Party playlists are difficult. Sometimes you pick that song that makes the girls stop, stare in wonder, scream a bit and then dance wildly while belting out the lyrics. At other times, everyone boos you away from the speakers and asks how you could possibly have chosen that song while frantically scrolling through the iPod for one they think people will actually enjoy. I’ve been there. It’s rough. Sometimes I would love to have a 5-minute dance party by myself and then return to reality.
Now, you’re probably wondering how this experience pertains to food. While I wouldn’t say that I generally get booed out of decisions regarding restaurants or dining parties, I do sometimes find myself toying with the prospect of eating alone, off campus and away from the confines of a small college like Amherst, in the same way that I sometimes wish I could escape into my own bubble of personally-chosen music at parties. Don’t get me wrong, I love Amherst, but there are times…
This Friday would fall into that category, so I got away. I left Amherst and visited Cushman Market and Café. If you have ever used Delivery Express, then you have probably noticed Cushman Market and Café on the list, and you have probably skipped over it because you have never heard of it. However, Cushman is not too far away, just near Puffer’s Pond, and it always seems to be bustling with locals.
The market portion offers a selection of wine, beer, snacks and silly trinkets, while the café serves breakfast until 11 a.m. and lunch until 3 p.m. On Sundays, the kitchen serves brunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with specials like the Hefty, which is two blueberry pancakes, two eggs and two slices of bacon.
This past Friday morning, I parked behind Cushman, scooted through the rain and rushed into the bustling café by way of the back door. I maneuvered past the various tables that lined the walls and peppered the interior and made my way to the counter, where I spent the next few minutes struggling to choose my breakfast. The breakfast menu includes such entrees as the Morning Glory ($6.77), a breakfast classic consisting of local Sidehill Farm yogurt, homemade granola and fresh fruit; the Mariner ($8.27), a bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese, lettuce, onion and tomato; and the Jolly Rabbit ($8.27), an omelette containing goat cheese, spinach and roasted red peppers, all accompanied by rosemary roasted potatoes and multigrain toast with jam.
Cushman also has a menu entitled “Egg on a Roll,” meaning they serve delectable breakfast sandwiches all day! (Or until the kitchen closes at 3 p.m.). None of these sandwiches exceeds $5.25 and all are sure to satisfy your taste buds and stomach. Two of my favorites are the Boss ($5.25), an egg with avocado, bacon and cheddar, and the Top Dog ($5.25), an egg with caramelized onions, tomato, cheddar and bacon. However, if I find myself in a minimalist mood, I can always resort to the one egg on a roll ($2.50) or one egg with cheese ($2.99). The final decision arrives in the choice of bread. I usually pick multigrain, although Cushman also offers white, whole wheat and gluten-free. Speaking of dietary restrictions, I hate to say that I have not seen many options for vegans, but I think that vegetarians could survive quite contentedly at Cushman.
Finally, I arrived at decision, stepped up to the counter and ordered the Hurdy Gurdy ($8.27), an omelet filled with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and Gruyere and served with rosemary roasted potatoes and multigrain toast. I will admit that I also ordered a Maple Speckled Hen, otherwise known as steamed milk with a shot of maple syrup—what could be tastier? And, if you find yourself to be a beverage lover, then you are sure to love Cushman for the various coffee concoctions, smoothies and teas, as well as Italian sodas.
Toting my second beverage, the classic college student’s large coffee, I turned from the counter to face the main room. Along the back wall, I spotted two free tables among those occupied by grown ups busily typing on laptops plugged into the convenient extension cords provided. I plopped down at a table, nudged my hat a bit lower, pulled out my readings and learned about the beginnings of American foreign relations as I listened to the low, happy jazz playing in the background. Soon enough, I heard someone call “Ellie!” and looked up to see the woman who had taken my order walking my way with my Hurdy Gurdy.
I almost burnt my tongue on the steaming omelette, but caught myself. I enjoyed piling the toast with the fluffy eggs, savory mushrooms, slightly sweet onions and tangy, melted Gruyere, but I now know I’m partial to Cushman’s breakfast sandwiches, particularly when I realize that there is no way I could finish the Hurdy Gurdy by myself.
At the end of the meal, I can conclude that Cushman is a great spot for any size of party and a good choice when I want to get away from campus but not as far as Northampton. Furthermore, I love the local feel of Cushman as everyone seems to know one another and the atmosphere becomes that of a friendly community of supportive people. I consider Cushman to be my go to for awesome breakfast sandwiches and a great atmosphere.