Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Friday, November 17, 2006
We had brought a cake with us because one of our party was celebrating a birthday and they didn't have any cakes at the restaurant. It was handed to the maitre de (anybody got that in Japanese?) with the request to "do something" for the celebrant.
We were sitting at the table, the plates had just been cleared when all of a sudden, the music came up real loud (I mean REAL loud) with the Happy Birthday Song being sung. However, it wasn't just your plain vanilla version. Though the song was in English, the singers had Japanese accents! I mean, loud Happy Birthday Japanese accents.
They brought in the cake, with candles on it, but nobody had to sing. Even if you had sung, it wouldn't have been heard. Besides, we couldn't sing because we were laughing so hard.
I recommend you try it.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Dover Wine Company
I got an email the other day saying that the The Dover Wine Company will be opening on September 29th:
We wanted to let you know that the Dover Wine Company will be opening on Friday, September 29 at 10 am. On that day, we will be conducting wine tastings from 5-7 (as well as on Saturday from 2-4). Come on by and be amongst the first to enjoy Dover’s new wine and cheese shop.
Monday, August 21, 2006
As a side note, if you get a chance to miss going to Saunders at Rye Harbour, consider yourself lucky. The deck scene was empty, no entrees are served on the bar side of the deck, and the appetizers that are served there are undistinguished. The only highlight was talking the solo guitarist into playing Madona's "Borderline".
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
A search for some info on maple liqueur, a click here, a click there...
"Flag Hill proudly announces the official opening of our newest endeavor, the Ferguson-Davis Dining Room at Flag Hill. Our indoor dining facility, previously used for once monthly dinners and private events will become host to a regular schedule of dinners beginning in October of 2006."
Friday, August 11, 2006
Monday, April 03, 2006
Not so cool
Thursday, February 02, 2006
The Green Monkey is a nice little restaurant on Pleasant Street in Portsmouth. When I called for a 7:00 reservation for four, the person on the phone said she had three parties coming in at 7, so would I mind 7:15. I should have guessed from this question that the place would be a little busy when we arrived.
We were seated at our table, a nice location about 1/2 way back from the front window. As I was sitting down, it was obvious from the noise levels of the other people there, that we weren't going to have an intimate dinner conversation. It felt kind of like that party where the volume keeps going up while each group raises its voices to be heard over the one next to them. After a while, though, the noise did seem to subside, or I just got used to it.
The first order of business was the adult beverages. The Green Monkey offers a small but effective list of martinis. I tried the Lavender Lust, which was not Lavender, but was tasty. Others in my party had a Cuban Martini (good, but valuable glass space taken up by mint leaves) and one who's name I can't remember but it had champagne in it and wasn't anyone's favorite. The fourth member of our party asked for a Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale, but was denied - they were out of stock. He instead had another beer who's name I forget (hmmm, I'm thinking now that the martinis were a little potent).
The second order of business was appetizers. The selection looked good. We went with the Wild Mushrooms Forestier, described as a sautee of wild mushrooms and fire-roasted tomatoes in a sherry cream sauce with grilled asiago bread, and the Lobster and Mango Spring Rolls, described as crispy spring rolls topped with a sweet and spicy chinese mustard sauce. Both appetizers were wonderful and gave us great anticipation for the dinner selections.
But before dinner arrived, we needed to reload our glasses. I went with the $12 Le Fin Du Mond from Unibrou. Turns out that the triple fermentation leaves a bitter finish to each taste. If I were any kind of a beer connoisseur, I'd probably have realized what I was getting into. Live and learn. Another member of our party ordered Unibrou's Maudite, another $12 bottle but a bit smoother on the way down. The good news about paying $12 for a bottle of beer is that you get a two beer bottle (22 oz.) and each beer was 8 or 9 percent alcohol - so you're getting the buzz equivalent of at least three regular beers for your money.
Two members of our party ordered wine. One was a wonderful cab/shiraz combination known as Mad Dogs and Englishmen (probably endorsed by Joe Cocker). The other was a white wine, some kind of chardonnay, I think. The wine was a bit evervescent, which was wrong, and there was some serious sediment in the glass, which was very wrong. Obviously we were getting the bottom of an old bottle. After pointing this out, our waitress rectified the situation with a glass from a fresh bottle that was very good.
For dinner, we had the following items (with menu descriptions in parenthesis): Wolfe's Neck Farm Bistro Steak (grilled bistro steak topped with seared fois gras, garlic scallion butter, pomme frites), Hawaiian Sea Salt And Peppercorn Seared Tuna (served rare over an Asian slaw and mashed potatoes with citrus butter and a sweet soy glaze), Macadamia Encrusted Mahi Mahi (served with a creamy tahitian vanilla bean risotto and papaya buerre blanc), and Wasabi Roasted Wild Salmon Mignon (served over a sautee of sweet corn, fire roasted peppers, leeks, crispy spinach and miso aioli). Two out of four met or exceeded expectations. The steak and the salmon were both nicely prepared and the combinations served with them complimented the main item. The tuna, on the other hand, was too seared on the one side that faced the fire - so much so that it took a knife to cut through the seared section; the act of doing so shredded the raw parts. And the mashed potatoes were just that, mashed potato, lacking in imagination. The Mahi Mahi was over-cooked and the nuts served to detract from the fish flavor, rather than enhance. In all cases, the food presentation was artful and creative, and I particularly liked the round plate with a flat side that matched the edge of the table - it helps you keep your food close.
Nothing on the dessert menu caught our fancy and the menu was somewhat limited with only 4 or 5 choices. And after the somewhat spotty nature of our meals, we decided to head up to Breaking New Grounds for coffee and dessert.
Service was polite and timely, and our waitress was just the right amount of conversational. The prices were typical for Portsmouth, between $24 and $28 for the entrees and about $12 for the appetizers. All in all, I'm glad I went but I will probably try other restaurants before returning.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Whiter at the coast
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Confusion took its toll on drivers on Interstate 93 at the end of the New Year's holiday weekend, a day after the state stopped accepting discounted highway tokens.
Southbound traffic backed up two miles behind the Hooksett toll plaza late Monday afternoon during the final phase of the transition to E-ZPass transponders.
Friday, December 23, 2005
The world's largest specialty coffee chain once shunned the drive-through concept, fearing it might alienate customers who like to come inside and sip their lattes while listening to music in cozy chairs.Starbuck's future neighbors don't seem to keen on this trend.
Verdict: I didn't love it but I would go back... after all they have slices which is a staple on "Bachelor" nights. I will say that they really put money into remodeling the place, and it shows, very nice. Also, very clean, like "wow, they must scrub this place every twenty minutes" clean.
Rant: Can someone please offer NY style pizza in Dover? I should have to travel down to Ken's West End Pizza for my fix.
MacDonald carries 110 varieties of loose tea in her recently-opened medicinal and quality teas shop, which is located in the newly renovated Franklin Galleria at 453 Central Ave. She said all types of tea come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. What makes each different is where it is grown and how it is processed.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
"The toll plazas will continue to have 'Exact Change' lanes on the left side of the toll plazas. Just how many of those lanes are at each toll facility will be dictated by how many drivers choose to throw coins in the buckets rather than convert to E-ZPass.I bet these people don't even use the tolls.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
As tokens come into the tolls now, they are seized and stockpiled in 'an undisclosed location.' Transportation Commissioner Carol Murray said she's keeping the location of the 9.5 million cache of tokens secret because they are still worth a pass through the toll plazas and she doesn't want anyone trying to loot the stash.Call Nicolas Cage, I smell a sequel.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Then, when you are looking through all stacked up Wireds you still haven't read yet, you could just look at the cover to see if the tech/ideas in the articles are outdated and worth skipping.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Hotter at the Coast
From the Manchester Union Leader, November 30, 2006:
Fire dancer tells her side of story
By CAROL ROBIDOUX
Portsmouth - Lara Rines never meant to be a lawbreaker. She never meant to startle pedestrians or violate whatever city ordinances dictate fire dancing on the streets.
She just wanted to dance with fire and dazzle the holiday shopping crowd enough to earn a little holiday cash.
But last week, when she found a vacant patch of brick in front of North Church on Market Street and began twirling flaming sticks to music, she was promptly shut down by police, who charged her with reckless conduct and failure to have a permit.
Rines, of Dover, said she tried to get a permit, but got no clear answers from city officials. "Nobody knew exactly how to answer my question. I tried the fire department first and eventually spoke with (Deputy Fire Chief Stephen Griswold). I explained that I would be in control of the fire, and that it wouldn't be a large fire," Rines said.
He told her she didn't need a fire permit, but should find out if she needed a permit to dance for donations.
So Rines called City Hall. She said after explaining the nature of her fire dance, she was told she should check with the fire department. "They were fuzzy. Nobody seemed to know what kind of permit I needed."
Portsmouth Mayor Evelyn Sirrell said the procedure for anyone interested in performing is to write a letter to the city manager. She said the fact that Rines was performing with fire had nothing to do with why she was arrested.
"She could've scared somebody to death," Sirrell said. "In most cases, we're very open. I'm not sure what category her entertainment fits into, but she would likely have had to hire police as well, for safety issues."
When Rines stands before a judge on Dec. 12, she said she will not be standing alone as one fire dancer interested in her own freedom of expression.
She will be standing up for all those street performers who believe their First Amendment rights are being jeopardized by what, she says, are the city's inconsistent laws governing street performers.
"I believe performance artists are the heart of a community - growing up, I loved going into Boston. Without that, it's just another place with big buildings and noise," said Rines.
David O'Connor of Barrington, a longtime political activist and fellow street performer, said the city's insistence on regulating artists is a form of censorship.
"The concept that a government body or group needs to be consulted for you to express yourself freely is clearly covered in the First Amendment," O'Connor said. "We as performers are dealing with the precedents set around the country, invariably in favor of performers."
O'Connor says cities set up ordinances with good intentions that fall flat in the arena of personal freedom.
"These shotgun blast sort of ordinances are set up with the perception of protecting the flavor of the city or ambiance of the town. But they cannot, nor do they, override our First Amendment rights as performers," O'Connor said.
On that point he has the backing of Massachusetts-based Community Arts Advocates Inc. - a street performance rights organization.
"Street performance has been well-established in this country - Ben Franklin sang on the streets, as did Sam Adams. It's part of the cultural heritage of humanity - and most definitely part of our culture here in New England," said Stephen Baird, executive director and organization founder.
He's done his legal research and has amassed a pile of documented cases where, time after time, street performers - often called buskers - have won their right to sing, whistle, dance, wax poetic, juggle and make magic on city streets across the country.
A street performer himself, Baird said he's in the midst of a lawsuit with the city of Boston over his right to play the hammer dulcimer.
"What Lara Rines is going through is a typical issue for buskers. In her case, my feeling is the city should be advocating for and supporting street performance. Clearly, she tried to get a permit and couldn't get accurate information. At best, it's a matter of poor public policy," Baird said. "But just as clearly, it's discrimination against the artist, which is illegal."
O'Connor said Rines no longer has the choice to simply walk away from Portsmouth and take her fire dance elsewhere.
"She has to go to court now - and I'm with her. We're not the only ones, either. There are others, street performers waiting in the wings, ready to make a stand," O'Connor said. "The importance of doing this is in the effort of resistance. It's the only way a free society remains truly free."
Monday, November 07, 2005
Speaking of the meal, the menu was full of bad for you things, which meant it was good. I chose the chili burger with a side of onion rings. The burger was cooked the way I requested (medium) and the chili was quite good tasting, although I would have enjoyed it a fire alarm or two more hot. The onion rings, smeh, not so good. Big think coating with soft onions that slide out on the first bite. I'm more a devotee of a lighter crisper coating, such as is found at Brown's Lobster Pound.
I also sampled in on some wings that a compatriot had ordered. We got them at medium heat and at first dip, they were SMOKIN! After the burning feeling had left my lips, I was able to enjoy them, but I didn't find them to be special. But how can the thinest boniest part of a bird be special, anyway?
I realize I'm not cut out to be a restaurant reviewer. After few Smutty's all the descriptive words leave my head and I'm left with, "mmm, food good".
Monday, October 31, 2005
Brown's or Mark's
We went to Brown's again this Sunday with friends from Goffstown. We're all experienced Brown's customers, so we know to bring the cooler of beer and wine, cheese and crackers and other assorted add-on's. As we hit the door, one of us peels off to order the steamers (different counter than the lobster), two of us head for the lobster counter, and the fourth rolls the cooler to a table of choice. At the lobster counter this week, it looked like tourist season again. Although we were the third set of customers in line, the first set were the stereotypical Japanese with cameras. They took pictures of the guy taking the orders, the guy fishing the lobsters out of the tank, the lobsters in the tank, the lobsters on the scale and so on. The second set were obviously Brown's rookies, not knowing what to order and with lots of questions. Our turn finally came, and we have our order ready and our cash out.
The lobsters were wonderful, and their fried foods (mmm, onion rings) are good too. I especially like their cole slaw, which is fresh without being overwhelmed with sauce. Nothing better than washing down a large lobster with some chilled beers and onion rings.
After lobster, we went to Hampton Beach. Recent storms have left a large amount of sand on the sidewalks and parking areas. It's kind of nice - the beach just keeps on going. If it could blow all the way to Exeter, the only thing I'd be lacking are the sound of the waves.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Rays or Petes
Sunday, September 11, 2005
State officials last week said it appears police cannot ticket and fine motorists who don't pay tolls on New Hampshire turnpikes, thanks to an oversight that took place when E-ZPass was written into state law. This would mean that any non-camera lanes — the coin-basket-only lanes — are essentially free ride lanes.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Monday, August 22, 2005
Siegfried Watson of Rochester thought it made sense to stock up on $300 worth of tokens instead of buying a roll at a time for his daily commute to North Andover, Mass.Man, it is bad enough being stuck behind someone asking for directions.
But when he began working in Portsmouth at a new job, his token usage was cut in half and he now has more tokens than he can use.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Aug. 20, 1955: Completion and official dedication of the Nashua to Manchester segment of F. E. Everett Turnpike; Thornton’s Ferry Toll Plaza opens at today’s Exit 11 in Merrimack, featuring the first automatic toll-collector machines in the world. Toll is 25 cents per car; Highway officials introduce toll tokens, providing a one-third discount.Old skool E-Z Pass.