Food — The Weekly Dish

The Weekly Dish

By Amy Diaz

New at the Venetian Canal Espresso Café: The Venetian Canal, 805 Canal St., has a new owner. Darrell Surwell officially took over the café on Nov. 7 from former owners Kelly and Rita Rose. Surwell, who works with adult foster care for the state, said he enjoys his new position as owner.

“It feels like I’m on an eight-hour coffee break,” Surwell said.

Surwell said he kept on the old staff and still has most of the previous owners’ regulars — some of whom even helped him learn the ropes in his first few days.

Though he had worked in retail before, Surwell has never owned a restaurant. He said he’s been pleasantly surprised by the experience. He said he enjoys getting to know all the customers and is delighted to be around so much coffee, a factor that has helped him with another aspect of the job — getting up early.

“I thought it would be really hard to be a morning person,” he said. “It gets easier as you go along.”

More than just the coffee, Surwell said, the job itself gives him a jolt.

“I leave here energized,” he said.

Surwell doesn’t have any immediate plans to change the business (which recently won a Public Health Achievement Award for Food Safety from the Manchester Board of Health). He does, however, plan to increase hours, perhaps as soon as February, and may offer wi-fi at his café.

See 2004 go out in style: Forget Christmas, it’s never to early to start planning for New Years Eve.

The Bedford Village Inn will have a special New Years Eve dinner. The menu is price fixed at $75 per person and includes such offerings as chestnut ravioli, chilled shrimp and blood orange salad, slow-roasted young chicken and Smithfield Farms veal. The dessert menu includes such temptations as peanut butter chocolate lava cake and individual baked Alaska. Call 800-852-1166 for reservations or more information.

Or you can skip the big dinner and spend New Years Eve at the BVI’s Tap Room for their Afterglow Party. The event starts at 10:30 p.m. and features light appetizers throughout the evening plus a chocolate bag dessert and a bottle of champagne at midnight. Price is $55 per couple.

Perfect gift for the budding baker: The Nashua bakery Patisserie Bleu has announced its schedule for public classes in the new year.

The classes last about two hours and teach a variety of baking skills such as cake decorating or the secrets to desserts such as tiramisu or crème brulee. Each class is $38 and requires no previous experience. The bakery’s chef, Jacqui Pressinger, teaches the classes herself, offering up her own secret tips.

The first class is Thursday, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. and covers cake decorating. Other upcoming classes include pastry 1, bakery favorites, pastry 2, international desserts and chocolate Valentines. She also offers the occasional kid classes, such as the Feb. 10 kids’ Valentines class for bakers ages 6 to 11.

The best part of the classes? You get to eat your creations. For more information, call 886-0007 or go to

- Amy Diaz

2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH