The Weekly Dish 23/03/02

News from the local food scene

Liquid gold: It’s New Hampshire Maple Month, and several farms and sugarhouses across the Granite State will once again be welcoming visitors for multiple weekends of tours, demonstrations, tastings and family activities, all revolving around local maple syrup production. A full list of local sugarhouses participating inthe month (which includes New Hampshire Maple Weekend, set for Saturday, March 18, and Sunday, March 19) can be found on the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association website at

Let the Guinness flow: Join The Peddler’s Daughter (48 Main St., Nashua) for its annual Guinness beer dinner on Wednesday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m. The meal will feature multiple food courses with Guinness beer pairings, like salmon rillettes (poached and smoked salmon combined with house mayonnaise and Guinness brown bread); free range eggs with sage sausage and panko crumbs, and Guinness-braised short rib of beef with a forest mushroom saffron risotto. Branded Guinness souvenirs, raffle prizes and giveaways will also be featured. Tickets are $65 per person and can be purchased online at Eventbrite. Be on the lookout next week for more St. Paddy’s Day-related happenings at area bars and restaurants in our annual listings.

Get your Greek eats: Join Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (68 N. State St., Concord) for its next boxed Greek dinner to go, a drive-thru takeout event on Sunday, March 12, from noon to 1 p.m. Now through Wednesday, March 8, orders are being accepted for boxed meals featuring dinners of vegetarian dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) with spanakopita (spinach pie) and a bread roll for $20 per person. The event is drive-thru and takeout only — email or call 953-3051 to place your order. You can also pay online by clicking “Contribute to Holy Trinity” on the church’s website and following the prompts. The revival of the church’s annual Greek food festival, meanwhile, remains tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 30. Visit

Turning up the heat: Portsmouth hot sauce maker The Spicy Shark recently announced the launch of the latest addition to its “6-Fin” series — the Mako Snake. According to a press release, the new sauce became available Feb. 15. The Indian-inspired Mako Snake is a masala-based sauce, made with ghost pepper, Carolina reaper and habanero. According to the release, the sauce’s name and creature, a mythical half shark, half snake, were chosen to represent the “unique and intense” levels of heat and flavor. See to find out where you can find the company’s sauces.

On The Job – Mollie Skuse

Ranch owner

Mollie Skuse is the owner of Chasing Dreams Ranch in Hollis.

Explain your job and what it entails.

As of right now, I have no employees, so I’m the jack of all trades throughout the day. When I arrive at the ranch, everyone is hungry and happy to see me, so I start by making up everyone’s grain, then walk around giving it out and checking the hay and the waters. Once everyone is happy and fed, I start the chores — mucking the stalls and paddocks, refilling grain for the night feed, refilling all my hay nets and taking care of all the other animals. I have more than just horses: the rescued baby sheep, two piglets, seven goats, three rabbits, some free-range chickens and barn cats. Then there’s always the unexpected things happening … The work is never done on a farm.

How long have you had this job?

I just recently took over ownership. Before that, I was the manager for the farm. In the middle of November 2022 the owners approached me and said they made the hard decision to get out of farming after more than 25 years. They knew how hard I worked and how much I loved each and every animal on the farm, and they offered me the opportunity of a lifetime.

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

I’ve always been a huge animal lover and knew my passion for helping animals would be a part of my career. In high school I wanted to be a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld, so I took vet tech to start learning. Then I went to college in Florida for marine biology and vet tech. I didn’t finish college, and I came back to New Hampshire, where I almost always landed myself a job with animals — local pet store, vet hospital, PetSmart and Petco … I hadn’t even been around horses or ridden them until about seven years ago.

What kind of education or training did you need?

Training included learning how to put halters on and off horses, let them in and out of stalls, groom them, and everything else from cleaning stalls to saddling up.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

Most of the time you’ll find me in jeans and cowboy boots and a hat. This time of year I have my Carhartt overalls on and matching jacket, as well as gloves and a hat and hand warmers.

What is the most challenging thing about your work, and how do you deal with it?

When an animal gets sick and you have to make hard decisions, and not taking on more animals than I can afford. I want to rescue them all, but financially, you have to learn to say, ‘No, I can’t at this time.’

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

I didn’t have money saved when I gave up my job as farm manager to become the owner, so I went into this with no income. It’s stressful for sure. Animals are expensive.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

It’s not all fun. Farm work is harder work than most people realize. Some days I’m there from dawn till midnight, and when I leave earlier I always feel like I should have stayed longer and done more.

What was the first job you ever had?

Counselor at Girl Scout camp.

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

Don’t give up or lose sight of your goals. The end results will be worth the struggle it took to get there. Life is tough, but I am tougher.

Five favorites

Favorite book:
Run, Rose, Run
Favorite movie: Sweet Home Alabama
Favorite music: Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn — all the classic country music.
Favorite food: Pizza and cupcakes.
Favorite thing about NH: Live free or die, and tax-free

Featured photo: Mollie Skuse. Courtesy photo.

Kiddie Pool 23/03/02

Family fun for the weekend

Library happenings

• The Nashua River Watershed Association will be leading a hands-on Nashua River junior scientist program on Thursday, March 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Nashua Public Library (2 Court St.). Kids will use the Nashua River as their “outdoor laboratory,” to explore river issues and do activities related to river ecology, watershed protection, and look at this important resource through the lens of climate change, according to the library. Visit

• Join the Manchester City Library (405 Pine St.) for a day filled with retro games and pixel art on Thursday, March 2, from 1 to 4 p.m. Families can play live-action versions of their favorite retro games, do game-inspired crafts, and create pixel art that’s used in older video games. The program is geared toward kids in grades 1 through 6 and their families. Visit for more information.

Girl Scout fun

• Girl Scouts are hosting a unicorn party and sign-up event on Monday, March 6, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Hampstead Central School (21 Emerson Ave.) in the art room. Girls in kindergarten through grade 12, along with a caregiver, are invited to do a hands-on craft while learning more about the Scouts and how to sign up. The event is also virtual and can be accessed at

• And save the date: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains are looking for girls to join their competitive rowing team for the upcoming General Clinton Regatta in New York. Girls don’t have to be a member of the Scouts to join the swift paddlers team, but will become an honorary member for the purpose of the competition. Practices will take place at Camp Kettleford in Bedford and the competition will be in September. To sign up or to get more information, contact or call 888-474-9686.

Get active

• The City Wide Community Center (14 Canterbury Road, Concord) is hosting family drop-in basketball for families in and around the capital city on Thursday, March 2. Games start at 6 p.m. and will be led by the recreation center’s staff. Children participating must be supervised by a teen or adult older than 16. Fee to participate is $2 for Concord residents, $3 for non-residents. For more information about this event, call 225-8690.

• The last race in the Snow or No We Go series is on Saturday, March 4, at 10 a.m. There are two races to choose from, a 2- or 4-mile run/walk. This race will be at the Prospect Acres Obstacle Course (4 Beaumier Drive, Franklin). Proceeds from the signup will benefit the Canterbury Shaker Village, Boys and Girls Club of Central NH, and Prospect Acres Obstacle Course. Registration costs $25 per runner and can be completed at


• Come to the Capitol Center for the Arts’ Chubb Theatre (44 S. Main St., Concord) to see the Omnium Circus on Thursday, March 2, at 7 p.m. The circus’s new show “I’m Possible” follows the story of Johnny, who goes on a journey of courage and strength in a madcap circus adventure. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are free, but reservations are required. Visit to reserve a spot.

• If you’re at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (6 Washington St. in Dover; on Sunday, March 5, check out the theGallery 6 art exhibition: Step into a Story – Art by New England Illustrators, which closes March 6 (the museum is closed on Mondays). The project looks at the artwork and the creative process of storybook writers and artists from New Hampshire and neighboring states. Entrance to Gallery 6 is free and it is open during museum hours, which vary day to day. For more information, visit

Save the Date

• Get a jump start on Maple Weekend with the Beaver Brook Association (117 Ridge Road, Hollis) at the Maple Sugar Magic Family Event on Sunday, March 12, at 1 p.m. The free event will look at the history of the maple sugar season and the process of tapping and collecting the sweet stuff, through crafts, puppet shows and more. Advance registration is required and can be done at

• Join the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester) for Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet on Sunday, April 2, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. The show follows Nancy and her best friend Bree as they audition for the fanciest of ballets, the Deep-Sea Dances. The production is put on by the Southern NH Youth Ballet. In addition to Nancy’s story, they will also perform The Ugly Duckling. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at

Treasure Hunt 23/03/02

Hi, Donna,

I hope you can help me identify my antique oak chair. I would like to know the era and artist. Any information will be helpful. Thank you.

Donna S.

Dear Donna,

It’s tough to find a single maker of some Victorian era chairs. The style of yours was very popular and not uncommon. Chairs, tables and other pieces were made with the lion’s head, paw foot style.

Some pieces, depending on how elaborate, can bring high values. There are some makers as well that will increase the collectibility today. But for most common styles the value is based on condition.

As far as a value, Donna, most collectors want them in original clean condition and finish. Your chair looks to be in clean shape but not necessarily all original. I think you could put the value in the range of $400.

Thanks for sharing, Donna, and I hope you find a new home for your chair.

Tips for buying and enjoying cut flowers

Bring the colors of summer inside

Winter drags on, even though the days are getting longer. The sun is often lurking behind gray clouds, and on a good day we only get about nine hours of light. I do miss the colors of summer, so I keep fresh cut flowers on our table — even though I have to buy them.

Cut flowers are among modern America’s true bargains. For the price of a bottle of wine — or a couple of cups of fancy coffee — you can buy flowers that will grace your table for up to three weeks. But there are some things you should know about getting good table-life for your investment.

First, you need to buy fresh flowers that have been carefully tended — and you can’t beat a florist for that. A floral shop has trained personnel who trim each stem in the store every other day and change the water to keep flowers fresh. Cut flowers need to take up water to stay fresh and healthy. Stems tend to scab over after a day or two, which means they cannot take up replacement water, or not much, so they suffer.

Here are some things you can do to promote longer vase life. Cut off leaves that would enter the water in your vase. Leaves will rot, promoting growth of bacteria, which will impede water take-up. Cut off half to three quarters of an inch of each stem every few days, and change the water. Use the packets of white powder that often comes with flowers — it does help.

Keep your arrangement cool if you can. Putting it near a radiator or woodstove or putting it in a sunny window will shorten its life. If you have invested in pricey roses or tulips, you may wish to move the vase to the entryway or mudroom at bedtime to keep the flowers extra cool during the night.

Some flowers are better picks than others if you’re on a budget and can’t afford to buy new flowers every week. Here are my recommendations for good cut flowers:

Lisianthus. These look like silk flowers to me: perfect white, pink or lavender-colored bell-shaped flowers on long stems. Tough to grow in the garden, they are perfect in a vase — I’ve kept them for up to three weeks.

Miniature carnations. Each stem has two to four blossoms. They come in a variety of colors. Mix dark red “minis” with red roses to make a bouquet of roses look fuller. And even after the roses go to Valhalla, the carnations will still be good!

Chrysanthemums. These come in a variety of sizes and colors, from the huge spider mums to little guys. I love the scent of the flowers — it’s not overpowering, but it’s there if you sniff them.

Statice. I grow these for use as dry flowers, which tells you that they really do last forever, even out of water. They come in blue, purple, pink and white.

Spray roses. Instead of a single blossom per stem, these have two to five blossoms, giving you more bang for your buck. These will last about a week, or even more with proper care.

Alstroemeria. One of the best for long life. Each long stem has clusters of 2-inch lily-like blossoms in pinks and reds, with yellow throats. If you buy them in bud, they will look good for three weeks!

Orchids. While not cheap, orchids as cut flowers can last up to a month. I love dendrobiums, though they are not common, even in floral shops. Cymbidiums have bigger blossoms and also last extremely well.

Kangaroo paws. These Australian natives are fuzzy and cute. They come in pinks, reds, orange and brown, and last very well. Not every florist will have them.

Asiatic lilies. I recently got a bouquet of five nice stems grown in New Hampshire that was sold at my local Coop food store. For $12.95, they will bloom with great elegance.

You may wish to ask where the flowers you plan to buy are from. Holland, Colombia, Ecuador and Kenya are the world’s top growers and export much of what is available. Some foreign growers have been criticized for producing flowers using strong pesticides and poor labor practices. The Sun Valley group in California is an excellent major American grower of cut flowers — but there is still the environmental cost of shipping them 3,000 miles to us. If you can buy flowers grown locally in greenhouses, do it!

Everyone loves to receive the gift of cut flowers, even us guys. So treat your loved one or yourself to fresh flowers this winter. They’re cheerful and can make winter less oppressive for gardeners.

Featured photo: Alstroemeria is a long lasting, inexpensive cutflower. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

Breaking free from insecurity

Bedford Off Broadway presents Jon Lonoff’s Skin Deep

By Mya Blanchard

Almost everyone has faced insecurity or felt down on their luck while those around them seemed to have it all. This is the case for Maureen Mulligan, the protagonist in Jon Lonoff’s show Skin Deep. Bedford Off Broadway will be putting on a production of the show at Old Bedford Town Hall, which will run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from March 3 through March 12.

“She’s down on her luck [and has] been single for a long time,” Sarah Smith, who plays the role of Maureen, said of her character. “She had a wedding that was supposed to happen but didn’t work out, and her younger sister Sheila sets her up on a blind date that she really does not want to participate in.”

The four-person show follows Maureen, along with her blind date, Joe, her sister Sheila and Sheila’s husband, Squire, as they each navigate their relationships and battle their own insecurities.

Smith’s involvement in theater began when she was in middle school and became more serious during her high school years.

“I was a music major in college so I didn’t really have time to do theater then,” she said. “So once I graduated I started doing more shows in the community.”

One of those shows happened to be a production of Skin Deep that she was involved in years back.

“I had done the show 11 years ago and I had played the other sister, Sheila,” Smith said. “So when I saw that [director] Joe Pelonzi was doing it again, I decided to try out, and he decided to cast me as the other sister.”

The two sisters Smith has now had the chance to portray couldn’t be more different on the surface.

“Maureen [is] in her mid 40s [and has] always kind of struggled with her self-confidence,” Dan Arlen, who plays the role of Squire, said. “Her sister Sheila is … [the] type of woman … [that] every woman wants to be.”

Helping one’s own struggles with confidence is one way that being involved in theater can be beneficial, as Arlen points out.

“Theater itself really just allows you to kind of play with an insecurity or with something that you’ve wanted to do,” he said. “For example, when I was around 15 or 16 I did a show at the Palace Theatre … and I … played a character who was very confident. … At 16 I was … not confident. … I couldn’t do it in my normal life, but for four hours a day I got to be this other character.”

While our insecurities may cause us to feel isolated, they can be the factor that connects us to others, as is the case for Maureen and Joe.

“[The show] is … about the two of them figuring out that … [they] both have had kind of similar stories in [their] dating lives and in [their] lives in general of always being picked last,” Arlen said. “It’s kind of like the two of them uniting and saying, ‘We can get through this life together.’”

Not only do these experiences bring the characters together, but they can also connect them with the audience.

“Regardless of who you are as a person, you can connect with one of these four people,” Arlen said. “So I think it’s an ability to recognize that maybe these four characters’ stories are yours.”

Bedford Off Broadway presents Skin Deep
When: Friday, March 3, through Sunday, March 12 — showtimes are at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays
Where: Old Bedford Town Hall, 3 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford
Cost: Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $12 for children, students and seniors
More info: Visit Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance online at

Featured photo: Symphony NH’s full orchestra. Courtesy photo.

The Art Roundup 23/03/02

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

Update: The Manchester Community Music School’s faculty performance of “Chanson d’Amour” featuring Harel Gietheim on cello and Piper Runnion on harp has been rescheduled for Friday, March 24, at 7 p.m. at the school, 2291 Elm St. in Manchester. Admission is free but pre-register at to attend in person or online.

Earth Day art: The Manchester Artists Association has original art works on display in the exhibit “Love Our Planet” at the New Hampshire Audubon Massabesic Center (6 Audubon Way in Auburn) through Saturday, April 29, from noon to 5 p.m. on days the center is open, according to a press release. Artists will exhibit more than 30 original works in oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor, mixed media and photography, and the works will be available for purchase, the release said. See

Ukrainian Easter eggs
The League of NH Craftsmen Meredith Fine Craft Gallery (279 Daniel Webster Hwy. in Meredith;, 279-7920) will offer two Ukrainian Easter Egg classes with Shannon Wallis on Saturday, March 25 (classes are at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.), according to a press release. Learn the Ukrainian method of decorating eggs and create an egg to keep, the release said. The class costs $50 per student plus a $12 materials fee paid to the instructor on the day of the class, the release said. Sign up by Friday, March 17, by calling 279-7920 or go to

Telling her story: Singer-songwriter Kimayo will perform at Bedford Presbyterian Church (4 Church Road in Bedford) on Sunday, March 5, at 5 p.m. as part of her “My Queer Faith” tour, according to a press release. The event is free (and open to adults and mature teens, the release said); reserve a spot at

Jazz jam: Ted Herbert Music School, operated by the Majestic Theatre, will host an open mic jazz jam on Sunday, March 5, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. open to students and musicians of all ages and abilities, according to a press release. The cost to participate is $5, free for current Ted Herbert Music School Students. The jam will take place at the Ted Herbert Music School Majestic Theatre Studios (880 Page St. in Manchester), the release said. No signup is required, just show up with your instrument (drums, piano and guitar amp will be provided), the release said. For more on Ted Herbert, see or call 669-7469.

Luck be a lady: The Palace Youth Theatre is holding auditions for its May performances of Guys and Dolls Jr. on Monday, March 6, at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Forever Emma Studios (516 Pine St. in Manchester) according to a press release. The auditions are for performers in grades 2 through 12. Auditioners will be expected to stay for their entire one-hour slot and will learn a dance and be asked to sing after (a short section of a song), the release said. To schedule an audition time, email with the performer’s name, age and preferred audition time, the release said.

Martiello on theremin
Chris Martiello will present a theremin concert on Friday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. at Whipple Hall (25 Seamans Road in New London) with a Q&A and light refreshments to follow. See

Young artist competition: The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra is accepting applications for its annual young artist competition with the winning high school musician to perform at the June 11 concert with a full orchestra, according to a press release. The competition is open to high school students from New Hampshire (as well as the Seacoast region of Maine and Massachusetts) performing orchestral instruments, the release said. Send an audition video and application by March 15; finalists will perform before a live audience on Saturday, April 1, the release said. See for information about how to apply.

Crafting partnership: The Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St. in Manchester; is partnering with the League of NH Craftsmen for a series of workshops with local master craft artists, according to a Currier email. The workshops will take place on the second Saturdays of the month from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Saturday, March 11, the class is “Tapestry Weaving Basics” with Lisa Almeia. Students will create images using a simple tapestry loom, according to the description. The class costs $125 and registration is open now. Future classes include “Basket Weaving” with Ruth Bolton on Saturday, April 8; “Jewelry Making” with Paulette Werger on Saturday, May 14, and “Soft Leather Cuff Bracelets” with Diane Louise Paul on Saturday, June 10, according to the website.

Art camp: The Currier has also announced the themes and dates and opened registration for its summer arts camps for ages 6 to 14. The camps will cost $350 per week and run the weeks of June 26 (when the theme is “Air”), July 10 (“Earth”), July 24 (“Fire”), Aug. 7 (“Water”), and Aug. 14 (“Energy”). Go to to register and for more information. For more area day camps (and a few overnight ones), check out last week’s cover story in the Hippo. See to find the Feb. 23 e-edition; the story starts on page 12.

Save the date: The 2nd annual Manchester Arts & Crafts Fair will be held Saturday, Aug. 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Manchester, according to a press release. The event will feature more than 30 booths, food trucks, the Manchester City Library Bookmobile and an interactive art wall for kids run by Unchartered Tutoring, the release said. See

Creative Ambitions Performance Studio of NH, a new professional theater company, will present its first production, the comedy-drama Vanities by Jack Heifner, at the Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road in Concord;, 715-2315), according to a press release. The show opens Friday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m. and runs through Sunday, March 19, with shows at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets cost $22 for adults; $19 for students and seniors, the release said. Courtesy photo.

• “I wish I were big”: Kids Coop Theatre will present Big, the Musical, based on the 1987 movie, featuring performers ages 8 to adults on Friday, March 17, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 18, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 19, at 1 p.m. at the Derry Opera House (29 West Broadway in Derry). Tickets cost $15 and are available at

Coming up at Gibson’s: Several author events have been added to the schedule for March and beyond at Gibson’s Bookstore (45 South Main St. in Concord;, 224-0562). Journalist Sherry Boschert will visit Gibson’s on Tuesday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss her book 37 Words: Title IX and Fifty Years of Fighting Sex Discrimination, according to a press release. Journalist and author Christine Kenneally will discuss her book Ghosts of the Orphanage: A Story of Mysterious Deaths, a Conspiracy of Silence and a Search For Justice (which looks at, among other places, St. Joseph’s, a Catholic orphanage in Vermont), at Gibson’s on Thursday, March 23, at 6:30 p.m., according to a press release. Author Hank Phillippi Ryan will present her latest thriller The House Guest and discuss her work with author Sarah Stewart Taylor on Wednesday, March 29, at 6:30 p.m., a press release said. Vermont authors Rebecca and Sallyann Majoya will come to Gibson’s on Wednesday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss their shared memoir Uncertain Fruit: A Memoir of Infertility, Loss, and Love. Dennis Lehane will discuss his newest novel Small Mercies as part of a virtual author event with indie bookstores with Gillian Flynn on Tuesday, April 25, at 8 p.m. (sign up online for this ticketed virtual event). Find more upcoming author and book events in our book listings, this week on page 31.

Irish afternoon: The Center for the Arts will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a performance of Irish music from the Sunapee Singers and Irish step dancing by the McGongale Irish Step Dancers on Sunday, March 19, at 4 p.m. at Whipple Town Hall in New London (on the corner of Main Street and Seamans Road), according to a press release. Tickets cost $18, $8 for students (children 5 and under are admitted free); purchase tickets at or with cash or check at the door, the release said.

History of the vote: Liz Tentarelli, president of the League of Women Voters NH, will use historic photos and documents to discuss women’s journey to obtain the right to vote, from the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls to the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, on Tuesday, March 21, at 5:30 p.m. at the Tracey Memorial Library (304 Main St. in New London), according to a press release. Reserve a spot by emailing

In bloom
The New Hampshire Antique Co-op (323 Elm St. in Milford; 673-8499, will present the show “In Full Bloom: Floral Still Life & Garden Paintings from the 19th Century to Present” Friday, March 24, through Thursday, Aug. 31. The exhibit will feature works from artists of the late 1800s to the present that capture spring and summer, according to a press release. A garden party opening reception will be held on Sunday, March 26, from 1 to 3 p.m. The Co-op is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

400 years of Portsmouth history: The Pontine Theater will celebrate Portsmouth’s 400th anniversary with the original production Dearly Earned at Pontine’s 1845 Plains School House Theatre (1 Plains Ave. in Portsmouth; The play is based on Portsmouth’s 19th-century industrial history and the lives of workers, according to a press release. Shows are Friday, March 17, through Sunday, March 26. Shows will take place Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $29.

Mozart Sunday

Classical groups join to present Requiem

With the 100th anniversary of Symphony NH happening in April, the organization wanted to do something to celebrate its longstanding relationship with another classical music pillar of southern New Hampshire, the Nashua Choral Society.

“Thinking back to 2019, with everything that’s happened since then, lots have changed in four-plus years,” said Deanna Hoying, the executive director at Symphony NH.

The groups will be performing Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, a popular choice for full orchestras and choirs. The symphony performed the same piece in 2019, when it was hired by the choral society. This time, there are some differences.

To boost their numbers, Hoying said, the Nashua Choral Society invited the Nashoba Valley Chorale to perform with them. Another change is the location, with this concert taking place at the Immaculate Conception Church in Nashua.

“There’s a very different sound in a church facility than in a big concert hall,” said Hoying. “There’s something magical about hearing that work and singing that work in a church. I’m so grateful to have them; both choirs and church have been delightful to work with.”

A requiem is traditionally a Catholic mass for the dead, Hoying said. Preceding the piece, at first as a small joke, is Death of a Poet, a string orchestration composed in 2014 by TJ Cole, inspired by the poem written by Russian writer Mikhail Lermontov. Hoying said the symphony strives to pair contemporary, living composers with greats like Mozart.

Mozart’s Requiemis most famous for being a source of conspiracy theory by the music community, as it was the last piece he worked on before his death. In modern times, the piece was popularized by the movie Amadeus (PG, 1984), which follows the life of Mozart told through the viewpoint of his rival Antonio Salieri.

Hoying said this will be, in many ways, a more meaningful production of the mass than the performance in 2019. This performance will be part of the symphony’s centennial year, and it will be honoring the years of collaboration between the symphony and the Nashua Choral Society.

Even beyond that, the music will weigh heavier after the pandemic, Hoying said. She added that, even with the official end of pandemic-era restrictions, audiences have still been wary of coming out to shows. She hopes for the music to be cathartic and healing after years of isolation and loss.

“Everyone will have their own independent response, depending on their own experiences,” Hoying said. “There’s a level of joy that, for many of us during the pandemic, we missed that part. Even if it’s a requiem, there is such joy in this ability to recognize and move on.”

Mozart’s Requiem performed by the Symphony NH
Where: 216 East Dunstable Road, Nashua
When: Sunday, March 5, at 3 p.m.
Price: $45 for adults, $35 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for youth 10 to 17, $10 for students 27 and younger with valid identification, and free for youth younger than 10 accompanied by an adult.

Featured photo: Symphony NH’s full orchestra. Courtesy photo.

Birria Tacos

On the streets of Jalisco, Mexico, in the small town of Degollado, three generations of family members prepare large simmering pots of juicy, tender slow-stewed meat known as birria. The dish is cooked for several hours before generous heaping ladlefuls are served on plates to patrons, featuring a homemade mole sauce, salsa and a side of corn tortillas.

Crowds gather for a plate of birria — pronounced “beer-ryah,” and traditionally made with goat meat — from the family of Jose “El Chino” Reyes. Although Reyes continues to vend with his own father and son, one of his other children found restaurant job opportunities in the United States and eventually made his way to southern New Hampshire.

At Los Reyes Street Tacos & More, which opened inside Derry’s Hillside Plaza last April, Manchester couple Jose Reyes and his wife, Isabel, honor his family’s tradition with simple flavors of authentic Mexican street food. Birria is among their most popular items, and while you won’t find it with goat meat, you can try quesabirrias, or birria tacos inspired by the traditional stew and featuring beef, cheese, onion, cilantro and consommé, or the stewed broth, for dipping.

man and a woman under a red and yellow event tent, serving birria out of large pots
Los Reyes co-owner Jose Reyes’s family are birria street vendors in Degollado, Jalisco, Mexico. Courtesy photos.

It’s a dish that has steadily gained traction across Granite State restaurant menus just in the last couple of years. Isabel Reyes said she believes that’s in part due to the viral nature of social media — the striking golden-red color of the taco shell and the oozing melted cheese look delicious in the many attractive, shareable photos that we eat with our eyes.

Birria tacos start with a simmering pot of slow-stewed meat. After cooking for several hours, the meat (and sometimes also cheese) is stuffed into a corn tortilla, topped with cilantro and onions and thrown on the grill.

The golden-red color of these tacos comes from grilling the tortilla with a coating of consommé from the meat it was stewed in. Being able to dip them in a cup of that same consommé for extra flavor, Reyes said, also makes for a new and unique way to eat tacos for many.

“I feel like everybody at some point … definitely needs to try birria at least one time in their life. It will maybe make you feel like you literally went to eat in Mexico, because it’s a whole experience,” Reyes said. “We do notice a lot of people that come in love to take pictures of the birria and post them on social media. … People love to take pictures of their food, and it’s definitely helped us, because a lot people, if you post a picture of the birria, they’d be like, ‘Oh my God, those look delicious, where did you get them?’”

Amanda Portillo, who runs Rico’s Burritos food truck with her husband, Danilo, also surmised the popularity of birria tacos has largely spread due to social media and word of mouth. The truck, which can often be found at Griffin Park in Windham, introduced birria tacos on the menu as a special last fall to resounding success.

“At first it was once in a while, but [they’ve been] in such popular demand that we have to make them much more often than before,” Portillo said. “It’s a unique entree, and the texture with the broth is different from most Mexican food, so people are drawn to it.”

In Milford, Rosana Vargas of Taco Time decided she would try and make quesabirrias at the suggestion of a customer, who was visiting the state from California. Today they’re among the eatery’s top-selling menu items — taco lovers sometimes travel from miles away to try them.

“People try it for the first time and they just get hooked,” Rosana’s husband, Rey Vargas, said. “We have people that don’t even try anything else on the menu except that.”

With differing variations in their own right depending on where you go, here’s a closer look at one of New Hampshire’s hottest taco trends and where you can try an order of birria.

Simmered to perfection

Jalisco, Reyes said, is a Mexican state best known for three things: mariachi, tequila and birria.

“Birria would be the process of how it’s prepared, versus the meat,” she said. “Birria can be any meat, but goat and sheep were the first two that originated in Mexico. … It’s most commonly served for brunch … [and] was not served in a taco the way it is served now.”

Because it’s common for Mexican street vendors to serve corn tortillas with a plate of birria on the side, Reyes said, some people like to scoop the tortilla into the meat and juices like a spoon. Quesabirria tacos, as they’re known today, became widely associated with the cuisines of southern California, and Tijuana, a city in northwestern Mexico just south of San Diego.

Featured on the menu at the Reyes family’s Derry restaurant are Chino’s birria tacos. The slow-stewed beef uses a house recipe combining various methods and ingredients from Jose Reyes’s family with those of his own. He even has a special pot he bought from Mexico that is specifically used for stewing the birria.

The beef, typically mixed with several spices and dried chiles, is simmered for several hours until it’s very tender. The consommé provided with the tacos for dipping, meanwhile, is itself the same broth from that stew that is normally strained and set aside.

4 square plates in a line, holding birria tacos, rice, beans and a dollop of sour cream
Quesabirria plate from Taco Time Cocina & Cantina Mexicana in Milford. Courtesy photo.

“It’s like a ritual. You literally have to put a lot of time into it,” Reyes said of cooking birria. “The stewing itself takes us about four hours, but the whole process altogether is about six hours, because you have to prepare it and marinate it beforehand.”

Birria tacos are always made with corn tortillas — that’s simply because they crisp up better on the grill when assembled compared to their flour counterparts. Like for most traditional Mexican street tacos, Reyes said theirs are then topped with onions and cilantro. Melted cheese is available as an added option.

“A lot of people think quesabirria … is a quesadilla with the birria, but it’s not. It’s still the tacos, but just with cheese,” she said. “That’s why I ended up changing the menu. I left them as Chino’s birria tacos, and I just say you can upgrade it as a quesabirria, with cheese. It was just sometimes confusing having to explain the difference. … It doesn’t [traditionally have cheese], but I feel like cheese just makes everything better.”

Trends and variations

Although just about every birria taco you’ll find in New Hampshire uses corn tortilla shells, there are still all kinds of subtle variations to discover in how they are prepared.

“[Birria] is not something that repeats. Usually the seasoning and the broth recipe changes from family to family and from restaurant to restaurant,” said Louie Rodriguez, whose wife, Karen Lopez, owns Iguana’s Restaurant & Bar in Manchester. “The consommé is very unique from restaurant to restaurant as well.”

Iguana’s is notable for combining Mexican cuisine with that of Lopez’s native country of Honduras. The eatery opened in the former Granite State Escape storefront on Maple Street in late 2021.

Not only does Iguana’s serve birria tacos with shredded beef, but additionally it offers birria taco options with chicken and lamb. Rodriguez noted that even the ingredients and the time necessary for cooking the meat will vary among those three. Lopez will simmer the chicken for one hour, while the beef is simmered for five hours and the lamb for seven hours.

“She recovers some of the fat, and she makes it part of the recipe for the broth that the tortillas are dipped in, in order to grill it,” Rodriguez said. “She uses the fat that [is released] from the meat itself … and that’s what helps make it crispy.”

3 tacos on checkered paper with small cup of sauce
Birria tacos with lamb, from Iguana’s Restaurant and Bar in Manchester. Photo by Matt Ingersoll.

Taco lovers often have their own preferences and ways of eating birria, especially when it comes to the provided cups of consommé, Rodriguez said.

“Some people dip the taco in it, and some people don’t, as a matter of fact,” he said. “Some people love it just crispy like that and they don’t want to touch the consommé at all. But then, you get others that ask for a bowl of it and they just dunk that thing in like they’re dunking a doughnut in milk.”

Over at Lounge 38 Bar & Grill in Nashua, owner Vince Villafan said his birria tacos feature yellow corn tortillas and a melted three-cheese mozzarella blend. Three tacos are served per order with a side of rice and some consommé.

“Many people get full with the birria taco plate, but we do also offer them individually,” he said.

Villafan added that he has noticed more and more of his customers trying birria tacos for the first time.

“I think people have seen pictures and they are really intrigued by it and want to try it,” he said, “but they’ll still ask, like, ‘Hey, what actually is this that I’m eating?’ So there is a lot of information that we give out to people when they are ordering.”

Birria: beyond the tacos

Birria doesn’t have to be just about tacos — some Granite State eateries will utilize the same stewed beef on other menu items as well. Derry’s Los Reyes Street Tacos & More, for example, offers birria burritos with Mexican rice and refried pinto beans, as well as loaded birria fries — those are topped with a cheese dip, an avocado salsa, sour cream and Southwest pico de gallo.

“The birria burrito is a huge hit,” co-owner Isabel Reyes said. “We grill it the same way as the tacos.”

Birria ramen from Lounge 38 Bar & Grill in Nashua. Courtesy photo.

In Litchfield, Day of the Dead Mexican Taqueria offers pizza birria that’s great for sharing. According to owner and founder Karina Flores, the pizza birria is very similar to the tacos but features two large flour tortillas that are stuffed with birria meat, cheese, cilantro and onions, all grilled and smothered with the birria broth. The tortillas are then cut into triangles.

Even birria ramen is a thing — you can get a bowl of that at Lounge 38 Bar & Grill in Nashua.

“We love ramen noodles ourselves here, and so we thought why not cook those same noodles in the birria broth,” Lounge 38 owner Vince Villafan said. “The beef is the same, but we’re just essentially cooking the noodles inside the broth after the meat has already been cooked … and then we just throw on the cheese, onions and cilantro.”

Where to get birria tacos

Birria tacos (also frequently known as quesabirria when you add cheese) have popped up on menus of many local restaurants and food trucks. Here’s a list of places where you can get them in southern New Hampshire — some offer them all the time, while others will serve them as specials on select days, or only on certain days of the week. Do you know of an eatery in the Concord, Manchester or Nashua areas offering birria tacos that we may have missed? Tell us about it at

Baja Tacos and Burritos
494 Amherst St., Nashua, 417-5532,
Birria tacos are regular menu staples of this Nashua eatery, featuring three per order on homemade corn tortillas, with consommé available for dipping.

Cinco’s Cantina
1 Brickyard Square, Suite 9, Epping, 734-2191,
Cinco’s Cantina’s Epping restaurant is the second of two owned by brothers Crescencio and Miguel Alberto Tellez, who opened the first one in downtown Dover in late 2014. Birria tacos are served a la carte, featuring stewed beef topped with freshly sliced radishes, onions and cilantro, and served with lime wedges and salsa.

Day of the Dead Mexican Taqueria
454 Charles Bancroft Hwy., Litchfield, 377-7664, find them on Facebook @dayofthedeadtaqueria
A stone’s throw from Mel’s Funway Park in Litchfield, Day of the Dead is owned and operated by Karina Flores and her family, who also run Monarquia Mexican Restaurant in Amherst’s Salzburg Square shopping center. Birria tacos are among the most popular dishes at Day of the Dead, which also offers pizza birria.

El Ranchito Bar & Grill
44 W. Hollis St., Nashua, 864-8157,
Birria tacos are among the most popular menu staples at El Ranchito — they feature corn tortillas with slow-braised beef, and a side of consommé for dipping.

Iguana’s Restaurant and Bar
245 Maple St., Manchester, 935-8917, find them on Facebook @iguanasrestaurantandbar
Iguana’s Restaurant & Bar opened in the former Granite State Escape space on Maple Street in Manchester in November 2021, its menu featuring a combination of authentic Mexican and Honduran dishes. In addition to quesabirria tacos with shredded beef, Iguana’s regularly offers chicken and lamb options — all come three per order with a side of consommé.

La Carreta Mexican Restaurant
545 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 628-6899; 1875 S. Willow St., Manchester, 623-7705; 44 Nashua Road, Londonderry, 965-3477; 35 Manchester Road, Derry, 421-0091;
Both Manchester La Carreta Mexican Restaurants offer quesabirrias, featuring slow-stewed beef topped with cilantro and onion and served with a side of consommé. La Carreta’s Londonderry and Derry locations, meanwhile, offer them on Wednesdays only.

Los Primos Mexican Restaurant
3 Amherst Road, Merrimack, 420-8860,
This Merrimack restaurant opened in late January 2020, in the former space of a D’Angelo sandwich shop. Birria tacos and quesadillas are available.

Los Reyes Street Tacos & More
127 Rockingham Road, Unit 15, Derry, 845-8327,
Los Reyes co-owner Jose Reyes of Manchester comes from multiple generations of street food vending in Mexico — his father, grandfather and brother all continue to serve traditional goat birria on the streets of his family’s home state of Jalisco. The Derry restaurant, which opened in April 2022, honors Reyes’s family’s traditions with Chino’s birria tacos (the name borrowed from his dad’s nickname), featuring slow-stewed beef in corn tortillas with cilantro, red onions and consommé on the side. You can also turn them into quesabirrias by adding cheese, or try other related items like the birria burrito or the loaded birria fries.

Lounge 38 Bar & Grill
38 E. Hollis St., Nashua, 459-8314,
This Nashua restaurant, which opened in October 2020, blends traditional Mexican and Puerto Rican cuisines for many of its menu items. The birria taco plate features three fried tortillas filled with slow-stewed beef, cheese, onions and cilantro, served with Spanish rice and consommé on the side for dipping. Single birria tacos are also available a la carte, while other birria-inspired dishes include burritos, quesadillas and even birria ramen noodles.

Mi Jalisco Restaurante Mexicano
300 S. Willow St., Manchester, 606-2184,
Quesabirria tacos are among the many grilled taco options at this Manchester eatery, served with rice, beans and pico de gallo.

Nuevo Vallarta Mexican Restaurant
791 Second St., Manchester, 782-8762,
Birria menu options at Nuevo Vallarta include three birria tacos per order — topped with cilantro and onions and served with rice, beans and consommé for dipping — along with birria burritos and quesadillas.

Puerto Vallarta Mexican Grill
865 Second St., Manchester, 935-9182,
Like its sister establishment, Nuevo Vallarta, this Manchester eatery offers birria burritos and quesadillas, in addition to birria tacos topped with cilantro and onions, and served with rice, beans and consommé for dipping.

Rice & Beans 603
288 N. Broadway, Unit D, Salem, 890-1626, find them on Facebook @riceandbeans603
Longtime Manchester-area food trucker Tony Elias took over this Salem restaurant, his first brick-and-mortar location as owner, in mid-January. Birria tacos prepared with traditional Puerto Rican spices are among his regular menu items, in addition to empanadas and sandwiches.

Rico’s Burritos Food Truck
Plaistow couple Danilo and Amanda Portillo launched this food truck last summer. Rico’s Burritos gets its name both in inspiration from their son, Ricardo, and for the Spanish word meaning “tasty” or “delicious.” The truck has a regular presence at venues across northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, perhaps most notably at Griffin Park (101 Range Road, Windham). Birria tacos are offered on the truck as a special, featuring three per order with a few freshly cut lime wedges and consommé for dipping.

Riviera Nayarit
116 W. Pearl St., Nashua, 521-8602,
Named after the popular tourist destination off the Pacific coast of Mexico, Riviera Nayarit opened on West Pearl Street in Nashua in March 2021. Individual birria tacos featuring slow-stewed beef are available a la carte.

Taco Time Cocina & Cantina Mexicana
11 Wilton Road, Milford, 554-1424,
Rosana Vargas and her husband, Reymundo “Rey,” are the owners of Taco Time, originally launched as a food trailer in 2018. Since then, Taco Time has expanded into a brick-and-mortar restaurant, which opened in January 2021 near the Milford and Wilton town line. Taco Time’s quesabirria plates are among their more popular menu items, featuring grilled corn tortillas of tender braised beef with cilantro and onions, and a side of consommé for dipping.

Taqueria Y Pastelitos To Go
917 Valley St., Manchester, 232-3348,
Three birria tacos come per order from this Manchester restaurant, featuring marinated beef topped with cilantro and onions. They can also be ordered as meals with rice and beans.

Tim’s Drunken Sauces and Rubs
244 Elm St., Milford, 967-4242, find them on Facebook @timsdrunkensauces
Parked outside of DHR Fabrications in Milford, this food trailer usually serves quesabirria tacos four days a week, from Thursday through Sunday.

This Week 23/03/02

Big Events March 2, 2023 and beyond

Wednesday, March 8

The high-energy a cappella group Ball in the House is performing tonight at the Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St.) at 7:30 p.m. The Boston-based group has won several championships, including Boston Harmony Sweepstakes, and headlined the 2018 and 2016 China International Chorus Festival in Beijing, according to a press release. This event is free to attend. Visit

Friday, March 3

The characters from Louisa May Alcott’s famous novel come to life inLittle Women, opening today at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., in Manchester) at 7:30 p.m. Follow the life of the four March sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy) and their mother the girls grow up and find love and happiness in Civil War and post-Civil War New England. The show will run Friday, March 3, through Sunday, March 19. The shows are on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $25 to $46. Visit

Friday, March 3

The Hatbox Theatre (270 Loudon Road in Concord) will present the playVanities beginning tonight at 7:30 p.m. The play is a comedy-drama that focuses on three Texan women who began as best friends in their high school cheerleading years, went on to be sorority sisters, and eventually became incompatible due to the trials of adulthood, according to the website. The show will run through March 19. Tickets range from $16 to $25. Visit

Friday, March 3

The monthly Super Stellar Friday program today at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center (2 Institute Drive, Concord) will look at an experiment sent to the International Space Station by Team Cooke of UNH Manchester to study novel methods of antibiotic discovery in space. The experiment looked at what happens to bacteria in soil when sent to space. It was brought back down to earth in January, and the group will let the public know their findings thus far, according to Tickets to the presentation cost $12 for adults, $11 for seniors and students and $9 for kids.

Saturday, March 4

Head to the SNHU Arena (555 Elm St. in Manchester) for a concert by Yung Gravy tonight at 7 p.m.Called a trend-setting rapper, Yung Gravy got his start in 2017 after dropping hit song “Mr. Clean.” Doors to the show open at 5:30 p.m. Ticket prices start at $35. Visit

Wednesday, March 8

The Bank of NH Stage (16 S. Main St., Concord) is hosting Pure Prairie League today at 7:30 p.m., doors at 6:30 p.m. Pure Prairie League, a country-rock group on its fifth decade, brought the popularity of the subgenre to the forefront of the music scene, according to, where general-admission tickets cost $53.75 (plus fees) in advance.

Save the Date! Saturday, March 18
Head over to Funspot (579 Endicott St. N. in Weirs Beach) for the Fun for Paws triathlon on Saturday, March 18. Groups will participate in candlepin bowling, minigolf and games (paintball, skee ball, and darts) to benefit Funds4Paws. The group with the highest score will win prizes and awards, as well as the people with the most fundraising. Registration fees start at $200. Check in time is 9 a.m., and the games will begin at 10 a.m. Visit to register.

Featured photo. A cappella group Ball in the House. Courtesy photo.

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