12.01.2015

Dispatch from New Hampshire and Massachusetts

A very quick trip to New England the week before last was filled with work, but also some pretty good food.

At Surf, on Nashua, NH's bustling, charming Main St., my colleagues were pleased with the seafood sandwiches and tacos while I received my fatty tuna (toro) fix with the cozy restaurant's ultimate tuna roll. 


Toro is the bacon of tuna. Ok, not really, as it's not cured or smoked; but it comes from the belly of the fish, and shares bacon's luscious, unctuous qualities. This massive roll employed the sweet toro with crunchy cucumber, sharp wasabi mayo, the pop of tobiko (fish eggs), and clean-tasting micro greens to very pleasing effect.

The garlic shrimp small plate was much different - lightly garlicky shrimp with a cake of firm, grilled yellow polenta, fresh rosemary, tomatoes roasted until almost dried in sweet balsamic vinegar, and a white wine butter sauce. This dish was savory, with lots of good umami flavors, and very homey.



We sat in the bar for our dinner at Surf, and even there, the atmosphere was good. I'd love to return with reservations in order to sit in the dining room and enjoy. Our waitress had good recommendations and thought of everything to make our dinner memorable and delicious - a seven on the BHS scale!

Surf Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The next day, we stopped in Worcester, Massachusetts for lunch on the way back to New York. Often, an en route stop such as this means crappy fast food, but thanks to Zomato, my go-to resource for good food in strange locales, we found the Flying Rhino Cafe, on Shrewsbury St. This bright, colorful space became a new favorite for my two colleagues and me.

Like fried pickles? Me too. Typically in the North, you get dill spears, breaded with panko crumbs and fried, but these were thin, delicately dilled pickle chips, crusted in cornmeal and flour and then flash fried. The resulting fried pickles were crunchy, mild and absolutely addictive - because the breading and pickle were in balance, rather than a thick spear coated in a few breadcrumbs, I found these superior to most versions. Totally yummy.


We also tried the buffalo chicken wontons, which were basically pierogies stuffed with chicken wing dip ingredients: shredded white meat chicken, cream cheese and hot sauce. Can you say yum! I can. Yum.

I went for the Shorty's sandwich: shredded beef short rib with goat cheese, care elites onions, arugula and pickled tomato on brioche. So it had the salty, fatty, utterly tender meat and soft, sweet onions dancing with tangy, creamy cheese, the peppery bite of arugula and lightly pickled, acidic freshness of the tomatoes on a thick, buttery roll. Served with a pile of crispy Parmesan fries kissed ever so slightly with truffle oil, this was a decadent dish that was somehow refined for all its sloppy glory. I loved it. 


We did find the dining room a little loud at the Rhino - two tables very close to us were rather rowdy for lunchtime, but the noise didn't detract from the food one bit. I would gladly return here for the cafe's delightfully vivid decor and equally quirky spins on American cuisine. This place rates an eight on ye olde BHS scale.

Flying Rhino Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


This was a very quick jaunt up to New England, and usually, this kind of hectic trip would mean rushed, junky meals a thruway stops. I'm so happy my colleagues had the patience to let me guide us to some new, fun spots to try out, and that both turned out to be so good. We'll be back to Surf and Flying Rhino on future trips for sure! My personality is big; my hunger is bigger!

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