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Saffron Bistro Nashua, closing

The menu seemed too pricey for me to justify... not that it's that much, just that I'm a bit poor is all.

ISO Good counter service, authentic tapas in New Hampshire and Mass.

Thank you for the reply WHS. I may have used the wrong term when I said "counter service"... what I mean is someplace where you don't have a server, where you order and pick up at a counter or window. Any ideas on that?

Barcelona: Lower Your Hopes to "Moderate"

Hey Addiez, I noted that you lived in Spain, and thought you may be a good resource for my quest to find a reasonably authentic place in Mass. My wife and I really liked Flan y Ajo in Providence, and appreciate what a hole in the wall it is. The food was good, and struck me as being pretty darn close to the real thing. Do you have any recommendations for places in Mass (I live near Lowell, but will travel) that are more like the real mccoy? I don't really care if it's an incredible gastronomic experience... as long as there's wine and simple food, I'd be happy.

ISO Good counter service, authentic tapas in New Hampshire and Mass.

Hey hounds,

So, it's been a year since my honeymoon in Spain and we're really missing it. I'm looking for any sort of tapas joint that favors authentic Spain over incredible gastronomic experience. Think Flan y Ajo (Providence) rather than Toro (Boston). Obviously I'd love to not pay through the nose for it, but I'm willing to if it's more like Flan y Ajo.

Secondly, I'm looking for places with decent counter service for late lunches or dinner in the Nashua/Lowell/Manchester area. Cafeteria style places would also work, if any of those exist anymore. Please don't mention any chain restaurants, I'm up to date on those and mostly try to avoid them (though I've been known to knock back a few Five Guys in my time). I like not having to deal with a server sometimes, know what I mean?

Thanks for your help!



Best Breakfasts in New Hampshire

Just don't go there hungry.... in my experience (3 times before I swore it off), the service was so bad, the great food just wasn't worth it.

Dining in Portsmouth

I second the motion for Ceres Bakery. Make sure you get the cookie with lemon zest, pecans, chocolate, and coconut.. called a snizz maybe? Not sure, but it's amazing.

For sushi, I have to recommend Shio. It's well down route 1 (plaza next to Water Country), but well worth the trip. Poco's has a nice deck, but if you want some form of mexican, I'd rather go to Loco Coco's in Kittery. Lexie's joint has good burgers, but if you like dive burgers, Gilley's PM Lunch rocks the hosue. Rusty Hammer is a great idea, but if you go you MUST get their potato skins... best on the planet. I love the salad at Flatbread, and the pizza is mighty good too. Cafe Mirabelle doesn't have the best food in the city, but it sure is a cute spot to get dinner.

I've recently heard that the restaurant at the Sheraton has a nice summer fish menu and they get their fish locally also, so if someone can report about that, I'd be most obliged.

Rusty Hammer
49 Pleasant St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Cafe Mirabelle
64 Bridge St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Ice Cream in New Hampshire?

Sugar and Ice in Barrington, NH on route 125. Waffle cones made while you wait. Nuff said.


I heard from a friend of a friend once that there is a town in Vermont where you can literally walk from one brewery to another, to another, as there are 3 or 4 within a few blocks of each other. Does anyone happen to know of a place like this? If so, I don't much care if they're great quality, I'd just like to check out the scene with some friends. Please reply if you know if this magical town truly does exist.

Fish tacos around Portsmouth area?

Had the fish tacos at Loco's tonight... gotta say I really enjoyed them. I got two, but I really should only have gotten one... they're not the most filling, but they are when you plow em down with a bunch of chips and salsa.

Thanks for reminding me that Loco's has them!

Name of restaurant in Epping NH on 125 with the duck pond?? When do they open??

Get your husband ready, they're open and slammin. Looks like a nice place to spend a weekend afternoon.

The Main Maine goal HELP!

I'm one of those folks that will tell you to stay away from Bob's Clam Hut.... I know some folks really like it, but I've been there three times, and all three were disappointing at best, and nauseating at worst.

I've heard people say nice things about Hebert Brothers Seafood on Badger Island, between Portsmouth and Kittery. They have a fish market, and also a kitchen menu.

I know it's not the greatest place in the world, but I enjoy the kitsch of Warren's Lobster House. It's just so old school, you have to appreciate it.

Bob's Clam Hut
RR 1, Kittery, ME 03904

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

Best Portsmouth Area Breakfast

I've been wanting to try out the Golden Egg, and I hope someone with a lead on the place can give us some insight... I rarely get down into the Portsmouth area for breakfast these days, but I can say that, while the food at the Toast is pretty tasty, it is not a good idea to go there while you're hungry. The service is so atrocious I've pretty much sworn off the place completely. I'll usually give a restaurant a number of chances, but when it goes 3/3 in regards to bad service, that's when it's no longer worth my money.

For what it's worth, I've read mixed, though mostly positive, reviews on Fresh Local Bayside. It's down the road in Newington, and supposedly good.

Best crab roll in New England?

Personally have been disappointed with the food at Bob's. Been there four or five times in the last few years and have never really been satisfied with what I had.

Cute Girl of the Day..Why

Maybe it's because I'm young(er) than others, or maybe it's because I'm a guy, but I don't see what the big deal is about an advertisement for College Humor. The idea that one would rather pay a subscription service than denigrate themselves by viewing a site (chowhound) that is subsidized by a website with questionable taste (College Humor) is absurd. We're subjected to worse than a wistful or simpering gaze during prime-time on TV, or are we all oblivious to the frequent commercials dealing with "erectile dysfunction", etc.?

Here's a tip: don't click on the site, put up an ad-blocker, or simply ignore it like you do all the other ads and banners that you never click on during your daily surfing. There's nothing NSFW on THIS site, so it shouldn't make much a difference if you're surfing from work (which you shouldn't be).

If equality is what some of the ladies desire, by all means, find a website with cute college boys and post the ads... but, if you're offended by ads like this, then I truly have no idea how you function in the real world. Find a real cause, like boycotting Shell Oil and all their subsidiaries (to name one).

May 05, 2009
BigFatDynamo in Site Talk

Your Avatar..does it sum up who you are?

Mine is actually of my friend Tim, but I felt that the hat was appropriate for a foodie website. Maybe I'll find one of me someday.

May 04, 2009
BigFatDynamo in Site Talk

July Trip Centered Around Dover, NH

I'm going to reply to this more than once, seeing as how I live so close and I enjoy the local mom and pop restaurants. Here's one in Rollinsford that I wrote something up about:

Black Bean Cafe
20 Front St
Rollinsford, NH

I'll admit, I've been going out to eat a lot this weekend, and I totally blame Yelp for it. That, and I've been depriving myself of going out lately, and I just needed a weekend like this to try a few new things. On to the review...

Before today I had never been to Rollinsford before. It's a hamlet of a community, and it's not near anything I regularly go to, so the opportunity has never arisen. My girlfriend (SB) and I decided to go on an adventure today, so we struck out for the Black Bean Cafe and their homemade baked goods. Thank you, Jennifer W, for writing a review about this place and introducing me to my new favorite breakfast spot. The BBC is a lovely little one room restaurant (cafe really works for this place) that's probably no bigger than my meager living room. What they lack in size, they make up for in warm wood floors, fresh baked breads, and beautiful local art. It's so charming and cute, it makes other establishments pale in comparison.

What else makes other breakfast joints pale in comparison? Their food. We decided on opening with some brioche, then closing with huevos rancheros and an egg scramble. Sadly, by the time we actually got around to going out for breakfast, other folks had beaten us to the other specials.

The brioche was, in a word, ridiculous. It was an apple, raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry concoction of mouth watering excellence. The bread itself was light and buttery in flavor. The inside texture was soft and chewy, while the outside was just slightly crunchy, like a well baked bread should be. The berries were the perfect balance of tart and sweet, and I'm pretty sure I could have eaten six servings all by my lonesome. This bread may very well go on my deathbed wish-list... it's that damn good. Seriously, if you go there, try it because, as I said before, it's ridiculous.

I ordered off the specials menu and got the last remaining huevos rancheros (huepa!). It featured a large, wheat tortilla, sprinkled inside and out with cheese, then griddled. It was topped with warm refried black beans, sour cream, a nice, fresh pico de gallo (or salsa fresco, whatever), and a whipped guacamole. It was wonderfully fresh tasting, and while huge, hearty, and very filling, it did not leave me feeling sickly full. I clean my plate less often than you'd think, and this time I definitely cleaned it.

SB had an egg scramble of sausage, cheddar, broccoli, and onions. The eggs were moist and buttery. The sausage flavorful, the broccoli perfectly done (as in not too mushy, which happens all too often). Her homefries were good, but needed salt. We split a side of bacon, as I enjoy meat with breakfast, and it was perfectly cooked.

All in all, I know I'm going to be going back to the Black Bean Cafe frequently. It's just too damn delicious to pass up. And while it may not have a huge menu, what they do serve is all quality, which is what's most important. Chances are, if you go there, you'll find something you like.

P.S. If there was one thing that was bad about the size of the place, it was that you couldn't avoid listening to the kids who were left to run amok by their inattentive parents. Seriously guys, you can be comfortable in a place, but be respectful of the other patrons. Even if the staff doesn't mind, that doesn't mean you should let your kids run around unchecked.

foraging ramps/fiddleheads

So, I don't want to hijack this thread or anything, but I'm interested in finding different ways of cooking fiddleheads. What are your favorite ways, Chounders?

Screaming for Ice Cream!

I love Sugar & Ice Creamery in Barrington, NH. It's not much, but they have great ice cream and they make your waffle cone while you wait. If you're near the University in Durham, it's worth the extra 15 minutes to head down the road and try it out.

Sugar & Ice Creamery
555 Route 125, Barrington, NH 03825

Beach Seafood?

Seriously, what is it with people on here and the bellies vs. strips? I don't understand why belly lovers are so adamant (vehement, really) in their hatred for the strip. I've seen a number of threads where someone asks about strips or mentions strips and they get an onslaught of people preaching about the hell that is a clam strip and how inferior it is to a full bellied clam. It's a bit... ridiculous.

Fried clams near Ogunquit, Maine

My personal opinion about Bob's: I feel it has gone downhill. It can be great at times, and really lousy at others. If I were you Ron, I wouldn't waste my time there if it's a long trip for you, merely because it can be so hit or miss. Those of us that live within relative proximity to it, it's not such a big deal.

Wells, ME area

I'm wondering what you had Morganna. I've only been to the Maine Diner three or four times (it's a bit of a haul from Ro-town when you're going for the first meal of the day). While I'm not going to say that it was the best place I've ever been to eat, I have been satisfied with their meals. One thing I thought was pretty outstanding was the blueberry pie... a perfect balance of sweet and tart (love the caviar of Maine!).

I wish I could remember what I've had there, but it's escaping me. I did have the Eddie Andelman once, and it was tasty, but very basic (hot dogs and mac n cheese).

Anyway, I did have to wait a half hour to get in once, but I woke up late that day, so I'm not surprised. Hopefully if this person goes they won't have to wait too long.

Portsmouth NH

Not sure about dinner (but the menu looks good), but lunch at Gracie's Diner is pretty darn good. It's off the beaten path too, so you won't feel too crowded on a nice day in P-Mouth.

The Rusty Hammer has great potato skins.

Everything at MoJo's BBQ is good, much better than Muddy River, in my humble opinion.

Popovers is great for a light dinner, but really only if it's a small party (2-3, maybe 4).

Flatbread is great for a date, and it's actually very kid friendly, as lots of families take their kids there. Do everyone a favor, if you have kids, don't let them run amok while you sip your wine with your friends.

The Brewery is not as great as it used to be, but I've never had anything there I didn't care for. The beer is fabulous, of course.

Hope that helps.

Orient Pearl in Epping N.H.

My girlfriend and I decided to have a Saturday lunch (really breakfast for us) here, based on the following facts: 1. We didn't feel like going to Portsmouth, 2. Folks on Yelp said it was pretty decent, and 3. We didn't feel like paying P-mouth prices for lunch.

First the negatives:
The staff seemed confused regarding who would be our server. I got the feeling that the man who ended up being our server bullied the young girl who initially greeted us and took our drink orders. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seemed slightly tense between them. The fella that ended up being our server was slightly overzealous in his service. He was friendly, but took away a steamer basket (shumai app.) literally seconds after I had plucked the last dumpling from it.

Now everyone's favorite: the positives =).

We were quite pleased with our lunch selection today. The Orient Pearl is well appointed in decoration and well staffed even for a Saturday lunch. The interior designer chose clean, simple decorations and tables, which are all well spaced, leaving the restaurant feeling warm and cozy, without being too tight.

We like to start with a warm appetizer when we have sushi, so we ordered Shumai (steamed shrimp dumplings). The dumplings were tasty, about the size of a California roll, and there were 6 in the basket. This is a good size for an appetizer, in my opinion. Too many restaurants feature appetizers that are really entrée sized plates to be shoveled down before the real entrée arrives. Suffice to say, it was a nice way to prep for the main course.

We decided to order three different maki rolls, from the 3 price levels on the menu. From the lower priced makis we ordered the Idaho maki, a sweet potato tempura roll ($4). The middle priced roll was the Crazy maki, shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado, and flying fish roe ($8). The higher end roll was a special, the "Red Sox roll", which was tuna and avocado on the outside, with lettuce, spicy mayo, and shrimp on the inside ($13). They came out on a large white platter which was decorated with drizzles of two sauces. The wasabi was whimsically crafted into a little tree with the help of a sprig of parsley.

I will be the first to admit that my sushi palette is far from developed, as we only get to eat it once every couple of months. That being said, in my opinion, the sushi was fantastic. We were very happy with all three of our orders. The Idaho maki is simple, sweet and savory at once, and a great start to the plate. The Crazy maki was awesome, the tempura shrimp well fried and very clean tasting. I had difficulty discerning which piece I would eat last (save the best for last, I always say), and I decided that my last bite would be of the Red Sox maki, which was artfully rolled, fresh, light, and absolutely delicious.

Other nice points: the soy is brought out in small white tea or cream servers, which were cute. The buffet looked good, was clean all around despite the number of people that were going up to it, and was obviously very popular. The service is very efficient. The menu is extensive, with many entrées on the Chinese side, and at least 25 or 30 sushi options on the Japanese side.

In summation: we're big fans of the Orient Pearl, and we have already planned to go there for lunch again in the next couple of weeks. It looks like most of their business is on the buffet end of things, but I'm convinced that it's worth going to for sushi. Again, I'm not the greatest judge of sushi, but it was fresh and clean tasting, left us full, satisfied, and we didn't have to spend a lot of money. We could have saved a few bucks if we'd have bothered to even look at the lunch menu, but I'm happy with what we bought anyway.