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LobsterQ not so great

Try Googie Cole's BBW in Brentwood, NH. Not too far from LobsterQ, and closer to what you'd expect to find in a BBQ place in Texas.

(I recently went on a quest to find some "good NH BBQ" and Goodie Cole's was pretty much on the top...)

lar3ry

Nov 16, 2011
lar3ry in Northern New England

Restaurant suggestions for Hampton Beach, NH area?

Places (from recent memory) that I recommend in Hampton Beach:

Le Bec Rouge (burgers and beer, bar downstairs)

Ron's Landing (nice sit-down meals, there's also a bar)

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Ron's Landing
379 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH 03842

Le Bec Rouge
73 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH 03842

Sep 27, 2011
lar3ry in Northern New England

Londonderry, NH--any place for dinner?

Across the street from the Coach is a strip mall with a modest looking Asian restaurant called Jay House. The food is decent, and the prices are very reasonable. In addition to having lunch Bento boxes, they also have them for dinner as well.

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Jay House Japanese & Chinese Restaurant
123 Nashua Rd, Londonderry, NH 03053

Sep 27, 2011
lar3ry in Northern New England

Good Experience at Plaza Azteca Salem NH

Actually, Cafe Azteca in Lawrence has real Mexican food, rather than the NH-Mex food from PA. In fact, when PA was being built, I remember wondering if it had any relation to Cafe Azteca. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

Service, food, and atmosphere in Cafe Azteca are wonderful. The only thing negative about the place is parking.

May 26, 2011
lar3ry in Northern New England

Good Experience at Plaza Azteca Salem NH

Since I live in Salem, NH, I visited PA soon after it opened. Although it's in Methuen, MA, it's eerily similar to those NH-Mex restaurants (La Carreta, Pedrazza's, etc.) in many respects. Where it differs, in my opinion, is that there is a larger focus on seafood and chorizo. The Guacamole At The Table is great; you get what you want in the guac, and even control the spiciness via the amount of jalapeno they put in. They also have a large beer selection (including large draft beers) augmented with a pretty good margarita list.

I've had some spotty service a couple of times in the twenty or so times I've been there since they've opened, and in each case, things were set right afterward. (That's not an exaggeration; I'm truly a fan!) Don't be afraid to let your server know if he or she is being too attentive or not attentive enough.

On a lark, I visited the other Plaza Azteca in Worcester (after a trip to WPI for Destination ImagiNation state finals in MA), and the food/experience is similar, although I prefer the Methuen location slightly better.

The La Carreta (NH-Mex) restaurants have better Queso Fundido (appetizer), and their "time to order to time for plates on table" is nothing short of amazing. However, in most every other area, Plaza Azteca excels in taste, presentation, and service. I would have no qualms recommending either chain to anybody who wants to enjoy good Mexican in northern New England.

Due to its proximity to where I live, I would choose PA over the others, but I don't think you can go wrong at either chain. (And by chain, I mean "tiny chains of 2-4 restaurants," not McD's!)

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La Carreta
35 Manchester Rd, Derry, NH 03053

May 24, 2011
lar3ry in Northern New England

Robert's Maine Grill, KIttery

Robert's has been a favorite of mine since it took over the location formerly called (I think) the Quarterdeck.

My wife likes the factory outlets, and I always stop in and have a beer with a half dozen oysters--their mignonette (which varies every time I go there) is always great!

I also like "Howard's Mussels" (mussels, with a creamy white sauce and sausage) and their clam chowder.

I definitely recommend the place.

Feb 19, 2011
lar3ry in Northern New England

Plaza Azteca in Methuen, MA

My wife and I returned last night for dinner. There was a fifteen minute wait for a table, but I found a few seats at the bar, and we decided to have our meals there.

As promised, I ordered their fresh guacamole for an appetizer, and then the Camerones a la Diabla--spicy shrimp. My wife got one of their combination dishes which consisted of a chicken enchilada and tortilla soup.

Due to a bit of a snafu, the main courses arrived before the appetizer. The bartender apologized and took it off our check, and I was a bit disappointed. The bar manager came over and apologized and told us he wasn't going to charge us for it. (We were thinking, why would we be charged for an item that didn't arrive?) Then we discovered that he had the person that does the guac come to the bar and make it for us anyway (so he wasn't charging us for it, but was still providing it, despite the fact it came out later). Anyway, this restaurant just opened, and you can forgive mistakes like that, especially if the manager tries to make it better.

The food was great. My wife loved her meal, and my shrimp dish was great. On a spicy scale, it was about a "medium." Not too spicy at all, but the sauce was very, very good.

The guacamole? It was made fresh in front of us (actually in back of us; we were sitting at the bar!). The "clackety clack" I heard the last time I visited is the two large spoons they use to mash the avocados and the other ingredients together--no food processor here! It ended up tasting as fresh as it looked. There was too much for us to eat, especially with our dinners already served, but we took it home (they added some additional tortilla chips), and when our daughter came home from work, she finished it off for us.

My initial opinion of the place has unchanged. The food is great, and the service is good. There may be a bit of growing pains as they work to get the kinks out of their system, but they seem to be interested in keeping the customers happy.

Totally recommended!

Jan 21, 2011
lar3ry in Southern New England

Service? What service? At Famous Daves

Further news:

I received a "we're sorry you were disappointed" email from FamousDaves.com, and they forwarded my message (which was very similar to the message I posted here) to the franchise owner.

This morning, I received a reply from the franchise owner (Jaime Jaimes) also with a request for me to contact so he can make sure my next visit is better. My attitude is that the place has failed me twice, and neither my wife nor I have any interest in giving them a third chance.

So, anyway, the place at least gives lip service toward customer service, even though it was not in evidence in either of my two trips to that place. I only post my experience here.

lar3ry

Jan 21, 2011
lar3ry in Northern New England

Service? What service? At Famous Daves

Brentwood is more than a casual drive from Salem. Lobster Q looks interesting from the review you linked to.

Jan 21, 2011
lar3ry in Northern New England

Plaza Azteca in Methuen, MA

After my negative review of Famous Dave's, I'd be remiss by not giving some positive attention to a newcomer 0n the Methuen/Salem order on Route 28: Plaza Azteca.

This restaurant is located in the old Pizzeria Uno building just south of the NH border. It appears to be a chain restaurant, since a Google search for the name reveals a map location in Worcester as the first hit.

My wife and I had lunch there to check the place out. We arrived around 1:30pm on Monday (MLK birthday holiday), and although the parking lot looked crowded, the interior showed plenty of room. The place retains the layout from when it was Unos, including the large bar, but the decor has lots of Mexican and Central American themes. The lunch menu was very affordable. I had a draft beer (they have standard glasses, pitchers, and a 34 oz "large glass" to choose from) and my wife just had water. Although we saw some interesting choices in the appetizer section (Queso Fundido, freshly made Guacamole), we simply ordered lunch--I got a taco/enchilada combination with an extra taco, my wife had the lunch chicken Chimichanga.

The food was excellent. The service was leisurely (especially compared to the unearthly speed of delivery of your order from La Carreta!) but we weren't waiting too long, nor did we feel rushed at any time.

During our meal, I kept hearing a "clackety clack" sound from another part of the room; when I asked one of the waiters about it, he explained that they make their fresh Guacamole at the table--I was hearing the food being made. My wife and I think we'll try it during our next visit. If anything, it could be an interesting side show.

In addition, I saw a lot of items on the menu that just beg to be tried out, especially some with pork and seafood, so I will keep visiting as long as the food continues to be good.

Although I've only visited this place once, I feel it is a fresh break from the "NH Mex" style of food popularized by La Carreta (Derry, Manchester, Nashua). It also offers a different style from Mexico Lindo, which is about a mile down the street, further south of the NH border.

It's nice to know there we are getting more and better options for Mexican in the southern NH area.

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La Carreta
35 Manchester Rd, Derry, NH 03053

Jan 19, 2011
lar3ry in Southern New England

Service? What service? At Famous Daves

I like BBQ. I really do.

I wish I could tell you about the ribs at Famous Daves BBQ in Manchester, NH, right across the street from the Mall of New Hampshire, but alas, I cannot.

About five years ago or so, my wife and I went to this place sometime after it opened. My daughters were still in school and had dance class. We made the trip up to Manchester (about 20 minutes), and had about an hour to kill before needing to head back to Salem to pick the girls up after class. Thus, we had a bit of a hard stop at that hour.

Famous Dave's advertised BBQ, so we went in. The place wasn't crowded. My wife and I ordered drinks, no appetizers, and standard BBQ fare: ribs (me) and a brisket sandwich (my wife). Our waitress didn't come back to our table. In fact, she spent nearly all her time flirting with a few teenage boys sitting in one of the booths. My wife's ice tea was never refilled. And, after waiting fifty minutes, our food still hadn't arrived. We had no time left, so we got the waitress' attention and told her to forget about our food and give us the bill for our drinks. She apologized profusely, and even the manager was brought over, but we said waiting for fifty minutes for food with zero service during all that time was inexcusable. We left the place, still hungry, and raced back to Salem to pick up our girls.

Well, my wife suggested this weekend that we should give the place a second chance. After all, it had been five years; any kinks in the system must have worked themselves out. It was this past Sunday at 3pm, about an hour or so before the New England playoff game.

Once again, I ordered ribs. My wife ordered the fish sandwich this time. We had drinks and no appetizers. After a half hour, our waitress came back saying, "I've got bad news. The kitchen is out of cod." In other words, the waitress put the order in, and nothing was said from the kitchen about the lack of fish until she inquired a half hour later. Should communication be handled a bit better than that? Once again, we decided not to eat there. Sitting around a half hour for food that will never arrive is, once again, inexcusable.

Once again, I talked to the manager about the lack of service. The manager offered no apologies, no excuses, and absolutely no comment whatever, except a "good bye" to me as I left.

It may be that my two experiences at this place are atypical. It may be that usually, the place has the best and fastest service in the area. However, I did not witness this at all. On top of that, the lack of care from the manager about what happened to us this last time indicates to me that customer service isn't a high priority at this location.

I am appalled by the lack of service, and my intention is to tell everybody I know about how I have been treated at this restaurant. I cannot rate the food; I never had the opportunity to eat it.

I've sent a copy of my experiences to Famous Dave's web site, which says I may hear from them within two business days. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Jan 18, 2011
lar3ry in Northern New England

Question on Red Ginger, new Asian restaurant in Stow

Since this is near where I work, and I wanted a quick lunch, I decided to drive from Boxborough to Stow to see about Red Ginger.

The place is in a shopping center (Shaw's Plaza) near Papa Gino's on Rt. 117 in Stow. When I got there yesterday, there was a sign above the door which indicated that the place opened December 12 (the day before). My worries started when I walked in and saw one of the hostesses trying to explain something about the point of sale system, but I also saw somebody picking up take-out (quite interesting! Where did he get a menu???). A white board indicated MaiTais for $3.99 and a few other specials.

Instead of taking up a table, I decided to sit at the bar.

The cuisine seems to be Chinese and Japanese, and the menu splits the cuisines (there is a section for appetizers, and another for Japanese appetizers, for instance). There were lunch specials in the menu, and as I was deciding what to order, the bartender pointed out that there was a buffet. I'm not normally a buffet person, but I didn't have a lot of time, and I figured it was a nice way to get a taste of a bunch of their items to get a feel of the place.

The buffet wasn't particularly amazing. It had a lot of the usual suspects: chicken fingers, egg rolls, crab rangoons, chicken wings, etc. Nice for appetizers, but a lot of fried stuff. There was also some different (non-fried) appetizer dishes as well.

There was a good assortment of main dishes: pork fried rice, vegetable lo mein, shrimp chow mein, salt & pepper shrimp.

On a separate buffet table were all sorts of sushi, ice cream (green tea and ginger, I think), as well as a salad and a bunch of dipping sauces (ginger, duck, sweet and sour, etc.).

I didn't try the sushi, as I don't like mixing sushi and Chinese. Nor did I have the salad (I didn't see any dressing) or any of the dipping sauces, so I cannot report on these.

For the standard items in the buffet, the food was nicely done. The service was quick to resupply items as they emptied. I enjoyed the salt & pepper shrimp, despite it being another "fried" dish.

I totally expected to see inexperienced wait staff and associated commotion, especially as this was their second day of business. It's perfectly normal, and even (to some extent) excusable. Instead, what I witnessed was an atmosphere of professionalism, and I was very impressed.

I intend to go back there in a few weeks to try some main courses instead of the buffet to get a better feel for the food. I also intend to try out the Japanese food as well.

They also have a very interesting design for their take-out menu; I saw it and knew that I would have to show it to my daughter, who is a graphics designer (she loves impressive business cards and menus!).

I hope this mini-review helps.

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Red Ginger
117 Great Rd, Stow, MA 01775

Dec 14, 2010
lar3ry in Northern New England

Request for "reviews" of four Nashua NH restaurants

Manhattan on Pearl is a Martini Bar. I haven't been there in a few years (not a Martini drinker, but the Mojito there was pretty good). For food, hey have Tapas. It seems like they envision themselves as a "warm-up" bar for people that are heading to Michael Timothy's or Surf. Perhaps as an "apres" bar for those restaurants when after dessert. A bit expensive and eclectic. Decent, but it's really not a destination in and of itself, at least for dinner. I did it a couple of times and moved on.

Peddler's Daughter is very much like its Haverhill sister restaurant, although I think the Nashua location is smaller. Decent beers, and a few items on the menu worth eating.

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Michael Timothy's
212 Main St., Nashua, NH 03060

Manhattan On Pearl
70 East Pearl St, Nashua, NH 03060

The Peddler's Daughter - Nashua
48 Main St, Nashua, NH 03064

Nov 02, 2010
lar3ry in Northern New England

Good Food in or near Kittery, Maine

Although I'm a big fan of Robert's, I would imagine that its location within the Kittery outlets would make it very crowded during the Thanksgiving through Christmas outlet season.

Not too far away is Cap'n Simeon's (on the water, great views), and the Cape Neddick Lobster Pound (also on the water). I've never eaten at Warren's Lobster House, but heard good things about it.

Kittery is pretty close to Portsmouth, NH, and there are nice places there. If you move a bit further north, there's Ogunquit, which has a couple of places still open during the off-season, but without knowing how far you'd be willing to venture outside of Kittery, I'd keep to the suggestions in my first paragraph.

Have a great shopping trip!

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Cape Neddick Lobster Pound
Shore Rd, Cape Neddick, ME 03902

Warren's Lobster House
11 Water St, Kittery, ME 03904

Cap'n Simeon's Galley
90 Pepperrell Rd, Kittery Point, ME 03905

Oct 30, 2010
lar3ry in Northern New England

Good Mexican, Manchester NH

I've gone to Cafe Azteca in Lawrence a few times over the years. The food is more "honestly" Mexican than most other restaurants in the genre. By that, I mean, it's more the kind of Mexican food you can find in Mexico, as opposed to Tex-Mex or Cali-Mex, etc. That said, the food may take some getting used to. However, the cooking is great, and the wait staff, when the place isn't overcrowded, is pretty good.

The only bad thing about Cafe Azteca is parking. At certain times of the day, it's impossible to find a spot within a quarter mile of the place...!

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Cafe Azteca
180 Common St, Lawrence, MA 01840

Sep 18, 2010
lar3ry in Northern New England

Good Mexican, Manchester NH

La Carreta has three locations in New Hampshire: Nashua, Derry, and Manchester. The food is pretty good there and arrives very quickly. Although they have the same name, they are individually owned and their menus vary slightly between locations.

La Carreta used to have a location in Keene near the Colony Mill, but it closed. I've heard that (one of?) the chefs opened a different restaurant, which I'll explain in the next paragraph.

I've noticed over the last few years a couple of newer restaurants opening with nearly identical menus as La Carreta, as well as presentations/taste of food. Perhaps they are also some sort of franchise from La Carreta; I've decided to call the style "New Hampshire Mexican." The two restaurants that I've discovered are Cancun, in Bedford, and Pedrazza's in Keene. (Pedrazza's is the one that I heard has a chef or cook from the old Colony Mill La Carreta.) If anybody has any further information on how these restaurants are related, I'll be happy to hear about it.

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La Carreta Mexican Restaurant
139 Daniel Webster Hwy # 3, Nashua, NH

La Carreta
545 Hooksett Rd, Manchester, NH 03104

La Carreta
35 Manchester Rd, Derry, NH 03053

Sep 16, 2010
lar3ry in Northern New England

Mexican around Portsmouth, NH

I never heard of the place. I don't judge a Mexican restaurant by its tequila; I remember one called "Senor Frijoles" in Key Largo, Florida, that didn't serve any alcohol other than wine, and their margaritas (made with wine instead of tequila) that were as good as some places arond here.

Anyway...

I'll be at the Seafood Festival tomorrow in Hampton Beach, but that may not be the best time to go into a restaurant, especially with 150,000+ tourons around.

Thanks for the heads' up.

Sep 10, 2010
lar3ry in Northern New England

Mexican around Portsmouth, NH

Loco Coco's is arguably the best Mexican around. As far as "what kind of Mexican is it?" questions, my guess is Southern California style Mexican. The food is basic burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and a few other odds and ends.

The restaurant runs in three styles. First, there's a cafeteria-style free for all seating at the main entrance to the place. Just go up to the cashier, place your order, and they will get it to you when it's cooked (fresh). Next, there's a bar/lounge area where you can have a beer or margarita or other mixed drink, as well as ordering from a menu (same food as in the cafeteria). Finally, there's a "waitress will seat you" dining section (that keeps on getting extended to a porch) where you can order from a menu as well.

The food is pretty good. I personally love the burritos (carne asada, or my latest favorite, the California burrito with french fries inside it), which come with tortilla chips on the plate as well. I also like the Mexican-style taco (carne asada, with onions, cilantro, and lime wedge), but you'll find that one is hardly ever enough. I usually order a taco with my burrito. My wife likes the quesadillas. On their "specials" menu (which rarely changes), they have a salsa trio sampler, with a terrific Chiotle salsa and freshly-made guacamole (which is orders of magnitude better than the guac they serve with their quesadillas... why have two styles???).

Fans of other Mexican restaurants may be put out that they charge for chips and salsa (but you can choose your salsa, get the salsa trio special, or simply get the chips free with a burrito).

Sometimes the restaurant can be crowded, so take that into consideration.

The walk-in cafeteria seems to be a big hit for the people out for a quick lunch, while the bar/lounge and serving area are great for people that want to spend more time with their food and acquaintances.

There are other good restaurants in the area but Mexican--or, rather, good Mexican--is kind of rare. I dislike the Margaritas chain; was disappointed by ixtapa Cantina at Fox Run the three or four times I tried it; and have not tried Agave Mexican Bistro in Portsmouth (but tried their chili at the Chili Cook-off, and it's great). There is also Poco's Bow Street Cantina near the Old Ferry Landing off Bow Street, but that's more Cuban than Mexican, although I have not been their since the renovation of the cantina/patio a year or so ago.

Loco Coco's is one that I constantly travel 45 minutes to get to (from Salem, NH).

Oh, speaking of the Chili Cook-off, that's a good time and place to sample the various chili offerings from the Seacoast area. It will be held once again at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH, October 9th this year--part of the Prescott Park Arts Festival. Last year, it was all you can eat chili from over a dozen restaurants, with beer and other beverages available (extra). (I think it's the "beer" that has the event at the Puddle Dock in Strawbery Banke; I've heard the original donation of Prescott Park was from a prohibitionist during that era that had a clause that rescinds the property back to the original family if alcohol is available at the park. That may or may not be a legend, but it makes sense as to why the Chili Cook-off has moved from the park to the Banke across the street in recent years.)

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Poco's Bow Street Cantina
37 Bow St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Loco Coco's Tacos
36 Walker St, Kittery, ME 03904

Margaritas Mexican Restaurant
775 Lafayette Rd Ste 1, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Ixtapa Cantina
50 Fox Run Rd Ste 75, Newington, NH 03801

Agave Mexican Bistro DOS
111 State St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Sep 10, 2010
lar3ry in Northern New England

Haggis Heaven in Salem, NH

Well, today was the day we visited the newly opened Haggis Heaven on Salem's famous Broadway strip.

The menu is pretty simple, consisting soley of Haggis and Scotch Whiskey.

My kids were disappointed in the lack of appetizers in the menu, nor were there any special pricing for children's portions. However, they do offer the Family Special consisting of four servings of the main dish and accompanying Scotch, so the place does cater to families.

Despite the fact that the place was empty of patrons when we got there, a friendly host named Mac greeted us and immediately asked if we had a reservation. Since we did not, he told us that he liked us and would find us a table, although a $20 charge for not having a reservation would be added to our bill. We were seated at a nice table with four pine chairs.

The decor of the place shows black and white pictures of scenes in Scotland (and they have a television showing videos of highlights from a recent Highland Games tournament), as well as other prominent Scotch paraphernalia, especially kilts and Scotch tape. Poems by Robert Burns can also be found on the walls. They also have live entertainment, as the chef and wait staff take turns crooning the patrons with their virtuosity on the bagpipes and accordion.

My oldest daughter asked our waiter what exactly haggis was. His answer was, and I quote, "Ah. I dinna think you'd a-like to find that out quite yet, my fair lassie!" From my knowledge of the dish, I think the waiter's suggestion was apropos.

We ordered the family special, despite the kids' complaints about the lack of Buffalo wings, and the dishes came out quite promptly. I was a bit taken aback at the fact that they served Scotch Whiskey to everybody, including my underage daughter. ("The Scotch is necessary," the waiter informed my when I raised my concern. "It helps anesthetize the stomach before you take that first bite.")

As to the quality of the food, I must state for the record that it was the best haggis that I've ever had. That is almost certainly due to the fact that I never had the dish before (or since). My wife and kids seemed to agree to my assessment, although they tended to use more colorful adjectives that the censors on this site would prefer me to avoid.

Would I return? I'm not sure. I tried calling the restaurant to get a reservation (to avoid the surcharge), but was told they are fully booked through August, 2012, but they could put me on "standby" in case a reservation becomes available before that for a minor $10 fee.

If you feel a hankering for some good, old fashioned haggis, along with a few shots of pretty potent Scotch to help steel your nerves, you may wish to give Haggis Heaven a try. It's just over the Massachusetts border on Salem's famous Broadway strip, nestled between the Shalleigh Sheep Shoppe and MacPherson's Stomach Pump and Dairy.

Apr 01, 2010
lar3ry in Northern New England

Pepperland Cafe? Robert's Maine Grill? Norms?

I love Roberts Maine Grill in Kittery. It's right in the middle of the outlet stores on US-1 at the location formerly known as the Quarterdeck. I have never had a meal there I didn't like.

I'm probably an exception and don't like lobster, so I cannot give any recommendation on that.

The "Roberts" in the name is a formalization of the name of the founder of Bob's Clam Hut across the street, which has been a Kittery institution for over fifty years (a clam shack, but a good one!).

Recommendations from the menu:

The oysters from the raw bar are great. They usually have two or three different styles, usually farmed in Maine, but I occasionally see Wellfleet and Long Island oysters there. These come with a mignonette that changes every time I go there, but has always been a great accompaniment.

The steamed mussels a la Howard (formerly Howard's Mussels) are fantastic. Steamed mussels in a cream sauce with chunks of Italian sausage in it. It's an appetizer, but if you order the larger portion, it makes a great meal.

Another location in Kittery (away from the outlets) is Loco Coco's Tacos. This is probably my favorite Mexican food in New England. There are two sections to the restaurant. When you first walk in, there is a cafeteria-style walk-up where you can place your order and tables where you can eat it. If you move toward the left, you will find a bar area and another dining area past it where you can get table service (same menu).

The burritos and tacos are fantastic. The chips and salsa (which costs extra, but you get chips with some of the meals) are also out of this world.

The place can sometimes be packed; I usually arrive there around 2-3pm and never have trouble finding a seat at the bar or one of the tables.

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Loco Coco's Tacos
36 Walker St, Kittery, ME 03904

Roberts Maine Grill
326 US Route 1, Kittery, ME 03904

Margaritas = mediocre

La Carreta is a chain but had authentic Mexican taste, but did dismal business at the Colony Mill mall in Keene. The chef moved to Main Street, and reopened with basically the same menu as Pedrazza's. They seem to be highlighting the drinks (margaritas, beer), and perhaps they will do better at the new location. Only time will tell if this move will succeed, or if Margaritas' dominance will prevail.

I agree that the food at Margaritas is mediocre at best. The word I used in a review on another site is "quirky." They seem to cater to college students, which explains the reasoning behind some of their locations (Dover, Keene, and Salem come immediately to mind). College students are interested in drinks, and that is where they put their effort (discounts with college id, for instance) and it shows.

I don't think anybody has ever gone broke investing in the stupidity of Americans.

Love Pho Boston..now where?

Lots of good Vietnamese and Cambodian restaurants in the Lowell, MA area. Pho Da Lat is my favorite. Pho 88 is also a good place.

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Pho 88
1270 Westford St, Lowell, MA 01851

Pho Da Lat Restaurant
1575 Middlesex St, Lowell, MA 01851

Pho Da Lat
475 chelmsford st, lowell, ma 01851

need rec's for Meredith NH

The Common Man is pretty well represented in Meredith (Lago, Town Docks, Lakehouse, and Camp). Of those four, I think that Lakehouse at Church's Landing has some non-seafood dishes, and Camp has a rather... well... unique menu.

Both menus can be found at http://www.thecman.com

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Lakehouse
281 Daniel Webster Hwy, Meredith, NH 03253

Camp
298 Daniel Webster Hwy, Meredith, NH 03253

Best food Orleans to P'town?

Wicked Oyster is definitely a must! Wonderful oyster stew.

Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier, Kittery Point, ME - June 2009 report

For Chauncey Creek, I've found that the best time to go is about 3pm or so. It's after the lunch crowd and before the dinner crowd. Occasionally, you'll find a few toddlers there. Since it's BYOB, I usually bring a cooler with some of my favorite brews (I can't tell you how disappointed I was the FIRST time I went to CC--I had to drool over all the beers and wine that the OTHER guests knew enough to bring...!).

I'm not much into lobsters, but the rest of my family is. CC's "popcorn shrimp" is pretty nice, as are their steamers. Their mussels are OK, but I really prefer the "Howard's Mussels" at Roberts over by the factory outlets in Kittery.

I've seen some negative reviews of CC, but in the 10-12 years I've been going to the place, every meal I've been served there has been good to great, albeit expensive. However, if you factor in the savings from bringing your own beer, Sangria, wine, it's not really that bad.

non-chain dinner around Salem NH

I second the nomination for both Trattoria Amallfi (great Italian) and Brookstone Grille (at the golf course just over the Salem-Derry line on 111).

Trattoria has one of the best Italian menus in Salem (and, for some reason, Salem has quite a few Italian restaurants). I like the seafood selections, but sometimes get the rib-eye special. Romantic setting, and since their renovation, there's a nice sized bar as well.

Brookstone has shrimp cocktail that are simply HUGE, a good raw bar, nice soups, a nice bar menu, and some great entrees in another romantic setting.

Either one would be great for Valentine's day, but you should make sure you make reservations beforehand!

Is the food at Chunky's in Haverhill/Nashua/Pelham any good?

I'll quote from a portion of a review I made of the place a while back from my own food blog (modesty prevents me from giving out the URL):

The food at Chunky's can be best described as Classic American. There are appetizers ("pub grub"), salads, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and a small selection of entreƩs. All the menu items have names related to the movie theme of the place. For instance, "Love Me Tenders" is the name given to the chicken tenders entreƩ, and there is a "Kevin Bacon Burger" (bacon cheeseburger) and "Robert DeNiro Burger" ("Cheeseburger with an attitude") as well. Side dish selections include potato chips, pub fries, cole slaw, pasta salad, baked beans. For an additional charge, you can order waffle fries, onion rings, or a side salad instead. Desserts aren't forgotten, and most have a "Harry Potter" theme ("Gryffindor House Special" is a brownie sundae, for instance). For those over twenty-one, there is a limited cocktail menu as well.

The food is very good, and although it would never be considered gourmet fair, it's quite a bit better than the food I remember from the concession stands at the old drive-ins. The prices are quite reasonable as well. Service is usually pretty good, but when the place is crowded, the wait staff can get overwhelmed. A recent "re-innovation" is that the restaurant now offers a "coaster" that works as a reverse-pager; turn it on and it will let your wait-person know that you need something, which can be very useful in the darkened room when the movie is playing. This is similar to the "pagers" that the original venue had, and is a welcome return.

Although there is a full menu, you are not obligated to have a complete meal. You could just order munchies and drinks, have a bag or two of popcorn, or even pass on the food and/or drinks altogether (although that would miss a lot of the fun of the place to my mind).

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I hope this answers your question.

Margaritas = mediocre

The Margaritas in Keene, NH has a large college following. The prices and the specials make it easy to have a cheap meal. If you're subsisting on Easy-Mac, then the stuff at Margaritas will probably satisfy you.

Not too far from Margaritas in Keene is a La Carreta. It's physically closer to the college, but nearly every time I've visited the place, it was mostly empty. The food there is much better; much more authentic (especially for New England). Even the Margaritas are better there. I really cannot figure out why La Carreta does so poorly when Margaritas is always packed.

It only goes to show you: just because a place is packed doesn't mean that it's a great place to eat.

By the way, my wife and daughters all like Margaritas and usually have no trouble finding something they like. I'm usually trying to find something in the appetizer section that won't disappoint TOO much...!

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La Carreta Mexican Restaurant
222 West St, Keene, NH 03431

Prescott Park Chowder Fest: Anyone Going?

Ahh... summer is approaching. Time for the throngs to head to Prescott Park in Portsmouth, across the street from Strawbery Banke on the banks of the Piscataqua River, and check out the many chowders provided by restaurants from the local Seacoast area this Saturday.

I've done this festival on and off in the past decade or so, and found a couple of gems. It's also a great place to do an "A versus B" comparison to find the chowder that you think is simply the greatest. So, why don't I attend every year? Well, usually Old Port Festival in Portland, ME usually coincides with the Chowder Fest, and sometimes I have other commitments that make me miss both of these. Sigh...

Back to the Chowder Fest... for the price of admission ($8/adult, $5/children 12 and under), you will be able to sample all of the chowders that you'd like to try. The better chowders are easily spotted with large lines in front of their booths.

Speaking of lines, here's a hint: GET THERE EARLY. It starts at 11:30, and the lines of people waiting to get in stretch out in front of the park for a while as the festival gets in full swing. Parking can be problematical, as the streets near the park are quite narrow.

If you are a Strawbery Banke member, I'd recommend (free) parking there and walking across the street. Otherwise, finding parking may be difficult... give yourself time to park and get to the park.

The admission is $8 adult, and $5 for children 12 and under and the price allows you to sample as much as you want. Soda and refreshments are available for a separate charge (NOTE: Prescott Park does not allow alcohol on the grounds, and it's quite a walk to the nearest boozery if you feel you'd like a beer in the 90 degree forecast heat).

http://www.prescottpark.org/events/fo...

(I'm not associated with this festival; I just figured some Chowhounds might be interested...!)

Cold Beer after White Mtn. Hike? Help!!

Would you be referring to Shannon Door?

Interesting place. An Irish pub with pizza...!