The Weekly Dish 23/09/21

News from the local food scene

  • Wine bar reopened in Bedford: Corks, the wine bar in the Bedford Village Inn (2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford), had its grand reopening on Sept. 7. Their hours are Thursday through Saturday from 4:30 to 10 p.m. with social hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
  • Harvest weekend: Black Bear Vineyard (289 New Road, Salisbury) hosts Harvest Weekend from Saturday, Sept. 30, to Sunday, Oct. 1. This outdoor event includes live music, wine sold by the glass or bottle, the opportunity to learn about the wine-making process and 603 Food Truck. Tickets are $18, free for those under 21 years old. Purchase tickets at
  • Apple Fest: Ring in fall with The Salvation Army’s Applefest at Sullivan Farm (70 Coburn Ave., Nashua) on Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with hay rides, crafts and games, apple picking, pony rides and more. There will be apple pies, ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers and more food to enjoy. Each activity and food item costs a certain number of tickets and each ticket is $1.
  • Medium reading and wine tasting: Averill House Vineyard (21 Averill Road, Brookline) hosts a wine tasting with intuitive medium Jessica Moseley, who will hold a group medium reading on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. Guests 21 and older will be offered a complimentary wine tasting flight of four vintages or a single glass of wine. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased on


Shinedown returns with concept album

With the title track from 2022’s Planet Zero album, Shinedown brought its record-breaking total of No. 1 Billboard Modern Rock hits to 19. Later they topped the pop charts for a second time with the power ballad “A Symptom of Being Human.”

Their current tour stops at Gilford’s BankNH Pavilion on Sept. 19. Fans can expect favorites like “45,” “Enemies” and “Second Chance” mixed in with selections from their latest disc, a dystopian concept album narrated by a Big Brother-sounding robot. Drummer and founding member Barry Kerch discussed a variety of topics in a recent phone interview. You’re heading out on the road with Papa Roach and Spirit Box.

What are you looking forward to about it?

Any time we get to tour with our friends in Papa Roach it’s a great thing. We’ve done many tours over the years, and I consider them brothers of ours. It makes us work hard for our money because they put on such a high-energy show as well, and it becomes that friendly competition.

Planet Zero is a concept album … how are you bringing that to the stage?

It’s a very intensive visual show with lots of pyro and fire and video to give the fans what they paid for; it costs a lot of money to go to a show, so we want to give fans a hell of a show…. We also know that fans are there to hear our catalog of songs. We have a lot to choose from and to make a cool set list that satisfies all those out there.

What catalog songs do you enjoy playing the most, and what gets the crowd excited?

That’s a funny question. After 20 years of doing this in Shinedown and 19 No. 1 singles, it’s always hard to pick those songs. I think for me personally it goes audience to audience, night by night. Some nights you play ‘45’ and you connect with that one person in the crowd … you can hear him when the guitar comes in. That’s the song for that night.

Do you guys still get excited when you go into the studio to make a new album?

The excitement now is having a little bit of wisdom under your belt. You’ve learned from being in the studio many different times [how] to be more effective and as a musician maybe try different things, and you understand how things work better…. It’s easier now to go, ‘I know what this song means,’ and to play for the song instead of the ego. Planet Zero is about the anxiety of a world gone wrong through a particular set of eyes.

Who do you expect would be most reached and impacted by its message?

I would hope the masses that are angry at the bitter divisiveness in our culture right now. It’s sad; it saddens us. It was [written] at the height of that, but it hasn’t gone away, and it’s kind of a warning, a 1984-esque type of thing. If we keep going this way, we’re just gonna fall apart. We’ve got to accept each other with our differences and not always get along but to at least be able to find our humanity again, which I see being lost, especially through social media.

Slave to the algorithm.

Right…. I hate it. Having a 12-year-old daughter makes it even harder.

I know Brent Smith wrote it, but can you comment on ‘America Burning’ from Planet Zero? He says ‘hope’ is not a four-letter word in one song but ‘woke’ definitely is in that one. Are you concerned about how some fans might react?

We talk about these things. When ‘America Burning’ was sent to me in demo form and I heard those lyrics come out for the first time, we immediately had a band phone call. Like, ‘are we doing this?’ Because if we are, we gotta go full bore and support it, but it’s pretty on the nose…. It was a difficult thing, but now it’s probably one of my favorite songs on the record, because it is so just in your face and forceful.

Did you have any idea when it all began that you’d be here today?

I hoped and I didn’t know. To still be here and relevant and still making creative music — I pinch myself daily. And to still enjoy it and still get along with the guys, we still all ride the same bus together, we still eat dinners together, we still laugh together. I really do cherish it even on those days when it is a grind. We don’t rest on our laurels; we don’t look back or congratulate ourselves. If we’re lucky enough to get 20 No. 1’s or we get an award for something we go, ‘Oh, that’s cool. What’s next?’

What was your life like when you started this thing in 2001?

I had almost given up…. My brother lives here in Jacksonville, he’s a radio guy [and he helped me find] a job cleaning lakes for the state of Florida, spraying them to kill the feral weeds without killing the wildlife. It paid a teacher’s salary, if that, but I got it because I had a little bit of a chemistry background from my degree, [which] was enough…. I moved up here and that was it…. I was going to get married. I’d played in a bunch of bands in Orlando, did small tours, but nothing ever happened. My brother, being a radio guy, said, ‘Hey, I got this demo of this kid, he’s here in Jacksonville looking for a drummer. You should go try out.’ That was Brent, before Shinedown. So I went, and the ‘45’ on the first record was actually my audition recording.

Shinedown w/ Papa Roach and Spiritbox
When: Tuesday, Sept. 19, 6:30 p.m.
Where: BankNH Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford
Tickets: $25 and up at

Featured photo: Shinedown. Photo by Sanjay Parikh.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3

Nia Vardalos and her My Big Fat Greek Wedding players travel to Greece for a vacation wherein they occasionally shoot some scenes for a movie in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 — at least that’s what seems to be happening here.

Toula Portokalos (Vardalos) and her husband Ian Miller (Jon Corbett) are both dealing with the recent deaths of their respective fathers and their first year of empty-nesterdom with daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) in her first year of college. Toula’s mother, Maria (Lainie Kazan), also seems to be dealing with memory loss, putting a further strain on the wider family, which is seeing its older generation fade away.

To fulfill a promise to her father and perhaps to recapture some of that family togetherness, Toula decides to go to Greece to find her father’s boyhood friends. She is joined by Ian and Paris as well as Toula’s brother Nick (Louis Mandylor), Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin), Aunt Frieda (Maria Vacratsis) and Aristotle (Elias Kacavas), the young man Frieda and Voula are trying to push Paris together with. They meet Victory (Melina Kotselou), the young mayor of Toula’s father’s island village, who has arranged a village reunion to bring residents back to the basically empty town. One of the village’s few residents is Alexandra (Anthi Andreopoulou), an old woman who knew Toula’s father back in the day and who has quasi-adopted Qamar (Stephanie Nur), a Syrian refugee who is secretly dating Christos (Giannis Vasilottos). Their relationship is secret because Christos’s father, Peter (Alexis Georgoulis), insists that Christos only marry a Greek woman.

(Side note: Stephanie Nur, who doesn’t get a whole lot to do here, is also solid in the goofy but low-effort watchable Paramount+ show Special Operations: Lioness. I hope the visibility of these two “meh” endeavors helps to push her into bigger, meatier roles.)

Every scene here has the kind of loose, first-attempt feeling of something that the actors have just discussed. It’s like “in this scene, everybody in the family is asleep and then a goat wanders into the house. Now — action!” The 2002 original My Big Fat Greek Wedding definitely had a “little indie that could” feel to go with its winning charm but this feels rougher, somehow. Vardalos is credited as both the writer and director here but there is much more of a “wacky setup, wacky reaction” almost improv feel to each scene than I remember from the first movie.

And yet.

Somehow, genuine emotion works itself into all the loosely stitched together scenes in this movie. Real stuff about parents getting older and kids finding their life and how family changes over time manages to add sweetness — occasionally, bittersweetness — to this story and these characters we’ve seen age from the baby-faced people we are reminded of in the opening credits to the middle-aged and older people we see in this movie. The movie doesn’t have the same fresh and lived-experience feel that the original does but this quality does give it charm.

And, of course, there’s Andrea Martin — always fun and always leaving you wanting more. C+

Rated PG-13 for suggestive material and some nudity, according to the MPA on Written and directed by Nia Vardalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is an hour and 31 minutes and is distributed by Focus Features in theaters.

Featured photo: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3

Celebrate Egyptian culture

Nashua church holds sixth Egyptian Food Festival

From Friday, Sept. 15, through Sunday, Sept. 17, the Egyption Food Festival will return to St. Mary and Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church in Nashua.

“It’s an outreach to the community to tell them who we are,” said Kyrillos Gobran, the church’s priest. “The church is a historic place that lots of people in the neighborhood have some kind of relationship with, so it’s good to come and have a tour inside the church … [while] fundraising … and supporting the church … at the same time.”

According to Gobran, the church building itself, which he says is one of the tallest buildings in Nashua, dates back about 140 years, the congregation having taken it on in 2008. The food festival, which includes music, a bazaar and activities for kids, has become a popular event, with about 1,500 to 2,000 people attending each year.

“We have people that have been with us from the [beginning] and they come every single year [to] have a good time as a family and enjoy the food,” he said.

On the menu are various Egyptian meals, sandwiches, sides and desserts. Options include shish kabob platters with a skewer of either beef or chicken marinated with salt, pepper and Mediterranean spices and grilled with onions and green peppers. There is also a kofta platter, which includes one skewer of ground beef seasoned with parsley, chopped onions, salt, pepper and Mediterranean spices. Each meal comes with rice pilaf, salad, tabbouleh and hummus. Skewers can also be ordered by themselves.

“We have vegetarian food as well with lentils … and pasta with sauce on top,” Gobran said.

Desserts include baklava, fried dough and kataif, which is a pancake-like batter filled with raisins, coconut flakes and walnuts and covered in a light syrup.

Egyptian music will be played by a DJ throughout the festival and there will be a kids’ corner with a balloon station, face painting, ice cream, popcorn and cotton candy in addition to the market.

“If you’re looking for something expensive [and] handmade or something a little bit cheaper, you’ll find a different variety there,” Gobran said.

Items for sale include jewelry, T-shirts, Egyptian gowns and pharaonic souvenirs.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming everybody,” he said, “It’s good to see old friends and we welcome people that haven’t been, [or haven’t] tried Egyptian food before or see the Egyptian culture, to come out and enjoy.”

Egyptian Food Festival
When: Friday, Sept. 15, 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 16, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 17, noon to 6 p.m.
Where: St. Mary and Archangel Michael Coptic Church, 39 Chandler St., Nashua
Admission: Free

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

Gardening better as we age

Make room for raised beds and homemade cookies

As a Certified Senior Citizen I sometimes wonder if I am too ambitious in my garden. I have about an acre of gardens with 200 or more kinds of flowers and a good-size vegetable garden. These gardens please me greatly, and I visit them daily all year, even in winter. In gardening season I spend considerable time weeding, pruning, mulching and admiring our gardens. I am blessed with a wife who loves to garden and even loves weeding and edging!

Still, I know that my body will not always be able to work as hard as I ask it to now. So what can we do as we get older to make our work easier? First, we can stop buying new plants and creating new garden beds when our current beds are full. That is a hard choice to make, but I do my best to follow that rule.
We can also diminish the size of our gardens. For years I have grown 35 to 50 tomato plants each year. But I will try to drop down to 25 next year, and fewer each year after that. I do love the tomatoes and freeze and dehydrate many each summer for year-round use. But we do have plenty of farm stands growing great veggies, and I could use them more.

Raised beds make gardening easier on us, too. I have one nice deep cedar gardening “trug” that is 6 feet by 2 1/2 feet in size and stands 30 inches tall. I got it from Gardener’s Supply several years ago and it has held up well. I grow mostly kitchen herbs in it, along with a little lettuce and a few hot peppers. It is just steps from the house, while the vegetable garden is downhill and a few hundred steps away. I might get another, or build one.

I recently visited my friend Fred Sullivan, a retired dairy farmer, who lives nearby. His wife of many decades, Shirley, passed away last year; she did most of the vegetable gardening but Fred has taken it on. Some years ago he made Shirley four nice raised beds using landscape timbers. Each is 4 feet by 8 feet and about 20 inches tall. He grows tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash and some Swiss chard.

I asked Fred about his gardening efforts. He told me that the doctor said he needed to stay active if he wanted to stay healthy. Gardening is a good form of gentle exercise for someone in their 80s, and you get “free” food, too! His best advice: “Be good to your soil, and it will be good to you.”

The raised beds make it easier to work. If you want raised beds, many companies are producing easy-to-assemble beds that are reasonably priced. Although most require quite a bit of soil mix, you can reuse the soil from year to year. I add fresh compost and some slow-release fertilizer each spring to my raised beds.

I recently called my friend Sydney Eddison at her home in Connecticut to talk about gardening as we get older. She is the author of many gardening books and a few nice small books of poetry in recent years. Her book Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older (Timber Press, 2010) is full of good ideas.

Sydney told me, “Cultivate imperfection.” She said that as we get older we have to accept that our gardens can never be perfect. But she emphasized choosing plants that are reliable under any conditions, and that are low-maintenance plants. I agree.

Daylilies  are easy to grow and require little work. Photo by Henry Homeyer.
Daylilies are easy to grow and require little work. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

Delphinium and peonies, for example, are wonderful plants but most need to be staked and looked after to keep them from flopping or breaking in a heavy rain. I can’t imagine ever getting rid of my peonies, but maybe I don’t need quite so many — I could share a few with younger friends.

A plant that Sydney loves is a sedum called Autumn Joy. She has a dozen or so mature plants, each clump 30 inches wide, and they look good even in winter wearing what she calls “snowy hats.” Daylilies are also wonderful — and a mainstay in her garden. She pointed out that they can bloom for nearly two months if you pick early, mid-season and late-season varieties.

Shrubs are less work to maintain than perennials or annual flowers. Plant them, or have someone plant them, and they will require little — so long as they are not varieties that grow inordinately fast. There are plenty that can go several years without pruning.

One of my favorites is called fothergilla (Fothergilla major). It has nice white bottle-brush blossoms in May and spectacular fall foliage. Mine, after 20 years and very little pruning, is only 5 or 6 feet tall and wide. It’s hardy to Zone 4.
And of course, the easiest plant to grow is lawn grass. Once established it really only requires a weekly mowing. There are plenty of people who are willing to do the mowing for a reasonable fee — and there is little they can do to damage it.
Sydney Eddison gave me good advice: If someone offers to help in the garden, accept! And if no one does offer, try to hire a younger person to help. Offer to teach them about gardening. At the end of the day sit in the garden and drink tea and eat homemade cookies. Both of you will be happy.

Henry is a lifetime organic gardener living in Cornish, N.H. He presents at garden clubs and libraries around the region, and is the author of four gardening books. Reach him at

Featured photo by Henry Homeyer.

The Music Roundup 23/09/14

Local music news & events

  • Vegas visitors: Growing up in Burbank, California, The Edwards Twins — identical brothers Eddie and Anthony — would sneak in to watch stars like Sonny & Cher and Carol Burnett tape their weekly variety shows. They became so good at impersonating the stars that they’re now regulars on the Las Vegas Strip and national favorites, doing everyone from Barbra Streisand to Elton John. Thursday, Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m., Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester, $29 and up at
  • Barn party: Celebrate summer’s fade with Liz Frame & the Kickers playing a live broadcast in a rural setting. The North Shore band’s brand of rootsy, hook-filled music often causes their originals to be mistaken for covers, something Frame calls “the highest compliment.” The venue, opened in local music maven Rob Azevedo’s barn a couple years back, regularly welcomes the region’s best talent. Friday, Sept. 15, 6 p.m., Pembroke City Limits, 250 Pembroke St., Pembroke. See
  • Nineties redux: An evening of high-energy rock ’n’ roll dubbed the Feel Good Fest has the Spin Doctors of “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes” fame, along with area favorites Beechwood. The show is a benefit for Lend Me a Hand Fund, a charity helping cancer patients with out-of-pocket expenses. It’s also a celebration of life for Ashlie Hooper, who died of breast cancer in 2020. Saturday, Sept. 16, 8 pm., Bank of NH Stage, 16 S. Main St., Concord, $37.50 at
  • Dulcet tones: Before Joni Mitchell found success as a performer, Judy Collins helped her by launching “Both Sides Now” into the charts, though Mitchell was reportedly less than pleased with her cover. “I couldn’t care less,” Collins told Vulture magazine recently. “I’m sorry she didn’t have the hit, but I’m sure glad I did!” Sunday, Sept. 17, 7 p.m., Nashua Center for the Arts, 201 Main St., Nashua, $39 and up at
  • Goth Gathering: Following their concept album, The Phantom Tomorrow, Black Veil Brides released an EP in late 2022. Lyricist and singer Andy Biersack described The Mourning as “pissed off, hopeful, introspective, honest.” They perform with Ville Valo and Dark Divine. Wednesday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m., Casino Ballroom, 169 Ocean Blvd., Hampton Beach, $49 and up at

Wifedom, by Anna Funder

The Breakaway, by Jennifer Weiner (Atria, 387 pages)

Not many novels get reviewed by Bicycling magazine, especially not ones by Jennifer Weiner. But the author of books such as Good in Bed and The Guy Not Taken has written what she calls “a love letter to cycling, and to traveling,” and the magazine took note.

The Breakaway, Weiner’s 20th book, is about a 33-year-old woman who is asked by a friend to lead a group of cyclists on a two-week trip from New York City to Philadelphia. Abby Stern, who pieces together a living walking dogs and picking up other unfulfilling gig work, has nothing better to do and needs the money — and also the chance to get away, because her boyfriend has just asked her to move in with him.

Although everything seems perfect on paper, Abby is hesitant and can’t figure out why. Mark is a podiatrist who adores her. He’s a fitness buff who runs 6 miles each day, so good-looking that when they’re out together others look at them quizzically, as if they can’t figure out why these two are together.
Ironically, they met as teenagers at a weight-loss camp, but later lost touch. Mark went on to have weight-loss surgery and develop a lifestyle so rigid that he never eats dessert; when he wants something sweet, he brushes his teeth or uses cinnamon-flavored dental floss. Abby, meanwhile, has come to be comfortable in her plus-sized skin, and she enjoys eating, despite having a mother who has tried to make her thin since childhood.Abby’s relationship with her mother is fraught, mostly because Eileen is, in Abby’s terms, “a professional dieter,” so scared of gaining weight that she picks the croutons off her salads as if they were slugs. Although Eileen insists she shipped Abby off to weight-loss camps each summer because she wanted “what was best” for her daughter, Abby just wanted unconditional love, which she didn’t get from her mother.

So when Eileen shows up unexpectedly for the bike trip, insisting that she just wants to spend some quality time with her adult daughter, Abby is suspicious and more than a little stressed.
But a bigger problem is a man who joined the group — someone Abby had a one-night stand with two years earlier.

This is not a surprise to the reader since, when Abby went to the man’s house, she had observed a high-end bicycle hanging on the wall. Some might call this foreshadowing. I call it an announcement that readers aren’t going to have to think too hard in the pages that follow.

It was pretty much a given that the one-night stand, Sebastian, would later show up to complicate Abby’s perfectly arranged life, given his juxtaposition with Mr. Boring But Nice.

But Weiner is a pro and her characters are surprisingly nuanced — not only the leads but also the supporting cast. The others who have signed up to ride the Empire State Trail — which is real and is the longest multi-use trail in the U.S. — include an evangelical Christian mom and her moody teen, two older couples who do a bike trip together every year and call themselves “The Spoke’n Four,” and a couple with two teenage boys.

There is a side plot involving Sebastian, who, during the trip, has gone viral on TikTok because of a video made by a vengeful former hook-up. This complicates the (utterly predictable) feelings that Abby and Sebastian have for each other even more than the presence of her Spandex-wearing mother does. And there is also a side plot involving a teenager in the group and a pregnancy that disappointingly devolves at times into a thinly veiled screed against the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

It’s not unusual for Weiner to delve into the political in her novels, which are staunchly feminist and often feature characters who have been shamed for their weight. She writes authentically about this because she’s been there. As she told one interviewer, “I wanted to write about the women I was seeing in the world who were fat and strong and beautiful and powerful and had great jobs and loving relationships because those were the books I needed when I was 14 and 15 and 16 years old.”

She also writes authentically about cycling, a love of hers that she rekindled during the pandemic. The book is dedicated to “all the riders and leaders of the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia,” where she lives.

Weiner is the sort of writer people call “relatable,” as are her characters. Her novels are not highbrow, but then neither are most of us, and she is undeniably a master of her genre. Unfortunately, the subtle political asides (such as a character deriding a “dead-white-men” tour of historical sites) sometimes seem like a way to add gravitas to what is, in essence, a beach read. The story would be fine without what can come across as preaching.
The takeaway from The Breakaway, however, is pretty simple: bicycling is good, people are complex, and we can make our own happy endings. Also, life is short: eat dessert. B

Album Reviews 23/09/14

Mitski, The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We (Dead Oceans Records)

Generally speaking, I’m late to the ball with this indie-piano-pop princess, who’s been making albums since 2012. In fact, I wasn’t aware that she’d opened for The Pixies a few years ago, which was what probably prompted Pitchfork Media to give her some reckless love with her 2018 album, Be The Cowboy. Thus she’s truly arrived, following up 2022’s Laurel Hell and its frozen Enya-meets-Goldfrapp timelessness with a new set of tunes bolstered by a choir and an orchestra in some places. She’s moonbatty here on “Bug Like An Angel,” but not to Bjork-level; she’s ultimately too polished and Tori Amos-like for that, but in that strummy track she’s also got some Aimee Mann steez going on. I hope you’re ready for (yet more) Pink Floyd-speed drudge-pop if you’ll be indulging this: In “Star,” she comes off like Lana Del Rey’s lonely, bookish sister, staring up at the sky with hope, brimming with grace, evincing elegance. Only thing to complain about is, as others have stated, the cover’s font, which is ludicrously bad, but aside from that, she has entered the most hallowed of halls, no question. A+

Lauren Calve, Shift (self-released)

So today I learned that “DMV” is an acronym that doesn’t only designate a local Department of Motor Vehicles, it’s also short for the area of the country that comprises “District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia,” which is where this contemporary rock singer hails from. We can proceed briskly with this; as a rule of thumb, describing a female folk singer with the catchall “contemporary rock singer” generally clues people in to the distinct possibility that the tunes in question sound quite a bit like Sheryl Crow, which is very true in this instance, the album being a collection of inarguably well-written, slightly Americana/bluegrass-tinged songs guided by Tom Petty principles, and yes, she sounds like a more breezy Sheryl Crow during most of them. But she’s also informed by the ’90s-radio-pop I assume she grew up on; she’s obviously into Alanis, being that “Pretend to Forget” sounds like her for (the better) half of the song. Soccer-parent-rock with a jagged little edge; no harm done here. A-


  • Hear ye, hear ye, and such-and-so, there are new music albums being released on Sept. 15, just like every other Friday! You know, folks, a lot of people ask me, “You’re so eclectic and scattershot with your award-winning music column and your book-writing, you must be super-busy. Are there, like, any bands you wish you had more time to investigate and get to know better?” To that I will honestly reply that I wish I had more time to listen to albums by Savannah, Georgia, sludge-metal band Baroness, because what little I’ve heard of them over the years has always been pretty cool. Of course, then again, I would also be keen on listening to Radiohead until I liked them, like all you coolios do, but I’ve read with great interest the rantings of former Boston Phoenix and Your Band Sucks writer Dr. David Thorpe, who’s tried valiantly but never liked anything Radiohead has ever done; usually he defaults to mocking Thom Yorke for having unnecessary alphabet characters in both of his names! But yes, I’ve heard Baroness before, after being lured into their trip by their awesome album covers, and, truth be told, I didn’t know they had a girl frontperson, and no, the fact that they’re named Baroness didn’t clue me in, smart aleck, who has time to keep up with all this stuff? But look at this, I’m already five years behind in my study of this cool band, because they replaced Summer Welch with Gina Gleason (formerly of Misstallica, the all-female Metallica tribute band) back in 2018, can you even believe it? Right, I know, who cares, the new Baroness LP is Stone, and it’s out this Friday, featuring the latest awesome cover art by the band’s leader (and only consistent member), John Dyer Baizley! I was first exposed to them in 2007, when their Red Album came out, and I was like “what even is this,” like it blended sort-of-progressive metal with some roots-emo sounds and added some pop elements as well. Anyhow, the new record features a single, “Last Word,” that continues the band’s tradition of being a Tool-like band that’s a hundred times better than Tool in mawkish-semi-ballad-mode; it’s actually very accessible for a neo-metal-pop tune, remindful of Isis and Bury Your Dead within the same song. If any of this is news to you, you need to get hip to this band, is what I’m saying.
  • Yikes, another blast from my questionable past, it’s British neo-soul lady Corinne Bailey Rae, of all people, with a new album titled Black Rainbows! I haven’t heard anything from her since her 2006 self-titled album, believe it or not; her last four albums have actually charted quite high in the U.S., but I haven’t exactly been pelted with Corinne Bailey Rae news over the past few years, probably because her super-nice chill hasn’t led to any big singles here. “Peach Velvet Sky,” her new single, will probably be similarly underserved here; it’s a deeply soulful, really nice piano ballad, in which she dazzles with technical brilliance, meaning no one will get it, since she’s not singing about badonkadonks or whatnot.
  • Oh, how cool, a new album from Diddy, called The Love Album: Off The Grid! You kids know who he is, right? Nope, not the guy who pretends to play drums for the Weeknd. OK, forget it, he was once a great and powerful rapper, you kids should totally check out the album trailer, featuring Diddy talking about how we’re in the “lev era,” you know, when everyone has private planes or whatever he’s babbling about.
  • Lastly, it’s ancient dusty stoner mummy Willie Nelson, with an album called Bluegrass! The teaser single, “Still Is Still Moving To Me,” sounds like unplugged Outlaws. It’s not bad, for a song performed by a literal mummy!

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

The Steamer Trunk

I have had to face the harsh reality recently that I have aged out of some of my travel-related bucket list items. As much as I would really, really like to be able to put an alligator wrestling certification on my resumé, I’m afraid that it’s not going to happen at this point.

Likewise, my dream of meeting the eyes of a dark-eyed stranger in a smoke-filled bar in Buenos Aires and shocking the room into awed silence with the skill of my interpretive tango.

In the aggregate, I’m reluctantly resigned to shelving some of these dreams. There are other, new dreams to replace them, after all. I hear good things about the SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota, and just today I learned that there are specialized rat tours in New York City, which I am fully committed to going on. Age can be worked around, and I am the master of my own destiny, right?
I may be in charge of my destiny, but my wife is in charge of me. I share some of these dreams with her, and on the surface she seems supportive, but over the years I have learned to read her micro-gestures, which generally say, “It’s so cute that you think you’re going to do that,” when I propose anything more adventurous than a trip to the hardware store, and even then she has learned the hard way to keep a close eye on me.

The Steamer Trunk
1½ ounces rye – I like Bulleit; it has a spicy sourness that plays well off fruity ingredients.
¾ ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
½ ounce simple syrup
¾ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce cantaloupe juice (see below)
1 ounce sparkling wine
cantaloupe cubes for garnish

To make cantaloupe juice, slice a fresh cantaloupe into quarters. Scoop the flesh of one quarter into a small blender, or half the melon into a large one. Blend thoroughly, then strain through a fine-meshed strainer. One quarter of a medium cantaloupe will yield about half a cup of juice, the color of hibiscus blossoms in an Egyptian sunset.

Combine the rye, elderflower liqueur, simple syrup and the lemon and cantaloupe juices over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake thoroughly, until the cold bites your hands like a rope on a tramp steamer to Macau and the ice rattles like the hooves of angry bulls in Pamplona.

Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass, and top with sparkling wine, which will spray up a fine mist that reminds you of that semester you spent on the coast of Spain, and of the Vazquez Twins.

Stir gently, then drink while flipping through an atlas and listening to the collected works of Paolo Conte. This is a riff on a classic called a summer rye, but with a focus on fresh melon in place of the traditional apples, which brings a wistful quality to the experience. Melon and sparkling wine are a classic combination, and elderflower provides a hard-to-identify poetic element. The rye is the leader of this expedition, but this is definitely a collaborative project.
Much like a camel safari in Morocco, with a dedicated camel to carry ice and gin for the proper appreciation of a desert evening.

Pending spousal approval, of course.

John Fladd is a veteran Hippo writer, a father, writer and cocktail enthusiast, living in New Hampshire.

Featured photo: Steamer Trunk. Photo by John Fladd.

In the kitchen with Ed Barooney

What is your must-have kitchen item?
Dandido Hot Sauce.

What would you have for your last meal?
Rib-eye steak medium, mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables.

What is your favorite local eatery?
Bond Brewing and Barbecue.

Name a celebrity you would like to see trying your hot sauce?
The Rock.

Which hot sauce is your favorite?
Our original Dandido Hot.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?
I think it’s a toss-up: Those acai bowls are big right now and also, like we have at Bond Brewing and Barbecue, the Chipotle-style bowls and burritos.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Traditional breakfast. Eggs, bacon, sausage [and] toast.

Chunk Chili
From the kitchen of Ed Barooney.

Dandido Hot Sauce
peppers (bell peppers or hot peppers)
2 to 3 Tablespoons flour
stewed tomatoes (14.5-ounce can)
beans (optional)
steak tips (or ground beef or other meat)

Cut steak tips into medium-size chunks, season with salt and pepper and put in a bag. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons flour. Shake bag to fully coat the chunks.
On medium heat in a medium to large pot, add 3 tablespoons of Dandido Hot with a chopped onion. Cook the onion down until golden/brown.

Once the onion is browned, add the steak chunks into the pot. Brown the outer parts of the meat, careful not to cook the meat all the way through.
Once browned, remove the meat and add in a can of stewed tomatoes, add desired seasoning to taste and add half of the can filled with water.

Once rendered down and simmering, place steak back into the pot, adding beans (any choice of beans), peppers and one to three bay leaves.

Cook for 1 hour until the meat is tender.
Top with cheese and/or sour cream if desired.
For a thicker chili we recommended our Dandido Black made with the Carolina reaper.

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