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Nashua NH: seeking various recs


Ktepi
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I'm moving to Nashua in May. Although I grew up in the area -- next door in Hollis -- I haven't lived there since 1993 and have visited very little, and needless to say, things have changed. I would be hugely appreciative if anyone had any recommendations for the following things --

Butchers. I don't know what the meat selection is like in the grocery stores, but in the four towns I've shopped in in the last few years, it's been pretty dismal, especially pork (which here in Bloomington is unavailable uninjected, without going to a butcher). Is there a good butcher in town? Exotic meats aren't a prerequisite, I just want to be able to get decent chili-grind beef, boneless chicken thighs, pork belly, and for the steak to be worthwhile on the rare occasion when I buy it.

Cuban. Anything?

Grocery stores. These seem to have gotten much, much better -- my mother shops at the Alexander's by the Nashua Mall. I mean, it's not called Alexander's anymore, and it was where the Home Depot (iirc) is now when it was, but I have no idea what it is now. Stop and Shop maybe? Anyway, that may be all I need, but if not, is there a particular store in town that's great, a chain that has terrible prices, anything like that I should know? Any ethnic markets that are particularly good?

Chinese. The last time I had Chinese food in Nashua, it was the joint in the food court at the Pheasant Lane Mall. I also vaguely remember a tiki lounge type place with technicolor-shaded sweet and sour chicken that was pretty good because it had so much pineapple in it. But is there anything in town for reasonably authentic Chinese? A place with pig ears and beef intestine, ma la chicken, that kind of thing?

Liquor stores. I've never lived in New Hampshire while of drinking age and have no idea if the state liquor stores are the only place you can buy booze or what, or what the selection is like. I was happy with Bartles & James as a teenager, you know? But I would love to have a source for maraschino liqueur; and barring that, at least some place I can pick up bourbon, tequila, and Campari.

Delivery. I'll be at Hollis Crossing (2 miles from the Nashua Mall). If you have any idea who delivers there, especially outside of the big pizza chains, I would love to hear :)

It's an abrupt change for me, and I had never planned to move back to New England, so I've been focusing on food and baseball as the obvious benefits; any recommendations, including stuff not covered above, I'm really grateful for.

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Welcome back. When we moved to the Nashua area in 1994, our big challenge was trying to find a restaurant that was open at 9pm. Things have definitely improved, and you'll enjoy Michael Timothy's, Surf, and Fody's.

Butchers: there are 2 good ones in Bedford on Rte 101. Mr. Steer is on Rte 102 in Londonderry. The only one in Nashua is called Bare Bonz and I wasn't that impressed. Another eGulleteer recommended a place in Groton called Blood Farm.

Cuban: there's a restaurant in Manchester called El Quijote which supposedly has Cuban food. Here's a link to Hippo Press which lists some Latin American spots:

http://www.hippopress.com/food/food051229.html

There are a couple of Brazilian places, and I can recommend Sabor on Canal St.

La Carretta on DW Hwy has decent Mexican.

Grocery Stores: The usual array of Demoulas, Stop and Shops, and Shaws. These now have sushi bars and better veg and cheese departments. You can always drive down to Whole Foods in Cambridge. There are several Indian groceries, a few Asian (Korean/Thai/Japanese) markets around town.

Chinese: The two "best" Chinese places are Chen Yang Li and Lilac Blossom, though if you're looking for the funky, i.e. intestine, you may have to go to Boston Chinatown. You You Bistro at Exit 6 off the Everett has very good Asian/fusion food.

Liquor stores: State-run and the selection is cheap and varied. Hendricks gin is available for around $20 ($34 in NYC). There's also a place called the Wine Society in Tyngsboro and on Amherst St that has tastings and rare selections.

Delivery: pathetic for anyone from a big city, though Domino's and maybe a couple of Chinese places will do it.

If you need any other info, let me know.

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Excellent, thank you! Is Hippo Press in general a good resource?

I think someone has mentioned Lilac Blossom to me before. Other than Bertucci's and the usual list of pizza/sub places, I haven't had a chance to get out to many places when visiting -- there's a nice sushi place a friend of mine always insists on, although it'll be well out of my price range for an everyday night out.

Sabor sounds excellent, and Brazilian is something I haven't had access to yet.

Hopefully I won't sound like too much of a lush for doing cartwheels over the price of that Hendrick's -- that's a good $30 even in Indiana, which I don't think of as a particularly expensive place. God, I almost wish I still smoked, just for the money I'd save.

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I think I was the one who spoke of Blood Farm in West Groton. I've had good luck procuring stuff I can't find elsewhere -- sweetbreads, oxtail, veal bones, etc. For everyday meat purchases, it's Alpine Market, a butcher on Summer St. in Chelmsford, MA -- a quick drive from Nashua.

There's a Whole Foods in Bedford, MA right off Rt. 3 -- no need to drive all the way into Cambridge.

The grocery store by Nashua Mall is now Hannaford -- actually not a bad supermarket at all. This particular store -- indeed all the ones I've been to in NH -- have very good produce departments, as well as an adequate wine section. Last time I was there they had sunchokes, rhubarb, and Meyer lemons from Melissa's. There's also a new Super Stop & Shop on 3A in Hudson; I've only just run in there for a few things, but much nicer that Market Basket a/k/a Loser Basket around here.

:wink:

Starbucks has invaded the area. There's one on DW Highway as well as a new one in the Pheasant Lane Mall, plus a drive-through near the old Nashua Mall.

And you know about Trader Joe's, just over the border in Tyngsboro, right?

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

My eGullet blog

The Renegade Writer Blog

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I'll have to hit the Blood Farm at some point, then -- veal bones are a must. Well, handy at least. Maybe not a must.

I didn't know there was a Trader Joe's there now! Excellent. The one in Indianapolis is fairly small, so I've felt kind of cheated.

I was amazed walking through the Hannaford the last time I visited my mother. Especially having grown up in Hollis, I still think of the area as very insular and resistant to ... well, to food. Other than apple pie, lobster, and chowder anyway -- my mother's boyfriend won't eat spaghetti very often because he considers it ethnic food.

The best thing about this is that moving in May means putting off winter as long as possible, and getting the local produce and whatnot -- I'm surprised the Nashua Farmer's Market doesn't open until July (and only Tuesday afternoons) according to google, but there's Brookdale's and Lull's across the line in Hollis at least.

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Doh--how could I have forgotten Trader Joes?? Though things haven't been the same since they discontinued garlic pistachios.

Yes, Hippo Press is a free alternative paper that has good food coverage for southern NH. They have Manchester and Nashua editions. The Nashua Telegraph's food "critic" is a joke--they seem to review the same 5 places in rotation.

Farmer's Markets are springing up all over. The one in Milford is quite good, and the one in Amherst has locally produced wines(!) and a fish vendor with very good product (all grown locally--just kidding). They open quite late in the summer--remember how short the growing season is up here? Also, the Milford Fish Market is very good.

Some more restaurant ideas: Lucia's Tavola on Rte 13 in Brookline NH is very good--Italian homestyle cooking. Also a new Lebanese "bistro" called Mezza has opened in Nashua on Elm St.

Lastly, don't forget the Hollis Strawberry Shortcake Social, on the Common in late May--hope you are here to enjoy it.

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Doh--how could I have forgotten Trader Joes??  Though things haven't been the same since they discontinued garlic pistachios. 

Yes, Hippo Press is a free alternative paper that has good food coverage for southern NH.  They have Manchester and Nashua editions.  The Nashua Telegraph's food "critic" is a joke--they seem to review the same 5 places in rotation. 

Farmer's Markets are springing up all over.  The one in Milford is quite good, and the one in Amherst has locally produced wines(!) and a fish vendor with very good product (all grown locally--just kidding).  They open quite late in the summer--remember how short the growing season is up here?  Also, the Milford Fish Market is very good.

Some more restaurant ideas:  Lucia's Tavola on Rte 13 in Brookline NH is very good--Italian homestyle cooking.  Also a new Lebanese "bistro" called Mezza has opened in Nashua on Elm St. 

Lastly, don't forget the Hollis Strawberry Shortcake Social, on the Common in late May--hope you are here to enjoy it.

I will absolutely be there for that :) That was a must when I was a kid, and the center of town has a lot of good memories for me (my mother works in the town hall, my brother played little league in the lot behind the library, we went to the Congregationalist church, etc).

I'd forgotten how short the season was, I guess -- all this time in Louisiana and Indiana, and as much as Indiana feels like the north in comparison to New Orleans, it still gets warm enough to plant much earlier. Man, it'll be forever before my mother's corn is ready.

A Lebanese bistro! Between that and a Russian market that google turned up, I sense some new experiences on the horizon.

This is encouraging. Intellectually I know it's not a wasteland at all, you can tell just driving through -- deep down I just haven't internalized how different it is from the 80s (or that my experience of it was not universal). When I wanted spicy food, we used to have to drive to Shorty's in ... Milford, maybe, one of the M-cities.

And for my own recommendation, my mother says that C&S Pizza is still there in Pepperell but she thinks they've changed the crust. As long as the sauce is still the same, that's fine with me -- the sauce that C&S uses (and that seems broadly similar to Greek-owned pizza places north of Boston) made such an impression on me that pizza outside of New England has just been "nice" at best. Not to mention, the rest of the country doesn't seem to do meatball pizza.

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I think I was the one who spoke of Blood Farm in West Groton. I've had good luck procuring stuff I can't find elsewhere -- sweetbreads, oxtail, veal bones, etc. For everyday meat purchases, it's Alpine Market, a butcher on Summer St. in Chelmsford, MA -- a quick drive from Nashua.

That's West Groton, MA. I was never happy with the service at Blood Farms, but I haven't shopped there in years and things may have changed.

Alpine Market is a retail outlet for Lowell Provisions in Lowell, MA which may be more convenient. The Lowell store does both wholesale and retail. The Lowell store is more likely to have a better selection. At Alpine you may have to order more unusual items a few days in advance and have them bring it over from Lowell.

Jim

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Oh, I thought of something else: bakeries.

I don't need anything fancy or out of the ordinary, but the grocery store bakeries in Indiana are pretty terrible (it doesn't help that the local habit is to sweeten all baked goods, even sub rolls). Is the bakery at Hannaford's or some other grocery store sufficient for the basics (sub rolls, Kaiser rolls, the occasional French bread to have with pasta)?

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Oh, I thought of something else: bakeries.

I don't need anything fancy or out of the ordinary, but the grocery store bakeries in Indiana are pretty terrible (it doesn't help that the local habit is to sweeten all baked goods, even sub rolls).  Is the bakery at Hannaford's or some other grocery store sufficient for the basics (sub rolls, Kaiser rolls, the occasional French bread to have with pasta)?

Supermarket bread has gotten MUCH better--if you're living at Hollis Crossing, you'll probably get it at the Hannaford's at Exit 6. I'll check and give you a report. There are also some good freestanding bakeries--The Dutch Epicure on 101A in Hollis has killer Rosemary Olive loaves and nice baguettes. Patisserie Bleu on Main St in Nashua is also good.

An FYI--the NH Liquor Store at Exit 6 has the best wine selection in the state, if you are a "serious" wino. And the Hollis Country Kitchen at the Four Corners has been given a rave review in the Telegraph: http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.d...3160015/-1/FOOD

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Supermarket bread has gotten MUCH better--if you're living at Hollis Crossing, you'll probably get it at the Hannaford's at Exit 6.  I'll check and give you a report.  There are also some good freestanding bakeries--The Dutch Epicure on 101A in Hollis has killer Rosemary Olive loaves and nice baguettes.  Patisserie Bleu on Main St in Nashua is also good. 

An FYI--the NH Liquor Store at Exit 6 has the best wine selection in the state, if you are a "serious" wino.  And the Hollis Country Kitchen at the Four Corners has been given a rave review in the Telegraph: http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.d...3160015/-1/FOOD

Man, this is all good news, thank you. I'm not a serious wino per se -- semi-serious liquor-o, but I'll be replenishing my bar virtually from scratch (I'll arrive with a bottle of Scotch and probably nothing else), which will define my alcohol budget pretty strictly for a bit. But I have been frustrated by my inability in Indiana to get the Bonny Doon wines I like, so I suspect I'll still take advantage of that -- especially given the proximity.

I remember when the Hollis Country Kitchen was the Four Corners something or other, we used to get breakfast there before Dolly's opened. I'm pretty sure I've been there in the last couple years -- I know I've had hash in that location in the last couple years, at least. It was excellent.

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I finally stopped by Hannaford's tonight (I usually hit Demoulas, Shaw's or Stop & Shop on my way home, but I needed to pick up vermouth at the Exit 6 liquor store). You are in luck: they carry Klinger's, who make a very good Jewish-style rye bread, Ecce Panis, When Pigs Fly--a local company--not crazy about their bread but they have their advocates, and there are baked in-store varieties like garlic mini baguettes, focaccia, etc.

The produce department looked good too--I noticed things like Jerusalem artichokes (what do you do with them?), white asparagus, the little Italian eggplants, bok choy, fennel.

The meat department looked OK--they have a butcher's window where you can presumably special order. They were having a sale on sirloin--$4.99 a lb.

The best part--you can check out 14 (FOURTEEN) items in the express lane!!!

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I really like the produce department at that Hannafords -- it's really spacious and they have a good selection. The Hannafords here in Chelmsford, MA, sells Jerusalem artichokes/sunchokes, but unfortunately they were already sprouting. (I bought them anyway and planted them -- maybe they'll reproduce enough tubers for the fall?) They also had a nice selection of fresh mushrooms last time I was up there, rare for a chain grocery.

I like sunchokes pureed in soup -- there's a nice cream-based recipe for sunchoke soup with scallops in Margaret Costa's Four Seasons Cookery.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

My eGullet blog

The Renegade Writer Blog

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I vaguely remember trying to make some kind of thing with sunchokes in remoulade sauce, but something about it didn't really work.

Thanks for the report, WHS! Hannaford's sounds very promising.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm here! I'm getting settled in and unpacked this week, although I actually moved in and did my grocery shopping last week -- that's a long story. I figure I should follow up with my thoughts on what I'm finding.

Butcher-wise, I haven't made it to Blood Farm yet, but Bare Bonz is ... weird. It seemed more like a meat-based convenience store than a butcher: I love that I was able to get rabbit (albeit from the same ubiquitous rabbit wholesaler everyone's rabbit comes from) and buffalo back ribs, but the meat counter had pork chops, ground beef, and hardly anything else -- except for meat sitting in their ten or eleven in-house marinades. I was a little stunned. I mean, if that's their niche, it's sensible enough, but it's the opposite of what I think of when I think "butcher shop."

I forgot about steak tips. I don't know if it's a New England thing, a northeast thing, an east coast thing, or ... well, it's not an Indiana or Louisiana thing. I'll have to play with those.

There's a Russian market -- Siberia -- on the corner of Main and Kinsley in Nashua, if I remember right. It's small, but I really need to get back there and take my time looking around -- they had some Russian cheeses, Russian salamis, in addition to the grocery section. Definitely caters to people who know what they're buying, more than food tourists like me.

I'll underscore the Country Kitchen recommendation at Four Corners in Hollis. I'd had breakfast and knew I loved that -- I always get the hash, pancakes are something I have to be in the mood for -- but I had lunch too last week, and it was great. Service was a little slow, and everything's a little more expensive than I expect it to be going in -- though this has been true across the board in moving to Nashua, he said in a grumpy aside -- but nothing has disappointed.

Also in Hollis, my disappointment that Monument Square Market no longer carries coffee milk was assuaged by the fact that it's now a very nice pizza and sub joint. My mother and brother both swear it's the best pizza in the area -- I grew up with C&S in Pepperell as the standard against which all other pizza has been compared, and I'm skeptical (and got an excellent Italian sub rather than test their theory), but then again, this is my family saying it, they grew up with the same pizza I did.

More to come, I'm sure. Is anyone else doing the Taste of Nashua thing?

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Hey, welcome back to balmy, tropical New Hampshire! Bare Bonz is definitely not a full-service butcher--the places in Bedford NH are MUCH better. What is it with marinated steak tips?

We got a nice kielbasa at the Russian store--definitely better than the supermarket variety. Fully cooked, so you just need to brown it on the grill.

If you like sushi, there is a fabulous new(ish) place on DW Highway called Takumi--very elegant, and they have very unusual selections.

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If you like sushi, there is a fabulous new(ish) place on DW Highway called Takumi--very elegant, and they have very unusual selections.

Is this new place where the old sushi/Japanese place used to be, up on the hill in the d'Angelos/Indian restaurant strip mall?

We always had so-so service at the old place, so I'm happy to hear of something new -- and good -- in the neighborhood.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

My eGullet blog

The Renegade Writer Blog

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If you like sushi, there is a fabulous new(ish) place on DW Highway called Takumi--very elegant, and they have very unusual selections.

Is this new place where the old sushi/Japanese place used to be, up on the hill in the d'Angelos/Indian restaurant strip mall?

We always had so-so service at the old place, so I'm happy to hear of something new -- and good -- in the neighborhood.

You're thinking of Osaka Tea Garden, which has closed. Takumi is farther north on DW--up near the amusement center, Hacienda del Rio, past Barnes & Noble.

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I ordered from Gianni's Pizza tonight, which my brother says is his favorite pizza that delivers here -- "it's because of the sauce," he said, not knowing that's been exactly my explanation when anyone asks me what I like about pizza in this part of the country. Small meatball pizza and a small steak and cheese sub with hot peppers.

The steak was a little bland -- not like there was a problem with the meat, but like it needed a little salt or something. I was going to get up and grab something to put on it -- Heinz 57, hot sauce, something -- but ... I finished the sub before I got around to it :) So it's hardly a major complaint. The hot peppers didn't overwhelm the sub, either, which happens sometimes, as though a joint's afraid you'll feel they skimped you by not loading the thing up with handfuls of whatever it is you asked for.

The pizza is very good, though I don't know if it's the best I've had around here. The sauce is indeed good, but it's a little thin -- not as deeply tomatoey as I might like. To use the chains as touchstones, it's closer to Domino's in that respect than Pizza Hut, you know? Better than either, of course.

Between that and the thinnish (but not cracker-thin) crust, it reminds me of Christopher's, which at one time was the only pizza available in Hollis and so featured prominently in my teen years.

Definitely a place I'll order from again.

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Chinese:  The two "best" Chinese places are Chen Yang Li and Lilac Blossom, though if you're looking for the funky, i.e. intestine, you may have to go to Boston Chinatown.

For funky Chinese (intestines, tripe, shrimp with the heads intact), there's South Garden in Merrimack.

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Chinese:  The two "best" Chinese places are Chen Yang Li and Lilac Blossom, though if you're looking for the funky, i.e. intestine, you may have to go to Boston Chinatown.

For funky Chinese (intestines, tripe, shrimp with the heads intact), there's South Garden in Merrimack.

Thanks, I'll check it out. On a sad note, there was an article yesterday in the UL noting that Baldwin's on Elm has closed. As one of the cornerstones of Manchester's new dining scene, it will be missed.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

Bump to recommend Lull Farms, on Broad Street in Hollis.

When I was a kid, they basically sold berries in the summer and apples in the fall, and while those things are still true, the produce selection is pretty terrific. I picked up callaloo this summer, along with a ton of wild blueberries and champagne grapes -- neither of which I had found at Hannaford's. Half of the blueberries are still in my freezer, frozen for a rainy day.

Yesterday they had the expected apples, which were terrific (I picked up Empires, Spencers, and Honeycrisps), and the cider that was my reason for being there (it's unpasteurized, $5/gallon, and already pretty dark). What I didn't expect to find was the eight or nine kinds of heirloom tomatoes, including Evergreens (which I think are the tomato I know as German Green) and Cherokee Purples. They had three or four kinds of cherry/grape tomatoes too, all grown at the farm, and fingerling potatoes -- again, something I hadn't been able to find at Hannaford's. I didn't buy any tomatoes because my mother grows tomatoes in her garden, so I feel guilty buying any -- but man, a Cherokee Purple on a BLT is a pretty amazing thing.

They also sell premium ice cream and sodas, whoopie pies (from Wicked Whoopies and another company), and fresh bread. Real glad I've been checking it out.

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Bump to recommend Lull Farms, on Broad Street in Hollis.

When I was a kid, they basically sold berries in the summer and apples in the fall, and while those things are still true, the produce selection is pretty terrific.  I picked up callaloo this summer, along with a ton of wild blueberries and champagne grapes -- neither of which I had found at Hannaford's.  Half of the blueberries are still in my freezer, frozen for a rainy day.

Yesterday they had the expected apples, which were terrific (I picked up Empires, Spencers, and Honeycrisps), and the cider that was my reason for being there (it's unpasteurized, $5/gallon, and already pretty dark).  What I didn't expect to find was the eight or nine kinds of heirloom tomatoes, including Evergreens (which I think are the tomato I know as German Green) and Cherokee Purples.  They had three or four kinds of cherry/grape tomatoes too, all grown at the farm, and fingerling potatoes -- again, something I hadn't been able to find at Hannaford's.  I didn't buy any tomatoes because my mother grows tomatoes in her garden, so I feel guilty buying any -- but man, a Cherokee Purple on a BLT is a pretty amazing thing.

They also sell premium ice cream and sodas, whoopie pies (from Wicked Whoopies and another company), and fresh bread.  Real glad I've been checking it out.

The fresh mozarella is very good too.

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