In the spotlight

Young indie rockers make big stage debut

As live music resumes at Concord’s downtown Bank of New Hampshire Stage, a direction that started with the summer In The Park series continues: the showcasing of regional talent. Social distancing requirements now limit capacity, creating a sweet spot for acts like Grenon, a quartet of indie rockers who are more than excited for their upcoming show on Oct. 17.

The band is led by namesake Kacie Grenon, a 17-year-old singer-songwriter who began performing as a preteen. Grenon, on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, exudes an artistic maturity well beyond her age. “Imaginary Friends,” a song she wrote about social anxiety, has garnered over 53,000 Spotify streams since its spring release, along with a Top 10 Indie Rock Café pick and press notice in SoCal’s venerable L.A. Weekly.

It’s been a challenging time for the music business. As the band prepared to roll out a new video for “Imaginary Friends” in early May and hit the road to support it, Covid-19 shut the world down. Online Grenon Pity Party shows became the norm.

Though working through the pandemic via Facebook Live and other platforms was a breeze, it didn’t substitute for the real thing, Grenon said in a recent interview with bandmates Nick Turgeon and Zach Stone.

“We all grew up in the generation raised with technology, so it wasn’t a hard switch for us,” she said. “Although it’s super fun and we love doing them, playing online doesn’t really capture everything that we love. And we’re just so excited to actually be doing another live show.”

Grenon began writing “Imaginary Friends” as she completed internet-based high school. The feelings it describes — stuck at home while the world goes on outside — were very real.

“I didn’t really hang out with a lot of people,” she said. “So I was pretty lonely.”

With the pandemic, the song’s sentiments found a larger audience among Quarantine Nation, she said.

“Everyone’s pretty lonely. So I think that might be why people are resonating with it right now. But it’s just really cool to see a song that I wrote in my bedroom when I was feeling pretty low be pretty huge for us at this point,” she said.

Recognition from the virtual world for the new single surprised and delighted Grenon and her bandmates.

“We were supposed to go on a radio tour right after it dropped but we obviously could not get outside of the state,” she said. “It is pretty organic that a lot of people are seeing ‘Imaginary Friends.’ I give a lot of credit to our managers for helping us out so much.”

Bassist R.J. Wood, who joined Grenon in July, will play his second show with the band when they appear in Concord. Although enlisting a new member during a pandemic might appear difficult, Grenon said it was ideal.

“This gave us the perfect time to really practice with him without any pressing deadlines, like, ‘Oh we have a tour that we have to go on in like a week, can you learn all these songs?’” she said. “We’re super excited to finally have him show off for everyone.”

As for the band’s future plans, “just like everyone else in the industry right now we’re kind of waiting to be able to travel and tour,” Grenon said, noting that they’ll debut a follow-up to “Imaginary Friends” at Concord, Part 2 of their mental hell[th] EP.

Then, with all members now high school graduates, the entire band plans to share an apartment — hopefully one with thick walls. No word yet on when TikTok videos of at-home antics will begin appearing — “It’s such a weird app,” Grenon said — as they’re relatively new to the social media tool.

“We’re moving in so we can stay together and make a lot of cool behind-the-scenes stuff,” Grenon said. “We’re just trying to find ways to be creative and safe, and keep moving.”

: Saturday, Oct. 17, 8 p.m.
Where: Bank of New Hampshire Stage, 16 S. Main St., Concord
Tickets: $20 at

Featured photo: Grenon. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 20/10/10

Local music news & events

Laugh time: A regional standup showcase offers headliner Alex Giampapa with feature comic Dan Hall. The evening is hosted by Chad Blodgett, a New Hampshire native who’s built a following at area nightclubs, and at events like the Portland, Maine, Comedy Festival; he’s the 2018 Vermont Snowplow Comedy champion. The show is presented by Tiny Hands Productions, Thursday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m., Hatbox Theatre, 270 Loudon Road, Concord, tickets $22 at (18+).

Outdoor music: A downtown parking lot hosts The Ghost of Paul Revere. The Maine roots trio released their third studio album, Good At Losing Everything, in late August. They were poised to stage their annual Ghostland festival last month; instead, the four-show event was streamed. Their music is lyrically insightful, blending folk, bluegrass, rock and alternative. Friday, Oct. 16, 8:30 p.m., Service CU at Pop Up NH, Bridge Street Parking Lot, Portsmouth. Reserved tables start at $70,

Weekend wrap: Enjoy upbeat, familiar tunes from Another Shot Acoustic at a venue that began offering live music as soon as it was allowed and has continued on multiple days in the ensuing months. The husband and wife duo of Chris and Donna Colella plays classic rock, country and chart hits spanning decades. They are a popular attraction throughout New England. Sunday, Oct. 18, 4:30 p.m., Stumble Inn, 20 Rockingham Road, Londonderry. See

Silver screen: A career-spanning 2017 Stevie Nicks show captured on film, 24 Karat Gold: The Concert arrives at a time when the next superstar tour seems a distant dream. It includes songs from Nicks’ solo albums, like “Edge of Seventeen” and her duet with the late Tom Petty, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” along with Fleetwood Mac favorites. Wednesday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m., Chunky’s Cinema Pub, 707 Huse Road, Manchester. Tickets are $12.99 at

The 40-Year-Old Version (R)

The 40-Year-Old Version (R)

A nearly 40-year-old playwright feels stuck in her career and is facing life turmoil in The 40-Year-Old Version, a delightful comedy on Netflix.

Radha (Radha Blank, who also wrote and directed this movie) won a playwrights’ “30 under 30” award — but that was more than a decade ago. Now she’s pushing 40 and still struggling to “make it,” paying the bills by teaching a play-writing class to teens. She begs her best friend and agent Archie (Peter Kim) to get her most recent play, Harlem Ave., a shot at being produced by someone who will pay serious money. He gets her an invitation to a party to meet with J. Whitman (Reed Birney), a producer with cash but with a history of preferring stories that are what Radha calls “poverty porn.”

While Archie struggles to foster a Whitman/Radha partnership after their initial bumpy meeting — things take a turn when Whitman suggests Radha write his planned Harriet Tubman musical — a creatively wrung-out Radha considers returning to her teenage writing roots: hip-hop. She finds D (Oswin Benjamin) to make the beats to go with her lyrics and records a track, hoping to build the project into a mix tape. She might be hesitant, a bit rusty, but Radha clearly gets something from working on rhymes that she isn’t getting from her other work. D sees something special in her work and invites her to join in at an open-mic night. He also, a-hem, sees something special in her and while Radha clearly feels their age difference (he’s 26), she is also drawn to this quiet artist.

We see Radha blossom with rap; it seems to give her a way to express her frustrations and feelings that she can’t do in her other jobs. But she struggles with the urge to “stay in my lane” as she explains at one point. There is money and opportunity in letting J. Whitman and the white director he picks essentially gentrify her Black-characters-focused play about Harlem. But the rawer, more honest stories she tells in her lyrics are not a path to career stability — or even a clear path to career fulfillment, as we see Radha doubt herself even with this medium she enjoys.

And through all of this, we see her avoid calls from her brother who is cleaning out their mother’s apartment. Herself an artist, Radha’s mother recently died and clearly Radha is still figuring out how to handle this.

This movie is deeply charming. Without reminding me of any specific film, it gave me serious mid-1990s indie movie vibes. Like some of those movies, this one has occasional rough edges — but not many, and the overall tight focus of the story and understanding of its central character makes up for any flaws. The 40-Year-Old Version, with its scenes of walking and talking and its central character filled with relatable frustration and weary humor, is lovely. This movie is full of nice detail-moments that help build the real world of who Radha is and what it means to her to be almost 40.

The way we see Radha — presented as someone who is smart and talented but also grieving and struggling — work through this life rut is really engaging. Radha Blank, the real-life actress, is a magnetic person who can convey a lot with just her face (a few times she looks directly at the camera and the moments are not just nice comic beats but also create a real kinship with the viewer). She makes Radha, the character, feel like a fully formed real person, which makes her difficulties and her moments of happiness hit harder. A-

Rated R for pervasive language, sexual content, some drug use and brief nudity, according to the MPA on Written and directed by Radha Blank, The 40-Year-Old Version is two hours and four minutes long and distributed on Netflix.

Want, by Lynn Steger Strong

Want, by Lynn Steger Strong (Henry Holt & Co., 209 pages)

Books, says the protagonist in Lynn Steger Strong’s novel Want, offer “quiet, secret temporary safety,” which is the best argument for reading one, or 10, this month. Whether you’ll want to read this one is dependent on your capacity for patience. It’s a slow burn of a story, the word “plodding” comes to mind more than once, but it’s a thoughtful meditation on American excesses and desires.

Elizabeth is, in many ways, a thoroughly modern Lizzie. A child of affluence in the 1980s, she has arrived at age 34 with a Ph.D., a husband, two children (girls, 2 and 4) and a teaching job she cares about intermittently. But she is unable to enjoy any of this because of debt that has driven the couple to bankruptcy and troubled relationships with her parents and former best friend.

The debt began with $30,000 owed to a hospital for a C-section, then grew to include emergency dental work, household expenses and $100,000 in student loans. “My body almost single-handedly bankrupted us,” Elizabeth muses. That could be one reason that she punishes it, getting up before dawn every morning for double-digit runs on icy streets in Manhattan.

Strangely, it is 2017 but Elizabeth somehow dwells in a world that is unmolested by the Trump presidency or anything political. (There’s that “quiet, secret temporary safety” perhaps.)

But otherwise, the book is, in many ways, a rumination on American culture, although it’s unclear what part of it, if any, the author seeks to indict. Elizabeth and her husband were “eighties babies, born of plenty, cloistered by our whiteness and the place we were raised in … we were both brought up to think that if we checked off certain boxes we’d be fine.”

After the Great Recession, they floundered psychologically: “We had principles or something, made up almost wholly out of things we knew we didn’t want to be or have a part in more than in any concrete plans for what we’d be instead. … We were galvanized in this way, smug and stupid. It felt athletic and exciting, this misguided, blind self-righteousness.” She wanted a life that revolved around books; he, despite the $100,000 in student loans, decides he prefers working with his hands, and so leaves finance to build custom furniture.

Elizabeth moves numbly through her days, leaving work early occasionally to wander through a museum or read in a coffee shop. She occasionally checks Twitter and Facebook, largely to stalk her former best friend, Sasha, who has vanished from her life, for reasons that are slowly unspooled. When her husband, the primary caregiver of their daughters, is away, she speaks of “watching” her children, as if she is a detached babysitter.

Meanwhile there are the sundry indignities of wheeling through a moneyed world with $72 in their checking account. One day, for example, the girls had a birthday party to attend, so Elizabeth wraps two books her daughters don’t like (plus “a toy they haven’t played with much”) in printer paper she has the children decorate. The gift is stapled shut because they are out of tape. (The 4-year-old, of course, announces as soon as they arrive, “My mom didn’t have time to get a gift so she made us wrap up our own toys.”)

Equally important to the story is Elizabeth’s fraught relationship with her mother, “the only person in the world who can say my name and make it mean.” Elizabeth has all sorts of psychological scars from her childhood, yet her parents — both attorneys — are blind to their inadvertent cruelties and genuinely don’t comprehend why their relationship is broken.

In one searing scene the parents insist that Elizabeth watch a video of her cavorting happily with family members as a child and demand that she explain why she is so angry with them. “Is this the childhood that made you do such awful things to us?” her father demands.

We are meant, of course, to side with Elizabeth, who gathers her children and leaves. But this is a novel of nuance, and Elizabeth is not always entirely likeable herself; her ennui is infectious. Maybe the parents had a point. They have wants, too, after all.

At the birthday party, Elizabeth listens as the other moms talk about the health spas where they go for self-care; she is not resentful, but her desire, and her inability to have these things, is palpable. But there are people who want the things she has; for example, the wife of her husband’s associate who has been trying for two years to have a child. “I see her want in the way her eyes dip closer to her nose; I smell it, desperate and sour, on her breath and her lips,” Elizabeth observes.

We all have currency of some kind, but not all currency involves money. For some it’s family, for others health. This is a rich, mineable theme. Want nibbles around the edges of what it could be but ultimately suffers from the narrator’s own lethargy and an ending of dubious resolution.

When I was a kid, the next best thing to Halloween was checking out books about Halloween at the school library. There couldn’t have been that many, but there were always histories of holidays, and sometimes I would score a book on costumes or holiday parties that would have Halloween chapters. October is a long month, even longer when you’re in third or fourth grade; reading about Halloween helped me hang on until the 31st finally arrived.
Then I grew up, and … nothing.
I can’t remember reading anything about Halloween in ages. This seems strange, given that I own two dozen Christmas-themed books. So I set out to find some Halloween books for adults — and by that I mean books specifically about the celebration of Halloween and its assorted characters, not just books that are spooky. For that, all you need is Stephen King.
There aren’t a lot. Even though adults have effectively taken over Halloween, most Halloween books are for kids. But here are a few witchy titles I found for grown-ups:
Ghostland, An American History in Haunted Places, by Colin Dickey (Penguin, 336 pages)
The History and Haunting of Salem by Rebecca Pittman (Wonderland Productions, 647 pages)
For people who loved the film Halloween, there’s a book about the making of it: Taking Shape, Developing Halloween from Script to Screen, by Dustin McNeill and Travis Mullins (Harker Press, 378 pages).
Roald Dahl compiled an anthology of ghost stories — who knew? Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 235 pages.)
This book makes me tired just reading about it, but for the creative cooks among us: Tricky Treats, Halloween Delights for Appetizers, Snacks, Dinner and Dessert, by Vincent Amiel (Skyhorse, 96 pages).
More promising: The Spell Book for New Witches, Essential Spells to Change Your Life by Ambrosia Hawthorn (Rockridge Press, 244 pages). Don’t laugh; she’s the editor of Witchology magazine and says she has been a practicing witch for 15 years.
For the thirsty: WitchCraft Cocktails: 70 Seasonal Drinks Infused with Magic and Ritual by Julia Halina Hadas (Adams Media, 224 pages).
Finally, for those of you who are obsessed with Walt Disney, there is Vault of Walt 9: Halloween Edition by Jim Korkis (Theme Park Press, 256 pages), released this month. This is not a joke. Theme Park Press exclusively publishes books about Disney parks, and Korkis found enough anecdotes about Walt Disney, the man and his theme park to fill a paperback book. (Even more incredible, he’s written 28 other books, all about Disney, including Vault of Walt, Christmas Edition.)
And of course there are plenty of Halloween coloring books for adults, something I would normally grumble about, but 2020 being what it is … sure, bring out the orange and black crayons.

Album Reviews 20/10/15

Yellow Days, A Day in a Yellow Beat (RCA Records)

If you believe the hype bubbling up around this second album from Yellow Days, a.k.a. George van den Broek, he’s successfully bending ’70s radio-funk into a form of “upbeat existential millennial crisis music.” What that translates to in the real world of real things is a patchwork of listenable-enough blue/jazz/funk sampling that draws from the Moby playbook. The 2.5-minute “Intro” is a bit tired: an old TV interview with Ray Charles (in which he bemoans the lack of artistic freedom granted to those poor downtrodden souls who’ve scored record contracts) pattering over a decent-enough imitation of 1980s jazz-pop chill, complete with dated synths, faux-xylophone and assorted other piffle. “Be Free” is more of a traditional tune (or extended ringtone, take your pick), one dripping with Carter-era authenticity, and from there you’re off to the escapist races with the rest of the songs, lounging in a silky hammock of occasionally skit-decorated Soul Train vibe. All of it’s pretty catchy, if that counts. B+

Spice Girls, Forever (Virgin Records)

Unless the holidays are canceled — and who would blame us — we’ve arrived at that time of the year when nearly all the new releases are reissues, box sets, bootlegs, laughably expensive multimedia DVD/CD packages (“Only 10,000 in existence!”), and, of course, first-ever vinyl releases, like this one. No, this isn’t the album with their monster hit “Wannabe” on it (that was from their 1996 debut album, Spice); Forever was their final studio album, and “only” reached No. 39 in the U.S. Not surprising, given that they were down to four singers by then (Ginger Spice, a.k.a. Geri Halliwell, left for a solo career and to write children’s books). OK, no, that wasn’t the unsurprising thing about this album’s failure to do much in the U.S.; it was the phoned-in quality of the songs. Like most of this stuff, “Let Love Lead the Way” (granted, a filler track if ever there was one) was at best a bad example of massage-spa background patter; “Get Down With Me” couldn’t decide whether it wanted to nick TLC or Missy Elliott, and so on. Frankly, the only thing that didn’t outright suck was the girl-power ballad “Goodbye,” which actually did fit as a final righteous statement. C-

Retro Playlist

If you haven’t yet cracked in half over this endless quarantine, one might guess that you may have discovered meditation and/or yoga. Those things do help soothe the soul, believe it or not, despite the fact that so many people suggest them.

I should know, if you’ll pardon. I became a certified Kripalu yoga instructor 15 years ago, after spending a month at the practice’s ashram, which resembles a suburban grade school more than it does any sort of ancient spiritual retreat. Regardless, this led to my becoming co-owner of the now-defunct Manchester Yoga Center, which was located over what was then the India Palace (now Royal India) restaurant on South Willow Street in Manchvegas. Strategic partnering, you see.

Music, of course, is a big part of the yoga experience. When you’re trying to rid your body and brain of toxins, it helps to play music that’s cleansing. Just to get this part out of the way, everyone automatically thinks of Irish multi-tracking weirdo Enya when they think of “yoga music,” and yeah, it is awesome stuff. I usually have her “Best Of” LP playing in the car around the holidays.

But honestly, Deva Premal is as good as Enya, if in a different way. I used to play her 1998 Essence album a lot in my yoga classes. Her voice is truly a marvel. Her last couple of albums kind of sucked, but that’s only proof that perfection simply isn’t attainable on this plane.

As for my personal go-to “yoga records” — which, it should be said, means “New Age Music,” of a sort — one constant has always been Anugama’s Shamanic Dream, which works as yoga-class ambiance and meditative trance-inducement. It’s a crazy-long tune made of one simple, gentle, super-cool tabla/synth pattern over which a faraway voice chants “So be it.” Really immersive stuff.

My most guilty New Age pleasure, though, is the 1996 Christopher Franke album The Celestine Prophecy. The story goes that Franke, of the early ambient band Tangerine Dream, was inspired to pay homage to James Redfield’s 1993 novel of the same name. Though a bit mixed, the results do include a tune titled “The Mission of Father Sanchez,” a song that is, to this day, the prettiest, most spiritually empowering thing I’ve ever heard. The ultimate wedding march. I can’t make it to the final fade without being overwhelmed with joy and blubbering like a baby. It gets me every single time. If The Lion King soundtrack makes your lower lip twitch, this tune might just knock you flat.

(Please don’t ever use it on me at a party. I do have a certain amount of Grinch cred to maintain.)


A seriously abridged compendium of recent and future CD releases

• Hey, everyone, guess what happens on Oct. 16? Yep, that’s right, all the new albums get released, because it is a Friday! Let’s start the festivities with this hipster dude over here, Kevin Morby, a Texas native who moved to Brooklyn because he thought it would be awesome, and he’d live this totally neat-o Singin’ in the Rain life, or something like that, I honestly don’t know what this stupid Wikipedia article is even trying to say. But whatever, he was in a band called The Babies with Cassie Ramone of the Vivian Girls, and — look at that, I’ve lost ya, haven’t I. Come back, man, I agree with you, seriously, like, who cares about bands who sacrificed nice suburban lives just to rack up 85 YouTube listens or whatnot, and so I will end the boring history lesson and go have a listen to whatever single is on tap from Morby’s upcoming new album Sundowner! I don’t know anything about this guy, but I swear on a stack of Silver Surfer No. 4 comic books that if this is melodically good but there’s really horrible singing, like every other “indie” band that doesn’t have a full band roster I’ve heard this year, I’ll — why, I’ll, well, let’s just say that you don’t want to know! OK, here’s the stupid single, “Campfire.” It’s a cross between The Cardinals and Bob Dylan, and it’s been done literally one trillion times before.

• Right, here we go, with British glam-rockers The Struts, who are releasing their third album, Strange Days! Will it be as terrible as The Darkness, or will it be technically awesome, like the old British glam rock band Sweet used to be? By the way, only ninnies call Sweet “The Sweet.” Their name is just plain “Sweet.” Why did people call them “The Sweet,” like, was there a misprint in the August 1979 issue of Hit Parader or something? I don’t care, at least this band definitely does have “The” in its name, and for that I thank them. Oh, let’s just go, the first single is the title track, and the “feat” person is none other than the guy from Take That, Robbie Williams! Wait, this isn’t glam, it’s soccer-mom music for the Ellen DeGeneres show. Come on, guys, at least do some cowbell, hah? Nope, no cowbell, no glam, just music for daydreaming about receiving a tender back massage from Bradley Cooper while dropping the kids off for a “play date,” or whatever soccer moms do, I have no idea. Barf, no glam, just over-processed piano-pop, let’s just move along here.

• Ha ha, look at the funny skinny soy-boy, who calls himself “The Wonky Angle,” on the YouTube, ranking Autechre’s albums from best to worst and gettin’ him some Likes! Is there really a difference from one album to another, when a band plays awesome glitchy IDM? Nope. The new album is called Sign, and there’s no advance, but — wait a second, why is the album cover a complete ripoff of Orbital’s Wonky, or at least the promo version? Whatever, I’ll take it, this will be awesome, don’t mind me.

• We’ll end the week with Don’t Know How But They Found Me, a band led by two of the sad emo clowns from Panic! At The Disco. The title track from their new album, Razzmataz, is — wait, is this Smirnov commercial real? Like, you can drill a hole on top of a watermelon and stick a vodka bottle upside down in the hole, attach a spigot, and you get drinkies? Uh-oh, yikes, I’m out of room, no time to talk about whatever this emo song is about.

October’s cocktail dilemma – Drinks with John Fladd

Argument – There comes a time when a rational adult needs to set aside emotion and accept Reality.

Counter-Argument – What has Reality ever done for me?

OK, it’s October.

October, in a year that has been circling the flush-line since March and promises to circle even faster around the bowl before we give up on 2020 entirely and hope for something better next year. Summer is gone and we have to brace ourselves for a grim fall and a winter of — I don’t know — discontent?

That’s one way to look at it.

Another is to adopt, as P.G. Wodehouse put it, a campaign of stout denial. You know what I’m talking about — grown men wearing shorts, sandals and Santa hats in December. Women who wear white after Labor Day and meet your gaze with steely determination.

Whichever camp you fall into, you could probably use a drink.

Case No. 1 – “I Grudgingly Accept That Summer Is Over and Will Adopt a Serious, Adult Demeanor”

The cocktail for you:

Black Tie Cocktail
2 oz. dark rum, such as Myers
½ oz. triple sec
¼ oz. orgeat
½ teaspoon blackstrap molasses
½ oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup

Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with five or six ice cubes. Shake until you can feel the ice splintering (see below). Pour without straining into a rocks glass.

The Black Tie is a deceptive cocktail. On its surface it is dignified, sober (in an emotional sense) and entirely appropriate for the season.

On tasting it, though, you will be surprised. It has complex, playful flavors that come in stages — the molasses and lime play off each other unexpectedly well. It is a bit subversive.

Case No. 2 – “Fall Foliage Is Just Another Way of Describing Tiki Trees”

The cocktail for you :

Rum Runner
1½ oz. navy rum like Lamb’s or Pussers, or dark rum like Myers
½ oz. crème de mûre, or blackberry liqueur, or blackberry brandy (the kind you find sometimes in little single-portion bottles in the sale bin at the liquor store)
1 oz. crème de banana
1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
2 oz. pineapple juice
½ oz. grenadine (pomegranate syrup)

Again, put everything in a cocktail shaker with five or six ice cubes, then shake brutally, until you feel the ice shatter. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish – Several weeks ago I described the Jungle Bird as too serious a drink to garnish with frou-frou paper umbrellas or fruit. This drink is a defiant rebellion against the changing of the seasons. It calls for a minimum of two cocktail umbrellas, and as much fruit as you want to cram into it.

Just as the Black Tie is deceptively playful, this drink is deceptively sophisticated. The key ingredient here is the blackberry brandy, which insists on shining through all the other goofy ingredients.

A word on cocktail shakers
When you first start making serious, grown-up cocktails you will probably buy a cocktail shaker with a strainer built into its spout. “This looks easier,” you will say to yourself. You might even congratulate yourself on keeping your common touch and not buying into cocktail snobbery.
Eventually, you’ll start getting impatient with how long it takes to pour your entire drink into your glass through the built-in strainer. You will probably have to re-shake and re-strain your drink several times to get all of it out of the shaker.
The solution is what is called a Boston Shaker. It consists of one large steel canister, and a smaller one. It is what most professional bartenders use. You put your ingredients into the larger canister, turn the little one upside-down, wedge it firmly over the ingredients in the larger one, then shake.
It seems like it should leak. It doesn’t. It seems like it would be hard to strain drinks with. It isn’t. The drinks end up colder, somehow. As you shake, you can feel the ice cracking and splintering — which is profoundly satisfying — and you can pour your drink quickly and efficiently into your waiting glass, and shortly thereafter, into you.

A visit to Spain

Celebrating the grapes of the Iberian peninsula

Spain is Western Europe’s second-oldest wine producing country, but 3,000 years on, it is producing wines that are among the most modern in Europe.

Wine was made in Andalucia between 1,100 and 500 B.C., initially brought in trade by the Phoenicians and later cultivated by expatriate Greeks. Along came the Romans, who set about planting vineyards to export wine to quaff the thirst of their armies. The Moors invaded Spain in the year 700 and with the invasion came a notable reduction in winemaking, but by the 14th century sherry had become a major export across Europe. However, with this deep history, it wasn’t until the late 20th century and the return of democracy and investment that dramatic progress was made in the development of quality wine from well-controlled vinification.

There are many grape varieties and wine styles across the Iberian peninsula of Spain and Portugal, in part because of a variety of soil types, temperatures and rainfall. When we think of Spain we think of the classic red wine, Rioja, made from the tempranillo grape, with its strawberry-raspberry fruit flavor and toasty oak nuances, but there is more resulting from this late winemaking expansion with cabernet sauvignons and merlots, as well as wines produced from grenache and carignan grapes.

Our first wine is a white wine from Galicia, that part of Spain that is along the Atlantic and north of Portugal. Martin Códax 2019 Albarino Rias Baixas (originally priced at the New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets at $15.99 and on sale at $13.99) is a delicate and medium-bodied wine with a crisp, dry finish. On the palate, flavors of pear, apple, peach and lemon zest are framed by bright minerality and hints of spice. Attractive floral aromatics and brisk acidity make this a versatile, food-friendly wine. We enjoyed it with an appetizer of scallops wrapped in bacon. It was perfect for this dish.

Val do Salnés, a region of Galicia, is known as the birthplace of the Albariño grape in a region where 99 percent of all wine produced is white. The soil is granitic and rocky with alluvial topsoil. It is also the coolest and wettest sub-region with an average temperature of just 55 degrees F. Rías Baixas more closely resembles coastal Ireland than it does other parts of Spain. Known as “Green Spain,” the region is characterized by moderate year-round temperatures, ocean mists and an average annual rainfall that in some spots is nearly three times the national average. Some say you can taste the salt air in the wine. I beg to differ, but taste is a personal thing.

Our second wine can be considered a classic. Marqués de Cáceres 2012 Gran Reserva Rioja (originally priced at the New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets at $29.99 and on sale at $24.99) has a dark red color and leaves a hint of brick-red on the edge of the glass. This wine hails from the renowned region of La Rioja, of northern Spain. To the nose there are blackberries and some floral notes. The mouth is full and thick with mature plums, sweet spice, and slight tannins like roasted coffee beans or leather from its time in oak. There is a long dry finish, which was a perfect accompaniment to our wine-braised beef with vegetables and an array of mushrooms. This wine at eight years old is still fresh and promises great potential for aging for perhaps a decade. We opened the bottle a couple of hours before pouring and it continued to open in our glasses.

We enjoyed these wines with close friends on our patio, surrounded by gas heaters that not only warmed us but offered beautiful light to the occasion. The evening grew to be cool, but we were warmed by the company of good friends, hearty fare and the superb wines that paired so well with our courses. As the temperatures continue to dip and we want to spend time with friends and family, light up the heaters, fire up the backyard pits, and enjoy some wonderful Spanish wines that are affordable and need more attention from us.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

In the kitchen with the Berrys

Matt Berry and Lauren Foster Berry of Milford are the owners of Dahlia Restaurant (, find them on Facebook and Instagram), a series of New England-inspired farm-to-table pop-up dinners they launched last month. Named after the couple’s daughter, Dahlia held its first dinner at Greenleaf in Milford on Sept. 27. A second event followed a week later, at The Birch on Elm in Manchester. Dahlia’s next event, a Halloween-themed dinner, is scheduled for Oct. 25 at Noodz on Elm Street in Manchester. Collaborative dinners are also planned for Nov. 15, with Camacho Knives & Leather in Manchester, and Dec. 6, with Dunk’s Mushrooms & Foraging in Brentwood. Previously, Matt and Lauren both worked at Greenleaf — he as chef de cuisine and she as a pastry chef.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

Lauren: Spoons, in different shapes and sizes, are essential for us, not only for cooking but also for plating. Finding a good spoon to cook with reinvigorates the passion for what we do.

What would you have for your last meal?

Matt: … All of our favorite bad foods. Smash burgers, mozzarella sticks, fried pickles, strawberry milkshakes, things like that.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

Matt: Definitely Otis [in Exeter]. [Owner and chef] Lee Frank is a really good friend of mine, and he’s been a great mentor for me as well. I worked under him as the sous chef. … Lee changes his menu every week, so going to eat there is kind of like putting your faith into his hands, which is an ideology we want to reflect in Dahlia. His clientele really trust his talent as a chef.

What celebrity would you like to see attending one of your dinners?

Matt: [Chef] Sean Brock, hands down. His passion for preserving crops and utilizing classic ingredients really inspired me on a personal level.

What is your personal favorite thing to cook?

Lauren: Mine has always been caramel corn. My earliest memory of being in the kitchen was with my mom, who would make big batches of it for friends and family in our area. The smells of popcorn and caramel are still really special to me and remind me of when I fell in love with cooking for the first time.

Matt: I always tend to come back to New Nordic cuisine. One thing we put on the menu a couple of times at Greenleaf and at Otis was aebleskiver, which is almost like a pancake dumpling cooked in a cast iron pan with divots in it. I also love gravlax, which is cured salmon.

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

Lauren: The farm-to-table trend is definitely really prevalent here right now. Over the last decade, so many more restaurants have focused on local ingredients, and customers have really embraced that as well. Patrons want to hear about the relationships you have, not only with the food but with the people growing it.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

Matt: I’m really passionate about making a really good bread. We have a couple of sourdough starters, and we both really like to experiment with different styles.

Lauren: For me, every time I’m cooking at home I always want to make soup. I like to eat soup all year round.

Birch flour biscuits
Yields about 12 medium biscuits

250 grams (or about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
100 grams (or about ¾ cup) birch bark flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon local maple syrup
2 teaspoons salt
85 grams (or about ⅓ cup) butter
177 grams (or about ¾ cup) buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Set aside birch flour and combine rest of dry ingredients, whisking to combine. Using box grater, grate cold butter. Add to dry ingredients. Using hands or a food processor, mix together until butter is pea-sized and mixture looks like coarse wet sand. Whisk together birch flour and buttermilk in separate bowl. Drizzle over the top of butter and flour mixture, then gently knead to combine, being careful not to overwork dough. Turn dough out onto floured surface and work dough only until it comes together to form a rough ball. After sprinkling the surface of dough with flour, roll it out using a rolling pin to form a rectangle. Fold this in half, rotate rectangle 90 degrees, then flatten dough back out with heel of hands to not overwork dough and to keep biscuits tender. Repeat, folding, turning and pressing the dough back out three times. Using hands, press dough out to form one-inch-thick rectangle. Using two-inch round cookie cutter coated with flour, cut out biscuits and transfer to a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, until light golden brown. Brush with melted butter and serve warm.
To mill your own birch flour: Collect birch bark from white birch tree (only peel bark from recently fallen trees or collect pieces that have shed naturally — cream-colored pieces that are still pliable and not grey or brittle, and that are free from rot or bug holes). Submerge strips of bark in water. Bring to a boil; simmer for two hours. Dehydrate strips in the oven at the lowest setting overnight or in a dehydrator. Mill strips into flour in a food processor. Let spin until the bark has become very fine, then sift through a fine mesh strainer.

Farmers markets
• Concord Farmers Market
is Saturdays, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, on Capitol Street in Concord (near the Statehouse), now through Oct. 31. Visit
Contoocook Farmers Market is Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to noon, at 896 Main St. in Contoocook, outdoors through at least Oct. 31. Find them on Facebook @contoocookfarmersmarket for updates.
• Henniker Community Market is Thursdays, from 4 to 7 p.m., at Henniker Community Center (57 Main St.), through Oct. 29. Find them on Facebook @hennikercommunitymarket.
Milford Farmers Market is Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 300 Elm St. in Milford through Nov. 21. Visit
Nashua Farmers Market is Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at City Hall Plaza (229 Main St.), through Oct. 18. Visit

Featured Photo: Matt Berry and Lauren Foster Berry

Fish (and chips) story

In praise of the New England comfort classic

The Lobster Boat. Courtesy photo.

On the menu of nearly every seafood restaurant and Irish pub in New Hampshire, fish & chips — featuring battered and deep-fried whitefish, usually haddock or cod, with french fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce — is a pair of quintessential New England comfort foods. Local chefs and restaurateurs talk about the way their fish & chips are prepared and how they put their own unique spins on the fried classic, from the type of fish to the batter they use.

Fresh catch

Haddock is far and away the most prevalent fish used for fish & chips in the Granite State. Janet Johnston of The Lobster Boat in Merrimack said not only is it a common whitefish found in the Northern Atlantic, but it’s also a great option due to its leanness and sweet flavor. The Lobster Boat gets fresh fish deliveries six days a week, its haddock already deboned and skinned.

“It holds together when you cook it and comes out real tender and flaky, making it really nice for fish & chips,” she said.

While cod is also an acceptable option, Johnston said its thicker and firmer texture compared to haddock makes it a better fish for grilling than frying.

Eric Griffin of Grill 603 in Milford, which also uses fresh New England haddock for its fish & chips, had been using cod before coming to New Hampshire four years ago. He previously owned and operated a restaurant in the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia.

“In the South you really can’t get good fresh haddock,” Griffin said. “The natural sweet flavor and flaky texture of the fish, in my opinion, is superior to cod when you cook it just right.”

How the fish is cut up and portioned will depend on where you go. Some restaurants, like Surf in Nashua and Portsmouth, and Hooked in Manchester, serve up one large filet of haddock. Griffin said he likes to prepare it at Grill 603 a little differently.

“We actually cut ours into one- to one-and-a-half-ounce sized pieces, which allows the fish to cook very quickly and evenly,” he said. “A lot of people that come into the restaurant and order it sometimes aren’t prepared for that, but when they take a bite, it’s all over.”

More diverse than the fish itself is the way it’s battered and fried at each eatery in the state. The Lobster Boat, according to Johnston, has used a yellow corn flour-based batter for decades, while at Grill 603 Griffin has his own batter he gets imported from North Carolina.

“The batter we use is super light and flavorful, and very fine, which is why we cut up the fish the way we do when we fry it,” he said. “We also batter each portion to order.”

Michael Lyle, corporate chef of Michael Timothy’s Dining Group, said a tempura batter with gluten-free rice flour and water is used for the fish & chips available at Surf.

In Concord, The Barley House has its own curry beer batter for its fish & chips. Chef Jon Frobese said beer sourced from Concord Craft Brewing is added to the eatery’s tempura batter, as well as some curry powder to enhance its flavor and Smithwick’s Irish ale for added color.

A fishy history

The origin of fish & chips as we know it today can be traced back to mid-19th-century England — the National Federation of Fish Friers recognizes it as “the undisputed national dish of Great Britain” and a “cultural and culinary symbol” of the country, according to its website. Exactly when and where the first plate of fish & chips was ever consumed is where things get, well, fishy. According to The Oxford Companion to Food, an encyclopedia edited by Alan Davidson and published by Oxford University Press, claims of the dish’s invention have been made in both London and Lancashire, some 200 miles to the northwest, around the year 1860, although fried fish and cooked potatoes had both existed separately for a time before. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Culinary & Menu Terms, compiled by Rodney Dale, identifies “chips” as an English colloquial term for french fries.

Pretzel crusted fish & chips from Backyard Brewery & Kitchen. Photo by Matt Ingersoll.

From the late 1800s through about World War II, Davidson writes, the number of fish & chips shops steadily grew across England and Ireland by the thousands. Some merchants, he added, attempted to package and sell fish & chips in used newspapers as a way to keep costs down, although this practice was largely phased out by the 1960s for sanitary reasons.

Chipping in

Almost every New Hampshire eatery offering fish & chips will serve you the fish with a side of french fries, and usually a small bowl of coleslaw and tartar sauce for dipping.

The Lobster Boat, Johnston said, uses a soybean oil that’s changed out every day for frying. The coleslaw is also homemade every morning.

In Nashua, The Peddler’s Daughter hand-cuts all its own fries using fresh Idaho potatoes. Chef Jeff DiAntonio said each serving of fish & chips also comes with two jars each of house-made ketchup and lemon tartar sauce.

Just like with its haddock, Surf prepares its fries in a gluten-free-friendly deep fryer, serving its fish & chips with a side of house tartar sauce.

“We make our own mayonnaise, whipping egg yolks with olive oil, and then we fold in some onions, capers and parsley,” Lyle said.

Grill 603 also makes its own coleslaw and tartar sauce, Griffin said.

“We actually use dill relish for our tartar sauce, which gives it a nice tart, zingy flavor,” he said.

Where to get a plate of fish & chips

From house-battered haddock or cod to hand-cut fries and homemade tartar sauce, here are some restaurants, brew pubs and other businesses in southern New Hampshire that offer their own unique takes on fish & chips.

110 Grill (875 Elm St., Manchester, 836-1150; 27 Trafalgar Square, Nashua, 943-7443; offers fish & chips on its entree menu, featuring North Atlantic cod fried in seasoned flour and served with french fries, tartar sauce and coleslaw.

1750 Taphouse (170 Route 101, Bedford, 488-2573, offers fried beer-battered haddock with hand-cut fries, coleslaw, tartar sauce and a lemon wedge.

Auburn Tavern (345 Hooksett Road, Auburn, 587-2057, offers fresh fried haddock with french fries and coleslaw on its seafood menu.

Backyard Brewery & Kitchen (1211 S. Mammoth Road, Manchester, 623-3545, uses pretzel-crusted haddock for its fish & chips, which is served over hand-cut fries with pickle slaw and handmade tartar sauce.

The Barley House Restaurant & Tavern (132 N. Main St., Concord, 228-6363, offers fish & chips featuring haddock fried in a curry beer batter and served with french fries, tartar sauce and coleslaw.

The Beach Plum (3 Brickyard Square, Epping, 679-3200; 16 Ocean Blvd., N. Hampton, 964-7451; 2800 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth, 433-3339; offers fried haddock with french fries, coleslaw and a dinner roll that’s available as a smaller basket or a larger dinner size.

Buckley’s Great Steaks (438 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack, 424-0995, offers fish & chips on its house specialties menu, with coleslaw and tartar sauce.

Cactus Jack’s Grill & Watering Hole (1182 Union Ave., Laconia, 528-7800, offers Jack’s fish & chips on its house specialties menu, featuring fried haddock, fries, fried onion, coleslaw and tartar sauce.

Casey Magee’s Irish Pub & Music Hall (8 Temple St., Nashua, 484-7400, offers Guinness-battered fried cod for its fish & chips entree, served with house fries, homemade coleslaw, tartar sauce and a lemon wedge.

CJ’s Great West Grill (782 S. Willow St., Manchester, 627-8600, offers haddock fried in a tempura batter for its fish & chips, which are served with fries, onion rings, coleslaw and tartar sauce.

Clam Haven (94 Rockingham Road, Derry, 434-4679, is expected to remain open for the season through Oct. 31. The eatery offers several fried fish plates like haddock, clams, scallops, and lobster tails, served with french fries, onion rings and coleslaw.

Copper Door Restaurant (15 Leavy Dr., Bedford, 488-2677; 41 S. Broadway, Salem, 458-2033; offers fish & chips on its lunch menu, featuring haddock with a tempura breading, house fries, coleslaw and remoulade.

Cork N Keg Grill (4 Essex Dr., Raymond, 244-1573, offers fish & chips, hand-breaded and served with coleslaw and tartar sauce.

Diz’s Cafe (860 Elm St., Manchester, 606-2532, offers fish & chips that feature deep fried and breaded Atlantic haddock, served with french fries and house-made tartar sauce.

Downtown Cheers Grille & Bar (17 Depot Road, Concord, 228-0180, offers deep fried and lightly breaded haddock on its entree menu, served with french fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce.

The Farm Bar and Grille (1181 Elm St., Manchester, 641-3276, offers fish & chips that feature more than half a pound of haddock per order, fried and lightly breaded, and served over a bed of waffle fries and house-chopped slaw.

Firefly American Bistro & Bar (22 Concord St., Manchester, 935-9740, uses beer-battered local whitefish for its fish & chips, which are served with french fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce.

The Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille (40 Andover Road, New London, 526-6899, uses beer-battered haddock filet for its fish & chips, which are served over pub fries with coleslaw and tartar sauce.

Fody’s Great American Tavern (9 Clinton St., Nashua, 577-9015; 187½ Rockingham Road, Derry, 404-6946; uses beer-battered cod for its fish & chips, which are served with hand-cut fries and tartar sauce.

The Foundry Restaurant (50 Commercial St., Manchester, 836-1925, offers tempura-battered fish & chips with coleslaw and tartar sauce.

Giorgio’s Ristorante & Bar (270 Granite St., Manchester, 232-3323; 707 Milford Road, Merrimack, 883-7333; offers the Greek fish & chips, which feature beer-battered haddock over Greek fries, topped with arugula, caper and lemon butter.

Goldenrod Restaurant (1681 Candia Road, Manchester, 623-9469, offers a haddock plate on its entree menu, served with french fries and coleslaw.

Grill 603 (168 Elm St., Milford, 213-6764, uses fresh New England haddock for its fish & chips that is dry breaded Carolina style and served with gourmet fries and coleslaw.

Holy Grail Food & Spirits (64 Main St., Epping, 679-9559, offers golden fried beer-battered haddock loins, served with homemade chips.

Hooked Seafood Restaurant & Ignite Bar & Grille (110/100 Hanover St., Manchester, 644-0064, offers fish & chips that feature deep fried haddock, french fries, tartar sauce and coleslaw.

Jamison’s (472 Route 111, Hampstead, 489-1565, offers fresh haddock for its fish & chips, which include hand-cut fries, slaw and house tartar sauce.

Johnson’s Seafood & Steak (1334 First New Hampshire Turnpike, Northwood, 942-7300, find them on Facebook @johnsonsnorthwood) offers fish & chips that feature hand-battered haddock filet and homemade tartar sauce.

Lakehouse Tavern (157 Main St., Hopkinton, 746-1800, offers beer-battered haddock for its fish & chips, with fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce.

The Lobster Boat Restaurant (453 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack, 424-5221; 273 Derry Road, Litchfield, 882-4988; offers fish & chips available in small or large sizes on its menu, featuring golden fried haddock with a side of coleslaw.

The Lobster Claw (4 S. Main St., Derry, 437-2720, offers a variety of fried seafood dinners, with options like haddock, flounder, clams, scallops and more. Each dinner is served with french fries and coleslaw.

Main Street Grill and Bar (32 Main St., Pittsfield, 435-0005, uses beer-battered fried haddock for its fish & chips, which are served with french fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce.

Makris Lobster & Steak House (354 Sheep Davis Road, Concord, 225-7665, offers a variety of fried seafood plates in its own homemade batter, with options like haddock, shrimp, scallops, clams and oysters. Each is served with fries and slaw, and there are optional replacement sides like onion rings, Cajun fries and sweet potato fries.

Murphy’s Taproom (494 Elm St., Manchester, 644-3535, uses red ale-battered haddock for its fish & chips, which are served with coleslaw and tartar sauce.

Murphy’s Taproom & Carriage House (393 Route 101, Bedford, 488-5975, offers fish & chips on its entree menu, which feature Samuel Adams-battered haddock, house fries, toasted fennel slaw and tartar sauce.

New England’s Tap House Grille (1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 782-5137, uses beer-battered haddock for its fish & chips, which are served with seasoned french fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce.

Newick’s Lobster House (317 Loudon Road, Concord, 225-2424; 431 Dover Point Road, Dover, 742-3205; offers a variety of fried seafood plates, served with either chips or fries, including haddock, scallops, clam strips and coconut shrimp.

The Peddler’s Daughter (48 Main St., Nashua, 821-7535, offers beer-battered fish & chips, which feature fresh haddock loins cut up in house and fried, then served with house cut fries, homemade lemon tartar sauce and ketchup, and malt vinegar.

The Red Blazer Restaurant and Pub (72 Manchester St., Concord, 224-4101, offers fish & chips that feature hand-breaded haddock and are served with french fries, coleslaw and homemade tartar sauce.

Rocco’s Pizza Bar & Grill (297 Derry Road, Hudson, 577-9866, uses hand-battered haddock for its fish & chips, which are served with french fries and coleslaw.

The Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant (909 Elm St., Manchester, 625-0246, uses beer-battered haddock filets for its fish & chips, which are served with shoestring fries, house slaw and tartar sauce. You can also switch out the fries for roasted root vegetables or smashed potatoes.

Shopper’s Pub + Eatery at Indian Head (18 Lake Ave., Manchester, 232-5252, offers fish & chips on its entree menu, which include lightly battered haddock served with fries and slaw.

Stark House Tavern (487 S. Stark Hwy., Weare, 487-6002, uses beer-battered haddock for its fish & chips, which are served with hand-cut fries and slaw.

Surf Restaurant (207 Main St., Nashua, 595-9293; 99 Bow St., Portsmouth, 334-9855; offers fish & chips on its entree menu, featuring haddock filet fried in a crispy tempura batter, and served with coleslaw and fries.

T-Bones Great American Eatery (25 S. River Road, Bedford, 641-6100; 404 S. Main St., Concord, 715-1999; 39 Crystal Ave., Derry, 434-3200; 77 Lowell Road, Hudson, 882-6677; 1182 Union Ave., Laconia, 528-7800; 311 S. Broadway, Salem, 893-3444; uses crispy haddock for its fish & chips, which are served with coleslaw and tartar sauce.

Tailgate Tavern & Marketplace (28 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham, 580-2294, uses North Atlantic haddock filets for its fish & chips, which are hand-dipped in a house made tempura batter and golden fried, then served with fries and coleslaw.

Tandy’s Top Shelf Pub (1 Eagle Square, Concord, 856-7614, offers a fried haddock platter on its entree menu, served with fries and coleslaw.

The Town Cabin Deli & Pub (285 Old Candia Road, Candia, 483-4888, offers fish & chips on its seafood menu, featuring deep fried and battered haddock filet served with coleslaw and hand-cut fries.

The Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery (58 Route 27, Raymond, 244-2431, offers buttermilk fish & chips with fries, slaw and New England tartar sauce.

Zachary’s Chop House (4 Cobbetts Pond Road, Windham, 890-5555, offers lightly fried fish & chips with fresh cod.

Featured photo: Surf. Courtesy photo.

The Weekly Dish 20/10/15

News from the local food scene

Drive-thru Greek eats: Assumption Greek Orthodox Church (111 Island Pond Road, Manchester) will hold a drive-thru food fest on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. Now through Oct. 21, orders are being accepted for a variety of fresh Greek eats, including lamb/beef or chicken gyro plates with fries, spinach petas, and several pastries and sweets, like baklava, koulourakia (crisp braided butter cookies), kourambiedes (butter cookies in powdered sugar) and loukoumades (fried dough sprinkled with syrup and cinnamon). Pre-paying online is required (no walk-ins). To place your order, visit

Spooky servings: Get your tickets now for a Monster Mash dinner at LaBelle Winery (345 Route 101, Amherst) on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. The Halloween-themed event will feature a plated multi-course dinner, with items like artisan breads and whipped butter, mini bowls of pumpkin bisque, ricotta pumpkin cannelloni in a sage brown butter sauce, herb roasted Statler breast of chicken with pumpkin pilaf, and a meringue ghost tartlet for dessert. There will also be themed cocktails at the bar, a costume contest and dancing. Tickets are $69 per person (event is 21+ only). Visit

Final outdoor markets: The final day of the Nashua Farmers Market’s summer season is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at City Hall Plaza (229 Main St.), while several other outdoor markets in the Granite State are set to conclude not long after. The Henniker Community Market, for instance, will wrap up its season on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Henniker Community Center (57 Main St.). Then on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 8:30 a.m. to noon the Concord Farmers Market will hold its last date of the season on Capitol Street. The Milford Farmers Market, meanwhile, is scheduled to continue outdoors a bit later into the fall, through Saturday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 300 Elm St. in Milford (across the street from the New Hampshire Antique Co-op).

Farewell to The Seedling: Another Granite State eatery has permanently closed its doors due to complications posed by the pandemic. The Seedling Cafe & Catering in Merrimack, which suspended operations back in March, announced in an Oct. 1 Facebook post that it will not be reopening. Owner Karen Theriault had purchased the cafe, which was in Nashua at the time, in late 2016 before moving it to the lobby of the Residences at Daniel Webster in Merrimack in the spring of 2018. “I truly expected to reopen and had been planning to do just that, but sadly it will not happen,” Theriault wrote, going on to thank her customers for their loyalty and to encourage people to support small businesses whenever possible.

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