Friday, May 30, 2008
So I was planning to head over there tonight (Saturday) for an official first look. And then, I was out and about this afternoon. I made a stop at a local establishment where I heard from an employee who went to Epping last night. Apparently this place was so busy that they ran out of food at 7 p.m. and had a line out the door. Wozers. I called my friend Jason, aka Mr. New Hampshire, for a report. Turns out he and his family went there last night at 4:30 for an early dinner. It was packed. They didn't get their food forever. Then half of it came. It was a mad house. I'd say this place didn't anticipate the interest or crowds. Epping's like a destination now since the LaBarre trial started. People are all going to be stopping to see the place where it all began...the EppiCenter. Oh wait, there really is a plaza called that now..
And so I ventured somewhere else tonight, deciding to let them get settled first. Stay tuned for a review of the other place..
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Today, crews were called to Bell Avenue for a fire on the outside of someone's garage. I'm still waiting for details on that one.
And here at my house, we are starting a charcoal fire to grill up some steaks for a little holiday weekend dinner with friends. I am still working on that dried porcini mushroom rub made famous at Zampa. I think I've gotten it down pat. Stay tuned.
Friday, May 23, 2008
She also carried cheeses from Maplebrook Farm in Vermont as well as creme fraiche and mascarpone cheese from Vermont Butter and Cheese.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I am still trying to find out what happened to Tumble Tots in Stratham. There is now a sign advertising a new place called Sproutabout. I went to their web site http://www.sproutaboutnh.com/ for more info (as directed by the sign) only to find no more info.
I have now filled out the online question form in hopes of finding out what this place is. Stay tuned
UPDATE: Here is the information on the place from the owner: Sproutabout will be a children's place play with an area for parents to lounge with internet access, coffee, etc. We will have a grand opening in early September as the space is undergoing renovations. Stay tuned - our web site will be updated with more information soon.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
May 18, 2008 6:00 AM
"How Do You Milk A Moose Anyway?"
Lara Bricker, in her published collection of columns wryly titled "How Do You Milk A Moose Anyway?" writes this: "But as I got my feet wet as a town reporter, I soon found I always had a good localized angle whenever there was a national disaster or bizarre news story. (Or so I have told every new reporter or intern who is assigned to cover Exeter.) That's pretty amazing for a town with a population of only about 15,000. It's like the Kevin Bacon six degrees of separation theory, only usually one or two degrees involved."
Bricker hits on something important about living and writing in New Hampshire and it is that New Hampshire (not only Exeter) seems to have a connection to just about everything. And, with her apparently ever-present reporter's notebook, Bricker roams the state, a cheerful archaeologist, digging into one esoteric and crazy event after another. She manages to unearth something interesting, funny, or both, everywhere she goes.
New Hampshire is a bountiful state, and if you want to get to know how colorful, interesting and, yes, well, idiosyncratic this place is, then this book is for you. "How Do You Milk A Moose Anyway" is also an apt title. Bricker will hear a strange item — such as the fact that someone, somewhere, is making gourmet cheese out of moose milk — and rather than react the way most of us would, which would be to say "Hmmm, isn't that interesting" and then move on, Bricker actually goes out and investigates.
A good reporter has catlike curiosity — some of what you poke your head into can get you into trouble — but what makes a great reporter is the ability to write about what they've learned and bring the reader right to it. That's Lara Bricker. The events don't have to be momentous.
Take the incident when Bricker decides she will prepare a meal in a column called "Cooking For the In-Laws.' She decides to make some shrimp scampi for her husband, Ken, and add a flourish to the dish by lighting a dash of brandy on fire. But Ken didn't have any brandy.
"I have some Southern Comfort, he told me. Will that work? I thought about it and while not totally convinced it would work, I didn't want him to lose out of the impressive finale to my shrimp preparation. And so I poured a little Southern Comfort in and touched it off with a flame. Whoosh. My husband, who is a firefighter, would call what happened a 'flashover.'"
This is great stuff, and not just because Bricker, like any first-rate essayist, brings her own foibles and mishaps right into the open, but also because the writing is compact and clever; she doesn't waste a word and her timing is impeccable. Mr. Strunk and Mr. White would be proud. Bricker takes us on a tour of wine-making at Flag Hill Winery, she becomes a member of the crew of the gundalow Capt. Edward Adams, she chronicles the events and emotions leading up to her own wedding ("I ordered the soundtrack to 'My Best Friend's Wedding' and drove around singing to it for weeks."), explores the experience of shopping in a modern-day grocery store and, yes, she lets us know how one can milk a moose.
The final essay in "How Do You Milk A Moose" is called "I'm Looking For Nookie." Nookie, it seems, is the name of a cat she has adopted while in college. Bricker takes Nookie to visit her sorority house and during the visit Nookie gets lost. Bricker paints a picture of 20 sorority sisters walking through fraternity row (she calls it "testosterone alley) while yelling "NOOKIE, NOOKIE NOOKIE." The frat brothers emerged from their houses all too willing to oblige, but it had nothing to do with finding the cat.
Eventually Nookie is found after having spent the week near the frat houses, and this is how Bricker describes Nookie's reappearance: "He smelled like old beer and chicken wings and seemed to have a newfound strut to his walk. He was looking for a cigarette." This is, as is almost all of "How Do You Milk A Moose Anyway?", terrific, comic, observational writing. It's a sparkling little book, and it is a pleasure to recommend it here.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
May 09, 2008 6:00 AM
We have rats. They've set up shop in the barn with our three old lady horses. I had a suspicion that something was living in the barn because of the little holes in the corner of the horse stalls. I of course tried to tell myself it was nothing. You know, denial. Nice try.
And then one day while cleaning out one of the horse's water buckets, two dead rats came sailing out of the water. I jumped about three feet in the air, screamed as if I was being attacked, and ran back to look at them. There they were, two drowned brown rats. Apparently they weren't water rats, or muskrats, able to survive when they made the plunge into the indoor pool. They had forgotten to take their life jackets.
After this day, I saw rats everywhere — rats, rats, rats. I found myself tip-toeing into the barn, sneaking up on the rats, who squeaked and scurried off into one of the many tunnels they'd burrowed in the barn. And so, I filled in their little holes, thinking perhaps they'd get the hint that the Hotel De Horse was closed.
The next day, the holes would be bigger. And so would the rats. They were like mutants they became so large. CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE COLUMN
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
May 13, 2008 6:00 AM
EXETER — Pimento's, a new casual gourmet style restaurant, should open for business on Water Street later this month.
The restaurant, which is located in the building that formerly housed Vincent's Restaurant and Sal and Anthony's, is the first business venture of Ken Linn and Rob Miller. Linn and Miller met when they both worked at Widow Fletcher's Tavern in Hampton where Miller was chef and Linn was a bartender.
"Rob and I both have a lot of restaurant experience," said Linn, a Greenland resident, who has worked in sales for the past few years but always wanted to own his own restaurant.
A Keene native, who attended the University of New Hampshire, Linn felt the time was right to start his own business. His fiancé is originally from Exeter and he felt the town could benefit from another dining option.
"We're very happy that we found a place in Exeter," he said. "This was my first choice for towns to open a restaurant in. I love the downtown. It's lively. You always see people walking around."
Linn and Miller loved the location of the building, which they rented through Peter Taylor, of Spoerl and Strathern Real Estate. "We loved the inside, we love the atmosphere," Linn said. "We love the view the downstairs has of the river."
The downstairs of the restaurant will serve as a more casual lounge with smaller sized portions and pub fare, while the upstairs of the building will operate as a more formal dining area.
Miller, who has worked at The Library Restaurant and Victory 96 State Street, both in Portsmouth, and the York (Maine) Harbor Inn, said the menu is an American style with an emphasis on fresh ingredients.
He was trained in French cuisine and some entrees will reflect that style of food.
The menu includes selections such as grilled halibut with roasted fennel and a basil oil, grilled Angus beef with a Pinot noir demi-glace and lobster and potato gnocchi. He plans to update the menu four times a year as the seasons change.
Miller aims to bring the atmosphere of a restaurant in Portsmouth or a larger city to downtown Exeter in a casual, fine dining setting. The downstairs lounge will include specialty martinis, carefully selected wines and an array of bottled beers.
"We have done a lot of work inside to make it comfortable," Linn said.
The bar was redone with a marble top and the two have added several flat screen televisions in the bar for patrons who want to keep an eye on the Red Sox, Patriots or other game.
Linn's fiancé suggested the name Pimentos, which can represent an addition to a cocktail or an entree. The restaurant's interior was painted in a rich olive green and red color to go along with the name.
The two men are looking forward to opening in the next few weeks and getting to know the community.
"We're really excited and we're hoping to get as many people in here as possible and have them come back for more," Miller said. "Our goal is to make everybody happy with great food, great service and a great atmosphere."
Monday, May 12, 2008
So on my travels to Stratham this weekend, I saw the sign for the grand opening for a new wine and cheese shop called Cornucopia. I will check it out this week but it appears to be affiliated with the floral shop in the same place.
Has anyone been yet? Reviews?
The shop needs people to help get the store ready for their opening day on June 2 through jobs such as sorting and pricing items, as well as organizing merchandise, according to Lisa Pearson, one of four women behind the new shop. The shop, which will donate their proceeds to a different area charity every month, has already received a number of donations. These donations have helped the store make strides toward their goal and organizers would like to thank everyone who has helped out so far.
The store is located at 96 Epping Road, across from the Adagio Dance Academy. The organizers are working with local schools, Woman Infants and Children (WIC), churches and other organizations to help as many people in need as they can. The store will have wheelchair and stroller access.
Anyone interested in volunteering to help set up at the store should contact Lisa Pearson at 686-5313
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
EXETER — There is no phone in Joe Fortier’s barber shop. You won’t find an electric razor either. Or the latest line of ocean mist shaving creams, hair gels or a fancy sink to shampoo his client’s hair.
The shop fills a tiny one-room area upstairs at 11 Water Street across from the Women Supporting Women Center. There is an enormous red barber chair that he has had since 1953, a leather strap to sharpen his straight razor, a manual cash register, a black and white television and small microwave.
And there is history—of the town, of the shop and of the days when Exeter had 11 barbershops, not four.
Fortier’s forte is a basic, old-fashioned $7 haircut. He has mastered the craft and after 50 years of cutting men’s hair in Exeter has a devoted clientele. Some have been going to Fortier’s shop since he opened, others for 30 to 40 years. They are no longer just clients, they are friends.
“It’s just an old fashioned barber shop the type of shop I went to as a kid and my father went to,” said Exeter resident Steve Dockery who has been going to Joe’s shop for 19 years.
When he hung up his barber pole outside 4 Center Street back in October of 1953, Joe was the youngest barber in town. Now, at age 74, he is the oldest of the four remaining barbers in Exeter.
“We’re an endangered species,” Joe said.
Joe’s first shop was a 4 Center Street, where his first client was his grandfather Albert Denoncour. He moved from Center Street in 1960 to 20 Front Street, where he stayed for 10 years. He moved from Front Street when the Indian Head Bank came in to 163 Water St., above the former Stone’s Store. He stayed above Stone’s from 1970 to 1982 when he moved to his current home upstairs from the former Batchelder’s office store.
A large picture frame in Joe’s shop has photos of each of his shops, a dollar bill from the first sale and the name of his first customer. He doesn’t expect to move again.
Over the years, he has seen the downtown change and the old barbershops lose their popularity. He blames the Beatles for the decline in barbers.
“The Beatles came in and they got the long shape and everyone boycotted us,” he said. “That was always a constant battle with the kids.”
Joe, whose given name is Arthur, (although he’s always gone by Joe), is from an era in downtown that saw markets like Hmies—where locals went for fresh cut beef—and Ken Haley’s television shop where most people paid for a new television on credit, with no contract. They didn’t need one because Haley knew everyone in town.
Fortier offers his clients today exactly what he did when he first started up shop in Exeter: just a regular haircut, an ear to listen to their problems and the occasional barbershop humor—he hasn’t cut off an ear yet.
While it wasn’t so hard to find a regular hair cut then, it is becoming more and more scarce these days, according to Rudolph Bohne of Greenland. He drove around for several weeks looking for a regular barber. He doesn’t like barbers in Portsmouth because he always gets a parking ticket. And he really doesn’t like the new unisex salons.
“They usually have an agenda, they want to give you a shampoo first and I don’t really care for that,” Bohne said. “I just want a plain old haircut and he knows how to give a good GI (general issue) cut.”
Joe learned his craft in the Navy where he served for four years on the USS Roanoake as a barber for the crew during the Korean War. The senior barbers taught the younger shearers like Joe, who said his strategy was simple: cut the men’s hair like they asked.
“I had to live on board with them, I couldn’t have them hate me,” he said. “We shot the breeze all day long, it was just a social place.”
Even those getting a haircut were not excused from their shipboard duties. It was a common occurrence for men to hop out of the barber’s chair when they were called to their battle stations.
“There’d be about four to five guys on that ship with about a half a haircut,” Joe said. “You just had to get up as quick as you could.” The components of a haircut when Fortier started his craft were standard fare but now are a dying art form—the straight razor, the ear trim and even the eyebrow trim.
“I think I’m the last one in town who still does it, that’s a lost art really,” Joe said of the straight razor. “You just have to know how to handle it.”
When asked about the ear and brow trims one afternoon as he snipped loose hairs from Exeter resident Don Story’s ears, Joe’s rationale was simple.
“If he goes home and his wife sees hair in his ears, she’s going to say, ‘Why didn’t he cut the ears,’” Joe said.
“How’d you know that Joe,” Story asked.
“I know women,” Joe responded with a smile.
He has been married to his wife Olga for 48 years. They met at a dance in Newburyport.
“I said, “I think I’ll go and ask that girl to dance and she accepted,” he recalled. “She was blonde and pretty. Everyone went dancing. You used to look forward to Saturday night to go dancing. It used to be a good social thing.”
And for some, including Joe, going to the barber shop can be a good social thing.
“I’m having a good time. They aren’t customers, they’re just old friends,” he said of many of his customers who have been getting their hair cut by him for 40 years. “They tell me what’s going on.”
Dockery thinks of his haircuts as a form of therapy.
“Joe is not just a barber, he’s a friend, That’s what makes him like a therapist. You’re in the chair for a half an hour. You talk about everything from sports to personal issues to life in general,” Dockery said. “He knows everything that’s going on in this town.”
But while Joe knows all, he is mum on his knowledge, even to his wife. Sometimes his wife will ask him why he didn’t tell her about something when she finds out elsewhere.
“When it’s told to me it’s told in confidence and it goes no further, unless it’s humorous,” he said.
One small framed note next to Joe’s shop mirror stems from one of his humorous stories, which he will share.
The note says: “Joe, you have my permission to cut Charlie’s hair any way he wants, Andrea.”
Charlie, who was Charlie Deardorff, a Russian professor at Phillips Exeter Academy, kept asking Joe to cut his hair shorter and shorter each visit. Joe told Charlie his wife wasn’t going to like the cut. After several months of the back and forth between the two, Deardorff showed up with the note for Joe.
“He thought he was a big deal when he gave me that note so I went out and bought a frame and framed it,” Joe said.
He is also willing to give guests the history of the items in his shop including the mounted fish above his mirror that he caught in Kingston and his old silver soap machine. The machine makes a low hum when Joe pushes down on the top to make soap.
“This thing is an antique. I got that in ‘53 and it still works as good as the day I got it. Some day it’s going to go up in a pouf of smoke,” he said. “Three’s no sense in buying another one if it works.”
And for Joe’s clients, there’s no sense in finding another barber as long as he still works.
“I’ve tried the other barbers in town,” Dockery said, referring to a time when Joe broke his wrist and couldn’t work. “I told him he can’t shut his doors.”
From the site:
“Where your quest for great food ends”
The old St. Joseph’s Church was built in 1895-1896 by William J. O’Connor and was established as a Parish in 1898. In simpler times long past, this new structure served the local residents as a gathering place to worship, to meet people, listen to music and socialize among friends and family.
Today, 112 years later, the same basic structure has been reborn into one of the Seacoasts Premiere restaurants by the Kennedy family. The Holy Grail Food & Spirits will strive to be a pub in the truest sense of the word. They have combined present day ideas while preserving the same family values of their past Irish heritage. David’s family roots originate from County Tipperary, and Maureen’s family from County Galway Ireland. The “Cottage Room” resembles the home of Maureen’s grandparents on Joyce Mountain located down the road from James Joyce, the famous Irish author and poet. The “Choir Loft” area will serve as an intimate dining experience overlooking the Main Bar and Irish village mural displayed high on the Altar wall. Pew-like booths line the walls with exceptional views of the original Stain-glass windows. Authentic Irish/English cuisine will enhance the guests overall dining experience. We would like to thank you for joining our family for a hearty meal, a refreshing beverage and interesting conversation. Hopefully, you will return often and become part of our new family.
Check it out:
By Kate Burrows
Wednesday, 15 November 2006
Gandolfo's New York Deli says it offers an extensive menu and a friendly atmosphere that can't be found in just any sandwich shop.
Although Gandolfo's New York Deli's sandwiches have been voted Best of Utah by The Salt Lake Tribune nine out of the last 10 years, its atmosphere is what truly sets the chain apart from its competitors, says President Dan Pool. "This is a place where [customers] can go to hang out and spend time with people," he says. "It's a lot like a Cheers-style atmosphere, where we know everybody, and we try to make sure everybody knows us." The Lawrenceville, Ga.-based company offers an authentic New York deli atmosphere that was designed by former New Yorker and franchise founder Craig Gandolph. After moving to Utah and opening his first deli in 1989, Gandolph "started becoming homesick," Pool says. "So he gave all the sandwiches names that come from some of the best places in New York. People just loved it, because it was such a different concept from what was available in the state at the time. People found it interesting to have a true New York deli in Utah." The deli's inspiration and authenticity stems from Gandolph's great-grandfather Thomas Anthony Gandolfo, who operated a meat and vegetable stand in Genoa, Italy, in the late-1800s. Although the family name became Americanized, future generations followed in Gandolfo's footsteps and found success in restaurant management. Specialty SandwichesPool says the deli has few competitors in its markets. The company has 60 locations in 16 states, and the deli-style atmosphere is unique to sandwich shops around the country. "We feel like there aren't any other restaurants that can compete with what we offer," he says. "People can go into many shops and get a sandwich and chips, but they can come into Gandolfo's and get their sandwich on fresh marble rye or sourdough. Customers can get chips here, too, but they can also get pasta salads and fresh green salads -side dishes that most places don't offer. We also do breakfast and make homemade flavored cream cheese."
To see more: http://www.fooddrink-magazine.com/content/view/347/
and at http://gandolfosdeli.com/index.php
Monday, May 5, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
In the interim, here's an interesting email that crossed my inbox this morning from Lamie's Inn and the Old Salt in Hampton:
With the price of regular gasoline at nearly $4.00 per gallon, we are offering our Inn guests a $20.00 gas rebate...
Beginning May 4th until the end of the month, we will be providing $20.00 gas cards to those who make reservations for the month of May with a weekday arrival date (Sunday-Thursday). There are no minimum stay requirements. www.lamiesinn.com
In other news, I heard that some new aspiring restaurant operators are leasing the old Vincents/Sal and Anthony's. The awning went up this week "Pimentos" it says. Hmm.. Not sure what it will be, so stay tuned.
And in Epping, I hear good things about the soon to open Holy Grail, which is in an old church off Main Street. A source, who happens to be waitressing there, says that they have an awesome looking bar and will be open very soon. The place is run by Dave Kennedy, who used to teach at Exeter High School, and his wife.