September 4, 2008

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Flavors of Manchester
Fifth annual Taste event is biggest ever
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum food@hippopress.com

An event local foodies and shoppers wait for all year, the fifth annual Taste of Downtown Manchester will be held Wednesday, Sept. 10.

That evening area restaurants will bring some of their best dishes to downtown retailers. For one ticket price, folks can go from store to store and taste delicious food, and check out what’s new in the area’s retail scene.

Samantha Appleton of Intown Manchester, the event organizer, said, “This is going to be the biggest Taste event we’ve ever put on. We have 26 restaurants signed on, which is the most we’ve ever had. And we are happy to say that we now have host locations on the southern part of Elm Street, which is a result of our district being expanded.”

The list of restaurants includes repeat participants such as the Red Arrow Diner and Richard’s Bistro, some who have not participated for a couple of years, such as Commercial Street Fishery and Piccola Italia, and newcomers like 900 Degrees, whose co-owner Erik Sealander is happy to take part. “This is the first year for the restaurant, but I did the event for the past three or four years for my previous employer,” he said. “We always had a really good time. The people are fun to interact with, and we felt we wanted to be a part of it and support the community.”

Sealander said his restaurant will serve its house organic salad, made with mixed greens, red onion, cranberries, tomato, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette; and the Caprese salad of local tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil, extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. “Obviously we can’t take the wood-fired oven with us, so we’ll highlight these starters,” he said. “They’re signature items from our menu and good food to serve at an event like this. We can make them fresh and delicious.”

900 Degrees will set up shop in Pearson’s Jewelry at 926 Elm St. “A little salad and a little jewelry shopping,” Sealander said. “All the wives will be happy!”

Because of the expanded district, Appleton said, there will be the FairPoint Taste Trolley that will make stops all along the Taste route to bring people to their favorite spots. One of the southern Elm Street participants is George’s Apparel, which will host Richard’s Bistro. Executive chef Matthew Provencher said, “It is a great way to get people downtown. I worked in Nashua for two years and it’s amazing how much busier their downtown is than Manchester’s.”

Povencher said he and owner Richard Vareschi selected dishes for the evening that offer a taste of the old and a taste of the new, since the bistro’s menu has items from both men. They decided on nori rolls with avocado and radishes; caramelized pineapple with black pepper wrapped in prosciutto; and mini chocolate mousse cakes. “I’ve been at the restaurant about a year, and last year I helped them get ready for the event,” Povencher said. “I’ll be there this year and I like the chance to meet people. Most of the time I’m behind the line and don’t get to talk to anyone. I know they sell a thousand tickets, so I can just imagine what it will be like.”

Besides the food and the shopping, musicians will perform all along the Taste route. Radio station WZID 95.7 will have a tent at City Hall Plaza, where everyone can pick up free Fiji water. Also, Appleton said several local vineyards will donate wine and cider for the tasting alongside some of the restaurants.

The Red Arrow Diner will take part for the fourth time this year. “My business is downtown and community involvement is important to us,” owner Carol Sheehan said. “We like doing things together with the community. I love doing these events and meeting all the people. It lets people to know what’s in downtown Manchester.”

Sheehan’s diner will serve Dinah Fingers, their take on the Hostess Twinkie, and the popular American chop suey. Red Arrow workers will be located at the UPS Store at 816 Elm St. Because the restaurant takes part in other similar events, such as the Best of New Hampshire party, they are seasoned veterans when it comes to this kind of evening. “We’re pretty well set up for it,” Sheehan said. “We have our steam table that we take with us. It can be a little challenging depending on the place you pair up with.”

The evening will go from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 on the day of the event, which sells out every year. Tickets may be purchased at the Intown Manchester offices, 889 Elm St., or at Ocean Bank, 1750 Elm St. Only cash or checks will be accepted.

To get a complete listing of the participating restaurants and where they will be located, go to the Intown Manchester Web site, www.intownmanchester.com, or call 645-6285.

Appleton said, “I’ve been fortunate to get a first-hand look at what all the restaurants are preparing for that night, and my mouth is already watering.”


Taste treats
Red Arrow Diner American Chop Suey
2˝ pounds hamburger
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced peppers
1˝ teaspoons garlic powder
1˝ teaspoons oregano
1˝ teaspoons basil
1˝ teaspoons Tasty Blend
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 head garlic, chopped
6 cups (48 ounces) diced tomato
6 cups (48 ounces) tomato sauce
6 ounces tomato paste
2 cups tomato juice
16 oz. uncooked macaroni
Water to cook macaroni
Sauté first nine ingredients together until tender. Add next four ingredients and bring to a simmer. In a separate pot, cook the macaroni until al dente. Strain and add to the hamburger mixture.


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4/24/2008 Noshing and shopping
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4/10/2008 Drive-ins open for the season
4/3/2008 Noshing for a cause
3/20/2008 The Easter Bunny brings dinner
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2/28/2008 Cambodian (or Italian) made easy
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8/23/2007 Enjoy the Caribbean, sans hurricanes
8/16/2007 Festival weekend
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7/26/2007 Gourmet Concord?
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7/12/2007 Reintroducing ratatouille
7/5/2007 Time to hit the grill
6/28/2007 Peanutty dinner delight
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6/14/2007 Holy Barbecue
6/07/2007 A wine for Red Sox
5/31/2007 Pinot noir romance
5/24/2007 Josh Logan eats (not before shows)
5/17/2007 Baklava, spanakopita and souvlaki — a.k.a. dinner
5/10/2007 Cremeland celebrates 60 years of burgers and shakes
5/3/2007 New eats in bloom
4/26/2007 Pho sure
4/19/2007 Cakes, cow-free
4/12/2007 Serving up the first square
4/5/2007 More than just a chocolate bunny
3/29/2007 New 'nuches
3/22/2007 A taste of genuine sweetness
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3/1/2007 Feeding Mama Kicks
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2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
1/25/2007 It's a wrap
1/18/2007 The writing foodie
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11/9/2006 The new classic
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03/30/2006 Making Friday a fishy delight
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03/16/2006 Divining your personality from pizza
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03/02/2006 Dumplings demystified
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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
abel
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
Empanadas
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