June 1, 2006

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Taste of Downtown Nashua 2006
How to hit 29 restaurants in one night
By Susan Reilly  news@hippopress.com

Held on the first Wednesday each June, Taste of Downtown Nashua has become a not-to-miss event for foodies across southern New Hampshire.

The event combines the culinary skills of some of the area’s best restaurants and local retailers. And this year, there will be lots of new faces.

Pepino’s and Patisserie Bleu have new owners. New restaurants include Black Orchid Grille, Mezza, Olive n’ Herb, Seven Hills, Jasmine Palace, Seedling Cafe and Riverwalk Cakery. New chefs on Main Street include Matt Provencher at Surf and Michael Dussualt at Manhattan on Pearl.

“I think this will be the best-ever Taste. We have a record number of restaurants, 29,” said Sarah DiSano, executive director of Great American Downtown. This is the 12th year for Taste of Downtown Nashua, and all of the proceeds from ticket sales go back into downtown revitalization programs such as promotional materials and events like the annual Holiday Stroll.

The way the event works is simple. Restaurants set up in Main Street shops (as well as one on Temple and a few on West Pearl) and ticket-holders stroll from shop to shop sampling food and drink.

“Taste of Nashua is so much fun,” said Judy Dionne, owner of Bippity Boppity Baby at 86 Main Street.

“People get so caught up in the excitement. And year after year, I see that participating in the event is good for business because people always come back to the store afterwards,” she said. Bippity Boppity Baby will be hosting The Peddler’s Daughter this year.

Black Thorne Antiques, 98 Main Street, will be hosting San Francisco Kitchen.

“This is our fourth year participating in Taste of Nashua,” said Siobhan Buxton of Black Thorne Antiques. “And every year we get people who come into the shop because of Taste of Nashua that did not even know we were here.”

“We see a lot of new business and increased traffic from the event, and that is just fantastic,” she said.

Be warned that in the past, tickets to Taste of Nashua have sold out. This year, tickets are limited to 800.
Also new this year, Budweiser will be hosting a “Get Fresh” parade before Taste of Nashua begins. The parade will be led by the famous Clydesdales, which will be delivering day-fresh beer to participating bars and restaurants.

What’s on the menu
Here’s a look at what the participating eateries will be serving
• Black Orchid Grille (8 Temple St.; served at Cardin Jewelers, 125 Main St.) This Tuscan-American urban bistro will be serving seafood Napoleon, a tasty morsel layered with shrimp, cheese, proscuito and Mediterranean vegetables. This is the first time for owners Constantine Brianas and Tim Gilday.
“We are thrilled to participate, really looking forward to it. It will be nice to introduce ourselves to people who may have only heard of us,” Brianas said.
• Brazilian BBQ (247 Main St.; served at Biliancia Gallery, 85 W. Pearl St.) This is the former Beira Rios, new owners took over at the end of May. Manager Jiovanni Santos said they are still finalizing the menu for the Taste but it will likely involve some of the 18 types of meats that they cook on the grill.
“We are really looking forward to it, we want to introduce ourselves to people,” he said.
• Chicken n’ Chips (12 Hollis St; served at Bank of America, 157 Main St.) The always popular Chick Stix are on the menu along with chicken chili and smoked ribs. Owner Ken Ngoon cooks the ribs in a smoker, rather than using artificial smoke flavor favored by a lot of fast food places.
“We got a big response from participating in the event last year and are really looking forward to it this year,” said Ngoon.
• Crosby Bakery (52 E. Pearl St., served at 233 Main St.) In business for almost 60 years, owners Michael and Gail Cummings have been participating in Taste of Nashua since the beginning. This year they will serve a pastry made with strawberries and rhubarb and their popular mini eclairs.
“Taste of Nashua is a lot of fun, it is a great event,” said Gail Cummings.
• Del Vaudo’s (112 W. Pearl St; served at TD Bank North, 191 Main St.) Grandma’s meatballs made from a secret family recipe will be featured, along with other goodies from his pastry chef, said owner Jim Naugler.
• Fody’s Great American Tavern (9 Clinton St.; served at Hamblett & Kerrigan, 146 Main St.) First-timer chef Will Foden from Library Hill will be serving vittello tonnato, a chilled, braised veal and arugula salad.
“It is a classical Italian dish, great for this event,” he said.
• Jackie’s Diner (168 Main St.; served at Hamblett & Kerrigan, 146 Main St.) Owner Carol Montminy is thrilled to be serving gorton, a Canadian pork spread served on crackers, homemade coffee cake, baked beans and spinach, cheese and bacon soup.
“Everything we make here is from scratch, and for the event, I like to serve some of our most popular items,” Montminy said.
• Jasmine Palace (116 W. Pearl; served at Flegal Law Office, 159 Main St.) Look for this fine West Pearl Street restaurant to serve a combination of Japanese and Chinese appetizers.
• Manhattan on Pearl (70 E. Pearl St.; served at Designwares, 206 Main St.) Michael Dussault, the chef at this swank martini/tapas bar, will be serving grilled chorizo sausage tinted with a red wine reduction and, for dessert, platinos fritos, fried plantains.
“We are very excited, it is a great event, and a great way for people to try our food and hopefully come into the restaurant,” he said.
• Margarita’s (1 Nashua Drive; served at Bank of America, 157 Main St.) Known for it’s huge cocktails and after-work crowd, Margaritas’ menu for the event is still being worked out. Last year they served baja shrimp and tasty mini quesadillas, said manager Fred Kline.
• Mezza Lebanese Bistro (6 Elm St.; served 98 Main St.) The name means small plates meant to be nibbled at; it is the Lebanese equivalent to tapas, mezze or cichetti. Main Street newcomers Simon Rached and his fiance Mary Wasielewski are working on the menu.
“It will be a surprise, and it is going to be awesome, and we can’t wait,” Wasielewski said.
• Michael Timothy’s Urban Bistro (212 Main St.; served at Pompanoosuc Mills, 186 Main St.) Known for using local, in-season produce, chef Dave Valicenti said they are going wait until closer to the event to create a menu. “The terrible weather has had a huge impact on what is available, so we are going to wait to see what is fresh closer to the date,” he said.
• Nashua Garden (121 Main St.; served at Fortin-Gage, Ltd., 86 W. Pearl St.) The Green Monster, Larry the Legend and the Purple Panther, all served up on a fresh braided roll with beers from local micro breweries.
“We always serve our most popular, oversized sandwiches and samples of great local beers,” said owner Dan Quinn. “Taste of Nashua is a great event; everyone always leaves happy.”
• Norton’s Classic Café (233 Main St.; served at TD Banknorth, 191 Main St.) Whenever it is on the board as a daily special, it sells out. So owner George Norton will be serving his popular chicken marsala.
“Taste of Nashua is such a great event. People who have never been into your restaurant get a chance to check it out,” he said.
• Olive n’ Herb (33 Lowell St.; served at Bank of America, 157 Main St.) Eggplant parmagian has turned out to be this new restaurant’s most popular dish and it is one of three dishes they will be serving at Taste. Owners Red and Pam Fajri opened this Lowell Street eatery six months ago and this is their first event.
“We are really looking forward to it. It is a great way for people to learn that we are here,” Red Fajri said.
• Patisserie Bleu (215 Main St.; served at Citizens Bank, 157 Main St.) New owners Linda Mealey and Deborah Soby will be serving mini pastries, Linzer bars and tuxedo strawberries.
“We are so excited, this is sort of our debut,” Mealey said. The duo bought the café from Jacqui Pressenger, who moved to Florida. Mealey and Soby were apprentices at Patisserie Bleu.
• The Peddler’s Daughter (48 Main St.; served at Bippity Boppity Baby, 86 Main St.) When choosing the menu, they looked to classic Irish cuisine of meat and potatoes. Leeky soup with brown bread and shepherd’s pie will be served up to the masses by this Irish pub on the river.
• Pepino’s (147 W. Pearl St.; served at Myopic, 204 Main St.) New owner Emad Ahmed is making changes to the menu at this popular West Pearl Street eatery. He will be showing off some of the new menu items.
“It is a nice way to introduce the new menu to everyone,” Ahmed said.
• Riverwalk Cakery (35 Railroad Square; served at Sovereign Bank, 233 Main St.) Main Street newcomers Yalcin and Maria Kaya will be serving their signature apple strudel and kasekuchen, a German cheesecake made with imported quark cheese, rather than cream cheese. The apple strudel’s pastry is pulled so thin, Kaya insists that a newspaper could be read through it. The cheesecake is very different from New York style; it is light and more airy, rather than dense.
“We have been open for three months, I think the event will help people know we are here,” said Yalcin Kaya. Riverwalk Cakery also roasts coffee beans in a roaster imported from Turkey. They will be serving fresh-roasted coffee to go with dessert.
• San Francisco Kitchen (133 Main St.; served at Black Thorne Antiques, 98 Main St.) Nashua’s bit of the city by the bay, San Francisco Kitchen will be serving curry chicken and vegetarian maki rolls.
“We are really looking forward to Taste of Nashua. It is great getting new people interested in our menu,” manager Bastin DiCaprio said.
• Seedling Café (9 Water St.; served at Zrinka, 100 Main St.) Josh Enwright, the owner of downtown’s only natural food café, will be serving hot and cold soup shooters and gourmet organic sandwiches such as rare tenderloin on toast with Boursin cheese.
• Seven Hills Restaurant (57 Factory St.; served at Flegal Law Office, 159 Main St.) This new Turkish eatery and market on Factory Street will be serving up authentic Turkish cuisine. Owners Umit and Merve Palabiyik, natives of Istanbul, are importing hard to find foods to the Factory Street location and will be showing off their menu on June 7.
• Surf (207 Main St.; served at Pompanoosuc Mills, 186 Main St.) New chef Matt Provencher and crew will be serving seasonal, regional fish.
“I am going to wait and see what inspires me closer to the event,” he said. This will be Provencher’s first Taste.
• Swan Chocolate (142 Main St.; served at Beckonings, 221 Main St.) Owner Theresa Anderson is bringing her crowd-pleasing chocolate fountain. Fresh strawberries on fondue sticks will be dipped in dark Belgium chocolate and served along with Swan’s award-winning Meltaway truffles.
• Villa Banca (194 Main St.; served at 100 W. Pearl St.) Contemporary Italian cuisine with a twist. Owner Tim Poplar and chef Doug Lunn are still working on the menu for the Taste but it will likely include signature dishes made with homemade pasta and spring ingredients..


Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com  

Taste of Nashua
What: About 30 eateries set up in about two dozen locations
When: Wednesday, June 7, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for food and drink; 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. for desserts
Whet your appetite: The parade with the Clydesdales begins at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets: $30 in advance; $35 the day of. Purchase them online at www.greatamericandowntown.com or at Ancient Moon, 107 W. Pearl St.; ArcLight, 100 W. Pearl St.; Bippity Boppity Baby, 86 Main St.; Black Thorne Antiques, 98 Main St.; Fortin-Gage, Ltd., 86 W. Pearl St.; Myoptic, 204 Main St.; Patisserie Bleu, 215 Main St., or Scontsas Fine Jewelry & Home Decor,169 Main St.

Plan of Attack
Eats
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
• Brazilian BBQ at Bilancia Gallery & Framing, 85 W. Pearl St.
• Nashua Garden at Fortin-Gage, Ltd., 86 West Pearl St.
• The Peddler’s Daughter at Bippity Boppity Baby, 86 Main St.
• Mezza at Burques Jewelers, 89 W. Pearl St.
• Villa Banca at ArcLight, 100 West Pearl St.
• San Francisco Kitchen at Black Thorne Antiques, 98 Main St.
• Seedling Café and Catering at Zrinka, 100 Main St.
• Black Orchid Grille at Cardin Jewelers, 125 Main St.
• Celebrations Catering at Ocean National Bank, 146 Main St.
• Jackie’s Dinner and Fody’s Great American Tavern at Hamblett & Kerrigan, 146 Main St.
• Chicken N’ Chips, Margaritas and Olive N’ Herb at Bank of America, 157 Main St.
• Jasmine Palace and Seven Hills Restaurant at Flegal Law Office, 159 Main St.
• Michael Timothy’s Bistro and Surf at Pompanoosuc Mills, 186 Main St.
• Del Vaudo’s and Norton’s Classic Cafe at TD Banknorth, 191 Main St.
• Pepino’s at Myoptic, 204 Main St.
• Manhattan on Pearl at DesignWares, 206 Main St.

Drink
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
• Wine tasting at Cooking Matters, 97 Main St.
• Wine tasting at Jasper’s Wine Shoppe, 4 Temple St.

Dessert
7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
• Nashua Pride at Ewe’ll Love It, 100 Main St.
• Swan Chocolates at Beckonings, 221 Main St.
• Riverwalk Cakery & Coffee House and Crosby’s Bakery at Sovereign Bank, 233 Main St.
• Patisserie Bleu at Citizens Bank, 238 Main St.


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