…by Anura Guruge
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Best $10 I Have Spent In 2012, Maybe In A Longtime.
Overall a great experience. Lot of fun.
Showcased Meredith to perfection.
Thank YOU. You folks did Great. Take a Bow.
It was Goldilocks weather. Not too hot, not too cold. Just right. Perfect for a walking tour of Meredith. They could not have asked for better.
So here is one thing. Me being who I am, I inquired from multiple ‘officials’ what their plan would have been if it was bucketing down with rain. They had none! They left it to chance. That was a bit unsettling. Maybe they will have some contingency plans next year.
Deanna had called up and booked more or less as soon as we read about it in the Laconia Daily Sun. So we were on the 2pm tour. The 1st tour of the day, the 1st tour of the event, the 1st Meredith ‘Trick or Eat’ tour ever. So, they impressed upon the 30 of us, on that 1st tour, that we were on the inaugural tour. That was nice.
Something else. I did not see a laptop insight. They had all the registrations written down on a piece of paper. Typical NH. Shades of the Keene Pumpkin Festival. Exploiting some decades old technology, an old laptop with Excel 2003, is not a cardinal sin. So maybe we might see some technology next year. They also had a very compelling, one sheet color program with a very cute, hand drawn map of Meredith. I liked the map very much. But, they had NO Web presence. Yes, there was two mentions in the program as to who created that map. Yes, I went and checked them out. But, I am NOT going to give them a plug because they let the side down by not creating a Web presence, just pushing their URL. Sorry. I am a hard taskmaster. Yes, I could scan the map and show it to you, but I won’t. Sorry.
From what I heard they had 260 pre-registrations. That is great. I saw some walkins. So they probably had 300 or more.
We had 5 Meredith History stops with ladies in period costumes acting out roles. Nice costumes. Sometimes difficult to hear. Would have been nice if they had some amplification. I learnt some. I knew about 45% of it. There was just a tad too much duplication. So they should coordinate their stories next year. Plus, do MORE about Bob Montana. He is famous and the kids will love the Archie stuff.
The 10 ‘Eats’ and What We Thought About The Grub:
OK. Nothing special. Did NOT do themselves proud.
Their ‘Frutti Di Mare‘ (fruits of the sea) seafood ‘gumbo’ with Shrimp, mussels, calamari, little neck clams and fish fillets in fennel-infused tomato broth (but sans the Garlic toasted ciabatta). This is one of their menu items and they charge $22. I don’t think there was any calamari in what we got. It was OK. Did not knock my socks off. I thought it was way too salty (even for a seafood dish). If I had paid $22 for a dish of this, I probably would have choked. I then remembered that I had gone off Lago 8-9 years ago. Don;t get me wrong. In general we are BIG FANS of Alex Ray’s Common Man Restaurants. But, Lago is atypical. Too pretentious; for the upscale tourist. That is fine. I haven’t gone there in 8 years. I much preferred what used to be there before the Lago. That was fun. Had a the best ‘Electric Lemonade’ in the Summer. I lived EXACTLY a mile away, by water, on Mile Point. So I know. [Yes, we know Alex.]
2. Lakeside Deli.
BRILLIANT. Bravo. Out did themselves. Wow. Wow. Wow. THANK YOU.
Turkey Gobblers! Thanksgiving on toast. Turkey, stuffing and cranberry between two slices of toast. It was irresistible. Devanee and I went back for more and then the owner came out and gave us a 3rd piece.
Right through the tour I heard people raving about the Turkey Gobblers. These are ‘new’ owners. I used to ‘frequent’ the place when I lived in Meredith. Now we will go back. This was good PR for the Deli.
3. George’s Diner.
Good, as ever, which is their calling card. Did themselves well. It is WYSIWYG dining with them. Straightforward, decent grub.
Chili and Apple crisp. Both good. Kids liked it.
Very good. Did themselves proud. Bravo. Owner John Cook (which is a great name other than the fact that he is also a commercial pilot) did ALL of the serving and clearing up. Nice touch. Many would not know that this was the legendary John Cook. I just asked him whether he was still flying. He was. He didn’t recognize me. I am 10 years older and haven’t weathered well. Very nice guy. After our visit today, Deanna wants to go there for their Thanksgiving Brunch — as that will be our 10th anniversary of meeting! For Deanna to pick it says tons. I used to visit quite often — again when I lived in Meredith and Gilford. Looks like John has won us back.
Pumpkin Ravioli. Exquisite.
5. Sunshine and Pa’s.
OK. They had 3 options: chili, corn chowder and clam chowder. I had the latter. It was tasteless and cold! Deanna had the corn chowder and liked it. They served small flat breads. Nice folks. Not my cup of tea. Not somewhere I would go to eat. But, seems like a nice place.
Hhhhmmm. Good job we love the joint! They didn’t, in our opinion, do themselves justice. Not any of their signature dishes or pizzas. Just some easy-to-forget mediocre pizza! But, they provided much needed water. That was good. The water was good, very good.
Pizza and water, and by now the water was very WELCOME.
7. Meredith Village Pizza.
Pity that it was pizza back-to-back. This pizza was pretty awful! Enough said. If we want pizza in Meredith we would go, without hesitation, to Giuseppe’s.
8. Phu Jee Chinese.
OK. Not their best, as with Giuseppe’s. These folks, at least when I used to frequent the joint (when I lived on Mile Point, 1996 to 1999), had top notch Chinese. Today’s was passable. I had thought that they had redone the interior. What a shame. The inside continues to be claustrophobic. Somebody needs to help them.
Crab Rangoon and a piece of General Gau/Orange Chicken. Lady next to me wouldn’t eat it. Gave it to me.
9. Frog Rock Tavern.
What were they thinking? They screwed up! I heard people muttering about it for the next 5 minutes.
SPICY Rangoon — cut in half. Kids wouldn’t touch it. Was way too spicy for many. It was fine with me, but it was a ‘nothing’ experience.
10. Kara’s Cafe and Cakery.
It was OK, I think. Didn’t ‘wow’ me in the slightest. Kind of sad. The last two stops of the tour were anti-climactic. Shame.
Pumpkin whoopee pie and a small, whipped drink. I wasn’t thrilled, BUT that the kids didn’t eat theirs tells a tale.
So, that was the tour. On the whole a GREAT success. Wish we could do something like this in Alton — but we only have three and a half restaurants, and one is the McDonald’s!
Thank you organizers. Thank you the eateries. It was a good cause.