Kiddie Pool 23/10/05

Family fun for whenever

Family shows

  • Symphony NH hosts a Halloween Magic Family Concert on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., at the Keefe Center for the Arts (117 Elm St., Nashua). The program will feature Halloween tunes such as “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Danse Macabre and Night on Bald Mountain. Costumes are encouraged. Tickets cost $8 to $20. Visit
  • The Rock and Roll Playhouse will present the live concert “Music of the Beatles for Kids” at the Bank of NH Stage (16 S. Main St., Concord) on Sunday, Oct. 8, at noon, doors open at 11:30 a.m. Tickets cost $18.75 in advance, an extra $5 at the door. Find out more about Rock and Roll Playhouse at

Fall fest

  • Charmingfare Farm (774 High St. in Candia;, 483-5623) wraps up its Pumpkin Festival Saturday, Oct. 7, through Monday, Oct. 9, with admission times starting at 10 a.m. each day. Admission costs $29 per person (23 months and younger get in free). Pick a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, take a tractor or horse-drawn wagon ride, enjoy live music and more.
  • Applecrest Farm Orchards (133 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls; applecrest. com) is open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on weekends through the end of October the orchard holds harvest festivals, which run Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. This weekend the focus is the Great Pumpkin Carve, with a master carver tackling an 800-pound pumpkin to create a giant jack-o’-lantern, according to the website, which says the carve is scheduled for Sunday. Look for live music throughout the weekend: The Green Heron Bluegrass band on Saturday, Unsung Heroes on Sunday and RockSpring on Monday.

Mountain music

Amythyst Kiah performs in Portsmouth

Those who only knew Amythyst Kiah from Our Native Daughters were a bit surprised by her Rounder Records debut, Wary+Strange. Sure, it contained some rustic elements, but mostly the 2021 record rocked.

The clearest example was her version of “Black Myself,” a song that won a Grammy for the all-women-of-color supergroup she’s formed with Allison Russell, Leyla McCalla and Rhiannon Giddens. Kiah’s re-recording growled with an electric urgency akin to Gary Clark Jr.’s 2019 scorcher “This Land,” and landed a country mile beyond the banjo-punctuated original.

Kiah decided to revisit “Black Myself” because it felt fuller when she wrote it.

“It was inspired by a line from the Sid Hemphill version of ‘John Henry,’ and that became the hook,” she said by phone recently. “I put the guitar part underneath and I was kind of like, ‘This feels like an anthem.’ It became part of the Our Native Daughters sound, but my music is in a lot of ways a modern take on roots music, so we explored bringing myself back in.”

It’s a side of Kiah that will be on display at her upcoming shows in Portsmouth, part of a tour that started on Sept. 27.

“I’m bringing a full band on this run, drums, bass and lead electric guitar,” she said. “Everybody sings background vocals on quite a few of the songs. It’s definitely a much bigger sound than what some people might know me for.”

Equally powerful is her raw honesty as a songwriter. “Wild Turkey” is a spare acoustic song from Wary+Strange that dealt with her mother’s suicide when she was 17. The experience led to her first public performance, at the funeral. Asked how she found a way to write about it now, her answer provided a clue to Kiah’s creative spark.

“Being a child of the ’90s, and getting into alternative music, I was really leaning into things that were on the darker side,” she said. “Dealing with feelings like anger and loss. Songwriters being willing to dig down in the depths and really talk about how they feel, that’s something that’s always resonated with me.”

It still does; her most recent EP, Pensive Pop, contains reimagined covers of Tori Amos, Green Day and Joy Division.

Still, “Wild Turkey” took Kiah years to write. “It was dealing with such a tragic event in my life that I never really properly processed, and it wasn’t until I started going to therapy that I realized there’s some unresolved grief here,” she said. “It took so long to write simply because it took a while to unpack all those feelings.”

She stretched the process by constantly tweaking with the song’s mood. “In the beginning, I was trying to make it … more upbeat, like I wanted to juxtapose the subject matter with the music,” she said. “Sometimes you just have to get out of the way and let the song be what it’s gonna be. That’s what I had to do, [because] it’s a really sad song.”

Many fans have thanked her for the “Wild Turkey,” telling Kiah that it helped them process their own grief. She’s heartened by the response.

“If there’s anything I can leave behind in this world, it’s art that people were able to turn to when they felt alone or like they didn’t have anybody,” she said.

“It’s really an honor to have the opportunity to share that with people. … it means a lot.”

Kiah will unveil new songs at her show, the products of some recent cowriting efforts. “Empire of Love,” written with Sean McConnell, is “about my spiritual connection to the mountains where I live, in Appalachia,” while a co-write with Butch Walker is a “straight ahead rock song” called “Never Alone.”

She also collaborated with Avi Kaplan and Jeremy Lutito, who both worked on Kaplan’s LP Floating on a Dream, which Kiah called “probably my favorite album of last year.” Their writing session was inspired by the Old Gods of Appalachia podcast, which led her to read more horror and fantasy stories. “I’m returning to sounds of Appalachian folk music, still with a modern take and it’ll sound a little weird, like all my music sounds.”

An album she hopes to finish by year’s end will reflect this latest direction.

“There’s going to be some spooky songs on there and then some autobiographical songs and more of what I usually write about, but with some other things thrown in,” she said. “That’s the new stuff coming down — a spooky Appalachian vibe, with some rock and blues influences. It’ll be fun; I’m excited about it.”

Amythyst Kiah
When: Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 6 and 8:30 p.m.
Where: The Music Hall Lounge, 131 Congress St., Portsmouth
Tickets: $30 and up at

Featured photo: Amythyst Kiah. Photo by Sandlin Gaither

The Music Roundup 23/09/28

Local music news & events

  • Survivor: On his most recent album, Ride, Walter Trout got reflective while keeping the blues rock chugging. Much of the new disc deals with the difficulties Trout faced growing up in an abusive home; “Hey Mama” and “Ghosts” are two harrowing examples. The 70-year-old guitarist first gained notice playing in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, before going solo in 1989. Thursday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m., Nashua Center for the Arts, 201 Main St., Nashua, $39 and up at
  • Suffering fools: In his one-man show The Book of Moron, Robert Dubac takes the idea of aliens landing and attempting to understand human nature more down to earth, playing an amnesiac desperately in need of people to explain a world where the loudest voices are often the dumbest. It’s “Idiocracy is a documentary” with even more alternative facts and ignorant bluster. Friday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m., Rex Theatre, 25 Amherst St., Manchester, $39 at
  • Double fun: The final show of the Lakes Region shed season has the headlining Goo Goo Dolls with support from fun and funky Fitz & the Tantrums. Best-known for a string of late ’90s hits like “Iris” and “Slide,” the alt-rock band released its 13th album, Chaos in Bloom, last year, with the single “Yeah, I Like You,” a humorous jab at influencer culture and social media fame. Saturday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m., BankNH Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford, $29 and up at\
  • Blues legend: Few blues artists are as lauded or influential as Buddy Guy. The guitarist was a guiding light for everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Stevie Ray Vaughan, and at age 86 he’s received multiple Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award in 2015 and a Best Traditional Blues Album trophy in 2019. Also, he’s earned more Blues Music Awards than any artist ever. Sunday, Oct. 1, 7 p.m., Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord, $85.75 and up at
  • Rude dude: If the Parents Music Resource Center were still around, Wheeler Walker Jr. would constantly be in its crosshairs. The country rocking alter ego of comedian Ben Hoffman recruited legendary producer Dave Cobb for his debut album in 2013, and he’s been offending sensibilities ever since with records like Sex, Drugs & Country Music. His area show is 21+, because of course. Tuesday, Oct. 3, 8 p.m., The Goat, 50 Old Granite St., Manchester, $49.50 at

Catching up with the ladies

More movies from Barbie summer

It was the summer of women! — so declared the discourse, thanks largely to the excellent box office of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie and the success of Beyonce and Taylor Swift tours. With a film version of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour hitting theaters Oct. 13, it’s likely going to be the fall of women too, at least box-office-wise. But these aren’t the only lady-led summer/fall movies. Here are a few more female-forward films from recent months worth catching up with.

  • Bottoms (R) Released on VOD last week, this high school sex comedy didn’t do Barbie box office numbers but it won a lot of praise — released in theaters on Sept. 1, it currently has a 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (for whatever that’s worth). Bottoms stars Rachel Sennott (who co-wrote it with director Emma Seligman, who also wrote and directed 2020’s Shiva Baby, in which Sennott starred) and Ayo Edebiri (best-known for the TV show The Bear). The movie has almost a throwback quality for its strict social division of “populars” and everybody else — PJ (Sennott) and Josie (Edebiri) are best friends and fellow awkward nerds waiting it out for college, where they feel like they’ll have a better shot at coolness and having sex. But then they accidentally find themselves in a position to help cheerleader Isabel (Havana Rose Liu), the girl Josie is crushing on, get away from her meatheaded football player boyfriend Jeff (Nicholas Galitzine). PJ and Josie sort of stumble into the idea that presenting themselves as tough badasses (which they are extremely not) will win over not just Isabel but also Brittany (Kaia Gerber), the girl PJ is lusting over. Thus do they start a girls’ fight club, nominally a means of teaching self-defense, but soon, inadvertently, a way of pulling attention and power away from the football-player-dominated school. The movie is sweet for how it walks its familiar movie high schooler-types through familiar lessons about friendship, honesty and finding genuine intimacy versus just trying for random hook-ups. Even when the comedy feels a bit not-fully-baked, Sennott and Edebiri make it work. B
  • Golda (PG-13) Another late-summer release (Golda hit theaters on Aug. 25, VOD in recent weeks) is this Helen Mirren biopic about Golda Meir, Israel’s prime minister from 1969 through 1974. The movie gives us a “newspaper clippings and characters introduced with identifying chyrons” play-by-play of Meir during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. It’s all fine in the same way that having Helen Mirren read the Wikipedia entries about this point in history would probably be fine but the movie doesn’t have much to say about Meir as a person or this slice of history. I feel like we’re more watching the “Mirren does Golda, Liev Schreiber does Kissinger” makeup and costuming of it all than getting some new window onto the people or the times. B-
  • Polite Society (PG-13) Technically this movie got its U.S. release in late April, but I saw it on Peacock (where it still lives) in the summer. It’s written and directed by Nida Manzoor, creator of the excellent TV show We Are Lady Parts, also on Peacock (watch it!). This action comedy has a slight Jane Austen-y quality but a modern setting: Two British-Pakistani sisters, the college-age Lena (Ritu Arya) and the teenage Ria (Priya Kansara), have big dreams. Ria wants to be a stunt woman and practices martial arts so she can make videos where she says “I AM the Fury” before delivering a spinning jump kick. Lena recently left art school and spends her days being discouraged — though Ria is determined to get her back making art. The girls’ mother, Fatima (Shobu Kapoor), scores the family, including dad Rafe (Jeff Mirza), an invitation to a party held by community fancy person Raheela (Nimra Bucha). The true purpose of the party is for Raheela to find a wife for her handsome, dopey son Salim (Akshay Khanna), giving off some Mr. Bingley vibes. When he and Lena appear to hit it off, Ria is certain there’s something more sinister about him. She ropes her high school mates into various schemes to try to expose Salim as unfit for her beloved sister, but meanwhile her parents and Salim’s mother continue to push the couple together. This movie is a top to bottom delight, from the sisterly relationship which occasionally devolves into martial arts fights to Ria’s friendships, one of which is borne out of a school-time battle. By the time Ria finds herself fighting a true villain — a marvelous villain — we can believe this girl has taught herself to be “the Fury” even if the movie is also letting her do some slightly superhuman moves. A+
  • Nimona (PG) Any list of my favorite movies of the summer will surely include this animated film, which appeared on Netflix at the end of June. Based on a graphic novel, this movie features Nimona (voice of Chloë Grace Moretz), a shape-shifting girl of undetermined age, befriending Ballister Boldhart (voice of Riz Ahmed), a fallen knight in a futuristic-medieval-y world whom everyone thinks has killed the queen he was sworn to protect. Ballister came from the commoner class, not the nobility like other knights and his friend/comrade-in-arms/sweetheart Ambrosius Goldenloin (voice of Eugene Lee Yang), a descendant of a legendary hero. Ballister is trying to prove his innocence and find the real queen assassin, but Nimona is in this partnership for his general troublemakerness, which she regularly tells him is “metal.” As a kid movie (older kids, for some of the scarier battle scenes and violence; Common Sense Media labeled it 11 and up), this is a plucky adventure with good lessons about friendship and not prejudging people. For the grown-ups in the audience, there’s plenty of humor, smart visuals and general sweetness to enjoy. A
  • Theater Camp (PG-13 ) A July release that stretches the brief just a little in the sense that it’s more an ensemble than woman-character-led, the movie’s action kicks off with Joan Rubinsky (Amy Sedaris) having a stroke during a kids’ production of Bye Bye Birdie. The longtime owner and director of a theater camp, Joan lands in a coma for the summer, leaving her goofy, would-be influencer son Troy (Jimmy Tatro), who knows very little about theater, to run the camp. While he weighs whether or not to sell it, the staff struggles to put together the summer’s productions, including an original piece about Joan’s life. Longtime friends Rebecca-Diane (Molly Gordon, also from Shiva Baby) and Amos (Ben Platt) are particularly in the spotlight in this part of the tale. Bottoms’ Ayo Edebiri also appears here as a new counselor who knows nothing about theater — at one point she literally asks the kids to explain what her class is supposed to be about. This movie works best as a fun collection of scenes — Edebiri’s character asking the kids to explain stage combat, Amos’ self-serious criticisms of the desperately eager campers, the very jazz-hands Still Joan production — but can be a little pokey as a narrative. Available on Hulu, it’s a solid low-effort comedy to watch that doesn’t require 100 percent of your constant attention. B
  • Love at First Sight (PG-13) This very straight down the middle Netflix rom-com about two attractive young adult people — American Hadley Sullivan (Haley Lu Richardson) and Brit Oliver Jones (Ben Hardy) — meeting cute and then slowly falling in happily-ever-after draws most of its charm from Richardson, who brings the same real-person energy to this as she does to better movies like Support the Girls or The Edge of Seventeen. This movie also gets some solid help from a supporting cast that includes Rob Delaney playing Hadley’s dad, Sally Phillips as Oliver’s mom and Jameela Jamil, who doesn’t annoy me like she does The Internet, as a kind of Greek chorus narrator type. Acceptable “whilst doing other things” watching with moments of genuine charm. B-

Featured photo: courtesy photo.

Happiness Falls, by Angie Kim

Happiness Falls, by Angie Kim (Hogarth, 387 pages)

What if a father went missing, and the only person with information about what happened was a disabled teenager who was unable to talk?

That’s the disturbing premise at the heart of Happiness Falls, the second novel by the author of 2019’s Miracle Creek, Angie Kim.

The novel is narrated by Mia, a 20-year-old college student, home for the pandemic and prone to rattling on at length about anything that comes to mind.

She has two brothers, the younger of whom is autistic and has also been diagnosed with something called mosaic Angelman syndrome, a genetic disorder “which means he can’t talk, has motor difficulties, and — this is what fascinates many people who’ve never heard of AS — has an unusually happy demeanor with frequent smiles and laughter.”

Eugene is 14 and is primarily cared for by his father, a stay-at-home dad who daily takes him for long walks in a park near their home in the suburbs of Virginia. One day in June 2020, however, Eugene arrives home alone — running, dirty, disheveled and agitated, with traces of what appear to be blood under his fingertips.

Mia, who like the rest of her family is extremely protective of Eugene, later washes Eugene’s clothes and directs him to shower, one of many reactions that she later comes to question. But the Korean-American family is slow to realize that something bad might have happened to the father — they assume that there’s some rational explanation for why the father is slow to return and don’t even call the police for hours.

Once they do, a series of events unfolds that causes Mia, her other brother and her mother to question everything they believed about their life to that point, in particular what both Eugene and their father might be capable of, what secrets they might be concealing.

When, during an interview with police detectives, Eugene becomes upset and lunges at his mother, the teen comes under suspicion. Could he have violent tendencies the family has covered up, and could he have accidentally or even intentionally harmed his father?

And the discovery of texts the father sent to an unfamiliar woman — who is also now missing — calls into question his fidelity to his wife and family.

Meanwhile, other snippets of evidence keep turning up — perplexing snippets of video shot by passers-by the day of the disappearance, security footage showing the father’s credit card being used, and a backpack found in a river that contained a water-logged notebook in which the father had been recording notes on what he called the “Happiness Quotient.”

A less skilled writer could have taken the bare bones of this story and turned out a Hollywood thriller. But Kim makes it next-level by incorporating research on happiness and how changes in its baseline (literally, happiness levels falling and rebounding) affect our sense of well-being. And the novel is deeply researched on the subject of people who are unable to speak, because of severe autism or other disorders.

Kim explains in her author’s note that she experienced the frustration of being unable to communicate when her family moved to the U.S. when she was 11 and only knew a few “essential English phrases” she’d memorized. “Our society — not just the U.S., but human society in general — equates verbal skills, especially oral fluency, with intelligence. Even though there was a good reason I couldn’t speak English, I felt stupid, judged and ashamed,” she wrote.

Eugene, trapped in a seemingly impenetrable bubble, appears to have this sort of frustration, apparently processing some sort of trauma in the only way he knows how, by incessantly jumping on a trampoline and making anguished animal-like sounds, or zoning out by watching anime on his tablet. What he has going for him is love — a family that is unwilling to give up on him, no matter what has happened. But the novel also questions whether our expressions can go too far, to the point where they become damaging.

Happiness Falls is both an engrossing mystery and a family drama with multiple layers of complexity. A minor irritant is the series of footnotes that populate the book — not substantiation of facts, as footnotes are in a research paper, but asides derived from Mia’s hyper-analytical stream of consciousness. Addressing the reader, Mia says at the beginning of the narrative that readers can skip over the footnotes to get to the end, and eventually I did just that, as their presence was such an annoyance in the novel. It’s not that I objected to what Mia was saying in the footnotes, but their presentation interrupted the flow.

Also, I questioned whether this needed to be yet another pandemic book. But those are minor quibbles, and Happiness Falls delivers, maybe not happiness, but a novel you can get lost in this fall. A

Album Reviews 23/09/28

Zooey Celeste, Restless Thoughts (ATO Records)

Meanwhile on the planet XT-431, we have here a collection of tunes from this southern California-based dude, who’s busily trying to craft his own chill-techno trip, revolving around a genre he’s dubbed “astral-pop,” which his PR people cleverly promote as a “soundtrack for nocturnal driving and an immediate conduit for lasting transcendence.” I myself meditate once a week, usually, and this stuff wouldn’t interfere with the practice’s process of trying to become a witness to one’s own passing thoughts, but it’s not as TM as he might like to think. OK, there were probably a lot of drugs involved, let’s just say that, but I could be wrong; a lot of the imagery comes from a novel he wrote a while back, the feel of which, he professes, is “somewhere between Quentin Tarantino and the Bhagavad Gita.” Oh, I almost forgot, the music is gently woven tech-pop of the Goldfrapp sort by way of 1960s Donovan, all of it made uniquely magnetic because Celeste sounds a lot like the Cure’s Robert Smith. A lot of people would be down with this, absolutely. A

Arina Fujiwara, Neon (self-produced)

Well, what a nice surprise this is. Seems like 90 percent of the jazz albums I’ve been getting for review lately have been breezy dark-coffee-house exercises (luckily there’s been a lull in singer-oriented Big Book projects; not that I don’t like hearing the 4,749th interpretation of “Nature Boy,” there’s just no need for it in current_year), but this one, the debut EP from the Manhattan School Of Music pianist, is deeply ritzy ambiance, stuff you’d expect to hear at a snobby wedding reception for which all the stops have been pulled. The difference comes by way of the fact that Fujiwara is supported by a four-piece string section, along with a vibes person and a pretty chill drummer; as well, our heroine tables a pretty dazzling, dextrous version of Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag,” and, in a really courageous effort, offers a retrofitted version of a Japanese children’s song from her earlier life (“Hotaru Koi”). This is well worth the trip, folks. A+


  • On Friday, Sept. 29, we’ll see a new LP from hilariously overrated singing person Ed Sheeran, called Autumn Variations! I’ve always thought that his fans just feel sorry for him because he is a ginger neckbeard, but what do I know; I mean, I did see the video where he went on a stupid talk show and “proved” his claim that every pop song in the world is an old Beatles song, I forget which one, and he accomplished that by pulling out his guitar and asking the audience to give him a song title, and then he “proved” it had the same chords as “Let It Be” or whatever by slowwwly and sneakily changing the chords to fit his insane theory. Your mileage may vary, of course, who cares, but that brings us to his latest song advance, “A Beautiful Game.” It is a piano-pop song that is pretty and oafishly show-stopping, just like every Zoomer-targeted pop song being put out today, and I’ll at least admit that it isn’t a variation on “Let It Be.” No, indeed; cleverly, it rips off Joan Osborne’s “One Of Us” at the beginning and U2’s “Beautiful Day” as things “progress.” What a talented human, that ginger neckbeard, wouldn’t you say?
  • Naturally I always confuse Blonde Redhead with Concrete Blonde, who wouldn’t? Sit Down For Dinner is the former’s new LP, and the latest single, “Before,” is very gentle and mellow and chill, evoking Fleetwood Mac stealing from REM. It’s not bad.
  • Finally, let’s have a laugh at the expense of former Pitchfork darlings Animal Collective, whose new full-length, Isn’t It Now, is on the trucks, headed to the malls and all that happy stuff. I have not kept track of this band, because why would anyone do that anyway, but I do give them credit for totally owning the “tuneless fractal-indie” space for those 10 minutes, remember those days? The single, “Soul Capturer,” sounds like Vampire Weekend trying to be Mungo Jerry. Does anyone seriously have any deep love for music like this, like at all?

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).

Mint or basil?

Yes, you’d heard rumors about mint: “Be careful, or it will take over your garden.” “No, really, it’s surprisingly aggressive.” “Mint is the Tribble of the plant world.”

So you were careful. Once you put in a couple of raised beds — that’s where you planted the mint.

But the surprise was the basil. You like basil well enough, and who doesn’t like a nice pesto? The plants you picked up at the grocery store were pretty small, so seven or eight plants seemed like a reasonable number.

Ultimately, it turns out that the reason the mint stayed under control is that it was scared of the basil. It started off slowly, and everything seemed fine but then it started growing faster and faster and there’s only so much pesto a human family can eat and oh my god it’s taken over all the raised beds and now you’re scared of the basil and what in the name of Little Green Apples are are you going to do!?

2 margarita glasses containing cocktails garnished with a mint leaf
Southside Cocktail. Photo by John Fladd.

First of all, take a deep breath, and maybe eat a popsicle.

Secondly, identify the problem: You have a lot of mint and too much basil and you don’t know what to do with it.

Thirdly, you need a drink.

So, in an act of service journalism, let’s compare and contrast two classic minty cocktails, and the same recipes with basil in place of the mint.

(It will be alright. The herb police are not going to come crashing through your window if you just throw some of this away.)

Southside Cocktail

6 mint leaves (1.5 grams) or 2 large basil leaves (2 grams)
2 ounces dry gin
½ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
more herbs for garnish
Thoroughly muddle the mint or basil in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
No, more than that.
That’s about right. Now add the rest of the ingredients and some ice, and shake until it is blisteringly cold.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and sip to Herb Alpert’s A Taste of Honey.

A classic Southside is only very slightly sweet, and I like it a little sweeter, so I’ve doubled the amount of simple syrup. (If that sounds like a lot, we’re only talking about an extra half ounce.) This is a grownup drink that lets the herb in question shine through. Winner: by a nose, the basil version. It’s refreshing and delicious, with just a hint of Italy.


12 sprigs (3 grams) fresh mint or 4 large leaves (4 grams) fresh basil
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
½ ounces simple syrup
lots (a technical term) of crushed ice
2 ounces white rum
3-4 ounces plain seltzer
In the bottom of a tall glass, muddle the herb of your choice, and four of the lime wedges. Be careful; the lime won’t like this and will spend its dying breath trying to squirt you in the eye.
Add the simple syrup and crushed ice. Stir.
Add the rum, and top off with seltzer. Stir again. Garnish with the two remaining lime wedges.
Sip while watching the waves from your cliffside cabaña (pending availability).

If you’ve never had a mojito, it’s a good thing you’re remedying that now. It is delicious and deceptively light. Lime and rum go well with all the ingredients and let the herbiness of your mint or basil shine through. This drink’s reputation for being dangerously drinkable is well-deserved.

Winner: the traditional mint; classics are classics for a reason. The basil version is fine, and if you weren’t drinking the two side by side, you would be perfectly happy with it, but the mint shines through in a way that makes the whole drink sparkle.

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

Featured photo: Mojito. Photo by John Fladd.

In the kitchen with Savannah Nemiccolo

Growing up, much of Savannah Nemiccolo’s time spent with her grandmother was in the kitchen. The mother of three from Loudon has been a part of Brother Cortado in Concord (3 Bicentennial Square) since its first day in 2021, as their social media manager and eventually as a barista. In addition to being the social media manager, she is now a full-time baker for the specialty coffee shop, where 300 to 400 pastry items are made weekly. For her, food is an expression of love.

What is your must-have kitchen item?
Of all the items I use on a daily basis the one I cannot live without would have to be my giant mixing bowl. When I say giant bowl I mean twice the size of my head!

What would you have for your last meal?
For my last meal I would have to go with something seafood-related. A good seafood risotto combining all my favorites: lobster, scallops and shrimp.

What is your favorite local eatery?
My favorite downtown Concord eatery is a toss-up between Sour Joe’s Pizza and Curry Leaf. You will catch me visiting Sour Joe’s at least once a week for their mushroom pizza because it is hands-down the best I have ever had. At Curry Leaf you will find me loving their shahi paneer.

Name a celebrity you would like to see eating in your restaurant?
My dream would be to make some cinnamon buns for my favorite New England artist right now, Noah Kahan.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?
My favorite item on our menu is our bacon, cheddar and scallion scone. I love the combination of flavors. If you were to ask my children what their favorite items would be, it would be a toss-up between the s’mores cookie or our cinnamon buns that we have only on Saturday.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?
A significant food trend that I see in the Concord area is creating unique limited-edition menu items. A small business that excels at this is DeadProof Pizza. They encourage their customers to get their unique flavor combinations now while available before the opportunity is no longer there.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
My favorite dish to make is one my dad always requested, which is my sausage, potatoes and kale soup.

Spinach & Feta Frittata
From the kitchen of Savannah Nemiccolo

24 eggs
2 cups half & half
salt & pepper to taste
3 cups of spinach
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup of feta cheese crumbles

To start, saute your garlic in olive oil on medium for a minute or until you see some slight color on the garlic. Then add your spinach (season to taste) into the pan until slightly wilted. Turn off the skillet and set aside while you crack your eggs into a big mixing bowl.
In the mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, pepper and any other of your favorite seasonings (some great additions: onion powder, parsley, minced onions or whatever flavors you want to incorporate) until all the yolks are broken.
Next, combine two cups of half & half and whisk until combined.
Next, add the spinach to the mixing bowl, take a spatula, and fold it together. Take a glass 13×9” baking dish and coat it with your preferred cooking spray, then add the egg and spinach mixture.
Top the dish with crumbled feta spread evenly over the top of the dish. Top with a final sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until the eggs are cooked thoroughly.

Featured photo: Savannah Nemiccolo. Courtesy photo.

Souvlaki, gyro, baklava

Concord’s Greek food festival returns

The Taste of Greece Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Concord is back. After a three-year hiatus, you can get your fix of homemade Greek cooking on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Entrance [to the festival] is free and everybody’s invited!” says the Rev. Constantine Newman.

Dishes on sale under the main tent include all the classics: moussaka, dolmades, spanakopita, lamb and chicken souvlaki, Greek meatballs, gyro and baklava. There will also be a number of more unique entrees and desserts available, as well as salads, water, and soft drinks. For savory offerings, try loukaniko — Greek sausage made fresh by a local butcher — or pastitsio, a lasagna-like dish of noodles and meat sauce topped with béchamel sauce.

Those with a sweet tooth need to try the loukoumades, or Greek fried doughnuts, and the galaktoboureko, a milk custard dish that is a favorite among festival attendees.

“It is delicious. It’s a lot of people’s favorite because it’s nice and creamy, very rich and very sweet,” Newman said. “The baklava tend to be relatively common, whereas the galaktoboureko is a lot harder to make well, and so when it’s really good it’s … a little out of the ordinary. But of course our baklava is excellent too.”

All the food comes from authentic Greek recipes, made by the church’s Ladies Organization and other parish volunteers. It takes several multi-day workshops to prepare the 150 to 200 servings of each dish that will be for sale at the festival. They stick with traditional recipes and are sure to keep things consistent over the years, said Newman, so if you’re a returning festival-goer, your favorites will taste just as good as you remember.

“We specifically named the festival the Taste of Greece Festival because we do want to feature the food above everything else,” Newman said. On the day of the event, 50 or more volunteers will be filling plates, running cash registers, grilling kabobs, and more. “Really it’s a whole parish event,” he said.

In addition to all the food, there will be jewelry and some religious items for sale, as well as someone selling honey made on their property in Greece. There will also be face painting for the kids, tours of the church, a cash raffle, raffle baskets, and a DJ playing Greek music during the event.

The last time the church was able to hold the festival was before Covid. Now, Newman says, people are eager to get back out to local Greek festivals.

“This year it seems all the Greek festivals in the area have been experiencing considerably more people than they were expecting to begin with. After really not having the festivals for a number of years, people are coming out wanting to enjoy the atmosphere, the Greek food, and the festival feel of the day,” he said.

The festival will take place in the church parking lot, rain or shine. Parking is available on the street or in the parking lots of Waypoint or the Democratic Headquarters. Credit cards and cash will be accepted for purchases, and entry is free.

“Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy a nice fun time, good food, and good company. Everyone can be Greek that day,” Newman said.

Taste of Greece Festival
When: Saturday, Sept. 30, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (68 N. State St. in Concord)
More info:

Featured photo: Taste of Greece Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church previous years. Courtesy photo.

Taste of New Hampshire

Boys & Girls Clubs organizes 18th annual event

Have a taste of what New Hampshire has to offer with vendors like Alan’s of Boscawen and Flannel Tavern at the 18th annual Taste of New Hampshire event benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord on Tuesday, Oct. 3, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

“It started out as The Taste of Concord at the Capitol Center for the Arts and a few years later it got bigger and outgrew that space … and became the Taste and New Hampshire,” said Tanya Frost, Development Manager at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire.

Since then, the event has expanded to include 25 to 35 restaurants and vendors like Granite State Candy Shop, M.S. Walker, Constantly Pizza, 70 North Kitchen out of Laconia, New Hampshire Distributors offering beer samples, and a few wine vendors.

“The funds from the event benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire and the greater Concord area,” Frost said. “It can go toward programming, scholarships, whatever we can do to help keep our sites active and growing so we can keep a safe place for our members.”

According to their website, the nonprofit organization in New Hampshire started as a group exclusively for boys called the Addison Martin Boys Club in Concord, and the name later changed to the Concord Patrolman’s Association Boys Club. After catching on to the national Boys Club movement, it became the Concord Boys Club, which was one of the first groups in the nation to include girls in the program in 1983. The organization continued to grow and expand into surrounding towns, becoming the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Concord, which merged with the Lakes Region branch in 2015, officially becoming what is now The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire with more than 25 centers and 1,000 members.

“Our mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens,” Frost said.

Members of the Club will also be at the event selling baked goods. In addition to the food and drinks, there will be a raffle with prizes like golf passes, gift baskets, restaurant gift cards, brewery tours and art made by Club members.

“All of these restaurants that we have in our sponsors of the club as well, so it’s really great community engagement,” Frost said. “[We hope] to get as many people in and just enjoy a great night, mingle, have some great food … and just to have a really good time.”

Taste of New Hampshire
When: Tuesday, Oct. 3, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, 2 Institute Drive, Concord
Cost: $40, 10 tickets for $350, visit

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

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