It seems as though the weekends have been reserved for trying new food places, and this week’s came in the form of a rando Yelp find right off the highway and the most scrumptious brunch in the cutest little place ever. I pretty much just ate breakfast for two days straight.
We traveled to Waltham (a trip during which I obtained “Julia & Company,” a Julia Child cookbook, and another book titled “A Woman’s Place is in the Kitchen,” a book about female chefs through the years at a cool used book store) and on the way back stopped at Julie’s Place in Acton. It’s super unassuming on the outside and there’s a bar inside that’s situated in a back corner…and had two people sitting at it despite the fact it was 2 p.m. I got the He-boe: two poached eggs on bacon (though you can also get ham, hash or sausage) with melted cheese on top, all sitting on an English muffin and accompanied by home fries. The mouth feel of melted American cheese might be one of my favorite things in the world (and the reason Kate’s Place in my hometown is still my favorite pizza), and it got even better when paired with crispy bacon bits. This was messy when cut into, but so worth it. I may start making this at home. Look at that damn cheese. It’s like a food blanket I could nestle under forever.
Boy got hot cakes, which are apparently totally different from pan cakes, seemingly in the fact that they’re thicker and fluffier. Though I’ve read online the exact opposite, that hot cakes are “so thin they’re like a crepe.” Does anyone want to weigh in on this?
So I thought we really nailed the breakfast thing, until we decided to venture to Wiggins Tavern at Hotel Northampton today.
Oh my god, you guys.
First of all, The Hotel Northampton is gorgeous.
Wiggins Tavern has brunch every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and it’s been crowned best brunch in the valley by the Valley Advocate. This is a huge deal, my friends, as brunch is everywhere in the Pioneer Valley. To stand out among so many players is a great feat.
Wiggins is basement level in the hotel, and it’s like stepping into a more spacious version of someone’s home in the late 1800s. It’s comforting; there are knick knacks on the walls and in enclosed shelves, a fireplace with a rifle over it, and brick walls and wood pillars. I imagine it as a place someone would come in and kick their boots off after a long day of doing some hard labor, spinning stories to the family by the fireside.
The spread for the buffet is a wide one – a salad section, Belgian waffle station, omelette maker, fruit, dessert, seafood, chicken, lamb – I’m getting full again just thinking about it. I had three plates.
Strawberry, cantaloupe, French toast, home fries, eggs Benedict and a deviled egg.
Let me just talk about this deviled egg for a second. I consider myself a connoisseur of deviled eggs. I’ve had and made many varieties, but I don’t think any will beat this one, and it’s all in its simplicity. The filling was so light it was almost fluffy, and it had a tinge of horseradish taste to it. I ate two and had to stop myself from getting more.
Plate No. 2
More home fries, another deviled egg, lamb, chicken with smoked Gouda and pepper on top, and shrimp scampi ravioli.
I absolutely rushed through that first plate so I could get my fork on that ravioli, and it was completely worth it.
Plate No. 3
Belgian waffle with cream and warm strawberries and syrup, mini cannoli, cream puff encased in chocolate with vanilla icing, cheesecake.
I can’t lie, I thought that cream puff was a truffle and was sorely disappointed when it wasn’t. All in all, though, the only disappointment of this entire meal. The cheesecake was astounding; it melted in my mouth.
If you ever find yourself in the Pioneer Valley on a Sunday, forego all the brunch options you see and just head to Wiggins. And make reservations – this place was packed by the time we left, and it was only 10:45!