New York, Chicago, Italy…these are pizza meccas. The very mention of any one of them and I’m overcome with phantom smells of mozzarella bubbling over an intense rose red sauce. Surprising maybe, that Amherst, Massachusetts is such a place for me. But if anyone knows the pizzerias of my college town, it’s this girl.
Most who know Amherst intimately will turn you in the direction of Antonio’s. Every night out on the town ends with a late night nosh at Antonio’s. Their long counter features at least a dozen different pies, each sold by the quite massive slice. The place is loved for its fresh, eclectic mix of flavors and textures. Two of my favorites: Black Bean Avocado Quesadilla (black beans, avocado, pico de gallo with cilantro, tortilla chips, sour cream, and cheddar) and Potato Bacon (butter sauce, provolone and cheddar, potato, bacon, and rosemary).
I’ll note that they’re not exactly light, but what fantastic pizza is?
While Antonio’s gets most of the buzz, there’s another pizza place in Amherst that I patronized with far greater frequency. Bruno’s is a hole in the wall take out and delivery only pizza joint just off the main street. They have reliably great tasting pizza, specifically their buffalo chicken pizza, my personal favorite. The real draw at Bruno’s, however, is their pasta dishes. They offer baked penne mixed with your choice of meatballs, sausage, or breaded chicken cutlets covered in housemade sauce, packed with creamy whole milk ricotta, and smothered in melted mozzarella cheese. They’re heavy. They’re hearty. They’re comforting. One dish is best shared or eaten over the course of a few meals, as the portion is massive. The one change I’d make is the addition of more sauce, since it can tend to be on the drier side.
Recently, I went back to Amherst for a visit. I walked around my alma mater, I strolled up and down the main streets of town, I ate at a few my old haunts. A slice at Antonio’s, a small helping of baked penne shared with Daniel at Bruno’s. I savored everything despite some of the less health friendly qualities, knowing that these are once in a very long while foods, and reveling in the fact that nostalgia is, by far, my favorite flavor.
photo by: micronova
Do you have any nostalgic foods/restaurants from high school or college?