Greek food fest in Nashua

Music, dance and baklava this weekend

The festival is coming together. The tents are going up.

St. Philip Greek Orthodox Church (500 W. Hollis St. in Nashua, 889-4000, is getting ready to welcome visitors to its annual Greek Food Festival. “It’s an experience,” said Festival co-chair Marcy Mazur. It’s about great Greek food of course, but it’s more than that, she said.

“It’s a chance to invite guests to listen to authentic Greek music from our bands and visit our Greek marketplace, where they can pick up food or trinkets,” Mazur said. It’s an opportunity, she said, to watch Greek dances; guests are invited to learn how to dance and even to join in.

But of course the biggest attraction is the food.

Lamb enthusiasts will be excited to see a new cut of meat on the menu this year: lamb shanks. Because shanks are a cut of meat that require long, slow cooking, they are not grilled like the shish kebabs are; they are stewed in tomato sauce until the meat falls off the bone. The shish kebabs will still be grilled, though — chicken as well as lamb — on a special grill designed and built by a St. Philip parishioner. There will be a whole booth dedicated to loukoumades, fried Greek dough puffs served with cinnamon and honey and frequently eaten by the bucket. Adjacent to the loukoumades booth is a coffee station, which is, in turn, next to a pastry booth selling baklava, finikia, and Greek butter cookies called kourabiedes. The gyro station will have four different varieties of the pita bread wraps, including a vegetarian option filled with Greek salad and a vegan one with falafel.

“It’s a wonderful event of tastes and smells and sounds,” Mazur said.

While St. Philip — “There’s no S in our name,” Mazur said emphatically. “It’s very important.” — has been holding a food festival for more than 30 years, last year’s festival was the first since Covid. Mazur said the congregation missed it profoundly during lockdown. “It’s a community event,” she explained — not only during the actual Festival, but also in the months leading up to it. It is the culmination of a year of preparation for Mazur and her co-chair, Jamie Pappas.

“If we can get enough people we can usually finish up each dish in two days,” Mazur said.

If you imagine how the food for the Festival is prepared, you might imagine a group of church women in aprons putting out pan after pan of spanakopita (a pastry made from spinach, feta cheese, phyllo dough and an extravagant amount of butter) over a weekend.

“Yes,” Mazur said, “that’s exactly what happens. We have ample commercial freezer space, so we devote a weekend to making each dish. It’s time-consuming. There are 30 sheets of phyllo in each pan of spanakopita and I don’t even know how many pounds of spinach and feta.” Because making phyllo from scratch is incredibly difficult and time-intensive, the St. Philip ladies use commercial phyllo. “We don’t make our own phyllo, and we don’t grow our own grape leaves,” Mazur confesses.

The parishioners do, however, roll their own grape leaves — about 3,600 of them, as well as another 3,600 meatballs. This is on top of 150 pans of spanakopita and 100 pans of pastitsio (“That’s our Greek lasagna,” Mazur explains. “It’s just about my favorite thing we serve.”) Because it doesn’t freeze well, the weekend before the Festival is Baklava Weekend. “All the ladies look forward to it,” she said. “It’s a gathering of friends who get together, cook and laugh.”

Mazur’s advice to visitors is to plan to stay at the Festival for a while.

“It’s a relaxing atmosphere,” she said. ”The lines are going to be long, but it’s worth it.” Festival workers, easily recognized by their blue T-shirts, will work the lines, providing the people waiting for food with samples.

“It’s a big production,” Mazur said.

Greek Food Festival
When: Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Saint Philip Greek Orthodox Church, 500 W. Hollis St. in Nashua
More info: 889-4000,
Parking is free. There will be a shuttle to take guests to and from overflow parking at Stellos Stadium (7 Stadium Drive in Nashua).

The Weekly Dish 24/05/16

News from the local food scene

Competition-worthy cooking: If you’ve ever wondered how good the contestants on Top Chef really are, you can find out for yourself at a Top Chef Dinner on Friday, May 17, at Ansanm Restaurant (20 South St. in Milford, 554-1248, starting at 7:30 p.m. Owner/Chef of Ansanm Chris Viaud, who is a James Beard Award finalist and Top Chef Season 18 alumnus, and four of his fellow Season 18 contestants will cook a five-course dinner celebrating the cultural background of each chef. Tickets are $150 and available through

Layers of knowledge: Add an Italian classic to your cooking repertoire. Tuscan Market (9 Via Toscana in Salem, 912-5467, will hold a Lasagna Cooking Class on Friday, May 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. Take one more step down the road of your pasta knowledge by making your own lasagna. This is a tradition that should be practiced in every household. This class will feature choices of multiple fillings, including vegetarian-friendly ones. The class will be taught by Chef Jarret Parizo-Kellerman. Tickets are $65 each and available through Tuscan Brands’ website.

Vines and wines: Experience an immersive outdoor vineyard tour and wine tasting at LaBelle Winery (345 Route 101 in Amherst, 672-9898, at a Vineyard Bud Break, Sunday, May 19, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sommelier and wine educator Marie King and winemaker Melaney Shepard will guide participants through LaBelle’s vineyards and lead them through a tasting of four LaBelle wines. Participants will learn about the grape varietals grown at LaBelle, how trellising and pruning work, and what it takes for vines to survive and thrive with a constantly changing New England climate. Tickets are $30 and available through LaBelle’s website.

Tacos and fun: Tuesday, May 21, is Taco and Tequila Night at The Peddler’s Daughter (48 Main St. in Nashua, 821-7535,

Magnolia Maiden

Sometimes something is perfectly fine on a small scale, but all in all just Too Much — saunas, triplets, you get it.

This classic cocktail is Just Enough.

Magnolia Maiden

  • 1½ ounce bourbon
  • 1½ ounce orange liqueur – Grand Marnier or Orange Curacao
  • 1/3 ounce simple syrup (see below)
  • splash (about 1 ounce) plain seltzer or club soda

Combine bourbon, orange liqueur and simple syrup over ice in a cocktail shaker. There are several types of shakers, but I like something called a Boston shaker. It consists of two cups, one large and one smaller. When you’ve added everything you want to shake to the large cup, turn the little one upside-down and wedge it into the big one. This will create an airtight seal and allow you to shake a drink without it making a break for freedom and drenching your kitchen with bourbon.

Shake the cocktail thoroughly. When the mystic voice of the cocktail lets you know that it is ready (or when you feel the ice start to break up inside the shaker) break the seal on the shaker. As you’ve chilled the cocktail, you’ve also chilled the air inside the shaker, which has contracted, tightening the already air-tight seal.

Strain the cocktail over fresh ice in a rocks glass. If you’re using a Boston shaker, pull the two halves apart slightly, making a shallow V shape. Your drink will pour out, leaving the ice behind. “There, there,” you can say to the shaker, “doesn’t that feel better?”

Top it off with a generous splash of club soda, and stir gently.

The only thing about this drink that is too much is its name. The bourbon isn’t too bourbony. The orange liqueur isn’t too sweet. It is neither too flat nor too bubbly. It tastes like something a relaxed person would drink.

Simple syrup

Drink recipes throw around the term “simple syrup” like everyone knows what that means. It’s one of those phrases like “slip differential” or “antioxidant” that everyone pretends to understand, but I think a surprising percentage of people don’t.

Have you ever added a packet of natural sugar to an iced coffee, and some of it ends up in a little pile at the bottom of the cup? Simple syrup is sugar that has been put into a solution with water, so that won’t happen to your cocktails.

The reason it is called “simple syrup” is that it consists of equal amounts of water and sugar; there is no recipe to memorize. Add equal amounts of white, granulated sugar and water — this can be by weight, or by volume — to a saucepan. Bring it to a boil on your stove, at whatever temperature you want, stirring occasionally. Let it boil for a few seconds to make sure all the sugar has gone into solution; then remove it from heat, let it cool, and store it in your refrigerator indefinitely. Don’t worry about it getting lonely; it’s very approachable and will make friends with your condiments quickly.

Featured Photo: Photo by John Fladd.

Grilling with heat

Spice things up by adding some hot sauce to your grilled eats

A classic rite of passage each spring is bringing a grill out of storage and getting ready for the first outside cooking of the year. Nobody looks forward to this more than Phil Pelletier, owner of Smokin’ Tin Roof, a hot sauce company based in Manchester. He says that grilling season brings out a whole new side of his company’s hot sauces.

“Most of our stuff is designed to use any way you want,” he said, “so grilling is a great use for it.”

Smokin’ Tin Roof makes nine products of different heat levels — four sauces, three condiments, and hot pepper jelly. Although only one of the products is a barbecue sauce — the blueberry-based Northwoods BBQ — the other products have qualities that lend themselves to grilling.

North Carolina-style barbecue sauces are vinegar-based. The vinegar might be balanced out with something sweet, such as molasses or fruit, but the acidity is a fundamental characteristic of that type of sauce. Similarly, most hot sauces are vinegar-based as well.

“Our ‘Grow a Pear’ is made with pears,” Pelletier said as an example, “but it’s based on apple cider vinegar. You need that acidity for shelf-stability.”

South Carolina-style sauces, on the other hand, lean heavily into mustard. Smokin’ Tin Roof’s Bacon Stout Mustard works well as a wet rub for grillers who like to build layers of flavor.

Pelletier recommended against using too spicy a hot sauce for grilling, at least at first.

“Extreme heat gets in the way of the flavor you’re using, and you want a solid taste to stand up to the smoke from the grill,” he said. This is something that has come up while developing recipes for hot sauces.

“We use ghost pepper powder to vary the heat levels in our sauces, and we were really surprised that, aside from the heat, it neutralized the flavor of lemon. We ended up going in a completely different direction for that recipe; we used roasted garlic,” Pelletier said.

What a griller has to do, he says, is similar to what they do when working up a new recipe: work backward.

“You have to keep the final flavor in mind, then ask yourself, ‘What do I have to do to get that flavor?’” he said.

He gave the example of when his wife, Melissa, was developing a smokey pepper hot sauce.

“There were so many iterations of that sauce. She would get to a certain point in the recipe, and then it would suddenly go in a different direction, and we’d have to start over, focusing on her vision of a final flavor,” he said.

Keeping complementary flavors in mind — what goes with what — helps simplify choosing a grilling sauce. He uses some of Smokin’ Tin Roof’s products as examples:

Green Monstah is a verde-style sauce with pineapple. It has a bright flavor that is excellent with fish. Grow a Pear, on the other hand, has a fruity sweetness that plays well with the flavor of smoke. Pork is a natural with anything fruity, so Pelletier recommended using his Burnin’ Raspberry sauce with it.

(In a side note, Pelletier said the raspberry sauce might be his most versatile one. “We make it in two levels of heat,” he said, “which opens up a lot of directions you can take it. There is an ice cream business that buys it by the case from us to use as a sundae topping.”)

Smokin’ Tin Roof products are made with food-lovers in mind, Pelletier said, rather than chili-heads who are focused on extreme heat, which makes it a natural for grilling.

“Most serious grillers want to do something different. They want to make a unique match to whatever they want to grill,” he said.

The Weekly Dish 24/05/09

News from the local food scene

Cake for Mom: Flight Coffee Co. (209 Route 101 in Bedford;, 836-6228) has two layer cakes, chocolate or vanilla with chocolate or vanilla buttercream, that can be ordered by Thursday, May 9, for a Saturday, May 11, pickup, according to a post on Flight’s Facebook page. Email or call 836-6228 to order a cake, which costs $45, the post said. Find more special brunches, dinners and other eats for Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 12) in the May 2 issue of the Hippo. Find the e-edition at; the story starts on page 24.

Coffee weekend: The Northeast Coffee Festival runs Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, in Concord. The event, which takes place at locations in downtown Concord including South Main Street, the Bank of NH Stage and Red River Theatres, will feature live music, coffee workshops, an outdoor community market and on Saturday a latte art throwdown at 4 p.m. Attending the market and the music is free; passes to other events are available at, where you can also find a map, schedule and more.

Bacon! Tickets — and merch — are on sale now for the NH Bacon & Beer Festival ,which will be held Saturday, June 1, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Anheuser-Busch fields in Merrimack. Tickets in advance cost $60 for general admission and $100 for VIP admission, which includes a 12:30 p.m. admission time, according to The event features live music from The Slakas as well as, of course, bacon (from 20 samplers), beer (from 60 craft brewers) and 25 teams competing in a pulled pork contest, according to the website. The event benefits the High Hopes Foundation.

Berry informative: The NH Audubon will hold a “Growing Backyard Berries” workshop on Thursday, May 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Massabesic Center (26 Audubon Way in Auburn). The cost is $15. The presenter is Steph Sosinski, UNH Extension Home Horticulture Program Manager. Register by May 14 at the UNH Extension site, which you can reach via

Lemon-Glazed Pistachio-Rose Cake

The Cake

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) of softened butter
  • 1 cup + 1 teaspoon (210 g) sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup (130 g) finely chopped salted pistachios – your food processor can take care of this for you
  • 1 cup (96 g) almond flour
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup +1 Tablespoon (70 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon rose water – rose water is powerful stuff; if you don’t use enough you won’t taste it, and if you use a drop too much this cake will taste like grandmother soap
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

The Glaze

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup (114 g) confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice powder (optional) – let’s face it: it is highly unlikely that you have any powdered lemon juice on hand, but if you do it will add an extra kick of lemon flavor without watering the glaze down

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Butter a cake pan and line it with parchment paper.

“Wait, what? If I’m using parchment paper, why do I need to butter the pan?”

Good question. The butter helps the parchment stick to the bottom of the pan; it won’t flutter away or fold over as you’re spooning the batter in.


Beat the sugar and butter together. This is called “creaming.” You might have noticed that there isn’t any leavening in this recipe — no yeast, baking powder or soda. The only rise this cake will get is from the microscopic bubbles punched into the butter by the sugar, which will swell when they are heated. Beat the sugar and butter together until they are light and fluffy. This might take several minutes.

Beat the eggs into the butter mixture, one at a time. Eggs play a couple of roles in this recipe. As they cook they solidify, giving the cake structure, but they also act as an emulsifier. There is a fair amount of fat in this recipe, and fats are a little snobby. They don’t want to mix with water-based liquids like lemon juice and rose water; they see it as beneath them. The eggs are mediators. Because they are made up of watery proteins in their whites, and fats in their yolks, they act as ambassadors who can smile and get everyone to mingle.

Once the eggs are thoroughly incorporated into the batter, you can go ahead and add most of the other ingredients — the pistachios, almond flour, lemon juice, lemon zest and rose water. Mix them together thoroughly. Because you haven’t added any wheat flour yet, this mixture is still gluten-free and won’t toughen up no matter how long you beat it.

Whisk the flour and cardamom together, then fold them into the batter by hand as gently as possible. At this point you are adding gluten but trying to keep the cake tender.

Spoon the mixture into your prepared cake pan, and smooth out the top.

Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack until it is completely cool.

Whisk the glaze ingredients together thoroughly, until there are no lumps of sugar left, then pour over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.

This is a moist snack cake. It would go well with high tea, but unless you have an aristocratic secret life that we don’t know about, this is a really good meeting-a-friend-for-coffee cake.

It’s one of those foods with a multi-stage flavor. You get hit by the lemon in the glaze first, then the rose in the cake, which is reasonably modest but definitely there. The texture and flavor of the pistachios come through as you chew. Pistachios, rose and lemon are a classic combination — think of a Middle Eastern walled garden and sitting on stone steps, being cooled by the mist from a fountain, eating this cake and discussing poetry.

It is a cake that lends itself to daydreams.

Featured Photo: Photo by John Fladd.

Meal for mom

Where to find special brunches and dinners on Mother’s Day

Time to make those dinner and/or brunch reservations for Mother’s Day, which is Sunday, May 12. Know of a special meal or offering not mentioned here? Let us know at to run in next week’s Weekly Dish column.

110 Grill (80 Storrs St., Concord, 802-6110; 875 Elm St., Manchester, 836-1150; 27 Trafalgar Square, Nashua, 943-7443; will serve brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu will include crab and egg flatbread, yogurt parfait, the 110 Frittata, chicken ’n’ waffles, steak and eggs Benedict, bananas Foster-stuffed French toast, the Cure Burger and brunch cocktails. Reservations are recommended.

Alamo Texas Barbecue and Tequila Bar (99 Route 13 in Brookline; 721-5500, has a Mother’s Day menu that includes eggs Benedict, berry salad, cherry-glazed pork tenderloin, strawberry shortcake and a peach bellini. Brunch starts at 10 a.m.; call for reservations.

Alan’s of Boscawen (133 N. Main St., Boscawen, 753-6631, will serve brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring a variety of breakfast items, an omelet station, salads, carving stations and more, as well as traditional plated meals including honey-baked ham, roast leg of lamb, prime rib and baked stuffed haddock. Dinner specials will run from noon to close. Call for reservations.

Alpine Grove Banquet Facility (19 S. Depot Road, Route 111A, Hollis, 882-9051, will serve brunch. Seating starts at 10 a.m.; the buffet will close at 2 p.m. The menu will include various breakfast items, roast top round of beef with demi-glace, Mediterranean chicken, mac and cheese, a pastry and dessert buffet and more. The cost is $35 for adults, $15 for children ages 5 through 12 (free for children under age 5). Reservations are required and can be made through Alpine Grove’s website.

Artisan Hotel (17 Via Toscana in Salem, 912-8450, will hold a Mother’s Day celebration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy a complimentary Mom-osa. There will be a smoked salmon display, an omelet station, a carving station, a full buffet and more. Mother’s Day will have communal seating in the Grand Ballroom; full tables of six or more guests are available for advance purchase. There will be seatings at 11 and 11:30 a.m. and 1, 1:30, 3, 3:30, 5, and 5:30 p.m. Each seating is 90 minutes long. Tickets are $90 per person. Reservations are available at

Atkinson Resort and Country Club (85 Country Club Drive, Atkinson, 362-8700, will serve brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring breakfast items, a carving station, entrees like baked haddock and chicken Milanese, a dessert table and more. The cost is $80 for adults and $30 for kids ages 3 through 10 (free for children under age 3). Reservations are required, and available through Atkinson’s website.

Averill House Vineyard (21 Averill Road, Brookline, 244-3165, will host a Mother’s Day High Tea Brunch and Wine Pairing at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Each guest will receive a cup of hot tea, a pre-set four-course High Tea-inspired brunch, and a pre-selected flight of four wine samples (must be 21+). Non-alcoholic flight available upon request. Tickets are $59 each and available through the Vineyard’s website.

The Bakeshop on Kelley Street (171 Kelley St. in Manchester; 624-3500, offers doughnuts and other goodies that can be ordered in advance. The shop is open Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bedford Village Inn (2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford, 472-2001, will serve a special Mother’s Day dinner from 2 to 7 p.m. Dishes will include bacon, shrimp and corn chowder, pea salad, asparagus bisque, veal saltimbocca, cider-brined Duroc pork tenderloin, and much more. The cost is $79 for adults and $42 for children 10 and under. Reservations are required and can be made through the Inn’s website.

Belmont Hall and Restaurant (718 Grove St., Manchester, 625-8540, will serve an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet with seatings at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The cost is $18.99 per person. Additionally, the restaurant will be open for walk-ins only that day — no reservations are required.

Chez Vachon (136 Kelley St. in Manchester; 625-9660, will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will offer moms a free drink.

The Coach Stop (176 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, 437-2022, will serve a special Mother’s Day dinner with seatings at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Offerings include shrimp cocktail, escargot, prime rib of beer, veal Oscar and much more. Call for reservations, which are required.

Colby Hill Inn (33 The Oaks, Henniker, 428-3281, will serve Mother’s Day supper, with seatings from noon to 4 p.m. The three-course prix-fixe meal will include oysters on the half-shell, ricotta gnocchi with fiddleheads, coq au vin, grilled lamb chops, maple-bourbon panna cotta and more. The cost is $75 per person. Seating is available in the Grazing Room or in the gardens. Reservations are available through the Inn’s website.

Copper Door (15 Leavy Drive, Bedford, 488-2677; 41 S. Broadway, Salem, 458-2033; will offer a prix fixe Mother’s Day menu featuring bosc pear salad, prime rib, blackened salmon, wild berry shortcake and more, and extended hours. Brunch and lunch will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The prix fixe menu will be available from 2 p.m. to closing at 9 p.m.

The Derryfield (625 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 623-2880, will serve brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m, featuring a carving station, bread station, salad station, dessert station and main buffet line with various breakfast items and entrees including chicken, turkey, seafood and more. The cost is $36.95 for adults, $34.95 for seniors 65+ and $21.95 for children under age 12. Call for reservations.

Firefly (22 Concord St., Manchester, 935-9740, will serve Mother’s Day brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. Reservations are recommended.

The Flying Goose Brew Pub (40 Andover Road in New London; 526-6899, will celebrate Mother’s Day with brunch specials from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner specials from 2 to 8 p.m. The regular menu will also be available.

The Foundry Restaurant (50 Commercial St., Manchester, 836-1925, will be open for brunch from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Fratello’s Italian Grille (155 Dow St., Manchester, 641-6776, will serve a brunch buffet, with seatings at 11 a.m and 2 p.m. There will be an omelet station, a waffle bar, a grand buffet, a carving station, and more. Reservations are required and can be made through Fratello’s website.

Fulchino Vineyard (187 Pine Hill Road, Hollis, 438-5984, will host a celebration of its new sparkling wine on Mother’s Day. The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Each participant will have one glass of wine (your choice of sparkling, or still wine or granita) and enjoy an assortment of six gourmet small plates including Caesar salad, New England clam chowder, arancinis, butterfly shrimp, burrata, ravioli and a meatball. Finish with a signature Italian dessert. A children’s menu is available for ages 12 and under for $25; this will include chicken tenders, mac and cheese, french fries and a beverage. The cost for adults is $69. Tickets are available through Fulchino’s website.

Gauchos Churrascaria Brazilian Steak House (62 Lowell St., Manchester, 669-9460, will serve a Mother’s Day brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call for reservations or make them through Gauchos’ website.

Giorgio’s (524 Nashua St., Milford, 673-3939; 270 Granite St., Manchester, 232-3323; 707 Milford Road, Merrimack, 883-7333; will serve brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring salads, breads, appetizers, entrees, a carving station, omelet station, dessert station and more. Reservations can be made through Giorgio’s website.

Granite Restaurant (The Centennial Hotel, 96 Pleasant St., Concord, 227-9000, will serve a special Mother’s Day dinner menu on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, from 5 to 9 p.m. with dishes including New England crab cakes with avocado and blood orange, Faroe Island salmon, petite filet mignon with shrimp, honey-mascarpone cheesecake and more. Each mother will receive a special gift.

Granite State Candy Shoppe (13 Warren St. in Concord, 225-2591; 832 Elm St. in Manchester, 218-3885; is offering 15 percent off select gift boxes of chocolate, in-store and online, through Sunday, May 12.

The Hills Restaurant (Hampshire Hills Athletic Club, 50 Emerson Road, Milford, 673-7123, will serve a Mother’s Day brunch from 9 a.m. to noon. Dishes will include pulled pork eggs Benedict, swordfish tacos, a Korean BBQ breakfast burger, coconut cake and more. Reservations are available through the website.

The Homestead Tavern & Restaurant (641 DW Highway, Merrimack, 429-2022, will feature a special Mother’s Day menu featuring dishes including bacon-wrapped scallops, beef tenderloin, rack of lamb and more. Make reservations through the Homestead’s website.

Jamison’s Restaurant (472 Route 111, Hampstead, 489-1565, will feature a special Mother’s Day menu with dishes including seafood stuffed halibut, shrimp scampi, goat cheese stuffed roast chicken and more. Call for reservations.

KC’s Rib Shack (837 Second St., Manchester, 627-7427, will serve an all-you-can-eat Mother’s Day buffet from noon to 6 p.m. The buffet will feature smoked spare ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked sausage, mashed potatoes, cornbread, and more. Moms eat free.

LaBelle Winery (345 Route 101, Amherst, 672-9898; 14 Route 111, Derry, 672-9898, offers a la carte dining on Mother’s Day at The Bistro in Amherst and Americus in Derry. Brunch, lunch and dinner menus will be offered, plus special Mother’s Day dining specials and add-on upgraded dining experiences.

Makris Lobster & Steak House (354 Sheep Davis Road, Concord, 225-7665, will serve a Mother’s Day buffet from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The buffet will include peel-and-eat shrimp, roasted lamb, maple-Dijon salmon, homemade pastries and more. The cost is $36.99 for adults, $31.99 for seniors, and $14.99 for children under 12. Call for reservations.

Manchester Distillery (284 Willow St., Manchester, 978-308-2867, will host a Mums & Mimosas event Saturday, May 11, from noon to 5 p.m. Enjoy cocktails and mocktails from the distillery’s tasting room as you sip, shop and hang out on the patio and backyard.

Mike’s Italian Kitchen (212 Main St., Nashua, 595-9334, will feature a special Mother’s Day menu in addition to its regular menu. Make reservations through Mike’s website.

Mile Away Restaurant (52 Federal Hill Road, Milford, 673-3904, will serve a prix fixe dinner that includes one appetizer, such as a fresh fruit with sorbet or Swedish meatballs; a salad; an entree, with options like pork tenderloin, veal Marsala, maple-glazed salmon and more; and one dessert, such as chocolate mousse cake, carrot cake or flourless chocolate ganache cake. The cost is $49. Call to make a Mother’s Day reservation with a credit card. Table size is limited to eight guests or fewer.

Mr. Mac’s (497 Hooksett Road in Manchester; 606-1760, is open Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. with dine-in or Take and Bake that can be ordered in advance.

New England’s Tap House Grille (1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 782-5137, will serve brunch from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The entire restaurant will be converted into “Brunch Heaven.”

Pembroke Pines Country Club (45A Whittemore Road in Pembroke, 210-1365, will offer a Mother’s Day Brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $29.95 for adults and $12.95 for children.

Van Otis Chocolates (341 Elm St., Manchester, 627-1611, has many seasonal Mother’s Day chocolates available on its website, from floral gift boxes to gift assortments of all sizes and chocolate shoes and purses.

The Weekly Dish 24/05/02

News from the local food scene

Duck-fat fries and adoptable dogs: The Rockingham Brewing Co. (1 Corporate Park Drive, Derry, 216-2324, will host the Darbster Dog Derby on Friday, May 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. Meet, and possibly adopt, a new best friend courtesy of Darbster Doggy (109 Dover Road, Chichester, 635-4495,, drink good beer, and eat special pizzas and duck-fat fries from pop-up caterers Abeetz and Frites.

Kentucky Derby party: Break out your seersucker suits and giant hats. On Saturday, May 4, The Peddler’s Daughter (48 Main St., Nashua, 821-7535, will host a Kentucky Derby party from 2 to 7 p.m. with prizes, giveaways, and samples from Bellavance Beverage and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. Proper attire is strongly encouraged.

If you’re feeling fancy: The Oscar Barn Wedding Venue (191 W. River Road, Hooksett, 340-8361, will host a Champagne High Tea Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. Tickets are $65; this includes one glass of Champagne, food, tax and gratuity. This is a 21+ event and formal attire is requested. Tickets are available through the Oscar Barn’s website.

Three-Dollar Tuesday: Every Tuesday home game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium (1 Line Drive, Manchester, 641-2005, is Three Dollar Tuesday. Hot dogs are $3. Popcorn Is $3. Sodas are $3. On Tuesday, May 7, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats will play against the Harrisburg Senators at 6:05 p.m.

The Double Take

I have a friend who is an identical twin. During the Covid lockdown, she and her sister both had babies. Each of them would visit each other fairly frequently, but because they were being really cautious with newborns in their houses, the visiting sister would stand on the porch fully masked. They would each wave to the inside baby, and the babies, assuming this was just how things worked, would wave back at the lumpy, masked, vaguely mommy-shaped figures on the porch.

After a year or so, both sisters and their babies were able to get together in the same room for the first time without masks. According to my friend, the look on the babies’ faces as each of them saw two pretty much identical versions of their moms on opposite sides of the room was one of the most hysterical moments in the history of babies.

The point of this story — aside from the fact that it’s fun to mess with babies — is that the nature of reality is always a little beyond our comprehension. We have all been in situations where we thought we knew what was going on, but then discovered that we really, really didn’t, and had to reconcile two similar but fundamentally mismatched versions of reality.

Which, somehow, brings us to today’s cocktail.

Double Take

This is a take on a classic — if not often made — cocktail, a Cucumber Ginger Gin Fizz. This version uses largely the same ingredients as the original, but turns them on their head. Traditionally, this is made with cucumber juice and ginger syrup. This version uses homemade cucumber syrup and ginger brandy. You might think of this as a mirror image — the “other mommy” — of the original.

1 ounce cucumber syrup (see below)

1 ounce London dry gin – I like Death’s Door, but Gordon’s would work well, too

1 ounce ginger brandy – I’m a fan of Jacquin’s

1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

2 ounces seltzer

Combine the cucumber syrup, gin, brandy and lime juice with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake enthusiastically.

Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass.

Gently stir in the seltzer.

Sip, while thinking deep thoughts about the nature of reality.

The lime hits you first. You smile and nod approvingly, because you really like the taste of lime juice, and here it isn’t too acidic. Then your palate and a different set of synapses grab your attention and say, “What do you mean, ‘lime’? That’s ginger.” And you keep smiling and nodding, because you like ginger, too. But it’s at that point that you notice the cucumber, which is pushed out of the way by the lime again. It’s like a set of extremely demanding triplets. Fortunately, they have the gin and the fizziness of the seltzer to ground them.

The nature of existence can be transient.

Cucumber Syrup

Wash, but don’t peel some cucumber — half of one, three of them, it doesn’t matter — and chop it into medium (half-inch) dice.

Freeze it for several hours, or overnight. This will give jagged ice crystals a chance to form and poke holes in all the cucumber’s cell walls.

Combine the frozen cucumber and an equal amount of sugar — by weight — in a saucepan, and cook over medium heat. You’re going to look at what seems to be a dry, lumpy pile of sugar, and think to yourself, “That’s never going to make syrup!” Until it does. All those tiny holes made by the ice crystals will let the sugar draw all the liquid out of the cucumber, and because a cucumber is approximately 96 percent water, everything will come together very satisfyingly.

Bring the syrup to a boil, to make certain that all the sugar has dissolved, then remove from heat, and let it steep for 30 minutes.

Drain the syrup with a fine mesh strainer, and store in your refrigerator for several weeks.

Featured Photo: Double Take. Photo by John Fladd.

In the kitchen with Emilee Viaud

Emilee Viaud earned a bachelor’s degree in pastry arts from Johnson & Wales University, and subsequently worked in bakeries and restaurants in the Boston area. She then took a break from restaurants to work in the travel industry, but later opened her own pastry business, Sweet Treats by Emilee, where she focuses on custom cakes and cookies as well as selling sweet treats at retail locations in southern New Hampshire.

Emilee is also the Executive Pastry Chef of Greenleaf and Ansanm in Milford and Pavilion in Wolfeboro.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

A KitchenAid mixer. I use it for almost everything. I have even started to make pie dough in a mixer with a paddle attachment, which is a lot faster than a food processor or by hand.

What would you have for your last meal?

Bacon, egg and cheese on a croissant. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I could eat one of these every day. Nothing beats a freshly made croissant.

What is your favorite local eatery?

Lighthouse Local (21 Kilton Road in Bedford,, 716-6983) and its bakery, The Bird Food Baking Co. They make amazing doughnuts and cookies! I also love their breakfast sandwiches.

Who is a celebrity you would like to see eating something you’ve made?

Duff Goldman. He would be honest in his critique on taste and design. I grew up watching him on TV, so having him eat something of mine would be an honor.

What is your favorite thing that you make professionally?

I actually like decorating more than the science behind baking. I like to find the art within pastry, so decorating wedding cakes with buttercream and cookies with royal icing is where I can be creative and find it to be relaxing (sometimes, lol).

What is the biggest pastry trend in New Hampshire right now?

Croissants stuffed with chocolate chip cookie dough. I haven’t had one yet but hope to get one soon; almost every bakery has jumped on making them. I might make them for the Milford Farmers Market this summer!

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

After working in the kitchen all day, any hot meal will do. I always make meals that are quick, easy and something my 4-year-old will eat as well. I usually go for pasta, green beans and garlic bread.

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
These require no chilling before cutting/baking.

1 pound soft room-temperature unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 room-temperature eggs
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Beat butter and sugar together just until incorporated in a stand mixer.

Scrape the bowl after each new ingredient is added.

Add eggs and both extracts and mix until incorporated.

Add the cups of flour, baking soda and salt, and mix until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Roll the dough out, cut your shapes and bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes until the edges just start to turn brown.

Featured Photo: Emilee Viaud. Courtesy photo.

Stay in the loop!

Get FREE weekly briefs on local food, music,

arts, and more across southern New Hampshire!