The bee’s knees

Era-evoking New Year’s Eve gala in Concord

A retro vibe will blend with entertainment spanning decades, as the Bank of New Hampshire stage is transformed into a splendorous Roaring Twenties-themed ballroom on New Year’s Eve. Performers, ranging from chorus girls on the main stage to a jazz combo with a Sinatra-styled lead singer mining the Great American Songbook in the upstairs lounge, will ring in 2023 with a sexy verve.

Though the evening will commence with “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” much of the ensuing soundscape will be familiar to those who attended a similar bash three years ago at the Concord venue, which back then had a Studio 54 disco theme. The same Boston DJ/VJ who performed that night will return, with a broad song palette accompanied by striking big-screen visuals.

“One of the reasons I have him is because he likes to play a wide range of music,” Boston event artist Beth McGurr, who’s curating the night, said by phone recently. “Some DJs only want to play hip-hop, or Top 40, or house. He likes to have fun with it, and pull out songs that maybe you haven’t heard in a long time, or that you wouldn’t really expect. Plus, a video DJ is harder to find than a regular DJ.”

Another centerpiece of the evening will be the Honey Taps, a New York City song-and-dance troupe that began in the ’80s. It includes members who often appear in Broadway shows when they’re not tapping away in flapper garb and doing songs like “Happy Feet” and “Anything Goes” with infectious energy. Their efforts are “interactive,” McGurr said. “They get the audience to participate and dance with them … get up on stage and dance there too.”

During the evening’s earlier hours, revelers will find sanctuary in the intimate, speakeasy-bedecked lounge overlooking downtown. The Page, Shontz & Rose Jazz Trio will play, with piano, upright bass and woodwinds backing vocalist Lenny Zarcone, who channels not only Ol’ Blue Eyes but Mel Torme, Tony Bennett and other crooners. “It will be a Rat Pack vibe up there,” McGurr said. The room is appointed with comfy chairs and couches to help boost the easygoing mood.

Along with music and dance, there will be an aerialist swinging from the ceiling in the center of Bank of NH Stage’s brick-lined main room, drag performers, a photo booth to capture memories, and party favors to accompany the celebratory midnight Champagne toast — which also will have a balloon drop and confetti blast. A few surprises are promised as well. “Expect the unexpected,” McGurr said. “There’s something around every corner.”

McGurr considered doing a Roaring Twenties night for her initial endeavor in Concord, in 2019. “I didn’t do it the first time…. I was trying to be different,” she said. “It was 2020 and everybody was doing that thing, [but] now, three years later, I’m doing a speakeasy. It’s just a great New Year’s theme; I think everybody loves to dress up and have fun with it.”

This New Year’s Eve party was slated to happen last year, but everyone caught Covid, performers and staff included. The pandemic hit McGurr hard, as the events her Interactive Nightlife company specializes in can’t translate to Zoom. She was also grounded from flying, making it doubly difficult for her. “What I love most in life are traveling and throwing parties, and neither one I could do for two years,” she said. “I was at the edge of going crazy.”

She returned to the Granite State with a Halloween party in October, and hopes this event will flow into a busy 2023, with more Concord soirees planned, spanning a range of themes. “I was really excited after the first New Year’s, because that was my first event up there and I had a momentum going … but then we took a two-year pause,” she said. “I find people are much more comfortable at parties now… everything seems to be pretty busy — knock on wood.”

The event offers two entry tiers, general admission and a VIP level with a pair of drink tickets and access to balcony seats. Attendees are encouraged to come in their favorite finery, whatever decade they choose to evoke. “It’s still that Studio 54-type vibe, where anything goes,” McGurr said. “Dress up, have fun with your style.”

Featured photo: Honey Taps. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 22/12/22

Local music news & events

African sound: Enjoy a listening room experience as Wangari Fahari, a Kenyan-born Afro-jazz vocalist, performs with her trio. Blending activism and music — the video for her song “Down And Easy” is a good example — Fahari runs an eponymous record label. She counts as mentors Joan Baez and the late Miriam Makeba; New England-based guitarist Paul Thibeault and drummer Mike Hastings round out her band. Thursday, Dec. 22, 6 p.m., Loft at Hermit Woods, 72 Main St., Meredith, $25 at

Alt mashup: Recasting Radiohead’s “Subterranean Homesick Alien” as a loping jam is one trick Weird Phishes has up its sleeve, along with tagging Phish’s “Twist” at the end of the song. Consisting of five veteran Boston musicians, the band is exactly as advertised, transforming the edgy ’90s alt rockers into something hippier and trippier. They’re garnering a lot of attention in the region, playing a Phish Fenway afterparty in 2019. Friday, Dec. 23, 8 p.m., Shaskeen Pub, 909 Elm St., Manchester,

Grateful licks: Taking its name from the song “Unbroken Chain,” Blue Light Rain pays tribute to the Grateful Dead, occasionally jazzifying their sound, but staying reliably rocking on standouts like “One More Saturday Night.” Cofounded by bass player Rob Farquhar and guitarist Andy Laliotis (with his brother George on drums), the Concord band is nearing its 15th year, and hometown shows are always a treat. Friday, Dec. 23, 9 p.m., Area 23, 254 N. State St. (Smokestack Center), Unit H, Concord,

Looking back: On his social media pages, comedian Juston McKinney recently reminded fans that there are plenty of tickets for his A Year In Review 2022, which runs for four nights in Portsmouth, with two more in Manchester to close out the year. Seems a few shady operators were proffering seats at triple face value, so along with being one of New England’s best comics, McKinney is a standup guy. Opens Monday, Dec. 26, 7 p.m., The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, $35.50 and up at

Long run: Continuing the tradition begun after their America’s Got Talent success, Recycled Percussion will close out the year and roll into the new one with multiple hometown shows. The junk rockers hold down Manchester’s main stage for 13 shows — one on opening night, two each through New Year’s Day, afternoon only for First Week and another double on finale day. Wednesday, Dec. 28, 8:30 p.m. through Saturday, Jan. 7, 7 p.m., Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester, $37 and up at

Avatar: The Way of Water (PG-13)

Avatar: The Way of Water (PG-13)

James Cameron takes us on a three-hour-and-change trip back to the lush moon Pandora in the 13-years-in-the-making sequel Avatar: The Way of Water.

After some Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) narration flipping us through the years since the first movie (when Sully, a human Marine, eventually got, er, uploaded into the big blue body of the Na’vi, Pandora’s pre-existing humanoid population uncomfortably rendered with a bunch of “noble people of the land”-type tropes), we pick up on the action a “Jake and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) have four kids, some of whom are teenagers” amount of time later. A “new” star appears in the sky — a sign that the sky people, a.k.a. damn dirty humans, have returned. This time, the humans start their visit by burning to bare dirt a city-sized patch of land and then building a heavily fortified operations base.

A year later, a new batch of avatar-like Na’vi hybrids shows up — only these don’t have human operators in a pod somewhere. These soldiers are Recombinants — basically Na’vi clones with human memories, emotions and crappy personalities uploaded to their brains. These special soldiers, who are physically Na’vi but styled to look like Marines (why?), are meant to help keep the, sigh, insurgent hostiles on Pandora at bay while the re-established human colony expands to make Pandora a new home for humanity. But they (we) are achieving this by aggressively paving over all the greenery, strip mining again I guess and now, whaling. I get that we, as a species, are crummy at not repeating our mistakes but come on. Also, somehow this whole operation seems to be run by the U.S. Marines?

Anyway, the gist is that Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang), the bad guy of the first movie, is back, despite being dead, this time in a Na’vi body. Because Jake and his tribe have been attacking the new human supply lines, Quaritch and his Recombinant crew are sent to hunt down Jake Sully. After Quaritch very nearly kills Jake’s kids, Jake decides to take his family and leave their forest tribe to find a new place — somewhere they can just disappear and not put others in danger.

The kids don’t love this plan. Oldest son Neteyam (Jamie Flatters) wants to stay in his homeland but gets with the program to please his dad. Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), their second-oldest son, is sullen about everything and mopes about being an outsider. Kiri, whose name I thought was Kitty the whole movie, is their adopted teen-ish daughter; she is the half-Na’vi child of Sigourney Weaver’s character’s avatar from the first movie (somehow?), voiced by Weaver here. She is kind of an “I can feel the spirit of the planet” type, almost to the point of having superpowers. Like, they talk a lot about the biological connection between all living things on Pandora but Kiri is portrayed as almost being able to Use the Force. Also, she has a close relationship with Spider (Jack Champion), a human who was orphaned by the first human colony and has been raised by the human scientists and the Na’vi Sully family. Also, there’s Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss), the Sullys’ youngest daughter, who just seems to tag along on adventures and get captured.

The family winds up in a village on an island with people who live by the sea — with turquoise-colored skin and swimming-friendly tails and just enough visuals borrowed from Pacific Island cultures to make this all uncomfortable, especially since the wife of the chief is played (or voiced or whatever we’re calling all of these essentially animated performances) by Kate Winslet.

As you might imagine, this village is a little wary of the family that shows up essentially saying “we’re escaping death and destruction at the hands of the human military industrial complex; is it cool if we kick it with you for a bit? They probably won’t know we’re here in your very flammable village.”

Other stuff in this 192-minute movie: Spider gets a whole storyline about his difficult lineage. Lo’ak — giving strong Edith from Downton Abbey’s vibes — is bummed about how much his dad rags on him and he also makes friends with an outcast whale. (I know, the animals aren’t Earth whales but they’re basically whales and they’re the creatures being hunted for some tiny gland that stops aging in humans.) Edie Falco plays a human general. But even with all the stuff this movie crams in, it still could have shaved a good 50 minutes off, at least, and not lost anything.

But length isn’t the movie’s only problem.

The Way of Water lacks coherent character arcs and seems to change course or sort of forget character motivations.

The whole “natives and colonists” thing and its accompanying ickiness from the first movie is still there in this movie, along with, not misogyny exactly, but some patronizing stuff with the female characters. I thought “ugh, movie” a lot — which I think is the result of the characters generally being so one dimensional.

There is way too much repetition, both of stuff that happened in the first movie and of stuff that happened an hour earlier in this movie.

At times, The Way of Water feels a little “James Cameron’s greatest hits”-y with a sequence that feels very Titanic and some elements that made me think of Terminator 2.

So what’s to like?

The visuals, not all of the visuals, but many of the visuals are very good. (I saw a 2D version of the movie.) Scenes of discovering the ocean and island worlds are, sure, long but they are also often very beautiful. The Way of Water hasn’t completely solved the problem of how to make underwater, blue-lit stuff look dazzling but it maybe does a better job with underwater than any live-action/photorealistic movie before. (Colors and faces pop more than in, say, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, where I felt like a lot of the cool visuals of the underwater kingdom got lost in the watery haze of it all.) Underwater fights are still a blur of whatever but the water does add some fun elements to the choreography of the fights and what happens in the battles.

Jermaine Clement has a small role as a human scientist and in the final battle gets a dumb but fun line. It stuck out just enough to make me wish there was more of that sort of goofiness.

Ultimately, Avatar: The Way of Water is fine, a perfectly acceptable thing to watch if you’re looking to kill three hours on something that will only medium annoy you and offers some pretty things to look at. If you, a person who pandemic splurged on a nice home viewing setup, want to wait to watch it until you can do so cuddled up on the couch, I think that’s fine too. B-

Rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking, according to the MPA on Directed by James Cameron with a screenplay by James Cameron & Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, Avatar: The Way of the Water is THREE HOURS AND 12 MINUTES OF THIS YOUR ONE LIFE ON EARTH LONG and is distributed in theaters by 20th Century Studios.

Featured photo: Avatar: The Way of Water

A Christmas Memory, by Richard Paul Evans

A Christmas Memory, by Richard Paul Evans (Gallery, 183 pages)

Thirty years ago, Richard Paul Evans was 29 years old and working for an advertising agency in Salt Lake City when he decided he’d try his hand at writing a book. He didn’t have a Haruki Murakami moment, when he suddenly knew he could be a novelist while sitting in a baseball park; rather, he had just run for a statewide political office and lost, and needed a new goal to fill the void.

In his spare time he spent four weeks writing a novella he called The Christmas Box and then made 27 copies at Kinko’s and gave them out as Christmas gifts. Family and friends loved the story, which was about a young couple who become caretakers for a widow who has a mysterious box full of letters that (spoiler alert) turn out to be life-changing for the man and his wife. A couple of publisher rejection letters later, Evans self-published the book and eventually it hit No. 2 on The New York Times self-published bestseller list. Shortly thereafter, it sold at auction to Simon & Schuster for $4.2 million. It wasn’t a bad investment.

Evans has gone on to write more than 40 novels, most of them bestsellers, many of which have something to do with Christmas. His latest is A Christmas Memory, which steals a title from Truman Capote. (Disclosure: Capote’s poignant reflection about making fruitcake with his elderly cousin was published in 1956 and is a staple in my annual holiday reading.) Capote, the author of In Cold Blood, would no doubt be amused that two writers with such different trajectories and styles converged in this way.

Like Capote’s A Christmas Memory, Evans promises, in an author’s note, that his story is a lived experience, or more accurately, a collection of lived experiences woven into one narrative memory. It is a “composite of childhood experiences,” he says, without detailing which parts of the book, if any, are fiction.

Despite the title and festive cover, A Christmas Memory is disappointingly not really a Christmas story. It’s a story about a friendship that develops between a young boy and his elderly neighbor.

It opens with a family tragedy in 1967: the loss of the narrator’s older brother, who was killed in the Vietnam War. “He had promised to be home for Christmas. He kept his promise. Just not in the way we hoped.”

The narrator — presumably Evans, or some version of Evans, as he is called Richard or Ricky throughout the book — is “an awkward boy of eight with Tourette’s syndrome” who suffers 20 different kinds of tics. The family’s troubles get worse after the brother dies. The father is unemployed, the narrator’s grandmother dies, the family moves from California to Utah and then Richard’s parents separate.

The boy takes all of this hard. One day, while he is outside sobbing, he is comforted by a dog, which turns out to belong to a neighbor he later learns is named Mr. Foster. Mr. Foster is Black, which is unusual in Utah, which is “homogeneous as whole milk.” The man keeps to himself, for reasons that gradually become clear.

One day, Mr. Foster rescues Richard from bullies, and the two develop a relationship. At first, it seems mostly business. Mr. Foster hires the boy to shovel snow and to walk his dog, Beau, a deal they consummated with (possibly the most Utah thing ever) a snack of hot croissants with strawberry preserves. The two grow closer, with Mr. Foster gradually revealing parts of his life as the boy’s visits become more regular. At Thanksgiving, Mr. Foster invites young Richard and his mother to his house for the holiday meal, and there is finally a hope that with the start of the Christmas season, something Christmassy might ensue.

Alas, no.

The story culminates in December, that is for sure. There is a subplot about a cruel public school teacher who, for reasons that are not fully explained, basically ruins Christmas for her whole class with an angry tirade about Santa Claus. But there are also tragedies of mental health and physical health that, for all Evans’ narrative gifts, make this a bit of a downer to read, especially around the holidays. That’s not to say that depressing circumstances don’t make for a good holiday story; the travails of Jim and Della in O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” make one of the most beloved Christmas stories despite its soul-crushing ending. And for anyone suffering the loss of a loved one at Christmas, this little book might be a comforting read.

As Mr. Foster tells young Richard, “We hate grief because it hurts. Not everything that hurts is bad. Whatever grief may be, it’s one thing for certain. Grief is the truest evidence of love.”

Reader reviews warn that Foster, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is heavy-handed with Christian imagery and themes, but this is not the case in A Christmas Memory, aside from a few references to resurrection and an afterlife. For anyone who celebrates Christmas, this certainly wouldn’t be off-putting.

It’s tempting to compare Evans’ Christmas titles to the mauldin “Christmas Shoes” song and movie, which grew out of a story that circulated on the internet and has, at least in my house, become a subject of mockery. But Evans is a much better storyteller than that, and his commercial success shows that there is an appetite for these sorts of books, particularly since major publishing houses have lately failed to deliver any intellectually stimulating holiday titles, instead concentrating their efforts on cheesy Christmas romances and Hallmark movie fare.

A Christmas Memory is no A Christmas Carol, and Evans is no Charles Dickens. But it is a holiday bonbon of a book in a genre with disappointingly few choices, and it’s a serviceable and poignant story, particularly for anyone tending more toward misery than merriment this Christmas season. B

Album Reviews 22/12/22

Sarah Pagé, “Méduses” [single] (Forward Music)

You might remember this Montreal, Canada-based harp-experimentalist from her 2019 album Dose Curves, or, more likely of course, not, but as avant-music goes, this is something that might interest you, as she’s been working on a new record titled Voda, and this single is intended as a teaser for that. This bizarre piece features cellist Vera Ronkos, bassist Jonah Fortune, and Pagé on bowed harp, all working to create a sound triangulation that bespeaks weird undersea goings-on. “Méduses” is French for jellyfish, and they’ve nailed the vibe, I’d say; the seven-minute study shimmers and floats like an incidental bit that escaped from the soundtrack for The Abyss, if you remember that movie. The album will include a limited-edition set of art prints comprising “a visual for each movement of the album, along with album credits and interpretive texts.” I know I’ve written up a good chunk of oddball ambient music on this page over the years, but very few have been so, well, accurate as this. Gets a little gloomy here and there, but it’s pretty friendly drone overall. A

Nyte Skye, Vanishing (Sonic Ritual records)

This northern California-based shoegaze/’80s-technopop duo is a father-and-son band in the most endearing sense of the phrase: It consists of vocalist-guitarist-dad Nyles (who came to this project after a stint with psychedelic-shoegaze band Film School, which released a good handful of records in their day) and his son Skye, who was 12 when this album was recorded. Admit it, that’s kind of cute, and the kid does like to take glam shots while wearing knockoff Ray-Bans, but the punchline is that they do look like some kind of quintessential ’80s band. That fits, given that dad Nyles is an unabashed Cure fan, as most of these tunes would attest. And we’re talking early Cure, too, the stuff that was on Standing On A Beach. But the beats aren’t about the old-school 16-bit drums Robert Smith favored; somewhere along the line, young Skye found an old Slingerland marching drum from the 1930s, which makes for some pretty wide timekeeping sounds. Anyone who loves ’80s stuff, this is all you. A


• So this is Christmas, and what have I done? Another year older, and there’s more snark to come. You know? Hey gang, I’m supposed to talk about albums coming out on Dec. 23, because it’s a Friday, but guess what, there aren’t any! Yes, this week’s pretty much a wash, I doubt there’ll be many albums to talk about, but do any of you older people remember Gail Savage, the seacoast New Hampshire singer who used to play Pat Benatar cover tunes in all the local bars during the 1980s? Well, the other day, I accidentally found out she lives forever on YouTube, like, she recorded an EP with her long-haired androgynous tattooed love boys in 1985, titled Swedish Eyes (can I get a nudge-wink?), and it really wasn’t all that bad at all. In fact, the four songs were actually kind of good! She played basically every weekend at local places like the Kahala restaurant in Nashua and the Meadowbrook in Portsmouth, and all that stuff, and she sounded exactly like Pat Benatar. Oh come on, boomers and Gen X-ers, don’t look at me like “Hurr durr, geez, Eric, I have no idea what you’re talking about, I had chores to do at my family’s chicken farm, and I sure wasn’t out and about at all those rock clubs, with all that sin, and girls who looked and sang exactly like Pat Benatar!” Riiight, if you so much as set foot in New Hampshire during the ’80s, you couldn’t help knowing about her! If you ever stayed up past your bedtime, you probably heard her singing someplace, like, she and her band were probably singing some awful Steve Winwood cover tune while you were trying to eat your chicken wings or eggs Benedict at Howard Johnson’s, or — what’s that, you’ve never heard of Howard Johnson’s? It had an orange roof. Not a typo. Anyway, Gail Savage, everyone, the former queen of New Hampshire’s rock ’n’ roll scene. I’d love to dish some info about her current whereabouts; some former guitarist of hers is on some music-gear chat site, and I asked him where she was, but he never wrote me back (yes, he dared to ignore me) and no one else seems to know. Boy, it’s too bad clubs are no fun anymore, like, I went to one in Manchvegas a while ago and everyone was just standing around playing with their phones, except once in a while someone would start getting all weird and loud and performative, like they owned the place. Well, I suppose some things never change then, am I right? Someone please kindly get in touch with me this instant if you know where she is, that’d be great.

• Oh, the horror, what do we even have to talk about in this column this week? Ack, Weezer put out an album titled SZNZ: Winter a few days ago, but I can’t really deal with millennial-centric nerd-rock right now, folks, I just can’t. Let’s not. Wait, here’s one, from Viper The Rapper, called You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack II, but guess what, it comes out on Christmas Day. Whatever, there’s the title track on YouTube, and it’s such a funny song, ha ha, listen to this guy, sounding like Biggie after guzzling an entire gallon of Robitussin. This may be the most awesome thing I’ve heard this year. Merry drugs, everyone!

• We’ll end this week’s torture with Sonic Speed’s Sweet And Subtle Toxins, which looks like another hip-hop album. Funny, it used to be that the only things I had to write about during the Friday closest to Christmas were metal albums, but nowadays it’s hip-hop. This one comes out on Christmas Eve, and their Bandcamp page is useless, but I found one older Sonic Speed tune on YouTube. It sounds homemade, and they admit the band is a joke band, but it’s awesome, Kool And The Gang meets Usher or something, probably produced for free using a Disney Princess beat from a Fisher Price toy gizmo.

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).

The Bee-Bee

A hot drink for the holidays

I’ve got a rule of thumb that makes a deceptive amount of sense.

When you’re looking at used copies of cookbooks, buy the one that is in the worst shape. If it’s badly stained and has torn pages, a broken spine and mysterious burn marks, that’s the one that has seen some action. Somebody was loyal enough to the recipes in it to take it into the belly of the beast. It must have something to recommend it.

Anyone I’ve ever given that advice to has nodded and agreed that this seems really reasonable.

The deception comes into play over time. Over the years, I’ve adopted an alarming number of these battle-scarred books, most of which have gone relatively unused.

A case in point is 1969’s Esquire Drink Book. I don’t remember how it ended up in my cocktail bookcase, but it is a perfect time capsule of Swinging ’60s bachelor drinks.

For example, the Bee-Bee.

Even by the standards of the time, the description of the Bee-Bee is a little tone-deaf, sexism and other isms-wise.

“This will bring on leprechauns and williwaws after the third cup,” he says.

Given that 3 cups of bourbon is 24 ounces of 100-proof alcohol, I suspect that it would be more likely to bring on paramedics and divorce attorneys, and yet—

Classic Bee-Bee


  • Zest of one lime – one of the really dark, leathery-looking ones
  • Zest of one orange – just a regular, undemanding orange
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup bourbon – given how much you are going to adulterate it, probably not your best stuff.

Also, have an instant-read thermometer.

Heat all ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan, over medium-low heat. (The lower temperature will give the alcohol time to strip some of the flavorful oils from the citrus rinds.) Bring to a temperature of about 170º. Alcohol boils off at a lower temperature than water, so bringing this to a full boil will strip off most of the bourbon. (I flamed off all the alcohol from some rum once and “disappointing” does not begin to describe the results.)

Rest for three minutes. This will give the bourbon a little more time to wash the citrus zest. Yes, it will cool somewhat, but you do the exact same thing when you make a good cup of tea. Think of this as extremely dodgy tea.

Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into an Irish coffee glass. To be clear, this is 8 ounces of bourbon and, at 170, the alcohol doesn’t cook off. You’ll want to share this one with a few fellow revelers to stay upright.

Shockingly, this is very good. Dangerously good. The bourbon is mellowed out by the honey and citrus. It tastes comforting. It has subtle butterscotch notes that suggest that maybe things aren’t that bad. That maybe you’ll get through all this. That maybe you should make another cup—

So I guess the question is this: Is there a way of lightening the Bee-Bee up so you don’t end up making a pass at a hat rack, and yet that doesn’t strip it completely of its dangerously seductive nature?


Modified Bee-Bee


  • Zest of 1 lime – dark and leathery
  • Zest of 1 orange – calm and demure
  • 3 ounces ginger brandy – I like Jacquin’s
  • 1 ounce Irish whiskey – I like Paddy’s for this. It brings a lot of flavor, without taking itself too seriously.
  • 1 Tablespoon hot honey
  • ½ cup boiling water

And that same thermometer, which has probably been surprised and delighted to find itself in an adult beverage today instead of a pork chop.

Again, heat all the ingredients except the water in a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, bringing the mix to 170º.

Again, rest for three minutes.

Strain into an Irish coffee glass, stir in the hot water.

This version of the Bee-Bee doesn’t taste the same as the original, but it has the same “Hey, buddy, I don’t know if anyone has told you lately, but you are very attractive and have a really great sense of style” quality of debauched, contented comfort to it. (Keep in mind that while only half as dangerous as its big brother, this drink still has 4 ounces of alcohol in it. For either drink, sharing is strongly recommended.) The ginger plays well with the spice of the hot honey. The alcohol is still there and lets you know that it is still there, but it plays so well with the citrus that you hardly notice the number of ill-advised ideas you come up with over the next half hour.

Featured photo: The Bee-Bee. Photo by John Fladd.

Apple cranberry compote

I am back to thinking about snacks again this week. Why not? December is basically a month-long eating festival.

In the world of snacking, although charcuterie boards are ever so popular, sometimes it is nice to offer just one type of cheese and cracker. However, you can elevate that pairing by adding some toppings. You can keep it simple with some Dijon mustard or honey to drizzle on the cheese and crackers, or you can make it just a bit fancier with this apple cranberry compote.

And if you have leftover compote, a night at home and time to cook a meal, you can serve the compote with roast chicken or pork. Fancier than plain applesauce, it adds a nicely sweet component to your protein.

Let’s talk about the ingredients. For the apple, you want a firmer variety. I prefer a Granny Smith or Fuji; you can choose any apple that would work well for baking. As you’ll see in the recipe, I add a tablespoon of brandy. It’s optional, but it does add a tiny bit of flavor as well as a hint of warmth. The rest of the ingredients are fairly straight forward. If you’re looking for a bit more pop to this recipe, feel free to finish it with the tiniest pinch of salt. It will make the sweetness of the compote shine even more.

Apple cranberry compote
Serves 4

4 apples, peeled and cored
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon brandy, optional
3/8 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Dice apples into small, bite-sized pieces.
Combine apples, lemon juice, brandy, sugar and cinnamon in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat.
Bring to a boil, then turn to low and cover.
Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add dried cranberries, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Remove from heat, uncover, and allow to cool slightly.
Serve or transfer to a storage container and refrigerate.

Featured Photo: Apple cranberry compote. Courtesy photo.

In the kitchen with Megan Sampson

Megan Sampson of Hudson and her aunt, Vicki Abbott, are The Soup Ladies (, find them on Facebook), offering a product lineup of nine all-natural soups and one no-cook pasta salad, all of which come as dry mixes with either air-dried or freeze-dried ingredients — for most of them, just add water. Options include everything from a split pea soup and a corn chowder to a quinoa medley, a sweet potato chili and a turkey stew and pot pie filling. Originally known as Homemade Specialty, the business started 11 years ago when Abbott, its owner and founder, would make split pea soup as a teacher’s gift. Eventually she started introducing more soups that she would sell at local craft fairs, and that soon led to taking on some wholesale accounts. She and Sampson now run the company — rebranded as The Soup Ladies earlier this year — together. Today, their products are available in more than two dozen farm stands, country stores, butcher shops and other establishments across New Hampshire, Massachusetts and a few other states, and can also be ordered online to ship.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

Our newest tool that we have … is our automatic sealer. We used to have to do everything by hand, but now we have a heat sealer that will seal and trim the bag for us, and we can do five bags at a time versus us doing them individually. So it saves us quite a bit of time. It’s honestly the best purchase that I think we’ve made as a company.

What would you have for your last meal?

Lobster, pretty much any way I can get it. … I generally like them just steamed, or if I’m ever in the Portland, Maine, area, we always go to The Highroller, which has the best lobster rolls.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

Luk’s Bar and Grill [in Hudson]. … It’s always consistent and the food is always great. My favorite thing to get there is their cauliflower wings. I have to get them every single time.

What celebrity would you like to see trying one of your soups?

Gordon Ramsay. … I feel our products are great, but I would like to see what his opinion is.

What is your favorite product that you offer?

There are two. We have our sweet potato chili that we developed and it’s our most popular soup. I really enjoy that one; however, I’ve had it many times, so you’re obviously not always looking for more of a heavier soup or a chili. … So my second favorite is our quinoa medley. It’s more of a lighter, feel-good kind of soup, and it has a ton of vegetables in it, which is right up my alley.

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

I feel like plant-based foods are kind of trending right now. I myself … am pretty much 90 percent plant-based — I consume meat on occasion, but I don’t have it that often. But I am noticing it more and more at restaurants, and even at the grocery store, that they are tending to have more plant-based items.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

I like to make stuffed portobello mushrooms. … I’m actually the only one in my household that likes mushrooms, so whenever I can make them for myself, I try to.

Sweet potato chili dip
From the kitchen of Megan Sampson of The Soup Ladies,

1 package The Soup Ladies sweet potato chili
1 14.5-ounce can no-salt diced tomatoes
1 pound North Country Smokehouse chorizo brandy sausage, sliced
8 ounces Cabot shredded cheese
16 ounces Cabot sour cream
Shredded lettuce
Fresh diced tomatoes
Diced jalapenos and chopped scallions (optional)

Cook the sweet potato chili mix as directed. Brown the sausage and add into the chili mix the last 20 minutes of cooking time. Set the cooked chili aside until cooled. Top the chili with sour cream and sprinkle on the shredded cheese, shredded lettuce and fresh diced tomatoes. For a little added spice, try adding diced jalapenos and chopped scallions. Refrigerate for one hour to set the dip. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy.

Featured photo: Megan Sampson of The Soup Ladies, based in Hudson. Courtesy photo.

New Year’s eats

Get ready to welcome 2023 at a local restaurant or bar

Ring in 2023 with a special multi-course meal or a midnight Champagne toast at one of these New Hampshire restaurants, bars and function centers. Reservations are filling up fast for many — be sure to contact each establishment directly for the most up-to-date details on availability.

815 Cocktails & Provisions (815 Elm St., Manchester, 782-8086, will hold a special ’80s prom-themed New Year’s Eve party on Saturday, Dec. 31, at 8 p.m., with dancing, contests, hors d’oeuvres, unlimited photo booth use and a featured open bar menu. Tickets are $120 per person and can be purchased in advance online.

Averill House Vineyard (21 Averill Road, Brookline, 244-3165, will hold a special Brazilian New Year’s Eve dinner and wine pairing on Saturday, Dec. 31, at 6:30 p.m. In addition to a pre-set five-course meal with wine pairings, the evening will include a dessert wine to ring in the new year, and a 9 p.m. countdown (midnight Brazilian time). Tickets are $89 per person and reservations are being accepted online now.

Bedford Village Inn (2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford, 472-2001, will hold a special four-course prix fixe New Year’s Eve dinner on Saturday, Dec. 31, with seatings from 5 to 9:30 p.m. The meal will include your choice of an appetizer (Dunk’s mushroom toast, Wagyu beef carpaccio, New Hampshire cheese board, broiled Cape Cod oysters, kabocha squash and ricotta agnolotti or lobster bisque); a salad (baby red oak or mache and watercress salad); an entree (grilled filet mignon, smoked New Bedford sea scallops, herb-marinated Australian grass-fed lamb rack, pan-roasted Arctic char, cornbread-crusted Icelandic cod loin, Long Island duck breast or maple-roasted delicata squash); and a dessert (bananas Foster bread pudding, peach bellini sorbet, pistachio cake, chocolate turtle torte or hot chocolate baked Alaska). The cost is $95 per person, and the Inn’s igloos can also be reserved on New Year’s Eve with a $150 rental fee, a $400 food and beverage minimum and a bottle of Champagne included. Additionally, the Inn’s Trattoria Fondi will be open for breakfast from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and for dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve. On Sunday, Jan. 1, the Inn’s dining room will be open for brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., while Trattoria Fondi will be open for breakfast from 8 to 10:30 a.m., and for lunch and dinner from 4 to 9 p.m.

Bistro 603 (345 Amherst St., Nashua, 722-6362, will open for brunch at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31, with dinner service starting at 3 p.m. that will include a special features menu and — later on — a DJ and a complimentary Champagne toast at midnight.

Buckley’s Great Steaks (438 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack, 424-0995, will be open on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 4 to 9 p.m., serving its regular dinner menu in addition to some seasonal specials, like seared scallops, line-caught Atlantic halibut and 24-ounce grilled porterhouse steak. Reservations are being accepted online now.

Cask & Vine (1 E. Broadway, Derry, 965-3454, will hold its 10th anniversary celebration on Saturday, Dec. 31, at 5 p.m., which will have an “apocalypse” theme. Guests are invited to dress as either a “survivor” or a “zombie,” and the evening will include a Champagne toast at midnight to ring in the new year. A $50 deposit is required per attendee, which will then be applied to your check at the end of the night.

Castleton Banquet and Conference Center (58 Enterprise Road, Windham, 898-6300, is hosting a special New Year’s Eve party on Saturday, Dec. 31, at 7 p.m., which is being organized by East Coast Entertainment. In addition to a cash bar, attendees will be treated to a three-course meal featuring a mixed garden salad with dinner rolls, petite filet mignon duet with lemon caper chicken and dessert. Also included will be a DJ and a 50/50 raffle. Tickets are $225 per person (event is 21+ only).

CJ’s Great West Grill (782 S. Willow St., Manchester, 627-8600, will be open until 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve (Saturday, Dec. 31).

Colby Hill Inn (33 The Oaks, Henniker, 428-3281, will hold a special six-course sparkling wine dinner for New Year’s Eve, happening on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 7 to 10:30 p.m. The meal will include nut and wild mushroom foie gras, New Hampshire oysters two ways, cassoulet with flageolet beans, duck confit, mushrooms and andouille sausage, your choice of an entree (petite tournedos with lobster tail, Moroccan spiced rack of lamb or pan-seared cod), a “white winter festival” dessert featuring a coconut cup with white chocolate gelato, crisp meringue, lavender snow and a gold leaf, and a plate of mignardises as the last course, served with coffee, tea or espresso. The cost is $150 per person, and overnight guests also have the option to attend a Champagne brunch the following morning.

Copper Door Restaurant (15 Leavy Drive, Bedford, 488-2677; 41 S. Broadway, Salem, 458-2033; will serve a special prix fixe dinner menu for New Year’s Eve on Saturday, Dec. 31, beginning at 4 p.m. at both locations. Dinners feature your choice of two-course, three-course or four-course meals, with options like truffled risotto, crispy Tuscan meatballs, shrimp bisque, butternut-apple salad, grilled filet oscar, sesame-crusted tuna, crispy duck confit, truffled mushroom ravioli, caramel apple pie, sugar cookie cupcake and chocolate hazelnut cheesecake. The cost is $74 per person for a two-course meal, $84 for a three-course meal and $94 for a four-course meal. Reservations are highly recommended.

Cotton (75 Arms St., Manchester, 622-5488, will serve dinner on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 4 to 8:30 p.m., featuring its regular menu with some specials. Reservations are encouraged.

CR’s The Restaurant (287 Exeter Road, Hampton, 929-7972, will be open for dinner on New Year’s Eve (Saturday, Dec. 31) from 5 to 9:30 p.m., featuring an a la carte with holiday specials and its most popular regular items. Live music will also be featured from 5 to 10 p.m. Reservations are required.

The Derryfield Restaurant (625 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 623-2880, will hold a New Year’s Eve party on Saturday, Dec. 31, at 9 p.m., featuring live music by the Chad LaMarsh band. Tickets are $25.

Firefly American Bistro & Bar (22 Concord St., Manchester, 935-9740, will be open for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for dinner from 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31. On Sunday, Jan. 1, Firefly will be open for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for dinner from 4 to 8 p.m.

Flannel Tavern (345 Suncook Valley Road, Chichester, 406-1196, will host a special Rocking New Year’s Eve celebration all day long on Saturday, Dec. 31, from noon to 9 p.m., featuring food and drink specials and a full schedule of live local music acts.

The Foundry Restaurant (50 Commercial St., Manchester, 836-1925, will be open on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 4 to 10 p.m., serving its regular dinner menu with some specials. On Sunday, Jan. 1, The Foundry will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch only.

Gauchos Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse (62 Lowell St., Manchester, 669-9460, will serve dinner on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended.

Giorgio’s Ristorante & Bar (270 Granite St., Manchester, 232-3323; 707 Milford Road, Merrimack, 883-7333; 524 Nashua St., Milford, 673-3939; is open regular hours on Saturday, Dec. 31, at all three locations.

Granite Restaurant & Bar (The Centennial Hotel, 96 Pleasant St., Concord, 227-9005, will be open regular hours on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 5 to 9 p.m. (and until 10 p.m. at the bar), serving their regular dinner menu with some specials.

Greenleaf (54 Nashua St., Milford, 213-5447, will serve a special multi-course dinner for New Year’s Eve on Saturday, Dec. 31, with four seatings, at 5, 6, 7 and 8 p.m. Courses will include vichyssoise, scallop crudo, lobster and truffle ravioli, grilled rib-eye and hazelnut cake. The cost is $125 per person and optional wine pairings are also available for an additional $25 fee. Each dinner also includes a celebratory glass of bubbles. Reservations with a non-refundable $50 deposit are required.

Hanover Street Chophouse (149 Hanover St., Manchester, 644-2467, will be open on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 5 to 9 p.m., serving a special prix fixe five-course dinner menu. The cost is $105 per person and reservations are required.

LaBelle Winery (14 Route 111, Derry, 672-9898, will hold a special Swinging Big Band New Year’s Eve dinner on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 6 to 10:30 p.m. The event will include a three-course plated dinner and a performance by the Freese Brothers Big Band in LaBelle’s vineyard ballroom. Enjoy a winter kale salad, your choice of an entree (New York strip steak or roasted vegetable cannelloni) and a trio of profiterole for dessert. Tickets are $100 per person and include the dinner, a wine pouring, the band performance and admission to LaBelle Lights after the show.

Los Reyes Street Tacos and More (127 Rockingham Road, Derry, 845-8327, will be open on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Martingale Wharf Restaurant & Bar (99 Bow St., Suite W, Portsmouth, 431-0901, will hold a special First Night event on Saturday, Dec. 31, at 9 p.m., featuring food and cocktails, ice bars and ice sculptures by Jeff Day, a DJ and more.

Mile Away Restaurant (52 Federal Hill Road, Milford, 673-3904, will serve a multi-course meal for New Year’s Eve on Saturday, Dec. 31, featuring your choice of an appetizer (seafood chowder, Swedish meatballs or fruit with sorbet, or you can substitute shrimp cocktail or escargots); a salad (Caesar salad or garden salad with blue cheese, house ranch, raspberry vinaigrette or balsamic dressing); an entree (sliced roast tenderloin of beef, grilled duck breast, chicken Wellington, scallops and lobster ravioli, roasted stuffed acorn squash, baked stuffed jumbo shrimp or baked stuffed scrod — all entrees come with your choice of garlic mashed potatoes, Swiss potato or rice, and your choice of butternut squash, pickled beets or applesauce); and a dessert (chocolate mousse cake, flourless chocolate cake, bourbon bread pudding, cheesecake or lemon mascarpone cake). The cost is $55 per person and entree orders are required with all reservations.

MT’s Local Kitchen & Wine Bar (212 Main St., Nashua, 595-9334, will be open on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 4 to 9 p.m., serving its regular dinner menu in addition to some seasonal specials, like oyster Rockefeller, lamb shank and grilled rib-eye. Reservations are being accepted online now.

New England’s Tap House Grille (1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 782-5137, will be open from Saturday, Dec. 31, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Sunday, Jan. 1, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

New Hampshire Pizza Co. (76 N. Main St., Concord, 333-2125, will be open on Saturday, Dec. 31, from noon to 10 p.m. and on Sunday, Jan. 1, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., for brunch.

The Peddler’s Daughter (48 Main St., Nashua, 821-7535, will offer various appetizer and entree specials on New Year’s Eve, like shrimp and corn bisque, baked stuffed shrimp, ginger pork gyozas, prime rib with potatoes and green beans, chicken roulade stuffed with spinach and goat cheese over whipped potatoes with pan sauce, and spicy orange glazed salmon over sauteed vegetables. There will also be live music from the band Take 4 and a Champagne toast at midnight.

Piccola Italia Ristorante (815 Elm St., Manchester, 606-5100, will serve dinner on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 4 to 9 p.m.

Portsmouth Gas Light Co. (64 Market St., Portsmouth, 430-8582, will hold a special “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” New Year’s Eve celebration on Saturday, Dec. 31, starting at 8 p.m., featuring passed hors d’oeuvres, a brick oven craft pizza buffet and a Champagne toast at midnight. Tickets start at $75 general admission.

Raleigh Wine Bar + Eatery (67 State St., Portsmouth, 427-8459, will serve a special four-course New Year’s Eve dinner on Saturday, Dec. 31, with optional wine pairings. Two seatings are available, at 6 or 9 p.m. Featured items to choose from will include roasted cabbage, oysters with caviar and Champagne, coal-roasted venison, roasted sirloin, chocolate torte and chestnut brown butter cake. The cost is $120 per person with a Champagne toast (additional $50 if wine pairings are included). Reservations require a $25 deposit per person.

The Republic of Campo (969 Elm St., Manchester, 666-3723, and is scheduled to hold its final day of service on Saturday, Dec. 31, from noon to 9:30 p.m., before owners Edward Aloise and Claudia Rippee prepare to put the restaurants up for sale.

Saddle Up Saloon (92 Route 125, Kingston, 347-1313, will host a special New Year’s Eve party on Saturday, Dec. 31. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m., featuring your choice of prime rib, half-roasted chicken or baked haddock (each entree also comes with mashed potatoes and veggies). Local party cover band Casual Gravity will then perform from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The cost is $60 per person and also includes a Champagne toast at midnight, followed by a pizza buffet.

Sea Dog Brewing Co. (9 Water St., Exeter, 793-5116, is celebrating New Year’s Eve on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 9:30 p.m. to midnight, with various hors d’oeuvres and a complimentary Champagne toast at midnight.

The Shaskeen Irish Pub and Restaurant (909 Elm St., Manchester, 625-0246, will host a special New Year’s Eve party on Saturday, Dec. 31, featuring a food buffet from 8 to 10 p.m., a midnight Champagne toast, and music by Chris Bennett, a.k.a. DJ Myth. The cost is $60 per person.

The Side Bar (845 Lafayette Road, Hampton, 601-6311, will hold a special New Year’s Eve party on Saturday, Dec. 31, at 9 p.m., featuring a complimentary pizza and appetizer buffet, drink specials and live entertainment from DJ CHN all night long, and a Champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $25 in advance via Eventbrite and $30 at the door.

Surf Restaurant (207 Main St., Nashua, 595-9293; 99 Bow St., Portsmouth, 334-9855; will be open on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 4 to 9 p.m. at its Nashua location and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at its Portsmouth location, serving its regular dinner menus in addition to some seasonal specials, like smokey tomato bisque, crispy calamari and Alaskan king crab futomaki, grilled rib-eye and scallop surf and turf, and pan-seared halibut. Reservations are being accepted online now for any size party.

T-Bones Great American Eatery (25 S. River Road, Bedford, 641-6100; 404 S. Main St., Concord, 715-1999; 39 Crystal Ave., Derry, 434-3200; 77 Lowell Road, Hudson, 882-6677; 1182 Union Ave., Laconia, 528-7800; 311 S. Broadway, Salem, 893-3444; will be open on Saturday, Dec. 31, until 10 p.m., at all of its locations.

The Village Trestle (25 Main St., Goffstown, 497-8230, will host a special “New Year’s Bash” on Saturday, Dec. 31, at 7 p.m., featuring food and drink specials, party favors, live music by the Bob Pratte Band and a Champagne toast at midnight. No cover charge is required for admission.

The Wild Rose Restaurant (Stonehurst Manor, 3351 White Mountains Hwy., North Conway, 356-3113, will hold a special four-course New Year’s Eve dinner on Saturday, Dec. 31, with two seatings at 6 or 9 p.m. The dinner includes your choice of an appetizer (scallops wrapped in bacon, shrimp cocktail, Jonah crab cakes, pumpkin ravioli or crab and lobster bisque); a Caesar salad; an entree (pit smoked and aged prime rib of beef, lobster ravioli, filet of cod with a lobster cream sauce, grilled New York strip steak, half-roasted duck, shrimp, scallops, lobster and Jonah crab meat in a garlic basil Parmesan cream sauce, or grilled rack of lamb); and a dessert (blueberry cheesecake, flourless double dark chocolate torte, chef-made caramel pecan ice cream or vanilla creme brulee). The cost is $88 per person and also includes coffee and tea.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

The Weekly Dish 22/12/22

News from the local food scene

Celebrate with wine: Winemaker Amy LaBelle of LaBelle Winery in Amherst and Derry is also now a published author. Her debut book, Wine Weddings: The Ultimate Guide to Creating the Wine-Themed Wedding of Your Dreams, was released Dec. 16, according to a press release. The book covers how to create a wine-inspired wedding theme and aesthetic, focusing on topics like creating mood boards, vineyard ceremonies, invitation designs, signature drinks, menu selection and wine choices. It also includes a section about working with vendors. “Couples can think of Wine Weddings as a road map for navigating the wedding-planning process, resulting in a memorable experience for everyone involved,” LaBelle said in a statement. A 10-year veteran of the wine industry, LaBelle and her team have hosted hundreds of weddings at both of their vineyard locations — the book is even filled with photographs taken at actual weddings hosted at the winery, according to the release. LaBelle also shares the details of planning her own wedding and offers professional guidance for planning and hosting weddings of every size and type. Wine Weddings is available now for purchase on LaBelle’s website at, as well as through Amazon or the winery’s website at According to the release, the electronic version of the book will be released on Jan. 4.

The cat’s meow: If you’ve visited the Bookery (844 Elm St., Manchester) recently, then the cat’s likely out of the bag on this one. Cat Alley Cafe, as the shop’s in-house cafe is now known, is a sister location of Restoration Cafe on Hanover Street. Its new branding is inspired by local artist Brooke Van Gurp, according to its Instagram page, who recently finished a special Cat Alley Cafe mural of “Bob the Cat” on its walls. Cat Alley Cafe is open seven days a week, featuring a menu of soups, sandwiches and salads — with varying weekly selections — along with fresh baked goods and locally roasted coffees. In late 2021, the Bookery had announced a partnership with Restoration Cafe owner Tom Puskarich to reimagine the store’s food and drink menu. Follow them on Instagram @catalleycafe.

North Nashua Mexican eatery returns: California Burritos Mexican Grill officially reopened its location at 2 Cellu Drive in North Nashua on Dec. 15, owner and founder Raul Cabrera recently announced. The storefront, which had previously closed for renovations back in the spring, is now open again with expanded seating and production space, as well as a margarita bar. Cabrera, a native of El Salvador, has a total of four California Burritos locations in New Hampshire. His family opened the first one on Factory Street in Nashua in late 2014, before expanding to Hudson in 2017, the Cellu Drive location in 2018 and Manchester in February 2020. Each eatery serves authentic Mexican options like tacos, burritos, bowls and quesadillas in a fast casual, counter-service setting, along with traditional Salvadoran dishes like pupusas, or handmade corn tortillas filled with cheese, refried beans and chicharrón (pork). Visit or find them on Facebook.

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