Beyond absurd

Lewis Black keeps pace with the world

On Friday, March 13, 2020, as the pandemic’s wave crashed down on the world of live events, Lewis Black stepped onto the stage of a Michigan casino. The comic greeted his audience with these words: “Thanks for risking your life.” He ended his set with an analysis of what’s wrong with America, likening its two dominant political parties to ideological mystery meat. “They both sort of taste like chicken,” Black said.

It would be Black’s last performance for a year and a half, and his latest special. He returned last fall with a run of club dates that nearly wiped him out. “I was literally like a boxer who hasn’t fought in a long time [who] punches himself in the face,” he said recently. His new show, “Off The Rails,” will stop in Concord on Thursday, March 10.

Black has made a career out of sputtering fury and frustration — with the ruling elite, thick-skulled hoi polloi, and everyone in between, always with an ear to the ground. Every show is new and up to the minute. That night in Michigan, he sensed what was coming. He and fellow comic pal Kathleen Madigan played armchair epidemiologists as the news from Wuhan seeped out, joking that they were the Fauci and Birx of the comedy world. To them, the science was clear; but even he did not anticipate the willful ignorance of many.

“I was stunned by the way in which people are acting and thinking … it’s like going back to when I was 12,” Black said in a recent phone interview. The gulf between red and blue is a moronic chasm, he continued, and not just when it comes to fighting a virus. “In a country that doesn’t want to vote, you’re going to worry about voting? Banning books? You’re going to worry about critical race theory when most kids don’t know how to spell it?”

Though obviously fodder for Black’s act, the onslaught of absurdity wasn’t exactly welcome. “It’s difficult to satirize what is already satiric,” he said, aiming special ire at purported news outlets dutifully repeating every outrageous social media post instead of doing their job. “Read the tweet … what they were reading was pathology, not policy. It’s not what did he say, it’s what do we do now?”

It was almost too much. “To be more insane than what I see, that’s my job as a comic,” he said. “That took a long time to understand. Really, just before the pandemic, I got it — wow, that’s what I’m doing. And then I realized … I couldn’t be more insane than what I was seeing, or I’d be insane, literally.”

Every Black show ends with “The Rant Is Due,” an afterparty that finds him musing over complaints offered by fans online. Few comics go so far to connect with their audience, but he sees it as rage transference — why should he be the only one angry all the time? As he scrolls his iPad submissions, Black will echo their fury and occasionally offer a lusty rebuttal, as when one fan griped about mask mandates.

“It is a show written by the audience and where I add my f-ing two cents,” Black said of his web request for fans to take a moment in advance to unburden themselves. The segment always offers a local focus. He recently addressed legal weed generally and pot prices specifically with a crowd in Humboldt County, California, along with the region’s winding roads and poor internet service.

It’s anyone’s guess what the Granite State will bring to the mix. After a recent stint in the Midwest, Black is hoping for better weather along with fans’ homegrown winging about taxes, tourists and other topics. “I love coming back to New Hampshire,” he said, “but I need you guys to warm the state up a little bit.”

Along with performing, Black is involved in a few pet causes. He’s chairman of an Indiana museum dedicated to writer Kurt Vonnegut, and he also works on behalf of the National Comedy Center. “I’ve done a lot with them,” he said of the Jamestown, New York,-based facility. “What they have done is extraordinary, incredible. Museum doesn’t describe it; it’s a living breathing thing, and 80 percent of it is interactive. You can literally go in there for six hours and go, what? It’s gone — and you learn a lot.”

Lewis Black
When: Thursday, March 10, 7 p.m.
Where: Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord
Tickets: $55 and up

Featured photo: The Brit Pack.

The Music Roundup 22/03/10

Local music news & events

Heartworn: Maine-based musician Seth Warner presents Highway Kind: A Celebration of Townes Van Zandt, an evening honoring the author of “Poncho & Lefty,” “Waiting Around To Die” and other timeless songs. Over a brief but iconic career, the Texas native was covered by an Americana who’s who, including Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, the Cowboy Junkies and Steve Earle, who named his son after him. Thursday, March 10, 8 p.m., The Press Room, 77 Daniel St., Portsmouth, $10 at

Rocking: Las Vegas stalwarts Adelitas Way perform with support from West Coast alt-metal band Gemini Syndrome at a downtown venue well suited to their full-on sound that has some big-name ticketed events on the horizon. Well-known for their churning mid-aughts single “Invincible,” the band recently released a new EP, Rivals. They reportedly got their name from a Tijuana bar that was their last stop on a long, scary weekend. Friday, March 11, 9 p.m., The Goat, 50 Old Granite St., Manchester, $22 at (21+).

Celtic: March is always a busy month for Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki and his trio, premier purveyors of Irish music. Along with a showcase event in Concord at week’s end, the master fiddler will play an intimate show of traditional tunes backed by bass player Chris Noyes and guitarist Matt Jensen at a museum dedicated to preserving Manchester’s industrial heritage. Saturday, March. 12, 2:30 p.m., Millyard Museum, 200 Bedford St., Suite 103, Manchester, $20 at (reservations required).

Gather: Several local bands perform at Music Fest 22, an event sponsored by Henniker Brewing. The lineup includes Contoocook favorites Hometown Eulogy, with mandolinist Brian Peasley and guitar/harmonica player Taylor Pearson along with Joe Leary, David Graham and Benjamin Harris, and the band Two Minute Warning. Craft beer pours, food and raffles are all part of the fun. Saturday, March 12, 3 p.m., American Legion Post No. 81, 169 Bound Tree Road, Contoocook,

Progeny: Apples that didn’t fall far from the tree, Teddy Thompson & Jenni Muldaur perform classic country duets, following up their Teddy & Jenni Do Porter & Dolly EP released last year. Thompson is the son of folk legends Richard and Linda Thompson, whom he musically reunited for 2014’s Family, a disc that also included his sister and half-brother. Muldaur is the daughter of pioneering roots singer Maria Muldaur. Sunday, March 13, 7 p.m., Bank of NH Stage, 16 S. Main St., Concord, $30 at

The Batman (PG-13)

The Batman (PG-13)

Robert Pattinson is the physically nearly invincible but emotionally vulnerable personification of vengeance in The Batman, maybe the best live-action Batman?

Hey, I said “maybe”; it’s been a while since I’ve seen The Dark Knight, which would maybe have been my previous “best” — though I think each of the Michael Keaton through Batfleck versions have had at least some good qualities.It’s been multiple decades since I watched Batman: The Animated Series with its out-of-time 1930s/1970s/1990s all smushed together Gotham setting and its tales of moral compromises and good intentions that curdle in a hard city. But this movie brought me back to that place, stories of deeply scarred people in a corrupt city where the victory is always, like, better governance and the possibility for optimism, as opposed to saving the world.

This iteration’s Batman is barely ever Bruce Wayne (Pattinson), the scion of the Wayne family fortune but not the model-dating society-page anchor of previous versions of the character. This Bruce has almost entirely given himself over to the Batman, as it’s called here, always with the “the.” He sees his role as not just physically fighting criminals but also instilling fear in them so that when they see the bat signal in the sky, they are moved to stop their criminal pursuits and make a run for it whether they actually see the Batman or not. His appearances as Bruce are few and mostly only to Alfred (Andy Serkis), here less a butler and more the only guy keeping the Wayne facade going, while also assisting with some of the Batman’s investigations.

The signal seems to exist mostly as a communication device between the Batman and Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), Gotham’s seemingly only trustworthy police officer. When Gotham Mayor Don Mitchell (Rupert Penry-Jones) is murdered, Gordon calls in the Batman to look at evidence in spite of the sour feelings the police officers have toward the vigilante. Gordon seems to genuinely appreciate his detective skills but also the murderer has some larger purpose that involves the Batman, having left a note with a riddle addressed to him.

As Gordon and the Batman investigate the crime, they discover that Mitchell had secrets, including shady dealings with mobster Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) and his top lieutenant the Penguin (an extremely unrecognizable Colin Farrell). As more bodies of important city officials turn up, the Riddler (Paul Dano), as they come to call the person responsible, uncovers a vast conspiracy linking mobsters, city elected officials and law enforcement not only in the present but reaching back to the days of Bruce’s parents, Thomas and Martha.

Participating, sometimes, in this investigation, though for reasons of her own, is Selina Kyle (Zoë Karvitz), who is never quite called Catwoman but who has some slinky black leather get-ups and can kick butt when needed. Selina and the Batman have Heat in a way that works for the tone of this movie and makes Bruce/the Batman a more human person.

Vulnerability in general is one of this Batman’s defining traits. He can, like so many previous Batmans, get shot multiple times without missing a step, but we do get to see him get knocked out or banged up in a way that a non-superpower person with some really good tech would. And, more significantly, we see him sad, scared, stuck in trauma, angry and, with Selina, kind of emotionally awkward without being quippy about it.

I feel like years of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies (not to mention the various tones of DC’s own extended universe, of which Wikipedia says this movie is not a part) make saying this necessary but: This movie is generally not quippy or light or an upbeat action good time. There are moments of extremely dry humor, but it all serves the “this crime-ridden cesspool” tone about Gotham and the wider world. But still it is a really enjoyable movie with its surprisingly well-paced crime story — I say “surprisingly” because I was afraid that at nearly three hours this would be a slog. Instead, the only time I checked the time I found myself thinking “oh good, there’s still an hour left.” Like a good graphic novel or a binge of those old animated episodes, this movie really pulls you in and holds you in the story with these characters. And though this is our first outing with Pattinson-Batman we don’t have to trek through the origin story with the whole “Martha and the pearls” scene (as the CinemaSins/Honest Trailers-y places call that much-recreated sequence of Bruce’s parents’ death) and Bruce becoming the Batman. We start with him mid-Batman-ing but still figuring out what it all means and what he really wants to accomplish.

Also helping to keep you rooted in this version of Gotham are this movie’s visuals, which also kept calling to mind the animated series, not because it was a live-action copy but because of how it framed people in a scene or used shadow. Similar to how previous Gothams always seemed to have one foot still in a gangster-movie version of the 1930s, this Gotham had elements of 1970s New York (without that The Joker pastiche look) but with just the right amount of elements about modern politics and society fraying (again, not in that awful The Joker way that is all shock, no substance). And points to this score, which is a departure from the 1980s-1990s Batman theme but delivers on setting the noir-y scene.

And then there’s Pattinson, who crafts a very specific Batman — not as weary as Affleck, much more damaged than Christian Bale. I don’t know that it’s “the” definitive Batman but it’s a thoroughly realized Batman who is a compelling character. His partnership with Wright’s Gordon is solid, with them working as much like young-cop/experienced-cop as they do superhero/regular person.

Perhaps most surprising of all the surprises in this movie is that The Batman feels like a different way to do a classic superhero character with well-known characters and story. After so much MCU and a DCEU that often felt more like an answer to Marvel than its own thing, The Batman offers an example how a well-known comic book story can offer familiar plot points and stories while doing something that feels new and fresh. A-

Rated PG-13 for strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language and suggestive material, according to the MPA on Directed by Matt Reeves and written by Matt Reeves & Peter Craig, The Batman is — well, look, long, it’s a long movie. It’s two hours and 55 minutes, according to IMDB, 2 hours, 56 minutes according to other sources. But basically you will be in the theater more than three hours, with trailers and whatnot. But for once this doesn’t feel like a knock against the movie. And it is only in theaters, distributed by Warner Bros.

Featured photo: The Batman.

Pure Colour, by Sheila Heti

Pure Colour, by Sheila Heti (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 216 pages)

In her new novel Pure Colour, Canadian Sheila Heti imagines a new Genesis, one in which God is not yet finished with the work of creation but is just taking a break, stepping back, critically looking at what he has so far produced. “This is the moment we are living in — the moment of God standing back,” Heti writes on the first page.

And that, my friends, is the last time that this novel makes sense.

From there, Heti hurtles into a book-length word salad that is at times poignant and insightful; other times, a baffling stream of consciousness. At its best, it’s an imaginative fable about love and loss, wrapped in a blistering social critique. At its worst, which happens too often, you wonder what (and how much) Heti was drinking when she wrote it. Such is speculative fiction.

We begin in a world that is “heating up in advance of its destruction” since God has decided the first draft wasn’t good enough and a new one is needed. Like any good manager, God needs feedback, so “God appears, splits, and manifests as three critics in the sky: a large bird who critiques from above, a large fish who critiques from the middle, and a large bear who critiques while cradling creation in its arms.”

People are born from the eggs of these creatures (yes, even the bear produces eggs in this world), and take on the characteristics of their breeders. People born from fish eggs care most about the collective; people born of bird eggs care about things like beauty, meaning and order; people born from bear eggs care about a few other people: “They are deeply consumed with their own.”

Our protagonist, Mira, wished she was of bear lineage, but she, born of a bird, had the hollow bones and heart of an artist. We follow Mira around in her strange world, where she works at a store that sells expensive lamps. (This all occurs during an unspecified age before the internet, when people found jobs and housing from “little paper signs.” Mira goes to school at the prestigious American Academy of American Critics (which, in a wry twist, has international branches) where self-important students learn to “hone their insights” and to “develop a style of writing and thinking that could survive down through the ages, and at the same time penetrate their own generation so incisively.”

The school, it seems, could have been worth an entire cynical book, or at least a couple of chapters, but it is quickly dropped to explore a brief love relationship Mira has with an American orphan named — wait for it — Annie. Coincidence or something more? Hard to say. Then her father dies, and this strange little novel gets even stranger.

When Mira’s father dies, his essence seems to take over her body. For a while, the book turns into a meditation on grief, as Mira processes her loss. “She had thought that when someone died, it would be like they went into a different room. She had not known that life itself transformed into a different room, and trapped you in it without them.” She stopped caring about the business of living (though, frankly, it wasn’t like she was doing that much living before her father’s death). “It was the dead who needed our love, the dead who she wanted to be loyal to, the dead who needed us most. The living could take care of themselves, going to the grocery store in all that sunshine. It was the dead who need to be held on to, so they would not slip away. Who would save the dead from oblivion, if not the living?”

Then, Mira has an experience in which she takes the form of a leaf — a leaf in which her father’s spirit also dwelled — and they have the sort of beautiful and cleansing Kafkaesque conversations you might have if you suddenly found yourself inside a leaf. Was she dead? It seems so for a while, then she comes out of the leaf and is back with orphan Annie for a while while musing about gods, plural, specifically gods who tired people out when they wanted to stop them from doing things. “The weariest people are being the most prevented. They are the most dangerous ones, who would change the world if they could.”

Eventually, Mira’s mind-boggling dialogue comes to a close, though we are not sure what, if anything, has been accomplished, either for Mira or for the long-suffering reader.

Still, Heti proves herself a shrewd critic of modern life, as in her observation about social media:

“There were so many ways of being hated, and one could be hated by so many people. … Hate seemed to spring from the deepest core of our beings. Years later, all you had to do was peep through a peephole and there it was for anyone to see — a whole world of vitriol, entirely without end. It seemed that rage was what we were made of.”

That said, it seems that the world would be better served if she just wrote columns of cultural criticism. Maybe we are bears, and she’s a bird, building thought nests that others can’t fully see. In Mira’s world, artists who created stories, books and movies were producing their own second drafts, better versions of God’s world, as if hoping to get his (or her) attention. For the sake of the next world, let’s hope God doesn’t option this book. C

Book Notes

One of the silver linings of the pandemic was the virtual author event.

When physical bookstores were shuttered, many took to having author readings and Q&As online, which enabled people in remote locations to participate. You couldn’t get a book signed this way or shake the author’s hand, but it was still a better way to “connect” with an author than reading an interview.

Author events have now returned live in many places, but there are some bookstores that are still enabling people to watch online. Others have posted past events on YouTube, such as Washington, D.C.,’s famous bookstore, Politics and Prose. A quick Google search may find a few videos of your favorite author that will make for a more enjoyable evening than watching NFL reruns.

Here are a couple coming up of note:

Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass., will have a virtual event March 14 for How She Did It(Rodale, 336 pages), by Molly Huddle and Sara Slattery, who offer “stories, advice and secrets to success from 50 legendary distance runners.”

Mystery writer Simone St. James has a new novel, The Book of Cold Cases (Berkley, 352 pages), for which she’s doing a virtual event March 17 through the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Phoenix, Arizona.

Novelist Lisa Scottoline doesn’t release What Happened to the Bennetts (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 400 pages) until March 29 but is already doing events. One virtual one will be through Friend and Fiction on Facebook Live on March 23.

Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk has a new book, Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama (Random House, 304 pages), for which he’s doing both live and virtual events. He’s got a virtual event March 13 through Live Talks Los Angeles. It’ll cost you $40 to get admitted, but you also get actor Jack Black, for what that’s worth.

Book Events

Author events

AZAR NAFISI Author presents Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times, in conversation with Jacki Lyden. Ticketed virtual event hosted by Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord. Sat., March 19, 7 p.m. Tickets cost $27 to $31 and include a copy of the book. Held via Zoom. Visit or call 224-0562.

HOWARD MANSFIELD Author presents Chasing Eden. Sat., March 19, 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. Peterborough Town Library, 2 Concord St., Peterborough. Visit

EMMA LOEWE Author presents Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us, in conversation with author Hannah Fries. Virtual event hosted by Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord. Wed., April 13, 7 p.m. Registration is required. Held via Zoom. Visit or call 224-0562.

BECKY SAKELLERIOU AND HENRY WALTERS Becky Sakelleriou presents The Possibility of Red. Henry Walters presents Field Guide A Tempo. Sat., April 16, 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. Peterborough Town Library, 2 Concord St., Peterborough. Visit

ANNE HILLERMAN Author presents The Sacred Bridge. Virtual event hosted by Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord. Tues., April 19, 7 p.m. Held via Zoom. Registration is required. Visit or call 224-0562.


REBECCA KAISER Poet presents Girl as Birch. Virtual event hosted by Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord. Mon., April 11, 7 p.m. Held via Zoom. Registration is required. Visit or call 224-0562.

DOWN CELLAR POETRY SALON Poetry event series presented by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire. Monthly. First Sunday. Visit

Book Clubs

BOOKERY Online. Monthly. Third Thursday, 6 p.m. Bookstore based in Manchester. Visit or call 836-6600.

GIBSON’S BOOKSTORE Online, via Zoom. Monthly. First Monday, 5:30 p.m. Bookstore based in Concord. Visit or call 224-0562.

TO SHARE BREWING CO. 720 Union St., Manchester. Monthly. Second Thursday, 6 p.m. RSVP required. Visit or call 836-6947.

GOFFSTOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY 2 High St., Goffstown. Monthly. Third Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. Call 497-2102, email or visit

BELKNAP MILL Online. Monthly. Last Wednesday, 6 p.m. Based in Laconia. Email

NASHUA PUBLIC LIBRARY Online. Monthly. Second Friday, 3 p.m. Call 589-4611, email or visit

Album Reviews 22/03/10

Bye Bye Tsunami, Bye Bye Tsunami (Nefarious Industries Records)

You know, giving this Copenhagen-based noise-rock album any amount of love in this space makes me feel guilty that I haven’t done the same for the couple of weirdo bands who’ve been blowing up my email with demands that I stop “being all corporate and covering national bands,” mostly sent from (I think Boston-based) dada weirdos who’ve been emailing me gigabytes of nonsense that honestly isn’t any more unlistenable than this. And plus, a lot of those “national bands” have no support from their record labels. This one is a messy cacophony, some noise-punk grooves, some sax skronk, a few samples, some absolutely piercing feedback bursts, and so on. Recently been hit in the head with a 90 mph fastball? You might actually love this. C

Away, self:antiself (Boom Records)

Four-track EP from the Los Angeles-based beatmaker, whose biggest inspirations are professed to be Nine Inch Nails, Deftones, and Burial, a compelling trifecta of kickassage if I ever saw one. And kickoff song “Ritual” does possess all those aspects: some heavy electro riffage, a volley of glitch-dubstep and goth-sexytime vocals courtesy of Echos, whose soprano is a cross between Kesha and Evanescence’s Amy Lee. So the formula is inarguably good, but the result? Eh, not so much; it’s vibe more than anything else, something to have blaring in your ear when you’re 99 percent sure your sketchy significant other is cheating on you, that sort of thing. “Help Me” fares a lot worse, outright ripping off NIN’s “Closer” to such an extent that for the first 20 seconds you’ll think it’s a cover of that tune. “Ghostbox” is the winner here, possessed of a mellow-mode Imagine Dragons idea that translates even when the glitch gets a little thick. It’s OK overall. B


• March 11 is our next all-purpose album release date, and to help us celebrate the last few weeks of our yearly collective cracking in half Shining-style here in Antarctica, looky there, it’s three-chord pop-metal dunderhead Bryan Adams, with his new album So Happy It Hurts! No, I’m just joshing, he’s not a dunderhead, I really don’t mind Bryan Adams and his tidy, perfect little rock ’n’ roll songs; he’s actually a very good songwriter in my opinion. Remember when he did that three-chord hard rock ballad with Tina Turner? My favorite was when he did that tune “Bang The Drum” with Nelly Furtado at the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies, man was she gorgeous, and he was so funny, dressed like a Blues Brother with that stupid skinny tie and off-the-rack suit, ha ha. Whatever, he had a bunch of catchy songs, and I didn’t hate him, which brings us to the here and now, when I’ll probably hate everything I’m about to listen to from this new album. Right, the title track is a sleepy, strummy bridal-shower-pop ballad that’s probably some old John Cougar song played backward, it’s lame and dumb, but “On The Road” is a lot better, because the guitars are heavier, I don’t really have anything bad to say about — wait, ha ha, you should hear it when he starts singing about “Gettin’ back on the road / is all I’ve ever known.” What a hapless fail, I’m telling you, your uncle who used to play in an AC/DC cover band could think of something cooler than this, honestly. Remember when I made fun of the last David Duchovny album because it was such dad rock? This record would get the same review if I had to review it, the exact same verbiage.

• Now that Marilyn Manson did so much stupid stuff that he got himself kicked off the Loma Vista Records roster, the company sincerely hopes that you’re in the mood to buy the new Ghost album, Impera, which will be out tomorrow! These guys are a veteran hard rock-ish/metal-ish band from Sweden, and they’re kind of weird. In the new single, “Call Me Little Sunshine,” they sound like a cross between ABBA and Whitesnake. Read that again: a cross between ABBA and Whitesnake. The tune wants to be a catchy, epic ballad but it just sort of flops around and looks at you dumbly, hoping that you’ll be interested in it, but then you go off to find a snack and forget you ever heard it; I know I already have.

The Districts are a stripped-down, minimalist-ish indie band from Pennsylvania, composed of three guys who’ve known each other since high school. They’re up to five albums as of tomorrow, when their latest, Great American Painting, hits the Spotifys and whatever, so I checked out the new single “I Want to Feel It All” to see if there was anything to salvage out of it, and there was, if you like mall-pop with a lot of bloops and whatever. The tune doesn’t really go anywhere but it’s pleasant, as aimless music goes.

• We’ll wrap up this week’s business with an album from Rex Orange County, a disposable English hipster-pop dude whose real name is Alexander James O’Connor; his claim to fame is a “token skinny jeans dude” guest spot on Tyler, the Creator’s Grammy-nominated album Flower Boy. Anyone still paying attention, anyone at all? No? Well that’s fitting, because this fellow’s new album is called Who Cares, featuring the single “Keep It Up,” a tune about unironically puttering around on a little boat or something while pastel ponies dance around, I don’t even know. This dude wants to be Jose Gonzalez really badly but will just end up being forever known as “Whoever, you know, that one dude on that Tyler mixtape.”

If you’re in a local band, now’s a great time to let me know about your EP, your single, whatever’s on your mind. Let me know how you’re holding yourself together without being able to play shows or jam with your homies. Send a recipe for keema matar. Message me on Twitter (@esaeger) or Facebook (eric.saeger.9).

Drink these three beers now

These are worth tracking down

I’ve said this before but walking into your local beer store is downright overwhelming these days. How are you supposed to make a decision?

Even when I know exactly what I want to buy as I walk in, I inevitably get sidetracked. Just going to pick up a six-pack of this or that, but really, who knows what I’ll walk out of there with and how long it will take me to make a decision? I certainly don’t. I don’t have a clue how it’s all going to unfold.

Sometimes it’s helpful to just have someone tell you what to do because thinking is hard. Your life is hard enough and your mind deserves a few minutes without needing to make critical decisions.

I just don’t want you to be that poor, lost soul in your beer store, floundering around from aisle to aisle, shelf to shelf like a rudderless boat. You’ll probably be saying “excuse me” one million times and maybe bumping into others as you start to sweat from your inability to make a decision. No one wants that. It’s depressing to see, honestly.

You deserve a break from thinking, so here are three New Hampshire beers I think you should drink:

Coffee Porter by Northwoods Brewing Co. (Northwood)

I’m falling in love with this brewery; let me start there. The Coffee Porter is silky and smooth and sweet and rich and decadent — it’s just a wonderful beer drinking experience for those of us who appreciate the coupling of beer and coffee. It’s not just a coffee beer, though, as there are pronounced chocolate flavors as well. It comes in at just 4.7 percent ABV, which is tremendous news, as I hereby give permission to have more than one. Random, but Northwoods also has a beer called Magnetic Sense, which is a dry Irish stout, and I guess what I’m saying is, maybe have one of those on St. Patrick’s Day.

Citrillia by Great Rhythm Brewing Co. (Portsmouth)

This double dry-hopped double IPA is a quintessential example of this style: hazy, hoppy and delicious with big tropical fruit flavor — think grapefruit and mango, and maybe a touch of lime. At 8 percent this packs a bit of a punch, but this is what your taste buds want so you should give it to them. Plus, there is just something about a super hoppy brew that brightens up what can, well, kind of be a bit of a dreary month. This doesn’t disappoint at all as the flavor just explodes in your mouth.

Erastus by Schilling Beer Co. (Littleton)

I saw a recent piece in the Boston Globe calling Schilling’s brew Alexandr, a Czech-style Pilsner, the best beer in New Hampshire (while also lauding its pizza). Tough to disagree because the brew is tremendous (and so is the pizza). But, if you’re going all the way to Schilling, you would be a fool not to give Erastus a try. This Belgian tripel is just packed with fruity, spicy flavor. It just seems to hit you with layers upon layers of flavor and complexity and just begs for another sip. Situate yourself alongside the Ammonoosuc River, order up some pizza and dive into this brew. I literally have goosebumps as I write this.

What’s in My Fridge
Peroni Nastro Azzurro by Peroni Brewery (Vigevano, Italy)
Honestly, I’ve probably had this before but I have no recollection of having it previously. It’s light, crisp, bright and refreshing — pretty much exactly what you want when you are craving something lighter. The brew has some delightful citrus and spice notes as well that make it interesting. There are so many IPAs and so many big, rich stouts, it’s definitely worthwhile to be able to turn to some quality lighter brews. Cheers!

Featured photo: Coffee Porter by Northwoods Brewing Co.

Sweet strawberry biscotti

It’s the third and final week in my biscotti series. This week’s recipe is meant to remind you of summer. By March we are all hoping winter is nearing its end but know that summer is far away. These strawberry-filled biscotti are the perfect escape from the cold, at least for a few bites.

Like all biscotti recipes, these sweet treats require two rounds of baking: first as loaves, then as individual slices. This does mean that the recipe takes over an hour from beginning to end, but the majority of that time is spent waiting for the biscotti to bake. It really is a simple-to-make dessert.

As for ingredients, the freeze-dried strawberries are key. Just like with last week’s recipe, you don’t want to use fresh, as they have too much moisture. Another important reason to use freeze-dried is the strong pop of flavor they have. For the white chocolate, chips are what I use, but you also could buy a bar of white chocolate and chop it into little pieces. Either will work just fine.

As we muddle through March with its possibly snowy, rainy, chilly weather, why not make some biscotti to make everything season so much more pleasant?

Sweet strawberry biscotti
Makes 28

1/3 cup butter softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups freeze-dried strawberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer; mix on speed 2 for 2 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined.
Add vanilla extract, mixing until blended.
Add baking powder, salt, and flour, mixing until combined.
Chop strawberries into a medium dice.
Add strawberries (and any dust that accumulates on the cutting board) and white chocolate chips, stirring until evenly distributed.
Divide the dough in half.
Shape each half into a 10″ x 3″ rectangle, using floured hands.
Set each loaf 4″ apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the dough is set.
Leaving the oven on, remove the biscotti loaves and cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet.
Using a butcher knife, cut the loaves into slices, 3/4″ thick.
Place slices on the prepared baking sheet with the cut sides down; bake for 8 to 9 minutes.
Turn slices over, and bake for 8 to 9 minutes more.
Remove biscotti from the oven, and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
Can be stored in a sealed container for several weeks.

Featured Photo: Sweet strawberry biscotti. Photo by Michele Pesula Kuegler.

In the kitchen with Bradley Labarre

Bradley Labarre of Manchester is the new executive chef and program manager of the Recipe for Success culinary job training program at the New Hampshire Food Bank (700 E. Industrial Park Drive, Manchester, 669-9725,, having assumed the role in early January. The free eight-week program helps people suffering financial hardships gain work in the food service industry in the state — students learn various skills such as nutrition, proper use of kitchen instruments and equipment, safe food handling and meal presentation. Labarre’s role with the Food Bank also involves coordinating food donations and managing its regular inventory of products, and he’s currently working on getting the Recipe for Success program accredited through the American Culinary Federation. A Queen City native, he’s been involved with the Food Bank as a volunteer for more than eight years, including as a participant in its annual Steel Chef Challenge.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

A very sharp knife.

What would you have for your last meal?

A perfect bowl of mushroom risotto, topped with an unctuous slab of nicely seared foie gras. … Of course, it would have to be followed by something sweet, so perhaps a nice slice of wild blueberry cheesecake or Blake’s brand Moose Tracks ice cream.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

At the top of my list right now is Greenleaf in Milford, with chef Chris Viaud. They are totally killing it over there. Every time we go there, our heads are exploding. … We love that place, and we love Chris too. He’s a super, super nice guy.

What celebrity would you like to cook for?

[Chefs] Alice Waters, Peter Hoffman or Dan Barber. I’ve been inspired by their farm-to-fork approach with food for years. … Cooking for any one of them would not only be an honor, but it would teach me so much about my deep-seated approach to cooking.

What is your favorite thing that you’ve ever cooked for the NH Food Bank?

One that really sticks out to me was the first meal we ever made for the Steel Chef challenge back in 2016, which was a beef tenderloin. Although it wasn’t the most difficult thing I ever made, it was one of the most memorable. Not only did I get to do this with my then future wife and a few friends, but this plate of food made such a difference in so many people’s lives.

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

Plant-based cooking. I’m noticing that more and more chefs are focusing more of their energy on plant-based foods made with care.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

Anything in my outdoor wood-fired oven. Specifically, though, I love a crisp, airy pizza topped with a few slices of fresh mozzarella, some spicy arugula and thinly sliced prosciutto. You can’t beat it. … [The oven] is handmade in Portugal and it weighs 1,300 pounds. I actually had to have a crane put it in my yard.

Wild mushroom risotto
From the kitchen of Executive Chef Bradley Labarre of the New Hampshire Food Bank

1 pound wild mushrooms
8 Tablespoons butter
2 small shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh thyme sprigs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¾ cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1½ cups arborio rice
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, minced (optional)

Warm broth over low heat in a small saucepan. In a heavy skillet, melt half of the butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and shallots and saute until tender, about eight minutes. Add garlic, thyme sprigs, salt and pepper and stir for an additional minute. Remove mushroom mixture from pan and set aside. Add remaining butter to pan over medium heat. Once melted, add rice and stir until rice begins to look translucent. Add dry white wine and lemon juice and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Add mushroom stock or one cup of vegetable broth and stir until almost all of the broth is absorbed. Continue adding the broth one cup at a time and stir until the liquid is almost absorbed. Add mushroom mixture into the rice and stir to combine. Gently stir in the heavy cream and Parmesan cheese and cook for an additional five minutes on low heat. Transfer risotto to a serving bowl and top with freshly ground pepper, shaved Parmesan and fresh parsley if desired.

Featured photo: Bradley Labarre. Photo by Bruce Luetters of 3Sixty Photography.

Chili chowdown

Amherst chili cook-off and ice cream social returns

Local restaurants and home cooks will once again be vying for your palate with a warm bowl of chili during the sixth annual Amherst Fire & Ice. After its initial postponement last month, the friendly chili cook-off and tasting — which will also feature make-your-own ice cream sundaes to help you turn down the heat — returns to Amherst Middle School on Friday, March 11.

The cook-off is being organized by the Amherst Lions Club, and while the deadline to register as a chili entrant has passed, it’s open to the public for tasting. This will be the first in-person Amherst Fire & Ice in two years, following a pre-recorded “virtual” cook-off in 2021 when viewers had the opportunity to purchase chili recipes online from each of the entrants.

Chili makers will compete in three categories — individuals, restaurants and Lions Club members — as voted by tasters and a panel of judges, Amherst Lion Joan Ferguson said. (Editor’s note: This year’s judging panel includes Hippo writer Matt Ingersoll.) They’ll rate each entry on a scale of 1 to 10 on various criteria such as taste, smell, heat, presentation and creativity. David Mielke of Smokehaus Barbecue, a 2019 Amherst Fire & Ice champion, is a judge this year, and so is Dan DeCourcey, pitmaster of the Up in Your Grill barbecue food truck.

This year’s contenders will include Moulton’s Kitchen & Market of Amherst and Union Street Grill of Milford, as well as members of several local Lions Clubs like Amherst, Bedford and Merrimack. As in past years, there will be a diverse showing of traditional and non-traditional options to be served, Ferguson said, and you never know what types you may encounter. One of last year’s virtual cook-off winners, for instance, was a lamb chili with garbanzo beans and havarti cheese, while others have previously featured game meats like venison. Ferguson said at least one meatless option will be among the lineup of chilis to taste at this year’s cook-off.

“Attendees may eat as much as they want,” she said. “In addition … there will be cornbread, drinks and hot dogs [for those] who might not care for chili.”

Tasters will also get to vote on their favorite chilis. The chili entrant with the most votes in each category receives bragging rights for a year and their name engraved on a silver bowl.

After sampling chilis, attendees can enjoy their own made-to-order ice cream sundaes, featuring their choice of vanilla, chocolate or cookies and cream ice cream flavors, and additional toppings like strawberries, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, cherries or chocolate or rainbow sprinkles.

Members of Amherst Middle School’s music department will perform live. There will also be animal balloon demonstrations from Amherst’s Krickey the Clown, free eye screenings offered by the Amherst Lions Club, and — new to this year’s event — a kids’ coloring contest with prizes awarded to winners in three separate brackets: ages 11 to 15, 6 to 10 and 5 and under. The contest drawings can be downloaded from the Amherst Lions Club’s website or Facebook page.

“Copies of the images and crayons will be available … and may be completed before the winners are announced toward the end of the event,” Ferguson said.

6th annual Amherst Fire & Ice
When: Friday, March 11, 5 to 7 p.m.
Where: Amherst Middle School, 14 Cross Road, Amherst
Cost: $8 per person or $25 per family of four. Children under 5 receive free admission. Tickets can be purchased online, or cash is accepted at the door.

Featured photo: Scenes from the 2019 Amherst Fire & Ice chili cook-off and ice cream social. Courtesy photo.

Ready for St. Patrick’s Day?

Where to get corned beef and cabbage, Irish-inspired treats and other specials

St. Patrick’s Day is just a week away, so if you’re looking to enjoy that ceremonial boiled corned beef and cabbage dinner, or you want to indulge in some Irish-inspired sweets, here’s a list of local restaurants, Irish pubs, bakeries and other businesses ready to help you mark the occasion.

Alan’s of Boscawen (133 N. Main St., Boscawen, 753-6631, will have corned beef and cabbage available on Saturday, March 12, and from Thursday, March 17, through Saturday, March 19. Live entertainment will be provided by Those Guys on Saturday, March 12, and DJ Stretch on Friday, March 18.

All Real Meal (87 Elm St., Manchester, 782-3014, is taking orders for St. Patrick’s Day dinners for two, featuring slow-cooked corned beef, cabbage and vegetables, Guinness beef pot pie, loaded mashed potatoes, and Irish cream cheesecake and chocolate mint brownies for dessert. The cost is $75. Order as soon as possible (quantities are limited) for delivery on Wednesday, March 16.

Amigos Mexican Cantina (20 South St., Milford, 673-1500, will be open from noon to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, serving multiple specials for St. Patrick’s Day, like slow-roasted corned beef dinners with carrots, potatoes and cabbage, “Emerald Isle Nachos,” which are topped with corned beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing, and Irish Car Bomb whoopies, featuring a Guinness chocolate cake and a Jameson whiskey and Bailey’s Irish cream buttercream filling.

Auburn Pitts (167 Rockingham Road, Auburn, 622-6564, will serve specials on corned beef dinners and Reuben sandwiches starting Wednesday, March 16, and going right through the weekend. They’ll also have live music and open mic jams all afternoon and evening starting at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, hosted by Crazy Steve Butler and Stoned Wasp.

Averill House Vineyard (21 Averill Road, Brookline, 244-3165, will serve its annual St. Patrick’s Day mystery dinner, a four-course food and wine pairing event, on Thursday, March 17, at 5:30 p.m. The dinner includes four themed mystery dishes, along with wine selections from the vineyard. Tickets start at $69 per person.

The Bakeshop on Kelley Street (171 Kelley St., Manchester, 624-3500, will be offering corned beef sandwiches featuring its own house dressing, sauteed cabbage on toasted garlic herb bread. They’re also offering special St. Patrick’s Day-themed decorative cookies, doughnuts and cupcakes.

Belmont Hall & Restaurant (718 Grove St., Manchester, 625-8540, will be open until 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, serving special corned beef and cabbage plates with all the fixings.

Bistro 603 (345 Amherst St., Nashua, 722-6362, will open at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 17, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a special features menu in addition to its regular menus. Live music will begin at 8 p.m. that night and March Madness basketball games will also be on TV.

Boston Bakes (Goffstown, find them on Facebook @bostonbakesnh) is taking orders for several St. Patrick’s Day-themed sweet treats, like macarons (flavors include Shamrock Shake, Lucky Charms and Bailey’s Irish coffee); cakes and cupcakes (flavors include mint chip, vanilla, chocolate and Funfetti); and vanilla sugar cookies decorated with green clovers and sprinkles.

Buckley’s Market & Cafe (9 Market Place, Hollis, 465-5522, is taking orders for St. Patrick’s Day dinner boxes for two, featuring slow braised corned beef with potatoes, cabbage, turnip and carrots; whole-grain mustard and horseradish sauces; Irish soda bread; and chocolate Guinness cupcakes with Bailey’s frosting. The cost is $60 and pickups will be on Thursday, March 17 (note: dinner boxes are being offered at the Hollis location only).

Candy Kingdom (235 Harvard St., Manchester, 641-8470, has a variety of St. Patrick’s Day-themed treats available at the shop, like chocolate coins, shamrock-shaped cookies with green sugar crystals and more.

Casey Magee’s Irish Pub & Music Hall (8 Temple St., Nashua, 484-7400, will open its doors at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 17, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day all day long with food and drink specials like corned beef and cabbage dinners, fish and chips, Reuben club sandwiches and green beer. A full schedule of live entertainment is planned throughout the day from noon to 11 p.m., featuring various solo musicians playing Irish music. Steve DeLuca will perform from noon to 3 p.m., followed by Kieran McNally from 4 to 7 p.m., and Quincy Lord from 8 to 11 p.m. Casey Magee’s owner and founder Matt Casey is also due to participate as the “official leprechaun” in the 25th annual Manchester St. Patrick’s Day parade, set to return on Sunday, March 27, for the first time since 2019. Visit

Cruzin Cakes Shop (150 Broad St., Nashua, 882-1666, is taking orders for St. Patrick’s Day-themed platters, featuring mini green velvet cupcakes, brownies, sugar cookies and chocolates. Order by March 12.

The Derryfield Restaurant (625 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 623-2880, will be serving corned beef and cabbage dinners and corned beef sandwiches all day on St. Patrick’s Day. Live music will be featured by the local group D-Comp from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

Dutch Epicure Bakery (141 Route 101A, Amherst, 879-9400, is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with freshly baked Irish soda bread available every day through Saturday, March 19. Year-round, it’s also available every Friday and Saturday.

Firefly American Bistro & Bar (22 Concord St., Manchester, 935-9740, will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day all day long with a full menu of Irish-inspired specialties in addition to its regular menu, like corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, a traditional Irish cod bake, a dark chocolate Guinness cheesecake and more. A special cocktail menu with handcrafted Irish-inspired options will also be available, and Guinness will be pouring all day.

The Flight Center Taphouse & Eatery (1071 S. Willow St., Manchester, 952-4252, will serve a variety of Irish-inspired specialties on St. Patrick’s Day, like traditional corned beef and cabbage dinners and Reuben sandwiches, as well as Irish red ale and whiskey flights.

Fody’s Great American Tavern (9 Clinton St., Nashua, 577-9015; 187½ Rockingham Road, Derry, 404-6946; will open at noon at its Derry location and at 3 p.m. at its Nashua location on St. Patrick’s Day. Food specials will include corned beef and cabbage, Reuben sandwiches and loaded Reuben hand-cut fries.

Frederick’s Pastries (109 Route 101A, Amherst, 882-7725; 25 S. River Road, Bedford, 647-2253; is offering a variety of themed sweets and treats for St. Patrick’s Day, like shamrock cookies, “Pot of Gold” cakes, Bailey’s Irish cream tortes, and cupcakes with flavors like Guinness, confetti shamrock and mint chocolate chip.

Georgia’s Northside (394 N. State St., Concord, 715-3189, is taking pre-orders for a special St. Patrick’s Day pop-up menu, featuring items like traditional plates of corned beef and cabbage with mashed potatoes and Irish country bread, Guinness stew with tender braised steak, brown gravy and veggies, and homemade chocolate pudding topped with whipped Bailey’s Irish cream.

The Goat Bar and Grill (50 Old Granite St., Manchester, 222-1677, is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with brunch all weekend, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day from Thursday, March 17, through Saturday, March 19. Live music and March Madness games on TV will also be featured each day.

Granite State Candy Shoppe (13 Warren St., Concord, 225-2591; 832 Elm St., Manchester, 218-3885; has several St. Patrick’s Day-themed sweets and treats, like chocolate coins, chocolate foiled green hearts and shamrock cream gift boxes.

Granite State Whoopie Pies (Goffstown, is taking orders for chocolate mocha Irish cream or chocolate and mint grasshopper whoopie pies for St. Patrick’s Day, available by the dozen as regular or miniature sizes. Orders are due by March 11, for pickup the following Wednesday through Saturday, between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. at White Birch Eatery (571 Mast Road, Goffstown). Single-serve pies are also available for purchase there, as well as at Little Red Hen Farm & Homestead (85 Norris Road, Pittsfield). Find owner and founder Heather Pfeifer with her St. Patrick’s Day-inspired whoopie pies at Mountain Base Brewery (553 Mast Road, Goffstown) on Thursday, March 17, from 4 to 8 p.m.

Holy Grail Food & Spirits (64 Main St., Epping, 679-9559, will be serving food specials all day long for St. Patrick’s Day, like corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, bangers and colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes), Guinness beer and more. A full schedule of live local music throughout the day starts with Max Sullivan at 11:30 a.m., followed by Portsmouth Celtic band Penhallow in the afternoon and Karen Grenier at 7 p.m.

Jamison’s Restaurant (472 Route 111, Hampstead, 489-1565, is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with several food specials on Thursday, March 17, such as boiled corned brisket dinners, Irish nachos and Reuben egg rolls. Reservations are being accepted for lunch. The New Hampshire Police Association Pipes & Drums will perform at 2 p.m. that day.

LaBelle Winery Derry (14 Route 111, Derry, 672-9898, will hold a special St. Patrick’s Day beer and wine pairing dinner in its vineyard ballroom on Saturday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m., featuring selections from Concord Craft Brewing Co., including the brewery’s new Cerevino, a red ale that was soured and fermented on grape pressings from LaBelle. Food courses will include amuse bouche (bangers and mashed pasties with onion gravy, potato leek soup with herb oil, your choice of one of two entrees (maple brown ale braised pork loin with colcannon Irish mashed potatoes and whiskey pickled mustard seeds, or pan seared cod with Cerevino-braised purple cabbage, Irish boxty potato and chive beurre blanc), and sticky toffee pudding for dessert. The cost is $75 per person plus tax (dinner is 21+ only). Then on Wednesday, March 16, LaBelle will hold the next installment of its Winemaker’s Kitchen cooking class series, which will dabble in Irish favorites. That class is set for 6 p.m. that evening, also at the winery’s Derry location — recipes to be discussed will include Irish lamb stew, bangers and mash and chocolate Irish cream truffles. The cost is $35 per person plus tax.

McGarvey’s Saloon (1097 Elm St., Manchester, 627-2721, will open its doors at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 17, serving traditional Irish meals and Guinness beer all day long. Live entertainment will be provided by DJs Bernie and Erin Del Llano of Perfect Entertainment.

Murphy’s Taproom (494 Elm St., Manchester, 644-3535, will open at 6 a.m. on Thursday, March 17, for a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. A full schedule of live music will be featured all day long, starting at 9 a.m. and going all the way through until 1 a.m. Corned beef and cabbage specials will be available all weekend.

Nelson’s Candy & Music (65 Main St., Wilton, 654-5030, has multiple St. Patrick’s Day-themed sweets, like milk chocolate mold leprechaun pops, chocolate mold shamrock pops and more.

New England’s Tap House Grille (1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 782-5137, will serve a St. Patrick’s Day-themed specials menu from Thursday, March 17, through Saturday, March 19, featuring items like Reuben balls, corned beef and cabbage, Guinness stew, fish and chips, Guinness cake and Bailey’s Irish cream cheesecake.

North Side Grille (323 Derry Road, Hudson, 886-3663, will be offering traditional corned beef and cabbage plates with carrots and potatoes all week long, beginning on Tuesday, March 15, until they sell out. Other featured specialties available during St. Patrick’s Day week will include Irish poutine, Guinness lamb stew, soda bread, bangers and mash, beer-battered fish and chips, “pot of gold” macaroni and cheese, and Irish cream cheesecake, plus Guinness on draft, Smithwick’s Irish ale by the bottle and a lineup of Irish-inspired cocktails.

Old School Bar & Grill (49 Range Road, Windham, 458-6051, will offer a variety of St. Patrick’s Day-inspired specials beginning Monday, March 14, like Guinness beef stew, Irish egg rolls featuring corned beef, cabbage, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing, boiled dinners of corned beef and cabbage with turnip, parsnip, carrots and potatoes, Irish nachos with corned beef, sauerkraut and beer cheese, corned beef Reubens with homemade potato chips, and Bailey’s Irish cream cheesecake for dessert.

Patrick’s Pub & Eatery (18 Weirs Road, Gilford, 293-0841, will open its doors at noon on Thursday, March 17, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day all day long with entree specials like a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner with turnip, red bliss potato, carrots and locally made Irish soda bread, as well as bangers and mash and Guinness beef stew. Dessert specials will include Bailey’s Irish cream cheesecake and sticky toffee pudding, a house made authentic Irish recipe featuring a moist sweet cake with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and whipped topping. For drinks, green beer will be available upon request, or you can order specials like Patrick’s Pub’s own Slainte Irish red ale. Live music will be featured from noon to 7 p.m.

The Peddler’s Daughter (48 Main St., Nashua, 821-7535, will open its doors at 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 17, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day all day long with a Kegs and Eggs Irish breakfast until 3 p.m., corned beef dinners and other specials available from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and a full schedule of live entertainment, including a performance by the New Hampshire Police Association Pipes & Drums at 4 p.m.

The Pint Publik House (1111 Elm St., Manchester, 206-5463, will open earlier than normal, at 11 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, serving corned beef and cabbage specials.

The Potato Concept ( is planning a special St. Patrick’s Day-themed food tour with several local breweries, where they will be featuring corned beef and cabbage loaded baked potatoes. Find them at Great North Aleworks (1050 Holt Ave., Manchester) on Sunday, March 13, from 12:30 to 5 p.m.; at Rockingham Brewing Co. (1 Corporate Park Drive, Derry) on Thursday, March 17, from 4 to 8 p.m.; and at Spyglass Brewing Co. (2 Townsend West, Nashua) on Saturday, March 19, from 2 to 6 p.m.

Queen City Cupcakes (790 Elm St., Manchester, 624-4999, is taking orders for several St. Patrick’s Day-inspired flavors of its gourmet cupcakes, like Lucky Charms, Shamrock Shake, green velvet and Guinness, as well as other regular favorites like vanilla bean, chocolate and peanut butter cup. Order by March 15 at noon. Pickups will be on Thursday, March 17, between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Salt Hill Pub (58 Main St., Newport, 863-7774; 1407 New Hampshire Route 103, Newbury, 763-2670; 2 W. Park St., Lebanon, 448-4532; 5 Airport Road, West Lebanon, 298-5566; will open at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 17, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a traditional Irish breakfast at each of its locations. There will also be themed food and drink specials throughout the day and night, as well as a full lineup of live music (performances vary depending on the location).

The Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant (909 Elm St., Manchester, 625-0246, will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with its first pints at 6 a.m. on Thursday, March 17. Breakfast will continue to be served until 11 a.m., then they’ll switch over to a limited dinner menu with items like Guinness stew and corned beef. The kitchen will be open until 9:30 p.m. and the bar will close at 1 a.m. Live music will be featured in the back bar area, beginning around noon that day.

Smoke Shack Cafe (226 Rockingham Road, Londonderry, 404-2178, is taking pre-orders for a variety of specialty items for St. Patrick’s Day, including a la carte meats, like smoked corned beef, smoked sausage, pork belly and smoked chicken; sides, like colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes), brown sugar carrots, cabbage and pork belly saute, pea and onion saute, collard greens and macaroni and cheese; and meal packages, which include a choice of entree and sides. Pickups will be on Thursday, March 17 — schedule your desired pickup time when placing an order through the website.

Soel Sistas Catering & Meal Prep (Nashua, 943-1469, is taking orders for braised corned beef and cabbage dinners for St. Patrick’s Day, with turnip, carrots and potatoes. Individual and family-style meals for a family of four are available, as well as chocolate Guinness cupcakes. Order by March 12.

Strange Brew Tavern (88 Market St., Manchester, 666-4292, will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day all day long on Thursday, March 17. A full schedule of live local music acts is planned, beginning at 9 a.m. and through the afternoon and evening, including a performance by the New Hampshire Police Association Pipes & Drums at 7 p.m. Corned beef and cabbage, Guinness stew and other food specials will be served from noon to 11 p.m.

Tailgate Tavern (28 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham, 580-2294, will serve a special St. Patrick’s Day menu all day long on Thursday, March 17, featuring items like corned beef brisket boiled dinners with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and turnips, as well as Reuben sandwiches, Irish shepherd’s pie, Guinness barbecue ribs, Bailey’s Irish cream bread pudding, and shamrock chocolate cream pie. Orders are also being accepted for family-style meals to go, feeding four to six people. Order by noon on Tuesday, March 15 for pickup until 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 17.

The Town Cabin Deli & Pub (285 Old Candia Road, Candia, 483-4888, will serve a variety of traditional Irish-inspired specials for St. Patrick’s Day, like corned beef and cabbage dinners and Guinness stew with bread bowls, and Guinness and Jameson will be flowing throughout the evening. St. Patrick’s Day meals will also be available to order for takeout from the deli.

Up In Your Grill (Merrimack,, and on Facebook @upinyourgrill) is taking pre-orders for corned beef dinners for one, with cabbage, potatoes and carrots. Pickups will be on Thursday, March 17, at Vault Motor Storage (526 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack). Schedule your pickup time between 4 and 7 p.m. when placing an order online (the link can be accessed through the Facebook page).

Van Otis Chocolates (341 Elm St., Manchester, 627-1611, has several St. Patrick’s Day-themed sweets and treats, like milk, white or dark chocolate leprechaun or shamrock molds, milk chocolate green foiled hearts, and a four-piece “lucky box” of Swiss fudge and truffles.

The Village Trestle (25 Main St., Goffstown, 497-8230, will be serving multiple St. Patrick’s Day specials all day long in addition to its regular full menu, like corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots, corned beef Reubens and Guinness beef stew. Drink specials will include Green Tea cocktails, featuring Jameson whiskey, peach schnapps, and sour mix, served straight up or on the rocks. Live music from Jennifer Mitchell will be featured from 6 to 9 p.m. that evening.

The Wild Rover Pub (21 Kosciuszko St., Manchester, 669-7722, will open its doors at 6 a.m. on Thursday, March 17. They’ll be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day all day long, starting with a breakfast buffet, followed by traditional corned beef and cabbage dinners, Guinness specials and more.

Zorvino Vineyards (226 Main St., Sandown, 887-8463, will serve a special Irish-inspired four-course dinner in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, scheduled for Friday, March 18, at 6:30 p.m. Following a small appetizer of Irish soda bread, meal courses will include grilled asparagus and artichoke salad, Jameson and cracked mustard crusted Atlantic salmon, a “deconstructed” Guinness stew featuring stout braised prime beef, root vegetable hash, caramelized pearl onion, English roasted potatoes and charred baby carrots, and Irish coffee bread pudding for dessert. The cost is $65 per person.

Featured photo: Corned beef and cabbage from The Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant in Manchester. Courtesy photo.

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