A recent road trip of five cities in 9 days brought some good food in fairly widely scattered locations. I hadn’t left home intending to write, so there are no pictures – and you should be glad because most of these places turned out to be PRETTY DARK. But the tastes – ah, that’s another story, one I intend to tell you.
In Hanover, NH, home of Dartmouth College, we hit The Canoe Club. The atmosphere is informally preppy, they have live music every night, and the crowd covered an age range of about five decades. I had intended to spend this trip off duty, so I have no photographs of any of these spots, or the food they served.
Nevertheless, I can happily commend the mussels, huge fat boys that were topped with french fries, the old Belgian moules frites combination, but then drizzled with a divine aioli. It’s the best mussel dish I’ve eaten in years, and the broth was splendid. The potato gnocchi with wild mushrooms were also good, but nothing beat those mussels. And charming service.
Worth a stop if in or near Hanover, but if you go, be warned this is an idiosyncratic town when it comes to transportation. The rental car agencies close early – we had to arrange car service to get us to our B&B at 6:30 p.m. – and taxi service is, to put it politely, limited. When we finished dinner at The Canoe Club, it was almost 10 p.m. on a Thursday. We asked the bartender to call us a cab. One eyebrow went up and he headed for the phone. When he hung up, he turned to us and said regretfully but in no surprise, “It’ll be an hour, they say, maybe more.” One of the (sober) regulars at the bar ferried us back to the B&B. He says he does these runs often.
The Canoe Club
27 S. Main St., Hanover, NH
Lunch and Dinner daily
Three days in Boston were intended as a seafood safari and to visit a former Apprentice Eater (who has, happily, turned into a fine full-blown Adventurous Eater). It’s a little surprising that in the midst of one of the most deeply touristed neighborhoods, around Faneueil Hall in Boston it’s pretty easy to find good stuff.
So here are a dinner place, a lunch spot, and a market.
Union Oyster House says it’s the oldest continually operating restaurant in the United States. They’ve been feeding folks since 1826. It feels that old – in fact, it reminds me of places in London, especially in the upstairs dining room, dark and wood-paneled. We ended up in a booth that had a plaque proclaiming it John F. Kennedy’s preferred spot, and the cocktail menu offers some cocktails from that era, including a daiquiri, which the menu said was his preferred tipple. To my memory, he was a Scotch guy, and it was Jacqueline who drank daiquiris. It makes no difference, this is a real daiquiri, not the kind that comes out of a soft ice cream maker, just lime juice, rum and simple syrup, one of my favorite drinks made correctly, and this certainly was. I knocked back clams on the half-shell and fried clams, and became reacquainted with Indian pudding, which is molasses and cornmeal. I preferred the clams.
Union Oyster House
41 Union St., Boston
Lunch and Dinner daily
At lunch, starving group members needed to be fed with some urgency, so we ended up at a two-level pub in the Quincy Market. (The Q word is pronounced with a “zee” sound in Massachusetts, not a “cee” sound.) Ned Devine’s is known as a drinking and dancing spot at night, but there’s a large menu. The whole gang was happy with their food, but I was particularly struck by their clam chowder. New England style, natch, but a particularly flavorful version with just a wee little hit of heat in the liquid and lots of clams. It’s won awards.
Ned Devine’s Irish Pub
1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Quincy Market, Boston
Lunch and Dinner daily
And then the AE took me to the Boston Public Market. It’s pretty mind-blowing, lots of vendors, both for raw ingredients and eat-there stuff, plus some tableware. They also offer free tours on Thursdays and Sundays. It’s a good look at what local purveyors in a climate that’s rather different than ours here are offering. Pretty much a don’t miss for chowhounds, I think. And it’s indoors – although some of it spills outside – if that’s significant.
Boston Public Market
100 Hanover St., Boston
One more city, rather off the beaten path. Near York, PA, is Manchester, PA. My family there took me to eat at Debbie’s Pizza. It’s a mom-and-pop spot that’s been around for decades. The pizza is good, but the stromboli is outstanding. Stromboli? No? Sort of a calzone, but long, the length of a forearm, filling wrapped in pizza dough. No sauce inside; that’s on the side for dipping.
The filling there is ham, cheese and sausage. Or, truthfully, it’s what Debbie’s calls sausage. By looks and flavor, it’s fine julienne of pepperoni, quite spicy. (This also is what goes on their sausage pizza.) But the stromboli is Where It’s At. Cut in slices about two inches long, it’s big, tasty and seductive. And thanks to that sausage, very different.
229 S. Main, Manchester, PA