Second home

Texan guitar ace Chris Duarte returns

Born in San Antonio and a fixture in Austin’s music scene, Chris Duarte is thoroughly Texan — but he’s always called New Hampshire his other home state. In the early 1990s he lived here for a year after moving north at his brother’s behest to battle drug addiction.

Before relocating, Duarte was a rising star with glowing press, the lead guitarist of Junior Medlow & the Bad Boys. He arrived in Plymouth near broke.

“All I had was my guitar, one amp and my briefcase, which had a couple of pedals and stuff,” he said in a recent phone interview. “I lost everything to the pawn shop.”

After stocking shelves at a summer camp for a bit, he edged back into playing, first at the Down Under in Plymouth, then an open mic at Manchester’s now-defunct Boston Trading Co.

“I started to jam there, and they liked me so much they gave me a night; I would host the jam,” he said. “Then … this club out of Concord called Thumbs started booking me [and] it got to the point where I was selling out that place.”

The experience “revitalized my career and got it back moving again,” Duarte said.

Still reeling from native son Stevie Ray Vaughan’s death in 1990, Austin was hungry for guitar heroes when Duarte came back. In short order he signed with Silvertone Records and released Texas Sugar/Strat Magik in 1994. The album earned him Best New Talent honors in the Guitar Player magazine readers poll.

Though Duarte is passionate about the blues — he remembers seeing Vaughan perform at Austin’s storied Continental Club in 1981 as a “hair-raising, jaw-dropping phenomenal” experience — he mixes the tone of that genre with the discipline of jazz. His unique alchemy is bringing a rock edge to those two diverse elements as he races up and down the neck of his Fender Stratocaster.

Early mentor Bobby Mack pointed him toward the “Three Kings” — B.B., Albert and Freddie — to learn the elusive blues sound. When he joined Mack’s Night Train Band, Duarte “knew nothing about tone. I just had these naive notions of what that music shouldn’t sound like. I was so condescending to it at the beginning.”

Duarte soon found his playing lacked “any type of emotion … so I really went to school,” as Mack fed him masters’ licks to learn note for note.

“It took a while, but I finally got in the groove of trying to really be like these guys,” he said. “Bobby made me love the music.”

Though inspired by guitarists like Mahavishnu John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola, Duarte is quick to point out he’s not trying to emulate them.

“I am not like those guys; I’ve got, like, three or four jazz licks, and I play them in the first two songs,” he said, calling his approach more aggressive and emotional, “with dynamics and, I hope, some kind of musical integrity, so somebody would hear me and say, obviously this guy’s studied and knows more than just the old pentatonic box patterns.”

After more than a year of isolation, Duarte is back on the road, and after a spate of Texas dates, he’s more than excited to return to the Granite State, a stop on every East Coast tour since his star rose in the mid-1990s. He first played KC’s Rib Shack in the late ’90s and will return on May 30 for an intimate outdoor show.

“I truly consider New Hampshire my second home,” Duarte said. “I love New Hampshire right now, and I will love New Hampshire till the day I die.”

Chris Duarte Group
: Sunday, May 30, 7:30 p.m.
Where: KC’s Rib Shack, 837 Second St., Manchester
Tickets: $20 at

Featured photo: Chris Duarte. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 21/05/27

Local music news & events

Mellow time: Sip a bit of local wine while watching Sam Hyman & JT Express perform the music of New England treasure James Taylor. Singer-guitarist Hyman resembles Taylor in both sound and appearance; the three-piece group runs through “Fire and Rain,” “Sweet Baby James” and “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” as smoothly as chardonnay and rosé flow from the bottle. Thursday, May 27, 7:30 p.m. (cocktail hour starts at 6:30 p.m.), LaBelle Winery, 14 Route 111, Derry, tickets $35 at

Chicken pickin’: With her Grammy-nominated band’s touring plans on hold, Celia Woodsmith spent the past year networking with Seacoast musicians around her home, including her husband and a couple of his friends, who’ll back her at a family farm barbecue. Woodsmith recently reunited with her mates in bluegrass band Della Mae to record a new EP, and her roots group Say Darling recently put out an LP. Friday, May 28, 4 p.m., Vernon Family Farm, 301 Piscassic Road, Newfields, tickets $10 to $30 at

Downtown rap: Hip-hop entrepreneur and Nashua native son Cody Pope performs in front of City Hall to celebrate the return of live music. It’s his first hometown show since then, with a number of special guests promised, including 8-bza, who co-produced his first album in three years, The Howling Man, released in February. Saturday, May 29, 2 p.m., City Hall, 229 Main St., Nashua. See

Midcity mixing: Enjoy an afternoon patio party as the EDM scene shifts into gear at HEAT.WAV, led by Manchester Dean of DJs John Manning, a.k.a. DJ Midas, host of WMNH’s Late Night Delight and the Meltdown City podcast. There will be a tiki bar and other warm-weather pleasures to blend with the beat drops, sick mixes and nonstop music at the 21+ event, which is outdoors and indoors should the climate not cooperate. Sunday, May 30, 2 p.m., Central Ale House, 23 Central St., Manchester, 935-7779.

Army of the Dead (R)

Army of the Dead (R)

Dave Bautista and team attempt to capture millions of dollars from beneath an abandoned Las Vegas casino that’s surrounded by zombies and about to be nuked in Army of the Dead, a film from director Zack Snyder.

That sentence might be all you need to help you decide if you’re in or not.

This movie begins with a short scene and then a credits montage that shows us how a zombie virus is unleashed on the city of Las Vegas and how a group of people go from being normals to battle-hardened zombie killers. When the “present day” story actually gets going, we’re caught up on the post-zombie-outbreak world. Zombies have been walled off in the abandoned Las Vegas; survivors like Scott Ward (Bautista) and his friends have already been lauded as heroes, rewarded with medals and sent back to their hourly-wage lives, and the only people living with the zombie threat are those in what I think is a detention camp in the quarantine zone for people the government think could be infected. Kate (Ella Purnell), Scott’s daughter, works in the quarantine as a volunteer. They have a difficult relationship in part because Scott had to stab his wife/Kate’s mom in the head because she was a zombie.

This seems as good a time as any to explain this universe’s zombie rules: Zombies become zombies when a zombie bites them. Most zombies become mindless flesh-seeking zombies that shamble around. Zombies bitten by the boss of the zombies become “alpha” zombies who are more thinky and have motivations, work as a group and respond to orders from the head zombie. As with most zombie stories, to kill a zombie you gotta destroy the brain.

These zombie rules are why most people don’t go inside the walled city of Las Vegas, even the people who, like Geeta (Huma Qureshi), a mother of two, are pretty sick of the lousy accommodations and constant abuse by the guards in the quarantine area. But when the president decides to drop a low-grade nuclear weapon on Las Vegas to kill all zombies forever, Geeta decides to buy a way out of the new Barstow detention camp they’re being sent to so she sneaks in to Las Vegas to steal some unspecified money.

Scott, meanwhile, has been hired by businessman Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) to steal a very specific pile of cash: There is, Tanaka tells Scott, $250 million sitting in a vault beneath one of the casinos. In the two days before the government plans to nuke the city, Tanaka wants Scott and his team to retrieve it, for which Scott will receive $50 million, to split up however he wants. He hires his old zombie-fighting buddies Maria (Ana de la Reguera) and Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) as well as safe cracker Dieter (Matthias Schweighofer) and helicopter pilot Peters (Tig Notaro, Christopher Plummered in after the movie was shot; while if you know this you can tell, it isn’t super-distracting and Notaro brings the right kind of energy to the story). The team also includes a few red-shirt people and a villainous Tanaka representative played by Garret Dillahunt. Though Scott doesn’t want Kate to have anything to do with the mission, she eventually joins in because Geeta has gone missing inside the city.

My biggest problem with this movie is probably that it’s too long. It comes in at nearly two and a half hours and it doesn’t use that time — probably about 45 minutes or so longer than it needed to be — to do anything particularly exciting with the story or entertaining in the moment. It gives us some story lines we could have lived without (to include some go-nowhere stuff about the head of the zombies and his queen) and probably a few extra “no, really look at the gore” shots that, I guess, might be exciting for fans of red corn syrup.

The length weighs down what is probably this movie’s most winning aspect, which is just how likeable Bautista is and how solidly OK the chemistry is with the core group of heist-ers. Slicing off some characters and the detours into their motivations (and deaths; spoiler alert I guess but when a team starts off this big it’s clear not everybody is going to make it) would have given the movie a little more energy.

For all of that, Army of the Dead is perfectly acceptable zombie entertainment — not too bleak and not too quippy with just enough visual fun. B-

Rated R for strong bloody violence, gore and language throughout, some sexual content and brief nudity/graphic nudity, according to the MPA on Directed by Zack Snyder with a screenplay by Shay Hatten and Joby Harold, Army of the Dead is two hours and 28 minutes long and is distributed by Netflix. It is also in theaters.

Featured photo: Army of the Dead (R)

The Audacity of Sara Grayson, by Joani Elliott

The Audacity of Sara Grayson, by Joani Elliott (Post Hill Press, 400 pages)

Imagine if Stephenie Myers had died right after Bella Swan got pregnant.

The Twilight books reached a new peak of tension as Swan, the angsty human who married a vampire, began to swell with a mysterious new life. What would have become of the series if Myers, the author, were no longer around to complete the story? Would fans be satisfied with a finale written by someone else? Or would the final book become a great public unhappiness, like the final season of Game of Thrones?

Utah author Joani Elliott tackles such a quandary, minus the vampires, in her debut novel, The Audacity of Sara Grayson. In it, an enormously successful author — think Myers or J.K. Rowling — dies of pancreatic cancer, just 12 weeks after her family finds out she is sick. Cassandra Bond is almost as famous as the actress who plays Ellery Dawson, the star of a five-book thriller series, of which only four books have been written. She leaves her sizable estate to her two daughters — and the task of writing the fifth book to the youngest, Sara.

Sara is a writer, too, though one with no commercial success. She teaches English at the University of Maryland and supplements her income by writing copy for greeting cards. (“They loved her work and thought she had a real knack for cancer cards, and could she please send more?”)

Sara did write a novel, once, but had given it to her mother’s gruff editor to review, and his savage assessment drained her of ambition. So, too, had her recent divorce from a man who had abruptly left after six years of marriage to go on an Eat, Pray, Love-type journey. She had a good enough relationship with her mom, but as she comes to learn in the months after Cassandra’s death, did not truly know her. She is shocked and dismayed to learn she is the designated author of the final book in the series — even more so because she hasn’t read the four previous books. (“I saw the movie,” she says defensively to her sister, Anna Katherine.)

Sara intends to say no, until she goes into a meeting with lawyers and publishing executives and an editor insults her into changing her mind. She emerges from the meeting with the assignment to write a best-selling book that will explain the series’ biggest mystery, what had become of Ellery Dawson’s father, who was presumed dead and may or may not have been a traitor.

As it turns out, that is a story line that is disturbingly close to Sara’s own life. Her father had died when she was 7, and while she has warm memories of him and a good childhood, her mother’s will left a disturbing hint to doubt the narrative of Sara’s memory: an unusual bequest to a mysterious woman and her daughter in Europe.

This establishes a parallel path that runs along the main track of the story, which is Sara’s struggle to write the book. It adds a nice complexity to a story that could otherwise be too simple, as does Sara’s evolving relationship with her mother’s editor and, eventually, his son.

While The Audacity of Sara Grayson fits nicely within the oft derided genre of “chick lit” — it will appeal primarily to women and also could qualify as a beach read — it also surprisingly morphs into an inspirational book for writers, particularly in the last section, which is primarily set in Maine.

While relationships are at the heart of the story, it is also a novel about the difficulty of writing a novel, and the main characters are all involved in publishing. Elliott begins each chapter with a real-life quote from an author about writing — familiar ones from the likes of Toni Morrison and Stephen King, as well as some from lesser-known writers — and while this felt bothersome at first, the interruption of fiction with reality, I grew to enjoy them. I also liked how the story pulls back the curtains on the writing process and exposes the secrets of inspiration. Especially memorable was when Sara visits Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park to see the sunrise. (It’s the first point of sunlight in the U.S. — Google it and go.)

It was a turning point for Sara, when she realized she had never watched a sunrise. “And to think this happened every day. Everywhere. While people mixed creamer into coffee and ate their cornflakes and checked their email.”

The Audacity of Sara Grayson is not a complicated novel; in fact, the language sometimes seems a bit too simple, too easy, like a knife sliding through butter that’s been sitting out for hours. But it has a gangbuster premise and truly memorable characters and deserves to break through in the noisy throng of summer fiction. A

Featured photo: The Audacity of Sara Grayson

Album Reviews 21/05/27

La Battue, Get Set, Go! (Parapente Records)

Second EP from this off-kilter but quite accessible group, which consists of a brother-sister duo from Rennes, France, and Korean musician Yurie Hu. Their first EP, Search Party, was more lo-fi, a cheese-fest in the tradition of Figurine and whatnot, but this release finds them upping their game to an encouraging degree. Their cited influences are Beach Boys, Steve Reich and Radiohead, and all that stuff is still here, if by “Beach Boys” they mean Grizzly Bear and all those other Aughts-era bands (I didn’t hurt myself falling backward in my chair when the shock hit me). It’s glitchy and buzzy when it lets the software trip out on busy Animal Collective-style fractals, and singer Ellie James’s floaty, non-goofy soprano is a nice departure from the male falsetto cringe I’d expected to hear. In other words, it’s pretty cool in a mellow way. Main quibble is that the first two songs are so similar that I can’t help but scold them for making such a rookie mistake, but again, it’s fine for what it is. B

Tombstones In Their Eyes, Looking For A Light (Kitten Robot Records)

Now here’s some pretty badass shoegaze if you’re into that stuff. This quartet is from Los Angeles, of course, home of — you know, basically everybody, because it’s the perfect place to work on songs that possess a vibe conflating slow-motion surfboard highlight-reel sensibilities with visions of apocalypse. OK, whatever, that’s what it evokes to me, with its fuzzed-out guitars, totally ghostly vocals and messy-enough engineering. Yeah, I’d be at least mildly psyched to receive a new Raveonettes promo album (as long as it comes all at once, not like the discombobulated, one-song-per-month fail of 2016’s Atomized), but while you’re waiting, this will do the trick. It’s like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club but with less petrochemical leakage, that is to say it’s less buzzy in a bar-band way. It’s pretty hooky throughout, too, intended for stoners who love watching a beach bonfire twinkle its reflection in the waves, which is basically a mindset everyone could use right now. A+


• The world keeps turning, gang. In fact, it turns so fast that every Friday, a bunch of brand new albums get jiggled loose and dumped into Spotify and Pirate Bay! And such will be the case on May 28, when albums such as Moby’s Reprise will hit the streets. You all know Moby from his Wally Cox-level good looks and all those old ’90s rave songs on his big album, Play, but nowadays he mostly enjoys pretending to be an expert political pundit, at least for TV viewers who believe Buzzfeed is an underground communist blog! This new album, his 19th, is, as the title implies, a bunch of rerubs of old tunes, recorded with the help of a string quartet and the Budapest Art Orchestra, because nothing says “afterparty ambiance” than string sections and a bunch of weird musicians who are probably related to Dracula. Oh, where were we, yes, that big hit of his, “Honey,” isn’t on here, but you can still rave it up with dumb, overblown versions of “Go” and “Extreme Ways,” and look, Kris Kristofferson adds guest vocals to a new version of “The Lonely Night!” I’ll admit that I don’t totally hate the version of “Porcelain” that’s on here; the tune was always glorified elevator music anyway, so mellowing it down a tad doesn’t dull its “autumn leaves falling in a park” vibe, although the guest singing from My Morning Jacket’s Jim James is (spoiler alert) absolutely awful. But don’t let that stop you.

• Well here’s a pretty kick-butt band, if you like the Allman Brothers and Southern rock and whatever, Blackberry Smoke! They’re an Atlanta quintet that’s been putting out albums since 2003, and what’s really cool about them is that, despite their radio-ready sound, they’re still a genuine independent band, having released records on upstanding indie labels like Rounder Records and Earache Records, which I had presumed dead long ago, but they’re still around. The band’s new album, You Hear Georgia, will be on 3 Legged Records, but once again it sounds super pro; the title track is loud-ass Americana-tinged throwback-blues-rawk, so if you’re sick of all your Charlie Daniels records, you should give these guys a chance.

• Man, I could’ve sworn I just talked about a new k.d. lang album, but this search feature gizmo in my Windows 95 MacIntosh machine says I didn’t, so we’ll take a quick look at her latest, Makeover! Wait a minute, what is this, another comp album, like that stupid Moby thing we were just chatting about? Yeah, it’s a bunch of redo versions of her older songs, kicking off with “Miss Chatelaine (St. Tropez Mix).” So dumb, it’s the same song as before, just with more of a Caribbean beat, what a ripoff, and OMG she’s such a fantastic singer, let’s just forget the whole thing.

• Our final contestant is Moon Drenched, the new record from Bent Arcana, a messy experimental nonsense band from — let’s see — OK, I can’t find it, who cares, they’re from somewhere. “The War Clock” is one of their disjointed, dissonant, brain-damaging songs, maybe you’ll love it if you like bands like the Books or Captain Beefheart, or if you’d love the sound of a monkey playing Bowie albums backwards while screeching random monkey-talk in your ear.

Wines for pairing

Finding food wines at Angela’s Pasta & Cheese

If you haven’t visited Angela’s Pasta & Cheese, on the corner of Chestnut and Appleton streets in Manchester’s North End, even once over its 40-year history, you have seriously deprived yourself of a real indulgence. Upon walking in, you are greeted by competing aromas of pasta and cheeses, imported meats and local breads. You are on “sensory overload” taking in the savories and sweets, competing for a primary position in your brain as you tour the store.

Angela’s is an institution that has endured but is also quietly evolving, having recently been purchased by Steven Freeman. The wine offerings are taking a slightly different course. Freeman is looking to offer wines that can be easily paired with the many food offerings the store has, creating an entire meal for you.

Our first wine, Cadre 2019 Stone Blossom Sauvignon Blanc, from Edna Valley, priced at $22.95, is described on the label thusly: “A new life of fragrant blossoms emerges from the rock and sea.” The color is very pale, a silvery light straw. Its nose is citric with a touch of grapefruit with floral, citric blossom notes. These citric notes carry through to the tongue, along with hints of green apple and a slight sweetness of a sugary melon. It is incredibly fresh with a long finish and with notes of minerality.

Paragon Vineyard, designated as Certified Sustainable, was planted by Jack Niven, who brought vineyards and wine-making to San Luis Obispo’s Edna Valley 48 years ago. The root stock is gamay noir, with the sauvignon blanc grafted in the early 1980s. Photos of the vines are impressive, as the trunks are thick, rustic and sculpted by the weather and time. The soils are described as clay with limestone, which impart their mineral nuances to the wine. Additional plantings of stock came from the Loire Valley, vines nurtured from mineral-laden soils.

The Edna Valley is unique in California in that it is but 5 miles from the coast and runs to the coast, as opposed to the many other valleys that run parallel to the coast. This geological formation allows the cool ocean breezes to bring the Pacific fog into the valley morning and night. Edna Valley was cited in a study by the University of Southern Oregon as the coolest growing region in all of California. This climate allows for bud break in February, with a growing season that can extend to the end of October.

Our second wine is a box wine, and why a box wine? For starters, it will allow you to pour a glass without exposing the rest of the bladder to oxidation. If you finish the three liters before 30 days, you are good! I do not believe a box wine has ever lasted 30 days for me!

Quandrum Red Blend, priced at $21.95, is a superb value as the box contains three liters of wine! This is also a wine made from sustainably grown grapes, from the dry, sunny region of La Mancha and the central inner plateaus of Spain. It is a blend of 80 percent tempranillo with 20 percent garnacha. The color is a dark, opaque maroon; the nose is rich with dried fruits that carry through to the tongue. This is a wine to stand up the Italian sausages and salamis of Angela’s but will also hold its own against any backyard burger, joined with a slice of Spanish manchego cheese.

Featured photo:

Becky Costello

Becky Costello of Londonderry is the owner of Owl Hill Preserves (, and on Facebook and Instagram @owlhillpreserves), a business she started in her home kitchen specializing in small-batch jams and jellies in a variety of unique flavor combinations. In addition to seedless raspberry jam and blueberry blackberry vanilla jam, some of her other offerings include maple peach whiskey jam, blueberry lavender jam, mint mojito jelly, apple pie jam and amber marmalade. You can contact her to place orders, or find her jams and jellies at Handmade In… (Pheasant Lane Mall, 310 Daniel Webster Hwy., Nashua); Recycled Creations Artisans Boutique (25 Main St., Wilton); the Manchester Craft Market (Mall of New Hampshire, 1500 S. Willow St., Manchester); Little Red Hen Farm & Homestead (85 Norris Road, Pittsfield); and Linda’s Less Traveled Treasures and Country Store (49 E. Broadway, Derry). Costello will also appear at the Brimfield Antique Show & Flea Market at the Deerfield Fairgrounds on May 29 and May 30.

What is your must-have kitchen item?
A wooden spoon, because you have to constantly stir.

What would you have for your last meal?
Pad Thai noodles.

What is your favorite local restaurant?
Pickity Place in Mason. I always like to go there with friends.

What celebrity would you like to see trying one of your jams or jellies?
Tom Hiddleston.

What is your favorite jam or jelly that you make?
My personal favorite is the blueberry lavender jam, because I just love the combination of flavors. I usually like it on an English muffin.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?
I would probably say food trucks. I’ve just noticed that they seem more prevalent now than they ever have been.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Pizza. My husband is actually in the process of building us an outdoor wood-burning pizza oven.

Pineapple sage chicken
Courtesy of Becky Costello of Owl Hill Preserves (using her own pineapple sage jelly)
Using a whole three-pound chicken, put fresh sage leaves under the skin. Rub the outside with melted butter, olive oil, dried sage, thyme and rosemary. Cook for 45 minutes. Melt pineapple sage jelly in the microwave for about 30 minutes, then pour onto chicken and cook until brown and crispy.

Featured photo: Becky Costello

Flavors of Haiti

Chef Chris Viaud is on the far right. From the left is Chris’s brother Phil, Phil’s wife Sarah, their father Yves, mother Myrlene, sister Kassie, sister Katie and Chris’s wife Emilee. Courtesy photos.

Local chef, family present monthly Haitian dinner series

On New Year’s Day, Culture in Milford shared a piece of owner and chef Chris Viaud’s Haitian heritage through a menu special of soup joumou, a pumpkin-based soup also commonly referred to in Haiti as “freedom soup.” The response was so positive that Viaud decided to turn it into a dinner series, bringing his entire family together to present authentic Haitian dishes each month.

Ansanm, as the series is now known, gets its name from the word meaning “together” in Haitian Creole. Viaud, along with his parents, Myrlene and Yves, siblings Phil, Kassie and Katie, wife Emilee and sister-in-law Sarah all work together to present a menu of scratch-made Haitian items that are now prepared and served out of his other Milford restaurant, Greenleaf.

“As I’ve been growing as a chef, I’ve always had a desire to learn more about my heritage through food. I just had this innate feeling that I needed to do more and relate food back to the beginning for me, to what I grew up eating,” Viaud said. “The concept was also born out of a desire to bring my siblings and parents closer to learn more about the food, because in the coming years we’ll be sharing it with my daughter as well.”

Ansanm’s logo features an illustration of a hibiscus flower, the national flower of Haiti, along with the red and blue colors seen on the Haitian flag.

Viaud’s mother, Myrlene, with whom he has memories of helping out in the kitchen growing up, is the primary head chef of the series. Depending on the month, most dinners are served on the third or fourth Sunday, with online pre-ordering available a few days before. While the first few dinners were takeout only, the most recent one also had a dine-in option at Greenleaf.

Items have included griot (marinated twice-cooked pork) and poule nan sós (braised chicken in Creole sauce), each of which is often served with rice, plantains or pikliz, a spicy pickled vegetable slaw consisting of cabbage, carrots, onion and peppers. Diri djon djon, a rice dish made with black mushrooms that are native to Haiti, is another item recently added to the menu.

“Diri djon djon is the most iconic rice dish in Haiti, just because the mushrooms are so hard to find and are expensive,” Viaud said.

Other featured menu options are a potato and beet salad; chicken or mushroom and vegetable pate; and a Haitian-style spaghetti with peppers, onions and spices in a tomato sauce. Ansanm also offers a scratch-made pineapple upside down cake for dessert, as well as bottles of Cola Couronne, a tropical fruit soda known as the oldest manufactured soft drink from Haiti.

New dinner pre-orders are regularly updated through Ansanm’s website and social media pages.

“Seeing its growth has been tremendous,” Viaud said of the series. “We’ll definitely be doing some fun things this summer, like hopefully hosting a dinner outside with a steel drummer doing live Caribbean music.”

Visit or follow them on Facebook and Instagram @ansanm.nh for updates. Dinners are typically held during the third or fourth Sunday of each month, with all orders prepared and picked up at Greenleaf (54 Nashua St., Milford).

Feautred photo: Braised chicken with rice and peas, fried plantains, and pikliz. Courtesy photo.

The Weekly Dish 21/05/27

News from the local food scene

More markets return: For the first time in two years, the Derry Homegrown Farm & Artisan Market is returning to 1 W. Broadway in Derry on Wednesday, June 2, from 3 to 7 p.m. The market always features a wide variety of produce, meats and other items from local vendors, in addition to live music, local art and more. It will continue every Wednesday through the end of September. The Canterbury Community Farmers Market will also hold its opening day on Wednesday, June 2, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Elkins Public Library (9 Center Road, Canterbury), while the Weare Real Food Farmers Market moves outdoors for the first time this year on Saturday, May 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 65 N. Stark Hwy. in Weare. Visit and, respectively, or check out our coverage on southern New Hampshire summer farmers markets, which begins on page 20 of the Hippo’s May 20 edition.

Grape expectations: Join LaBelle Winery for a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration of its newest location at 14 Route 111 in Derry, set for Wednesday, June 2, at 3 p.m. There will be tours of the property, wine and food samplings and free rounds of golf for those who pre-register. LaBelle Winery’s new space, which has been opening in several phases over the past few weeks, includes a brand new restaurant concept called Americus, plus a retail market of prepared and made-to-order foods, multiple performance and event spaces and a nine-hole golf course. Plans are also in the works for the first Champagne house in New Hampshire to be built on the property. Visit or check out our coverage on the new space in the Hippo’s May 6 edition, beginning on page 22.

Support local eateries: The Boys & Girls Club of Central New Hampshire is once again going virtual for its annual Taste of New Hampshire this year, this time over the course of 12 days. From Tuesday, June 1, through Saturday, June 12, discounted gift cards for more than 40 local eateries will be available for purchase. You can purchase the gift cards or bid on auction items during those days, either paying $20 for a $25 gift card or $40 for a $50 gift card. The restaurants receive 100 percent of the proceeds, while the Boys & Girls Clubs benefit from the silent auction and sponsorships. Visit or search “Taste of New Hampshire” on Facebook for more details.

Taking flight: Flight Coffee Co. of Bedford is moving to a new location in town, holding its final day of service at 30 Harvey Road on Saturday, May 29, and reopening at 290 Route 101 next to Wicked Good Butchah on Monday, June 7. “The time has come for us to leave our small outpost and take flight over to our new location on the corner of [Route] 101 and Wallace [Road],” read a May 16 post on the shop’s Facebook page. For nearly a decade Flight Coffee Co. has been a favorite spot in Bedford for its single-origin coffees, also offering teas, espresso blends and fresh doughnuts. Visit

On The Job – Victoria Bombino

Victoria Bombino

Dental assistant

Victoria Bombino is a dental assistant at Simply Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics in Pelham, where she works alongside the dentist to provide dental care for children.

Explain your job and what it entails.

Understanding patient care, which means helping make the kids feel comfortable at the dentist; educating kids on the importance of good oral health; and working closely with [the dentist] Dr. Boulos doing frenectomies, fillings and anything relative to [dental procedures]; as well as customer service, making sure the dentist is a fun place to go to, and ensuring that parents feel good about the experience as well.

How long have you had this job?

I’ve had this current job for roughly four months now. I’ve been in the dental field for three years.

What led you to this career field and your current job?

When I was younger, I didn’t like my smile, but I loved going to the dentist. I had the opportunity in high school to start [attending] a technical high school. It had [a] dental assisting [program] there, and that immediately drew my attention. I decided to try it out, and I’ve stuck with it ever since. I attended the University of New England for dental hygiene to continue [the education], but, due to Covid, I took a semester off, and that’s when I ended up landing a job here, as a dental assistant. … Ultimately, I would love to become a dentist.

What kind of education or training did you need?

[To be] a dental assistant, you need your high school diploma, as well as your radiology [training requirement], which is an additional course that you have to take. … You have to always stay up to date with the current technology and the best practices of dentistry. There are … certain procedures where we use certain [equipment], such as the Solea laser, that the dentist has to go [receive training] on, and then the dentist will show the assistants the right and wrong ways [to operate it]. … I’m still working [toward becoming] a Certified Dental Assistant; there are multiple other courses and certifications [required] to become a CDA.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

For our work uniform, we wear scrubs with a water-resistant lab coat over it. … Advanced PPE for patient and team health is huge. We wear a Level 3 mask, and we wear a face shield over it when we’re working closely with a patient. We throw away our used masks every second that we can and put on a new one. I even wear a hair cap, just to make sure everything stays nice and safe for everyone.

How has your job changed over the last year?

Dental offices have always taken the highest level of safety precautions when it comes to personal hygiene, such as hand washing, and wearing PPE, so it has changed less than a lot of people might have guessed. We have [added] extra [precautions], though, such as reduced waiting room time and full sterilization of the dental rooms between each patient.

What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?

Individuals can be scared at the dentist, but it’s OK; try not to take it personally, and just comfort them as much as you can.

What was the first job you ever had?

My first job was at a prom dress store called Glitterati in Danvers, Mass.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

Leave work at work.

Five favorites
Favorite book:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Favorite movie:Miss Congeniality
Favorite music: Country
Favorite food: Anything Buffalo
Favorite thing about NH: The scenery. Waking up and seeing all the trees never gets old.

Featured photo: Victoria Bombino

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