Friday, May 30, 2008

Holy Grail Found in Epping

Epping is really changing with more businesses and restaurants coming to town all the time. The latest restaurant and pub in town--The Holy Grail--is already bustling with thirsty patrons. I ran into a friend that is waitressing at this place the other day and she says they are slammed with customers already. I took a spin through their parking lot this morning while on a trip to Lowe's in Epping and the outside still looks very much like a quiet little church. I hear the inside is really nice with a gigantic bar. I plan to make a trip soon. Check them out at
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

New Restaurant is Open

I see a big banner on front of the new Pimento's downtown advertising the fact that they are officially open. I may head down to check the place out tonight. Stay tuned.

New Taxi Service in Town

Academy Taxi has started up service this week out of Graham's Tire and Auto on Portsmouth Avenue. Word is they're averaging about two rides a day now, but I'm sure when news gets out that they are in operation that will change.
Rates? $3.50 base rate to get in the cab and then it's 35 cents for each eighth of a mile after that. Need a lift--658-TAXI

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day in Exeter

Willie and Gram took in the Memorial Day Parade Monday morning in front of the town offices. The weather guy claimed today was going to be partly cloudy and cooler than yesterday, which was not the case.
Summer has officially arrived--about time!
We took a little walk over to Me and Ollie's but the line was out the door. There was no way Willie was waiting that long. But I did spy new couches inside Me and Ollie's along the front windows. Seems they're going for a more lounge lizard look. Sounds good to me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fire, Fire,

Fires seems to go in cycles. There will be months with no fire calls and then several right in a row. That was the case this weekend. Friday night saw firefighters responding to the Lindenshire Mobile Home Park off Linden Street for a fire in the woods behind the park. They were on scene for several hours so the fire definitely had a good hold. There was also a call for police to respond to Newfields Road for a report of a wounded owl.. Ironic since I've been trying to lure an owl to my barn for the all you can eat rat buffet. I can only hope the poor owl was on his way here when he courted disaster.
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

Wine Tasting Tonight

So I finally stopped in to Cornucopia Wine and Cheese in Stratham (in the Domino's Plaza on top of the hill) the other day. The owner Kathy Campbell, a former teacher in Brentwood, is extremely enthusiastic about cheese. She worked her way through college by working in a cheese shop on Long Island and opening her own shop has always been a dream of hers.

Tonight from 4 to 7 p.m. there is a wine tasting at the shop. She plans to do this every Friday. (Hey hubby, I think I have to run a quick errand...)

She offers a selection of locally produced and imported cheeses in the shop which aims to stock cheeses that are not available elsewhere. For example, she points out that most of the brie sold in grocery stores is not authentic brie, which must be produced in the Brie region of France. Campbell carries Brie de Meaux, which is imported from that region. "As it ages, it becomes stronger in flavor and more robust," she said of the cheese.

The Capri Classic Blue, made in Massachusetts, is a goat cheese that is covered in a blue cheese, while a Bufalus Mozzarella is imported from Italy. "It’s exquisite," she said of the mozzarella. "It’s smooth and velvety and practically melts in your mouth."
She also carried cheeses from Maplebrook Farm in Vermont as well as creme fraiche and mascarpone cheese from Vermont Butter and Cheese.

And there are about 30 specialty wines that you won't find at the local state liquor store. Lucky for me, she had my favorite--Urban Reisling, also known as the wine that smells like a wet stone after a rain storm!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Truffle Plays Downtown Tonight

I'm from Vermont so of course a fan of Magic Hat beer. And tonight, there is a Magic Hat promo night ( from 6 to 8 p.m.) at the Tavern at River's Edge, complete with a live performance from Truffle at 9 p.m.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

No More Finger Lickin' Goodness

The Kentucky Fried Chicken on Portsmouth Avenue has closed up shop. Darn, just when I thought a bowl of grease, salt, mashed potatoes and cheese sounded appealing. I hear that Starbuck's is moving in.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Books and Music

How cool is this? Live music during the afternoon at Water Street Bookstore. The store has a brand new renovated look, complete with couches to chill out and now they are hosting a group of live musicians on a regular basis.
Exeter resident Dick Kruppa is one of the members of the acoustic guitar trio Sylvan Roots that will be at the bookstore this Wednesday, May 21 at 4:30 p.m. and next Wednesday, May 28 at the same time.
From the group's myspace page are details on the group:

The birth of Sylvan Roots was spawned as three guitarists that enjoy acoustic music met and began playing together. The style of each member of the band is varied and comes from a long performance and listening tradition. Our music is driven by traditional folk, acoustic rock, protest-era songs of the 50’s and 60’s and also includes more contemporary sounds. The focus of Sylvan Roots’ music is the song. Some of our work is original but most of the music we do includes well-known and more obscure roots music of the folk and blues tradition, and includes influences as wide as Bill Staines, Woody Guthrie, Louis Armstrong, Nanci Griffith, and Tom Paxton. Sylvan Roots is comprised of Neal Zweig, guitarist (accompaniment and solo work); Dick Kruppa, vocals, guitar, banjo, & percussion; and Bob Moore, vocals and guitar. In addition to original work our musical influences stem from: World & American traditional, Jean Ritchie, Si Kahn, John Melencamp, Steve Goodman, Bill Staines, Stephen Foster, Woodie Guthrie, Sally Rogers, Tom Paxton, Ian Tyson, Malis & Artis, Hays & Sandburg, Wilkin & Gill, Gordon Lightfoot, Huddie Ledbetter, and others.


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 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

New Breakfast Joint

So I confess, I kind of stopped going to the Trackside Cafe about, oh, eight years ago. But I hear that the new operators have cleaned it up, spruced it up, and are turning over a new leaf. Anyone been yet?

A Sign of the Times

I don't know who does the signs at Arjay's but they are always the best, either short and funny. Or in this case, funny and topical.
Sorry Arjay's but my check is going to the boat...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My First Book Review

By Lars Trodson
May 18, 2008 6:00 AM
"How Do You Milk A Moose Anyway?"
Lara Bricker
VBW Publishing
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

Can't Get Enough of Zampa?

We had a wonderful and relaxing dinner at Zampa in Epping Friday night. For those who have never been, this is truly a hidden jem in the area for both amazing food and atmosphere. These are the people who brought aioli to Epping!
I have been addicted to their porcini mushroom dusted rib eye for some time. I branched out last night because they've just changed their menu for the spring, with the Creole Barbeque Shrimp bowl, a flavorful and spicy bowl packed full of shrimp with tomatoes, onions, garlic and kick.
News from Cory McPhee, who owns the restaurant with wife/chef Julie DiTursi, is that a selection of prepared entrees from Zampa (and possibly that addictive porcini mushroom rub) will be sold starting next week at Calef's Country Store just off Route 125 in Barrington. Yummy!

Fire on Gill Street

A Gill Street family is temporarily homeless after a fire broke out early Saturday morning at about 6 a.m. Sounds like there was a good amount of damage. Stay tuned for more details.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Today's Column--Rats

By Lara Bricker
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.
Fat chance.
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

Book Talk Tonight

I'm speaking at the Wiggin Memorial Library in Stratham at 6:30 tonight about the moose book. Come one, come all.

Dunkin Donuts Is Giving Free Coffee Today

Hopefully the local Dunkin Donuts next to the Hospital is participating in this. And if so, I hope they're not doing more work on their drive through.. I am still of course a bit unsure about why Dunkin Donuts in Exeter needs a new granite counter top, but I digress. They have free coffee today.
I thought this was a hoax but checked the official Dunkin Donuts web site and press releases and turns out it's true. I love a free deal.
Here's the scoop:
Stop by your local Dunkin' Donuts on Thursday May 15, 2008 from 10am until 10pm and receive a FREE small (16 oz.) sized Iced Coffee*.You will have the option of trying one of our 9 flavors (French Vanilla, Toasted Almond, Raspberry, Hazelnut, Coconut, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Caramel, and Blueberry) or create your own flavor by combining 2-3 flavors.*At participating Dunkin' Donuts shops only. Thursday, May 15, 2008 from 10am-10pm. Cannot be combined with any other offer. One free small 16 oz. Iced Coffee per person, per visit

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Open For Business

I see they opened for business today at this place next to Walgreen's. Anyone been?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Today's Story

By Lara Bricker
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

Another Exeter Blogger Joins the Ranks

Local writer James Buchanan has started a blog.
Check it out at:

Get Your Wine and Cheese

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?

Volunteers Needed for New Thrift Shop

Wonderland Thrift Shop, a new non-profit shop on Epping Road, is looking for volunteers in several areas.
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

Buzz is Building on New Exeter Inn Bar/Restaurant

I had a big social weekend for myself and at all locations--the Townlyne Grille, the Tavern downtown and a house party--the buzz was the soon-to-open newly renovated Exeter Inn. I've been in town for 10 years and although I stopped in a few times at the Exeter Inn's bar, it was a sparse crowd. A few old guys that were propped up on the bar. Or guests from out of town.

Longtime locals are telling me that the bar used to be the place to hang out in town and that it was always packed. I heard from a local real estate agent who had a tour of the renovations recently and he says the new bar is three times the size of the old one. And it's right inside the front door. Sounds interesting.
And the web site with a sample menu is now up online.
Check it out at:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tumble Tots Closed?

So I went to take Willie to open gym at Tumble Tots in Stratham this morning and the place was dark and closed up tight. No sign on the door. Nothing. I looked inside and it appears the equipment is all gone. There was nothing inside. Anyone know what happened? Are they gone for good? I hope not..

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I had a chance to speak with the two men behind the soon-to-open restaurant Pimentos this morning. They hope to open within the next 2 to 3 weeks and will have an upscale/gourmet type menu upstairs and a small plate/pub fare menu downstairs in the bar area. The chef Robert used to work as the chef at Widow Fletcher's in Hampton while the other guy Ken (who's been in sales for a few years) was a former bartender in Hampton.
I'm excited to check the place out when they open officially.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Farewell to Joe the Barber

I was down at the Tavern the other night when Alex Booth (the mayor of High Street) told me that Joe the Barber had passed away. I had the opportunity to interview Joe a few years back. There was a detail that I did not put in my story because he was modest and didn't want people to know, but I think it's worthy of passing on now. He often made house calls to his elderly clients who could no longer get to his shop on Water Street.

Here's the story I did back then:

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.

"This is the land stand or I’d have to buy a bigger frame,” he said.
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.”

The Holy Grail Set to Open Soon

I'm getting pretty excited about the new Irish restaurant/pub that is set to open any time now in Epping. They now have a web site with menu and info.
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:

The Scoop on the New Deli Next to Walgreens

From Food and Drink Magazine:
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."
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Monday, May 5, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys

Uncle Wally snapped these photos of Willie the tractor driver this afternoon. I fear we have created a monster as he already knows how to raise and lower the bucket and turn the wheel...

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Book Tour Goes On The Road

I'm taking the show on the road Sunday as I head toward the Upper Valley area where I grew up. Here's the details:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Gas Prices, Pimentos and The Holy Grail

I've been in a bit of a writing funk lately, so apologize for not putting any new posts up this month.. I'm working on getting back in the swing of things.
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.

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.