Sunday, July 22, 2007

New Hampshire and Maine

Our first night, we took a recommendation from our hotel and had dinner at the Barley House in Concord, NH.
Our waiter started us out with some crispy breadsticks and pretzel sticks and a small dish of hummus to dip them in. Interesting, and good.
For dinner I tried the parmesan crusted chicken with marsala marinara. Awesome and cheesy.
After a debate with the waiter, StfRon braved the ribs. Being a picky rib gourmand, he proclaimed them very good.
During conversation with the waiter, it had come up that we were in the area on our honeymoon. Near the end of our dinner, he delivered us a small bottle of champagne and two toasting glasses. It was a nice, appreciated touch.

The next morning, we headed a bit outside of Portsmouth to see the lighthouse. We could actually see three from here.
We then drove into Maine. We stopped in York to see Nubble lighthouse. The weather was gorgeous while we were there. The lighthouse was majestic upon it's rocky perch.
We hit The Pilot House restaurant in Kennebunk for lunch and StfRon finally tried some fish. He had the haddock, blackened. I had crab cakes, which were very good. I thought tarter sauce sounded a little lame to top them with, but this was the best tartar sauce I've ever had; not the same old Illinois tarter.

For dinner, we were able to hit another restaurant I have been to before: The Common Man. There are several of these in New Hampshire, the first opened in 1971, and both times I have eaten there (at the Concord location) I have been fully impressed.
The restaurant is in a large, barn-style building.
We were told there was a half hour wait, so we headed upstairs to the lounge. The bartender there was a friendly chap, and encouraged us to go ahead and eat at the bar if we liked. We decided "why not"?
We started with the brie portabella, a large mushroom stuffed with brie and topped with apple glaze and candied walnuts, then warmed. Excellent.
For dinner, I was torn between a special of prime rib topped with two shrimp scampi, or the pork tenderloin, with honey bacon vinaigrette served on a bed of beet greens and topped with salsa. I asked the bartender, and he recommended the pork, which was also $6 less than the special. The pork was succulent and juicy and I enjoyed every bite. It was also served with orzo.
StfRon chose the regular prime rib, sans scampi. He pronounced it perfectly prepared and delicious.
We did partake in dessert, StfRon the creme brulee duo: white chocolate and regular, and I the white chocolate bread pudding.
On our way out, I also noticed the crackers and dips by the front entrance, which we had missed. What a great treat to offer people while they wait! I had to snag a sample of at least one. It was a dip made from cottage cheese and some type of vinegar and oil with herbs. Very nice.
The staff was wonderful. Each time we considered a new wine, they would offer us a sample, and StfRon got to sample the port as well.

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