quite open when we were there. Luckily, my mom knew about another popular place in town, Judie’s, so we ate there instead.

I had the hardest time deciding what to have. My mom mentioned that the popovers were supposed to be excellent so I wanted to make sure to include that in my selection. I was thinking salad but ended up with The Souper – a cup of soup, garden salad and a popover. I chose to have the baked onion soup and almonds on my garden salad with a light honey peppercorn dressing. My meal was excellent and so filling! The soup was very flavorful and I enjoyed the gooey cheese. The salad was basic but the dressing was sweet and tasty (the almonds were a nice, crunchy addition). The popover was delicious but HUGE. It was like a light and fluffy crater, served with apple butter. I wasn’t crazy about the apple butter so just used a little regular butter instead. Yum! Seriously, how do you even bake popovers so large? (Not that I’m complaining) 😉

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Now the weekend is about over and I’m totally full from my eating adventures. Hope you had a great weekend and nice Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day, Dad! 🙂 🙂