Best of NH 2015 Food Odds and Ends

Article copied from New Hampshire Magazine, June 15, 2015

In this section of 2015’s Best of NH you’ll find this year’s best new restaurant, where to eat outdoors, fine dining, a local cheesemaker, the best date night spot, the return of an old favorite and more!

Burger Mix: Grass-fed beef is tasty but lean. Pork is flavorful too, but has too much fat for some. Welcome the perfect platter for Jack Sprat and his wife — the Pork-Beef Burger Mix from Miles Smith Farm that’s tasty, tender and local. Find it at their farm store in Loudon and check their website for other retail locations.

Destination Dining: Really nice experiences are usually the result of the efforts of a singular individual and in a limited time frame. Boston Chef Paul Licari happens to enjoy NH and also likes to renovate old homes. Two years ago, he opened King Hill Kitchen in New London to rave reviews. He takes great pride in his craft and diners are treated exceptionally well. The cuisine is modern New England, as is the renovated farmhouse with its classic, but clean lines. The screened porch has views of the patio and fields beyond, perfect for a summer evening. They have opened the rooms to guests, so stay a spell if you like the area. The restaurant is only open to the public summer through fall.

Game Dinner: On a frosty autumn evening, nothing satisfies like Chef Bob Nabstedt’s game dishes at the Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield. Enjoy smoked wild boar bratwurst, delicate pheasant sausage made with cognac, rainbow trout crusted in chopped pecans, elk and venison sausages with blueberries and port, venison osso bucco, elk medallions with huckleberries and pinot noir or buffalo short ribs braised in smoked Porter.

Farmstead Cheese: Happy Ayrshire and Jersey cows in Wilton are an essential part of the cheese-making process at the Temple-Wilton Community Farm. Their raw milk becomes a rich and delicious Edam, Jarlsberg, Muenster and other beautifully cultured cheeses. Join their CSA, shop the store at the farm or find them at the Bedford and Salem farmers markets.

Garden-to-Dinner: A stroll in the beautiful kitchen garden beside The Horse & Hound Inn in Franconia on the al fresco dining terrace will give you a glimpse of the evening’s menu, and a whiff of the herbs you’ll taste in your breakfast omelets. Raised beds, trellises and a sparkling greenhouse combine to assure that summer and fall menus are filled with the vibrant flavors of fresh-picked organic produce.

New Old Favorite: Former C.R. Sparks fans can rejoice that many of that popular restaurant’s menu items are reborn at Chuck Rolecek’s new restaurant, CR’s The Restaurant, in the former Bontá space in Hampton.The wooden chairs, blue-checkered tablecloths and even the wall art will bring back Sparks memories. Rolecek even brought back former Sparks’ chef Chris Veatch to seal the deal.

Prix Fixe Dining: Sometimes it’s just easier to limit your choices to a prix fixe menu and let the evening slowly play out. You can trust Chef Val Fortin to present a lovely four-course, prix fixe dinner ($66) at the historic Sugar Hill Inn in Sugar Hill. The food is locally sourced, flavors are internationally inspired and reservations are necessary at this popular north of the notch destination.

Small Plates Dining: You can get full dinners there, but what the pub at the beautifully restored Bellows Walpole Inn in Walpole specializes in is small plates — plates like crispy duck breast with red wine plum sauce, pan-seared salmon with lemon dill cream sauce, grilled flat iron steak with bourbon demi-glace and fried oysters with caper aioli. Absolutely not to miss are the crab cakes — some of the best in the state.

Theme-of-the-Week Menus: Tired of the same-old, same-old at your local restaurant? Dishes are always changing at Roam Café in Wilton, where you’ll find fun and delicious themes that shape that week’s menu. Themes have included Cinco de Mayo, wild game, international flavors, the tropics and the seasons and they work with items that are only available during specific times (like maple syrup, which inspired maple-glazed salmon and duck, among other tasty dishes). See Facebook for the week’s theme and menus.

True Farm-to-Table: The Farm Bistro is located on the working Applecrest Farm in Hampton Falls and serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday, dinner from Wednesday through Saturday and a Sunday brunch. Enjoy the bounty of the seasons with ingredients grown right there on the farm.