December 25, 2008

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2008 in small bites
The year in foodie ideas
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum food@hippopress.com

The food scene in southern New Hampshire hummed right along in 2008. In spite of the bad economy, most restaurants and shops kept busy, and their customers were in the mood for comfort food to help ease their woes. As Priscilla Lane-Rondeau of 900 Degrees said recently, “People want to go out and have fun because of all the gloom and doom they hear.”

Localvore mania: From the study of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Concord readers to the busy weekly farmers’ markets, local food was more popular than ever. Gail McWilliam Jellie, of the Division of Agricultural Development for the state’s Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food, said there were 74 farmers’ markets on record this year, up from 61 last year. Some markets even moved indoors to be open year around — the Farmers’ Market at Salzburg Square (292 Route 101, Amherst), the Brookline Farmers’ Market (Route 13, next to TD Banknorth), and on occasion, the Manchester Community Market at the Franco-American Centre (52 Concord St., www.facnh.com). Plus, the Vegetable Ranch in Warner will do a winter community-supported agriculture program (CSA) this season. Shares cost $185 for six loads of organic vegetables every other week (call 496-6391). And the New Hampshire Virtual Farmers Market is online at www.nhfarms.com.

• Is beer the new wine? Though beer is always a popular beverage, there is a trend toward pairing it with food, much like what’s done with wine. Local restaurants such as J. W. Hill’s in Manchester, the Granite Restaurant in Concord, and the Crown Plaza in Nashua all hosted beer dinners, where a specific beer was matched to each course, or the beer was used as an ingredient. Barb’s Beer Emporium opened in Concord, where customers can make their own six-pack combinations and attend weekly beer tastings. The Drink Shoppe in Hudson also hosts weekly beer tastings.

• Do-it-yourself beer and wine: For any wannabe wine makers and brewmasters, there are now a number of local places where you can practice these crafts. IncrediBREW in Nashua has offered customers make-your-own beer, wine and soda services for 13 years. And this year two Vintner’s Cellar locations opened in the area — in Concord and Bedford — where people can produce their own wines. For home brewers there is Kettle to Keg in Pembroke, where you can also pick up wine-making kits as well as beer ingredients and supplies.

• A bottle of New Hampshire: There are now 14 wineries in the state. The New Hampshire Winery Association continues to promote the state’s wines to both locals and tourists, most recently with the creation of the New Hampshire Wine and Cheese Trails (www.nhmade.com and www.visitnh.gov). Most of the wineries have tasting rooms and conduct tastings at local shops that carry their products. For a list of state wineries, visit www.nhwineryassociation.com.

• Celebrity chefs on the scene: Chefs and food experts from around the country came to New Hampshire to show off their knowledge. The Bedford Village Inn hosted Jason Tucker, executive chef of Tresca in Boston’s North End; Renee Bejeux, executive chef of La Provence, and Donald Link, chef-owner of Cochon and Herbsaint restaurants, from New Orleans; Kurtis Jantz, executive chef of Neomi’s in the Trump International Resort, Miami; Matthew Levin, executive chef at Lacroix in the Rittenhouse hotel in Philadelphia; and Lorenzo Polegri, chef-owner of Zeppelin in Orvieto, Italy. Bella Vino Specialty Wines and Gourmet recently hosted George Taber, author of Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine (Scribner, 2005) and To Cork or Not to Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle (Scribner, 2007), and Zorvino Vineyards brought in Napa winemaker Joseph Carr.

• Kids in the kitchen: The availability of cooking classes for kids of all ages has grown in the past year. The For Kids Who Cook cooking school recently opened in Derry and offers classes for children from preschool age to teenagers. And this past summer there was a Girls of American History cooking camp held in Concord. Both the Nashua and Merrimack YMCAs hold cooking and nutrition classes, and kids can take cake-decorating classes at Frederick’s Pastries in Amherst, or after-school and summer camp classes at Chez Boucher Cooking School in Hampton.

• A festival for every nationality: A large variety of ethnic cuisines were represented at festivals this past year, a number that seems to grow every year. The Global Gourmet Gala in April for the Lutheran Social Services Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Program featured food from Afghanistan, Somalia and Thailand. There were also Latino, African-Caribbean, Lebanese, and Asian food festivals this summer and every month brought a different Greek festival.

• Radio food: Red Arrow Diner owner Carol Sheehan and teacher Michelle Trumble brought food back to the radio with the Food for Thought with the Taste Buds show every Sunday morning on WTPL 107.7. For those who haven’t had a chance to tune in, past broadcasts can be heard on www.tastebudsradio.com.

• Second locations: Speaking of the Red Arrow, Sheehan opened a second location in what was the Milford Diner just off the Milford Oval. Nonni’s Italian Eatery opened a second restaurant in the Holiday Inn in Concord (and plans a third for New London). And Zacky’s Pizzeria opened a second location in Auburn to go with the one on Lake Winnipesauke. However, one second location wasn’t so successful — the Caesar’s Pizza in Nashua closed a few months after opening.

• Low-cost gourmet food: Some higher-end eateries came out with lower-cost menu options to help customers’ budgets in tough times. This fall, Z Food and Drink had a four-course tasting menu of local foods for $35, while Richard’s Bistro offers $5 lunch, $10 brunch, and $20 dinner selections. And the Bedford Village Inn refurbished the Tavern and opened the new Corks wine bar, which both offer lower-priced menu alternatives to the regular dining room. Corks also has high-end wines available by the glass.



12/18/2008 Manchestert brewing opens in Concord

12/11/2008 Delicious gifts for the foodie
12/4/2008 New chef at UnWine'd
11/27/2008 Corks pops at BVI
11/20/2008 Big plates, big food
11/13/2008 IPA first prize
11/6/2008 You want it? He'll bring it.
10/30/2008 Cooking up a mystery
10/23/2008 Running with the bulls
10/16/2008 Like grandma made it
10/9/2008 The flavor of Concord
10/2/2008 Indie donuts rising
9/25/2008 Buy a bowl, feed the hungry
9/18/2008 Oktoberfest — for a cause
9/11/2008 A slice ofGreece, Asia, France...
9/4/2008 Flavors of Manchester
8/28/2008 D.I.Y. sausage
8/21/2008 Summertime and the living is chilli
8/14/2008 Weekend of festivals
8/7/2008 Going for pizza gold
7/31/2008 Red and juicy, from vine to table
7/24/2008 Meet the Manch-vegans
7/17/2008 Meet the winemaker
7/10/2008 Pupusas, cervesa y batidos
7/03/2008 3C's Cafe opens in Highlander Inn
6/26/2008 Oh, tartar sauce!
6/19/2008 From farm to grill
6/12/2008 450 pounds of lamb
6/5/2008 Travel the culinary world at BVI
5/29/2008 Chocolate throwdown
5/22/2008 Hit the road for some Yum-Yum
5/15/2008 Local, gluten-free and ready made
5/8/2008 The return of brownies and pasta
5/1/2008 Have a fiesta
4/24/2008 Noshing and shopping
4/17/2008 Celebrating with Greek eats
4/10/2008 Drive-ins open for the season
4/3/2008 Noshing for a cause
3/20/2008 The Easter Bunny brings dinner
3/13/2008 The Irish Spirit
3/6/2008 The sweet season
2/28/2008 Cambodian (or Italian) made easy
2/21/2008 Fresh fish comes to Nashua
2/14/2008 Hearts and fibers
2/7/2008 A romantic dinner for two
1/31/2008 Celebrate Mardi Gras
1/24/2008 Morroccan in Milford
1/17/2008 The chef is inn
1/10/2008 Italian street food in NH
1/10/2008 The contorni approach
1/3/2008 Like Disneyland for foodies
12/27/2007 More food and wine events, a menu for the bar
12/20/2007 Lots of dough
12/13/2007 Gifts for gourmands
12/6/2007 Making spirits really bright
11/22/2007 Just don't ask them to cook
11/15/2007 Easy as pie
11/8/2007 Italian eats, bistro style
11/1/2007 Bringing Italia to New Hampshire
10/25/2007 Trick or treat, the grown-up version
10/18/2007 Shop where the pros go
10/11/2007 Enjoy apple season from orchard to plate
10/04/2007 Tradition on the menu
9/27/2007 Meet your pig
9/20/2007 In search of the right meat
9/20/2007 Vegan blogger branches out
9/13/2007 Get ready to eat
9/6/2007 Fifty years of fair
8/30/2007 The buzz about peach fuzz
8/23/2007 Enjoy the Caribbean, sans hurricanes
8/16/2007 Festival weekend
8/9/2007 Still time to scream
8/2/2007 Perfecting a pound of pasta
7/26/2007 Gourmet Concord?
7/19/2007 Tart treats of a New Hampshire summer
7/12/2007 Reintroducing ratatouille
7/5/2007 Time to hit the grill
6/28/2007 Peanutty dinner delight
6/21/2007 Spicy meat, grilled meat and saucy meat
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 ó 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
3/15/2007 From homemade to home business
3/8/2007 Shop the farmers' market year round
3/1/2007 Feeding Mama Kicks
2/22/2007 Keepers of the vino
2/15/2007 Noodly comfort food
2/8/2007 The luxury of osso bucco
2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
1/25/2007 It's a wrap
1/18/2007 The writing foodie
1/11/2007 Where the beef is, piled high and hot
1/04/2007 The healthy foodie
12/28/2006 The return of pasta and fall of the diet: the year in eats
12/21/2006 Organic on the ice
12/14/2006 French but not fussy
12/07/2006 Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
11/30/2006 Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
11/23/2006 Cityside adds class to conveniece
11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
11/9/2006 The new classic
10/26/2006 Whip up a quiche
10/19/2006 A new way to crepe
10/12/2006 Comfort food for blokes and birds
10/05/2006 Smaller crop but still red and delicious
09/28/2006 The crunchier, lighter, healthier wrap
09/21/2006 City bagels in suburbia
09/14/2006 Cracking the custard code
09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
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
abel
A picnic ó itís 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 ó 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
Itís 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 ó 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: itís whatís 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