August 31, 2006


   Home Page

 News & Features


 Columns & Opinions

   Publisher's Note





 Pop Culture



   Video Games
   CD Reviews




   Grazing Guide



   Music Roundup

   Live Music/DJs

   MP3 & Podcasts





 Find A Hippo




   View Classified Ads

   Place a Classified Ad




 Contact Us

   Hippo Staff

   How to Reach The Hippo

 Past Issues

   Browse by Cover

Eat your way down the block
Try the best of downtown restaurants at the Taste of Downtown in Manchester
By Susan Reilly and Heidi Masek

Fasting will be a good idea Wednesday, Sept. 13.

At least until 5 p.m. when serious eating commences as part of the third annual Taste of Downtown Manchester. Buy a $20 ticket (A.S.A.P.—the first two years sold out) to sample from 25 restaurants, which will be serving out of 25 stores.

“For the downtown business community, this is a significant cross-marketing event,” said Suzanne Butler, director of marketing for InTown Manchester.

This is how the event works. Ticket holders stroll up and down Elm Street, noshing on dishes from butternut squash soup to spicy Hunan beef to bananas Foster while getting to meet business owners.

Entertainers and artists will be set up at various locations to add to the flavor. Cabaret de Boheme will perform by La Cage Boutique, which hosts Edible Arrangements. Chocolate-covered strawberries, lingerie and cabaret sounded like they matched, Butler said. Referrals are key for downtown businesses, and Intown tries to match restaurants and stores that might share the same client base, Butler said.

Folk and country singer Andrea Szirbik will perform between Cute Little Shoppe and Courliss Flowers. Accordion player David Smith will be performing in front of the Chair Gallery, which hosts Piccola Italia.

The event runs until 8 p.m., but that doesn’t mean food will.

Rosa Paolini reported that Piccola Italia’s table was slammed during the first two years, with lots of folks coming back for more. That sounds like it will happen again. Piccola Italia will serve homemade cannoli as well as butternut squash ravioli with Frangelico cream sauce.

Last year, the event sold out 700 tickets; this year it has expanded to 1000 and tickets are going fast.

“It is such a great event — it gets people in the door of businesses they maybe didn’t even know were there,” Butler said.

Susan Orfanedes, owner of Suddenly Susan’s on Hanover Street agrees.

“Taste of Manchester is a very successful event. We get a lot of feedback, and new customers, afterwards,” Orfandese said.

Restaurants volunteer their time, staff and food.

“They participate in this because this is an event that is all about promoting downtown business, so it’s good for the community and the economy, and it’s a great event for them to market themselves,” Butler said.

Since customers and exposure are what will keep downtown Manchester vibrant, funds raised from the sale of each $20 ticket will go directly back into promoting businesses. This year Intown hopes to use funds raised to produce a downtown guide.

“It’s really needed, because basically the information that’s out there right now, it’s very piecemeal,” Butler said. Intown plans to incorporate information on dining, shopping, entertainment and a little history into a small, disposable booklet, suitable to hand out to visitors and students.

Ticket sales and sponsorships raised $8,000 in 2005, which bought thousands of flowering bulbs for city spaces.

“After a Taste of Manchester event, we always see new faces at the restaurant,” said Jeff Paige, owner and chef of Cotton.

Linda Shaw, owner of Bob Shaw’s on Elm Street, says that participating in Taste of Manchester gives her café the exposure she needs.

“It is just good for business to be in it. People who never knew we were here try our foods and become customers,” she said.

New to taste of Manchester this year are: Ben & Jerry’s, Commercial Street Fishery, Edible Arrangements, JD’s Tavern, Peking Garden, Stage Door Café and Wally & Bernie’s.

At Edible Arrangements, owner Robin Longo has been frantically searching for strawberry costumes for her staff to wear during the Taste.

“We are so excited about this, any time you get to give out samples of what you do and introduce yourself to people, it is a great thing,” Longo said.

A few blocks away, the new Commercial Street Fisheries is ready to get out in front of people.

“We are really excited to be participating this year,” said Justin Lyonnais, executive chef at Commercial Street Fisheries. “It is a great local event that really works for everyone. Everyone has a good time and leaves happy.”

Stores also have specials, including a quilt raffle and beer sampling at Chestnut Quilter, local author Thomas Coughlin signing books at New England Sampler, a $100 gift certificate give-away at Splash, two Red Sox tickets to be given away at Residences at Manchester Place and a gift certificate for a Vermonster at Ben & Jerry’s. City Hall Plaza will be a stage for the Manchester Choral Society and Royal Palace Dance and Dance Studio of Manchester. Intown is recruiting artists as well.

Seating requires some creativity, though.

“I know Splash has plenty of places to sit down,” Butler said, recalling that people made use of the bath fixture store displays to rest their feet last year.

Taste of Downtown
When: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 5 p.m.
Where: Elm, Hanover, Chestnut and Lowell streets, Manchester
Tickets: $20 from Intown Manchester, 889 Elm St., Manchester, 645-6285, or Ocean Bank branches, 900 Elm St., 1750 Elm St., and 779 S. Main St. in Manchester. Tickets include a map and will be required at each store.
More information: Event is rain or shine. No street or parking closures. Event is sponsored by Ocean National Bank, HippoPress and WZID. For more information, go to or call 645-6285.

What's on the menu?
• A Taste of Europe (serving at Heart and Hand, 823 Elm St.)Brian Siembor, chef at this funky tapas and wine bar on Elm Street will be serving up tasca Diablo (spicy crab eggrolls) and pancetta wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo cream cheese.
• Ben & Jerry’s (at Pink Sapphire, 834 Elm St.) New to downtown, this ice-cream shop with a cult following will be serving up funky flavors such as Half-Baked, Chunky Monkey and Phish Food.
• Bob Shaw’s Italian Subs (serving at The Chestnut Quilter, 76 Lowell St.) Now owned by Bob’s daughter Linda, who will be serving a selection of their signature soups.
• Commercial Street Fishery (at Commercial Street Fishery, 900 Elm St.) The restaurant is a newcomer to the downtown restaurant scene. Chef Justin Lyonnais will be serving smoked shrimp quesadillas.
• Cotton (at George’s Apparel, 675 Elm St.) Chef Jeff Paige has been tossing around ideas, and may go with what proved popular last year: a Thai lemongrass chicken salad.
• Edible Arrangements (at La Cage Boutique, 657 Elm St.) Fairly new to Elm Street, they will be serving chocolate-covered strawberries
• Fratello’s (at Pearson’s Jewlers,926 Elm St.) Still working on the menu, but look for classic Italian comfort food from this Millyard eatery.
• Gala Café (at Splash Bath Showroom, 977 Elm St.) Chef and owner Tony Rocha will be slicing up a signature pork roulade (see recipe).
• Gaucho’s (at Down the Aisle in Style, 62 Lowell St.) Look for traditional Brazilian rodizio, which is meats rubbed with herbs and spices and slow-cooked on skewers.
• JW Hill’s (at Desjardins Jewelers, 1069 Elm St.) New menu item, steak tip pasta, will be showcased. Made with a peppercorn, brandy white sauce, peas and mushrooms, it is sophisticated comfort food.
• Java Tree Gourmet Coffees (at Cute Little Shoppe, 416 Chestnut St.) Java Tree will be serving varieties of coffee.
• JD’s Tavern (at The UPS Store, 816 Elm St.) Located in the Radisson, this reliable tavern serves up hearty pub food.
• Jillian’s (at The Attic Boutique, 1053 Elm St.) Classic American fare. This waterfront billiards restaurant is still tweaking the menu.
• Margarita’s (at Rheault Photography, 72 Hanover St.) Mex to the Max is their tag line; look for festive, tasty eats from the Elm Street hot spot.
• Milly’s (at Croteau Photography, 941 Elm St.) Top-notch pub fare is likely from this Millyard tavern
• Milton’s Millyard Grill (at Meet Me at Eliza’s, 950 Elm St.) Chef and owner Milton Canotas will be spooning out two staple soups: turkey and rice and country vegetable, topped with homemade croutons.
• Peking Garden (at Runner’s Alley, 36 Hanover St.) Will be dishing out the ever popular crab rangoons and their signature Hunan spicy beef. Best part? No MSG.
• Piccola Italia (at The Chair Gallery, 850 Elm St.) Johnny Paolini will be cooking up butternut squash ravoli in a Frangelican cream sauce and passing out mini cannolis.
• Red Arrow (at The New England Sampler, 42 Hanover St.) Try the award-winning chili and Roy’s signature cheesy hamburg macaroni.
• Richard’s Bistro (at The Residences at Manchester Place, 1200 Elm St.) This Lowell Street bistro will be serving up a flaming bananas Foster over ice cream.
• Shaskeen (at Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St.) Look for beef stew and Irish brown bread from downtown’s newest Irish gastropub.
• Stage Door Café (at Corliss’s Flowers & Gifts, 420 Chestnut St.) Hanover Street’s rocking stage serves up hearty dishes with a southern flair.
• Suddenly Susan’s (at Xiloz Shoes, 852 Elm St.) With two locations on Hanover Street, owner Susan Orfanedes will be serving two signature sandwiches: the Lyric, featuring roasted turkey, Boursin, spinach and dill Havarti all in a tomato wrap; and the Amoskeag, a white meat chicken salad with cranberries and green apple on marble rye.
• Van Otis (at Northest Credit Union, 1000 Elm St.) In the past, they offered up their chocolate fountain.
• Wally & Bernie’s (at D’Vine Wine & Gifts, 383 Chestnut St.)Fairly new to the city, this hip eatery near the Verizon center will be serving up cream of butternut squash soup and chef Shawn Peterson’s own sake steamed chicken wrapped in bok choy and cucumber.

08/31/2006 New flavors for an old summer dish
08/24/2006 Way down south in Hollis
08/17/2006 Frappe vs. milkshake
08/10/2006 Enjoy the bluest month
08/03/2006 Death of Toro
07/27/2006 Vacation on a plate
07/20/2006 Hitting barbecue big time
07/13/2006 Relishing the raspberry
07/06/2006 Are your edible souveneirs kosher?
06/29/2006 Fish, upscale
06/22/2006 Sweet rosey taste of summer
06/15/2006 When to pull out the EVOO
06/08/2006 What can you grill?
06/01/2006 Taste of downtown Nashua
05/25/2006 Deulge at farms
05/18/2006 Adorable and delicious
05/11/2006 Rub down
05/04/2006 Pinot to go
04/27/2006 A bit Italian, a bit egg foo young
04/20/2006 Meatier than breakfast...
04/13/2006 Let yourself eat cake
04/06/2006 Fear not the Risotto
03/30/2006 Making Friday a fishy delight
03/23/2006 The Thin Mints are here
03/16/2006 Divining your personality from pizza
03/09/2006 Cooking up a big bowl of comfort
03/02/2006 Dumplings demystified
02/23/2006 Carbs and comfort all the way
02/16/2006 She sells sushi by the sea shore
2/09/2006 Biting into the burger with bling
02/02/2006 Forget formal dining, head to the bar
01/26/2006 Goodbye rooster, hello year of the dog
01/19/2006 The secret lives of chefs
01/12/2006 Cooking up a pot of delayed gratification
01/05/2006 A sunny Italian side dish
A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
A picnic — it’s romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead — run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
It’s not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken — no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: it’s what’s for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch