Big Tuesday

A multi-band, mid-week show

Helping to shake the walls at an upcoming weeknight show from Georgia metal stalwarts Dead Reckoning will be a sizable contingent of Granite State acts. Female-fronted metal band Sepsiss, raw power trio Abel Blood and hard rockers Edgewize all hail from New Hampshire. Deathcore quartet Mark of Wrath comes from close by; they’re based in Rhode Island.

Finally, there’s Dust Prophet, a Manchester four-piece that formed in the months before the pandemic and polished its sound through lockdown. In January they released a debut album, One Last Look Upon the Sky, that’s a master class in stoner rock, the gloomy metal-limned sound forged by Black Sabbath and later refined by bands like Kyuss and Electric Wizard.

Guitarist Otto Kinzel and Sarah Wappler, who plays bass and keys, came together around a love of heavy riffs. The two were previously in an industrial-rock band called Fiends of a New Republic; they wanted to try something different.

“I didn’t have a passion to get back into using a lot of electronics,” Kinzel explained in a recent phone interview. “I just wanted it to be guitar-bass-drums, more stripped down and straightforward … just focusing on being heavy.”

In bringing their shared influences together, “It was Sarah who heavily drove that train,” Kinzel said. “She wrote a huge amount of the riffs that are on the album. She really deserves to be credited. We’re all listed as songwriters because we collaborated on the songs and melded them all together, but she was nine times out of ten the one bringing the riffs to the table.”

With Wappler churning out one heavy chord after another, and Kinzel penning lyrics worthy of slasher films, finding a drummer turned out to be their biggest challenge.

“It was like a Saturday Night Live skit in some parts, I mean, it was just unbelievable,” Kinzel recalled. “Some of the people that answered the ad that would come to audition and have zero preparation.”

Finally a fellow guitarist pointed them to drummer Tyler MacPherson, and the group was complete, mostly. Jason Doyle, a longtime friend of Kinzel’s, had mixed and mastered Dust Prophet in the studio. When the group finally began playing out, Kinzel decided he wanted to concentrate on singing, so he recruited Doyle to play guitar at their early shows.

“I was singing and playing at the same time, and I was at 50 percent … not great at either one,” Kinzel said. “Jason already knew all the songs because he did all the postproduction on them, and he’s also a great guitar player. He played a couple of dates with us and immediately went from being a live guitar player to a full-fledged member of the band.”

Adding Doyle shifted their sound. “We’re still very much a doom metal band, but there’s a bit more of a progressive element,” Kinzel observed. “I’m working in more live audio samples for interludes, more synth. In the studio, we overdubbed tons of secondary drums … congas and other hand percussion instruments are layered in and out. With me not playing guitar live, it frees me up to do that, to incorporate some of that live.”

Beyond that, the plan is to go back in the studio and document their new musical direction. “Artistically, we want to keep moving forward, and we’ve already started recording material for the next album,” Kinzel said. “We’re going to do an EP with a couple of cuts from the first album reimagined, and then maybe one or two brand new songs…. Our goal is to level up with each release.”

Kinzel is keen to do a hometown show.

“This is the first time we’ve played Manchester in 2023,” he said. “We’re always jumping at the opportunity because we get a pretty good turnout. It’s one of the few times our friends and family can come to shows because it’s a relatively local event. We know several of the other bands. We’ve played with Abel Blood before, we’ve played with Sepsiss before. We’ll see some friends and just go hang out.”

Dead Army Takeover Tour
When: Tuesday, June 6, 7 p.m.
Where: Jewel Music Venue, 61 Canal St., Manchester
Tickets: $15 at

Featured photo: Dust Prophet. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 23/06/01

Local music news & events

Music city: The final concert of the monthly Nashville Newcomers series has Hannah Ellis and Martin & Kelly. Ellis is a Kentucky native whose solo work garnered an “Artist to Watch” nod from Rolling Stone, and she’s also guested with Carly Pearce, For King + Country and other artists. Before crossing over to country with singer Jilly Martin, guitarist Ryan Brooks Kelly made a name for himself playing blues rock. Thursday, June 1, 7 p.m., Bank of NH Stage, 16 S. Main St., Concord, $10 at

Southern man: With lyrics drawn from his native Georgia fused with hip-hop, vocalist Demun Jones stands at his own musical crossroads. Growing up, Jones was drawn to acts like N.W.A. even if the grittiness depicted in their songs was worlds away. Friday, June 2, 6 p.m., The Big House, 322 Lakeside Ave., Laconia, $40 at

Fresh grass: A listening room showcases two top purveyors of acoustic roots music. Never Come Down is a Portland, Oregon, quintet that sits easily in the loosely defined Americana genre. Joining them are Boston-based Grain Thief, whose latest album, Gasoline, is quickly gaining critical acclaim. Saturday, June 3, 7 p.m., The Word Barn, 66 Newfields Road, Exeter, $20 at

Soul-barer: There are songwriters who live their work, and there’s Tyler Allgood. His bracing 2021 album Through the Empty was born from his experience as an addict facing spinal surgery and its aftermath. Worrying whether essential pain medication would lead to a relapse kept him “staring at the ceiling … going crazy wondering if my life was ever going to change,” the singer/guitarist said at the time. Sunday, June 4, 4 p.m., To Share Brewing, 720 Union St., Manchester, more at

New beginning: With the multi-billion-streaming success of the breakout single “See You Again” and his second album, Voicenotes, Charlie Puth seemed to have it made, but a chance encounter with Elton John in an L.A. restaurant that ended with a dis caused him to scrap a completed album in 2020 and start over. The results are stellar; released last year, Charlie is a gem, and a tour supporting it has fans excited. Wednesday, June 7, 7:30 pm., Bank of NH Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford, $25 to $99 at

The Little Mermaid (PG)

Halle Bailey is a mermaid who wants to be up where the people are in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, another one of these live-action “OK, sure, but why?” adaptations of a classic animated movie.

Yes, I know, “money, dummy” is the “why” of the existence of these live-action adaptations. I just think some additional motivation to revisit these stories would also be cool.

Mermaid Ariel (Bailey) likes collecting the human stuff she finds from shipwrecks in ye olde ocean and is generally curious about the human world. Humans and their world are garbage, stay away — is her father King Triton’s (Javier Bardem) point of view because humans killed your mother! Which feels like a thing the movie should really unpack more but that’s not the way it goes.

Ariel sees a Pirates of the Caribbean-y ship one evening and hangs out to watch the men shoot fireworks, carouse and just generally be human-y. But then a storm rolls in fast and tosses the boat around and stuff catches fire and it’s a big “abandon ship!” mess. Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King), the cute human whom Ariel had been watching, gets everyone to safety, even his friendly dog, but then is tossed deep into the ocean. Ariel rescues him and takes him back to the shore, singing her mermaid siren song at him to wake him up. He falls in love with the music and the fuzzy image he gets of her as he wakes up; she takes off as soldiers show up to rescue him.

Eric gets a little more to him than I remember from the cartoon that, admittedly, I haven’t seen since forever. Here, he’s not so much a “to the manor born” guy but an adopted child of the Queen (Noma Dumezweni) and he is really intent on opening his country’s trade ports. Also he gets his own “I wish” song all about wanting to find the woman who saved him. It feels at first like the movie is setting up some kind of significant plot thing for Eric but it isn’t really — it’s just giving him an inch more dimension without really working that in to the way the story unfolds.

Back to Ariel. Ursula (Melissa McCarthy), who is the sister of Triton (but an octo-person rather than a merperson like him), slinks around the dark recesses of the ocean, still mad that her brother got the ocean crown rather than her. Again, seems like an interesting bit of story but the movie just sort of leaves it hanging out there. When she learns of Ariel’s new love for a human person in addition to her long-known desire to be in the land of whozits and whatzits and forks, Ursula has her eel buddies drag Ariel to her creepy lair and convinces her to make a trade — Ursula will give Ariel a three-day loaner pair of human legs if Ariel will leave her voice as collateral. Also, she has to get Eric to kiss her in those three days or Ariel will be Ursula’s, er, indentured servant? Unpaid intern? In the movie she says something like “you’ll be mine” and Ariel agrees. As we learn, Ursula just wants custody of Ariel so that she can bargain with Triton and this feels like a whole lotta business to go through just to get to that point, especially for a sea witch who can do magic.

Human Ariel makes it to the surface of the ocean and gets hauled into a boat by a fisherman who brings her to the palace. She is given food and clothes and introduced to the prince and they become buds, even though Ariel can’t talk and Eric is still looking for the mystery girl with the pretty singing voice. Along to provide chat to the audience when Ariel can’t are crab Sebastian (voice of Daveed Diggs), fish Flounder (voice of Jacob Tremblay) and bird Scuttle (voice of Awkwafina).

There is a moment when Eric sees Ariel and she’s all excited that It’s Happening, her plan to be a person and find her crush is working out, and then he doesn’t recognize her. He’s looking for the voice and she’s given that up. Her letdown is a nice emotional note — she understands in that moment that her decisions made in a fit of teenage-like anger and longing have consequences she hadn’t considered. It’s also maybe the only time that I felt like I was watching a person in a life and not a character on a set. A really well-costumed character on a very pretty set in a world that has been crafted as, like, a little bit Jamaica, a little bit Bridgerton. I mean, cool, but this is still largely a movie that feels like all the thinking really went in to the look of things and then the rest of the movie, including any emotional heart it might have, was just left to float along. The talking fish is impressive, the mermaids are eye-catching, the underwater scenes mostly look good and have a kind of logic to their physical nature. The characters, their emotions and even the songs are flat and feel like they have the volume turned down.

Which brings me back to the “why.” The movie seemed to have some thoughts on “why” to tell this story — there’s the “kid going into the world over parental objections” bit and some riffing on the idea of one’s voice, both literal and metaphoric. But it never picks a lane and gets specific — even about whose desires are driving the plot. I feel like the movie did a lot of laudable work to get everybody there, to find talented people and put them in the position to look credibly like sea creatures and olden-day people in a visually interesting physical space. Now it just needs to figure out why they are there and what story they are telling. C+

Rated PG for action/peril and some scary images, according to the MPA on Directed by Rob Marshall with a screenplay by David Magee, The Little Mermaid is two hours and 15 minutes long and distributed in theaters by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. If between now and when this movie inevitably hits Disney+ you need two hours and 15 minutes of air conditioning in a dark room where you (the adult) can relax and maybe snooze while the children in your care eat popcorn and are basically entertained, this is probably fine for that. Little kids might get freaked out by a brief shark chase at the beginning and some Ursula villainy by the end.

Featured photo: The Little Mermaid

Halcyon, by Elliot Ackerman

Halcyon, by Elliot Ackerman (Deckle Edge/Knopf, 256 pages)

In a recent poll, fewer than 10 percent of young Americans said they were interested in military service, according to an NBC News story. This makes Elliot Ackerman one of a disappearing breed of writers, writers in the mold of Vonnegut, Hemingway and Salinger, who bring an intimacy with military life to their work.

Ackerman, a decorated Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, used his experience in his 2022 nonfiction book The Fifth Act, America’s End in Afghanistan. But in his new novel, Halcyon, Ackerman offers a more subtle slice of military history, that of the Civil War, through a protagonist who is studying postbellum attitudes at a time of dizzying biotechnological change.

The change: Scientists have just figured out how to resurrect cryonically preserved organisms — first mice, then humans. This isn’t set in the future, but in 2004, in an alternate universe in which Al Gore is president and under fire for pardoning Bill Clinton.

If this sounds mind-blowingly complex, yes, on some levels it is. But in sparse, logical prose, Ackerman has created a completely plausible universe and characters who grapple with seemingly disparate questions, such as whether it is morally right to tear down old monuments (such as the Virginia Monument at Gettysburg) and what are the unforeseen consequences of bringing dead people back to life.

The story revolves around a historian and college professor, Martin Neumann, who is recently divorced and has been granted a semester-long sabbatical to advance his research, which is inspired, in part, by the work of the late (real-life) historian Shelby Foote.

Neumann has rented a cottage on an estate in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. It turns out that the property is owned by one of the 134 people who have been recently resurrected — a World War II veteran turned prosecutor named Robert Abelson.

Neumann doesn’t know from the start — he simply thinks the nonagenarian is remarkably healthy: “His face was high-boned, his cheeks rosy and vital, his features distinct. … He was possessed by a vigor that he insisted was the result of his daily walks.”

Fortuitously, Abelson had long ago married a woman 20 years his junior, so they weren’t unusually matched. And as the couple grow closer to their tenant, Abelson’s wife suggests that Martin go meet with their physician, where he learns not only more about Abelson’s life (both pre- and post-resurrection) but also about Mary’s condition.

Meanwhile, the public, which had not known that the processes that had resurrected a brood of “Lazarus mice” had already been practiced on humans, is just now learning that human beings had also been “reborn.” In a press conference that is surreal on multiple levels, President Gore has announced that “Before death, a family would soon be able to apply to the Department of Health and Human Services for a ‘rebirth grant.’ Based on suitability — a vague criterion he did not fully define — the government would defray a portion, if not all, of the medical costs, making rebirth a possibility for ‘most any American’ …”

The resurrection storyline is fascinating enough on its own, as Ackerman’s characters work through the complexities of what this development would mean in a practical sense. At one point, for example, Ableson has to go to a Richmond courthouse to have his own death annulled, much like a marriage. His stepsons (who did not know that their stepfather was alive again until about the time the press got the story) have to mull what the news means for what they’d thought was their inheritance. And as the novel slowly reveals, there can be a troubling tension about what’s acceptable for people born, say, in 1915, and those born in 1995, when one lives in “a present that was not his own.”

But Halcyon also has a complex understory about alternative timelines — both in the past and in the present. The existence of a President Gore is one; the narrator suggests that the resurrection of the dead would not have been funded under a Republican president, and in one conversation with his daughter Ableman debates whether he owes Gore his vote by virtue of benefiting from government-funded science.

But there is also a running thread about what would have happened to America if certain aspects of the Civil War had gone differently — if, for example, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson had not died of pneumonia eight days after he was shot by his own troops, who’d mistaken him for a Union soldier. And Ackerman touches on current debates over what history is and how it should be represented. In touring a Civil War site with a fellow historian, Martin is disturbed by something his friend said: “The study of history shouldn’t be backward looking. To matter, it has to take us forward.”

In this, the novel is remarkably complex and intelligent, while retaining the aura of a science-fiction thriller.

The historian who argued that history shouldn’t be “backward looking,” also said, “Every ethicist knows that death isn’t such a bad thing. For mice. For people. Or for certain ideas.”

That is ultimately what Halcyon (the name comes from the Abelson estate) wants us to consider. While Ackerman’s no-frills prose won’t make anyone swoon, he has constructed a page-turner that doesn’t feel slickly commercial or dumbed-down, with a conclusion that is surprisingly satisfying. B+

Album Reviews 23/06/01

Satoko Fujii, Torrent (Libra Records)

In this, her ninth solo album, jazz pianist Fujii explores “new musical territory in a completely improvised concert performance.” Usually the thought of jazz improv has me running for the exits at full bore (years ago I somehow became the central repository for that stuff and it came by the wooden pallet-load every month, all kinds of off-the-cuff noise that eventually led to my forsaking it for a few years). but the New York Times touted her as “an improviser of rumbling intensity and generous restraint,” which is, as always, college-boy-speak for “she’s good,” so here we are, indulging in a record consisting of noodlings Fujii rattled off during a recent concert setup. It’s assuredly an “artist album” in that she sees the piano not merely as a keyboard set but as something to be tinkered with: In “Cut the Painter” she blends weird noises made on the inside of the piano with lyrical melodies played on the keyboard. Elsewhere she plucks piano strings and whatnot in between delivering fantastic runs, morose sentiments and the usual ingredients. It’s a masterful thing if you’re willing to go off the beaten track. A+

Alcatrazz, Take No Prisoners (Silver Lining Music)

Waitwhat, you’re doing a fly-by, what’s even going on here, which Alcatrazz is this? I mean, there are two versions of Alcatrazz making records nowadays, one with Graham Bonnet, the dude who sang “God Blessed Video” in the mid-80s, a tune that almost single-handedly makes the case for hair-metal’s not being a complete waste of time. But yeah, it’s a mess here, folks, this is the Alcatrazz without Bonnet, and ha ha, look at that album title, it would have been cooler if they’d named it “Place Album Title Here,” which I’m sure has been done. Other than those two strikes, this album comes to the plate with my full attention and — um. Hideously generic stuff here, Udo Dirkschneider meets Bruce Dickinson vocals, power metal riffs out of a cereal box, etc. The gals from ’80s-girl-metal band Girlschool visit for a feat on “Don’t Get Mad Get Even,” I know not why. C


• Spoiler alert, new albums will “hit the streets” on June 2, another lovely Friday filled with music and whatever! There will be good albums, bad albums, rock albums, Scandinavian folk-thrash albums, super-derivative albums and everything in between. Like the recently canceled Dr. Seuss once said, “My hat is old, my teeth are gold, I have an album I like to hold,” but what sort of albums will I be holding this week? That’s the ongoing mystery, one album, two albums, red album, blue album, will any of them be good, or will I tear off my white plastic earbuds in frustration like I always do and throw back three fingers of cheap 12-year-old multi-malt scotch just to forget that my ears once made contact with those — those horrible notes? I do not know, Sam I Am, so let’s try one of these albums on for size, how about — oh no, you’ve got to be kidding me, it’s a new album from talentless post-Iron Maiden frauds Avenged Sevenfold, called Life Is But A Dream, can’t I just review some TikToks from funny pot-smoking longboarders instead? Ack, here they are, with some dumb new song called “Nobody,” and the video features a cartoon skeleton and his family chilling in some dumb graveyard whatsis, and the tune is slow and doomy, but of course it gets really stupid and unusable when the singing starts, because, well, you know, it’s A7F or however you say it. Ack, ack, the singing, it’s like that horrible monster Dr. Seuss once said, “I do not like this one so well, all he does is yell, yell, yell; I will not have this one about, when he comes in I put him out,” in other words it’s time to depart these premises, for some better music, hopefully, but then again, how could it not be?

• Huh, this shouldn’t be too bad, it’s the millennials’ answer to Elton John, Ben Folds, with a new album called What Matters Most! From what I’ve heard of Ben Folds, it’s mostly been very musical but not really, you know, catchy, or whatever the kids call it these days — you know, “good” or whatnot. The whole album is up for sampling on YouTube, but the first single is “Winslow Gardens,” hold my hand and let’s listen together. OK, let go of my hand so I can shut this off, it’s just a twee song with a little bit of orchestration and Ben’s big dumb piano. It’s like Ben Kweller, or, as people used to say, “The Brady Bunch Band.” People need to stop listening to spineless, pointless nonsense like this, seriously, how can they even stand it.

• Yo, it’s none other than Cowboy Junkies, a band that has played at our beloved Tupelo Music Hall. They have a new album, called Such Ferocious Beauty, which will surely be decent, given that it’s not Avenged Sevenwhatever, but at this writing I am not seeing anything about their visiting Tupelo; in fact, the closest they’ll come to us is The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, Canada, which is somewhere near the North Pole if I recall correctly. This album is their first one in five years, and the single, “What I Lost,” has kind of a 1960s-meets-Fiona Apple vibe or something like that, mildly depressing and strummy, it’s acceptable.

• And lastly we have Foo Fighters, a band that I have a newfound respect for after seeing a video of their bandleader Dave Whoever serving giant pots of food to a bunch of homeless people. More people should do that, you know? But Here We Are is the new album, and the whole thing is on YouTube for the moment, but we’ll focus on the kickoff track, “Rescued.” It’s got a jagged Pretenders vibe when it starts, but then it turns into their five-zillionth variation on “There Goes My Hero.” Everyone drink!

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).

Love me some lemon whoopie pies

If you are a regular reader, you may remember that I shared a lemon whoopie pie recipe a few years ago. Since then, I have made this recipe and found that it needed a bit of tweaking. Rather than keeping that information to myself, I thought I should share it with you. This recipe makes a cake that is a bit denser, which makes for a better whoopie pie.

I have added a decorative touch to this version. The sides of the frosting can be coated in flaked coconut or sprinkles. While this is completely optional, these toppings do add a nice bit of crunchy texture to a dessert that is mainly tender.

As for ingredients, I have only one note. For this recipe, you should use fresh lemon juice. You need one lemon for zesting. If you buy a second, you should have enough juice for this recipe. The brightness and flavor from freshly juiced lemons will make these whoopie pies much more vibrant. It definitely is worth the expense and effort.

Love me some lemon whoopie pies
Makes 10 pies

½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon lemon extract
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
2½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
Zest of 1 lemon
3 Tablespoons milk
yellow food coloring, optional

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2¼ cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Flaked coconut or sprinkles, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place melted butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat with paddle attachment on speed 2 until smooth.
Add eggs mixing until each is fully incorporated on speed 2.
Add extracts, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mixing well on speed 2.
Use a spatula to scrape down the sides, and add 1½ cups of flour.
Mix on low; scrape sides with spatula, add lemon juice, and mix until fully blended.
Add remaining cup of flour, and mix.
Add milk and food coloring, and mix until fully combined.
Scoop approximately 1½ tablespoons batter, and place spaced evenly, onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (Will take two batches to bake all of the batter.)
Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until cakes spring back when touched.
Allow to cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet.
Transfer to baking rack to cool completely.

In a stand mixer combine butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon extract; mix on low speed until combined.
Spread the flat side of 10 cakes with the frosting.
Top each with another cake.
Place coconut flakes or sprinkles in a small bowl.
Holding the cake on its side, roll in desired topping to coat frosting edges.
Serve or store in a sealed container.

Featured photo: Lemon whoopie pies. Photo by Michele Pesula Kuegler.

In the kitchen with Dave Stewart

Dave Stewart is the owner of the Blasty Bough Brewing Co. (3 Griffin Road, Epsom, 724-3636,, a farm-to-kettle brewery that opened its doors on the grounds of McClary Hill Farm in Epsom in early 2018. The brewery gets its name from a branch of pine known as a “blasty bough,” used by immigrant settlers in colonial America to light fires to cook their food and keep them warm during the winter. Stewart, who began home brewing in the early 1990s, said he became inspired by friends of his setting up breweries on their own farms. In addition to the beers — featuring a lineup that includes a New England IPA, a Belgian-style golden strong ale and a lightly hopped American amber ale, among others — Stewart offers a small scratch-cooked “Munchings & Crunchings” food menu at the brewery, with items like macaroni and cheese, chili and cornbread, a barbecue pulled pork sandwich, chips with homemade pico de gallo, and a Korean-style spiced brisket sandwich.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

A nice set of balanced, sharp knives.

What would you have for your last meal?

Wild strawberries with raw milk whipped cream.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

The Lazy Lion in Deerfield. They’ve been around for a good long time and have stayed the course. It’s just good food and it’s an interesting setting in a nice little town.

What celebrity would you like to see ordering from the brewery?

I have to have two. Stanley Tucci, just because I think that would be fun, and then the other would be a guy named Dario Cecchini. He’s a butcher from Panzano in Chianti[, Italy]. He was on an episode of Chef’s Table, the Netflix show … and he’s kind of a larger-than-life character. … I don’t have the same kind of personality as him, but I think it would be nice to feed him.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

The newest thing that we’ve added is a brisket sandwich done in a Korean style, so it’s got kimchi and gochujang on a slightly chewy, fairly soft roll, and that’s been well-received. That’s the current favorite.

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

I think people are hungry, no pun intended, for an experience. … The saying is that people eat with their eyes, and so if you present them with something and it’s beautiful, it’s going to taste better.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

A linguine with white clam sauce. It’s just something that showcases a couple of ingredients and it’s simple.

Sbricciolona (Italian lemon almond cake)
From the kitchen of Dave Stewart of the Blasty Bough Brewing Co. in Epsom, modified from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking

¼ pound blanched, skinned almonds
1 cup toasted almonds
1¾ cups all purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
⅝ cup granulated sugar
Grate the peel of 1 lemon
2 egg yolks
8 Tablespoons room-temperature butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grind the skinned almonds to a powder. In a food processor or a blender, pulse the motor on and off until the desired consistency is reached. Mix all of the dry ingredients, the ground almonds, the toasted almond chunks and the lemon peel into a big bowl. Add the egg yolks to the dry ingredients and mix it all together with your fingers. Keep using your fingers to mix in the softened butter. Smear the bottom of a 12-inch cake pan with butter. Crumble and sprinkle the dough evenly into the pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve when completely cooled and firm — it breaks up into nifty, irregular chunks. According to Stewart, it’s best served with any dark beer or dessert wine, or a cup of tea or coffee.

Featured photo: Dave Stewart, owner of the Blasty Bough Brewing Co. in Epsom. Courtesy photo.

Have you herb about this?

NH Herbal Network’s Herb & Garden Day returns

By Maya Puma

Herb enthusiasts and foodies alike will gather at the Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner on Saturday, June 3, for Herb & Garden Day. The signature event of the New Hampshire Herbal Network returns for a 13th year and will feature a full day’s worth of workshops, raffle prizes, local vendors and more.

This year’s event will consist of eight workshops. Attendees are given a program during registration, which begins at 8 a.m., followed by the first workshop running at 9 a.m.

Keynote speaker Wendy Snow Fogg of the Misty Meadows Herbal Center in Lee is due to speak at lunchtime. There will be more than 26 vendors selling wood carvings, herbal body care and natural skin products, herbal tea blends, honey-infused herbs and lots of plants.

Event coordinator Sonia Gaudette said the vendors will include “a nice variety of flower essences, plants, spirit pendulums, necklaces, and a lot of fun stuff.” The vendors will be set up in a half circle so people will be able to walk around and have access to them. The event will also feature a kids’ tent and a mushroom and plant walk, in which attendees will have the opportunity to learn about how to forage edible and medicinal plants and mushrooms.

Some of the workshops are food-oriented, covering topics such as pickling, the sweet benefits of the bitter taste and using herbs for pain management. Most of them come from different nearby farms or herbal companies.

Rivka Schwartz of Health and Hearth, Gaudette said, will lead “Pickling: The Traditional, Easy, Probiotic Method,” which aims to teach attendees about the old-fashioned way to ferment vegetables. Lior Sadeh of Bee Fields Farm in Wilton will lead “The Sweet Benefits of the Bitter Taste” — that workshop covers the history and health benefits of bitter-tasting foods, as herbalists claim modern diseases express bitterness deficiency.

Ramblin’ Man Provisions, a new pop-up food trailer, will provide different breakfast options utilizing local eggs and vegetables. The Gilford-based Beans & Greens Farm will also serve lunch from their wood-fired food truck, while Drink Positive NH, a smoothie trailer, is expected to serve options of its own. Herb & Garden Day also includes a plant sale, where home gardeners will be able to purchase their own seeds to grow herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Gaudette expects to have at least 250 to 300 people attend this year. Funding from Herb & Garden Day helps to pay for a monthly workshop the New Hampshire Herbal Network runs.

“It’s gotten so much bigger over the years,” she said. “We went from 25 people showing up to 250 people showing up.”

13th annual Herb & Garden Day
When: Saturday, June 3, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum, 18 Highlawn Road, Warner
Cost: $35 general admission, or $5 to only shop the market

The Alamo Texas Barbecue and Tequila Bar (Brookline,
All Real Meal (Manchester,
Bone Daddy’s Competition BBQ Team (find them on Facebook)
Celebrations Catering (Manchester,
Clyde’s Cupcakes (Exeter,
Dandido Sauce (Manchester,
Donali’s Land and Sea (Nashua,

Featured photo: Scene from Herb & Garden Day. Courtesy photos.

A Gate City flavor tour

Taste of Downtown Nashua returns

Foodies will get a unique opportunity to discover the Gate City’s culinary scene during the annual Taste of Downtown Nashua, returning for a 27th year on Wednesday, June 7. Presented by the Nashua-based nonprofit Great American Downtown, the event pairs nearly two dozen area restaurants with participating businesses for a night of exclusive food and drink sampling.

“We have 20 stops, which is the most we’ve had in a few years,” Great American Downtown executive director Carolyn Walley said. “The tradition of the event is that there will be a flow of attendees going through the shops, and so you get a two-in-one experience. You get to check out the shops and the restaurants at the same time. … You also leave the event completely full, so you don’t have to buy dinner that night. I get messages from a lot of people saying that they like to go with their family and walk around downtown to try everything, and it’s fun.”

Pandemic woes forced the Taste of Downtown to pause for two years before it was able to return in full force last year. As a result, the 2022 event featured several first-time participants.

“It was so great to see Main Street buzzing again,” Walley said of last year’s Taste of Downtown. “That was the first time that a lot of us had seen such a crowd on Main Street in a couple of years. I think we sold about 750 tickets last year, and we’re expecting the same this time.”

Ticket holders will receive a map with a designated number for each assigned stop, featuring a participating restaurant or food truck paired up with another downtown retail business. Three outdoor areas of live local music — New Hampshire-based alternative rock band Hunter, Nashua group The Humans Being and the Nick Goumas Jazz Quartet — are also part of the experience.

The event is timed perfectly for attendees to discover Mike’s Italian Kitchen, which recently just rebranded from MT’s Local Kitchen & Wine Bar within the last several weeks. Walley said they plan to serve miniature Italian sausage subs, while their sister restaurant, Surf, will serve tiramisu.

Rambling House Food & Gathering and The Hidden Pig, two other local eateries that have joined Nashua’s dining scene within the last year, are also participating for the first time.

“This year we’ve really expanded our horizons from what downtown is usually considered,” Walley said. “We usually have it from City Hall to the Hunt Building and then east and west a few blocks. But we’ve expanded more down toward South Main Street, and so Root Awakening Kava Bar is participating, and then some of the other restaurants are down there. … I think downtown is naturally growing, so we’re trying to expand our normal perspective of it.”

In addition to the foods, of-age attendees will have access to two craft beer stops courtesy of Bellavance Beverage Co., at The Hidden Pig and The Peddler’s Daughter. Taste of Downtown tickets can be purchased in advance online via Eventbrite, and are also available the day of.

“I pair the businesses together and then it’s really up to them to collaborate … with coming up with the display and the offerings and things like that,” Walley said. “So it really generates a great sense of community between the businesses, which is what I like most about it.”

27th annual Taste of Downtown Nashua
When: Wednesday, June 7, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Main Street and several connecting side streets across downtown Nashua
Cost: $45 per person, which includes access to all the provided food samples (and beer samples for attendees ages 21+); tickets can be purchased online through Eventbrite
Maps of participating locations, which include parking guides, are available online or can be picked up at Scontsas Fine Jewelry (169-173 Main St.), CasaNova Men’s Boutique (147 Main St.) and Fresh of Nashua (178 Main St.) on the day of the event.

Participating food and beverage purveyors

  • Bellavance Beverage Co. (; beer stops will be at The Hidden Pig and The Peddler’s Daughter)
  • Caribbean Breeze (; paired with PRG Rugs)
  • Casa Vieja Mexican Grill (; paired with Enterprise Bank)
  • Cravings Cafe & Gift Shop (find them on Facebook @cravingscafe.nashua; paired with NBT Bank)
  • Edible Arrangements (; paired with Purple Finch Properties)
  • Giant of Siam (; paired with Glorious Possibilities)
  • The Hidden Pig (; paired with the Nashua Center for the Arts)
  • JajaBelle’s (; paired with Meredith & Greene Candle Bar)
  • Mike’s Italian Kitchen (; paired with CasaNova Men’s Boutique)
  • The Peddler’s Daughter (; paired with the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen)
  • Rambling House Food & Gathering (; paired with Tangled Roots Herbal)
  • Riverwalk Bakery & Cafe (; paired with Fresh of Nashua)
  • Root Awakening Kava Bar (; paired with Creative Vibes)
  • Soel Sistas (; paired with Fortin Gage Flowers & Gifts)
  • Stella Blu (; paired with Bar Harbor Bank & Trust)
  • Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream (; paired with Nashua Coins & Collectibles)
  • Surf (; paired with Wilfred’s Barber Shop)
  • Tostao’s Tapas — Bar (; paired with Scontsas Fine Jewelry)

Featured photo: Photo by Chris Michaud.

The Weekly Dish 23/06/01

News from the local food scene

Bacon me crazy: There’s still time to get tickets to this year’s New Hampshire Bacon & Beer Festival, returning to Anheuser-Busch Brewery (221 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack) on Saturday, June 3, with general admission from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and VIP admittance, directly following a cocktail hour, beginning at 12:30 p.m. A chief fundraiser for the High Hopes Foundation, the festival will feature more than 50 craft brewers serving beers, ciders, meads and cocktails. Local restaurants and food trucks and competitive barbecuers also join in on the fun, receiving bacon from Claremont’s North Country Smokehouse to create any kind of dish they want. Find a story about the festival in the May 25 edition of the Hippo on page 40; see

110 Grill now open in Concord: The 110 Grill, a regional restaurant chain with several locations across New England and New York state, recently celebrated the grand opening of its newest spot in Concord. The 80 Storrs St. restaurant, the 110 Grill’s seventh New Hampshire location, opened on May 17, according to a recent post on its Facebook page. See to view the restaurant’s full menus.

Getting corny: Join New Hampshire Audubon at its Massabesic Center (26 Audubon Way, Auburn) for Growing Corn: As Fresh As It Gets, a workshop on Thursday, June 8, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. featuring UNH Cooperative Extension master gardener Will Lowenthal. He’ll discuss how to select different varieties of local sweet corn this summer, including determining where and how to plant and maintain a healthy crop as well as how to address pests and other problems. Registration is required by June 5 — the cost is $15. Visit or call the Massabesic center at 668-2045 to register.

Ya Mas on the move: Pelham eatery Ya Mas Greek Taverna & Bar is relocating to a larger space at the Mall at Rockingham Park (99 Rockingham Park Blvd., Salem), and has a projected reopening date of July 15, according to recent announcements on its Facebook and Instagram pages. “The Pelham location will be closing at the end of June,” the announcement goes on to read. See

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