Tag Archives: pizza

‘Portland Pie Co’ (Manchester, NH) — Do NOT Bother Unless You Just Want Pizza.

by Anura Guruge




Riverdance — 20th Anniversary Tour‘, at the SNHU Arena, on June 7, 2017, was at 8pm. We decided to get there early to get some good parking and have dinner before the show.

Since the ‘Portland Pie Co.‘ was just a block away we decided to go there. We had been there, once before, a couple of years ago, with all four kids and it had been ‘OK’.

There was a 20-minute wait, though all the tables were not taken. I think it had to do with staffing.

It is nice enough inside and the house red wine is pretty damn good.

I ordered the ‘Fryeburg Fair Cheeseburger‘ without any bread and opted to UPGRADE with a fruit salad.

The two-patty cheeseburger sans a bun was pathetic. Emaciated and anemic. The burger patties at McDonald’s are twice as thick and ten times more flavorful. NOT IMPRESSED. It was insipid and unappetizing.

The fruit salad was a total bloody JOKE. 9 slices of apple, one grape and a sliver of peach. That was it. 98% apple. I couldn’t believe it.

Deanna had the ‘Steak and Bleu Salad‘ and was not enthused by the salad part!

Devanee had a pizza and that was fine.

Teischan had the ‘Nacho Grande‘ appetizer with the $3.00 beef burger upgrade. A lot of Nachos but, at best, there was probably half of a burger of meat. 


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by Anura Guruge

NYC De Blasio Pizza ‘Forkgate’ Is Nothing Compared To Dilema Sri Lankans Face With Eating Rice & Curry.

New York’s new mayor Bill de Blasio struggling with a pizza. From ‘The New York Times’. Please click to access full coverage and story.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


by Anura Guruge


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Sri Lanka‘ for other possibly related posts
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A pretty representative picture (from 'supersana.com'). WE really eat with your fingers rather than your hands per se, though this is not always the case with Indians.

A pretty representative picture (from ‘supersana.com’). WE really eat with your fingers rather than your hands per se, though this is not always the case with Indians.


When I saw the ‘Forkgate‘ story on TV this morning my heart went out to poor De Blasio, because I too used to have this same dilemma, albeit not with pizza, but with rice and curry, especially when I was in my 30s and 40s.

Though I don’t eat it often, and haven’t eaten any rice in a year, I do like curry. I assume that that is kind of genetical. I grew up eating rice and curry and that kind of gets you in the groove. In Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), at least in my day, everybody ate their rice and curry by hand — a rice & curry meal consisting of rice (invariably white), dahl (lentils of varying consistency and spiciness) and one or more meat, fish, potato or vegetable curry. You combined a bit of rice, a bit of dahl and one of more of the curries in your hand and then put that in your mouth. You only used your fingers and those of just your right hand. In Ceylon that is how you would remind people as to which was their right hand — the one they ate with.

fingerbowlsOK, for the purposes of full disclosure, I used to be fed, by hand, by my grandmother during most of the 13.9 years I lived in Ceylon — departing in August 1976, a week prior to my 14th birthday. No, I wasn’t anymore disabled or incapable as I am now. And it was not laziness by any means. It had to do with my Type AA++++ personality where I can’t even brush my teeth unless I am reading something. And reading, my lifelong vice, was the problem. We didn’t have TV in Ceylon when I was growing up. So, I used to read — non-stop, in both Sinhalese and English, from the time I was three. I read in the car, I read in the bathroom, I read in bed, I read everywhere. Just like now I was surrounded by books. And here was the problem with rice & curry. Given the need to combine the food it is not really possible to read and eat rice & curry, effectively, even if you use a spoon and fork. I basically, even at 13, would rather read than eat — though nobody would have ever accused me of being undernourished. That had to do with my grandmother. She took care of me ever since I was born. She had me on a super-rich diet, of eggs, butter, meat and fish. And because I had my face in a book or comic, she would sit and my side, for long periods of time, and put food in my mouth when I opened it. Now, this does not in any way mean that I was spoilt.

Well, after I left Ceylon there was nobody to feed me. So I had to fend for myself. Plus I didn’t eat rice & curry on a daily.

bohra-cuisine-thaalI enjoyed eating with my fingers. I could do it well. I used to make fun of Sri Lankans who didn’t eat with their fingers. When I was in my mid-20s and moved into marketing I started wearing my trademark french-cuffed white-shirts, cuff-links, colorful ties and ‘fancy’ suits on a daily basis. I still ate, at lunch, if I was at an Indian, with my fingers. In those days Indian restaurants served finger bowls, in varying degrees of fanciness, before and after your meal. I ate with my fingers in 5-star hotels in India and Sri Lanka. That what you did. Then I started, while visiting Paris, to sometimes use a spoon and fork. That used to bother me. I used to go back and forth. Used my fingers in the U.K., spoon and fork in Paris!

By the time I was in my mid-40s the matter was settled. I didn’t eat rice & curry that often, BUT when I did I didn’t use my fingers. A couple of years ago we were invited to a Sri Lankan house in Massachusetts for rice & curry and I did eat with my fingers just to prove that I could.

So, I feel for De Blasio.

Now some Indians, especially Southern Indians, eat with their hands. They move the rice & curry to their palm and even squeeze it. They will drink the liquid that comes out. That is messy. I have never done that.

Now just to make some of you cringe, I have also partaken in communal eating — with your fingers, from the same plate! As I have stressed in these posts, Ceylon, when I was growing up, was pleasantly multicultural. We would go to muslim weddings. Being asked to partake in communal eating is a sign of kinship. I was young. Never bothered me. I knew the folks and there were strict protocols. Not sure whether I could do it now. Deanna cringes even when I mention it …


WMUR Best Pizza Place In New Hampshire Poll: I, Of Course, Voted For Giuseppe’s In Meredith — Who Else Could I Vote For? What About YOU?

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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 .by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Annual JTG Music Memorial Extravaganza … — Mar. 25, 2013.
>> 
Giuseppe’s A Delightful Dining Experience … — Oct. 11, 2012.


Click to access WMUR poll. You too can vote.

Click to access WMUR poll. You too can vote.

was not a very big pizza eater — but about the ONLY place where I would eat pizza would be at Giueseppe’s. So it would have been churlish if I did not vote.

I have gone back twice and had a look. Hhhmmmm.

Strange. Yes, I see some obvious places I recognize like the Pizza Barn in Ossipee, but a lot of places I have never heard of. Though I am not a huge pizza eater doesn’t mean I do not know ‘many’ of the popular local eateries. 

I am dying to see the final results.

I hope Giuseppe’s do reasonably well. Of course it is the family favorite. Devanee is already insisting that we go there for dinner for her birthday, as we did last year. And yes, I have e-mailed Julie to give her a heads up that we most likely will be there.

Intrigues me how the kids like the place. That is good.

So please don’t let me influence you, but at least do your civic duty and cast a vote.

Enjoy.

I am now going to go an have a chopped salad, with hot, hot green peppers and two home-cooked, pork burgers.

‘Laconia Daily Sun’ Goes Off At Halfcock About ‘Pizza & Cupcake Police’ Trying To Be Sensationalistic.

Dec2013x125

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 ..by Anura Guruge


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Friday, May 24, 2013, cover story in 'The Laconia Daily Sun'. Click to access.

Friday, May 24, 2013, cover story in ‘The Laconia Daily Sun’. Click to access.


Deanna was reading this and, understandably, getting very agitated. Though I didn’t read all of it, I realized quickly that this was spin and bad spin. I also appreciated that this had to do with the new anti-obesity policies. So, I decided that I would do some quick research before going to bed.

Just as I suspected. Poor, irresponsible journalism on the part of the Sun. This is not law as yet. Nobody will be fined. It is still in the proposal stage and the USDA is still accepting input.


This provides a good overview of the issues. Click  to access.

This provides a good overview of the issues. Click to access.


Here is the actual USDA Proposal. Click to access the PDF.

Here is the actual USDA Proposal. Click to access the PDF.


Giuseppe’s, Meredith, NH: A Delightful Dining Experience, Always.

by Anura Guruge


Click image to access ‘Giuseppe’s Pizzeria & Ristorante’ Website.

Giuseppe’s Pizzeria & Ristorante last night. Click to ENLARGE. Faces pixelated for privacy.

Painting by Meredith’s own Steve Hodecker of the Giuseppe’s bar, that hangs over the bar. Alas I have never met a nude lady at the bar. I, however, do know the lady depicted in the picture, but I am not telling. I have an original Steve Hodecker nude bronze from c. 1999. I am waiting for Steve to get mega famous so I can sell it and retire. Click image to ENLARGE it.

Click to access the Steve Hodecker Website.


The Brilliant
Paul Warnick of Gilford

Paul Warnick who can read and play to an audience like no other in the Lakes Region. He teaches music at Gilford High. Mr. Nice Guy. Very talented. Very pleasing. Very soothing. Very inspiring.

Listen to Paul Warnick on YouTube. He is good, real good. The band he plays in, Phil ‘in The Blanks is my FAVORITE local band, way ahead of ‘Annie and the Orphans’. [If you follow this blog you know I know my music and bands, having been a groupie for many years.]

Click to access the Phil ‘n The Blanks.

We had an outstanding birthday dinner at Giuseppe’s, in Meredith, last night. It doesn’t get any better. Everything was perfect or close to perfect. That we had Paul Warnick providing the music was a bonus. I think Paul Warnick is THE BEST cover music performer in the Lakes Region. I have liked him for the very first time I heard him 6 or 7 years ago. That our table was right next to the stage made it even better.

I have been going to Giuseppe’s, regularly, since 1996, which is when I bought a house in Meredith, in what is now ‘Mile Point’. Giuseppe’s has been our ‘go to’ restaurant since then. In February 2007, when we sold our house in Gilford, we went to Giuseppe’s to celebrate (and left my credit card behind, the 1st time I had ever done so in over 30 years of having credit cards). Yes, I know the owner Julie Gnerre Bourgeois, her husband, Michael (a top rate musician), their son and her mother. The story of how I met Julie in 1997 is towards the bottom.

Yesterday was Devanee’s 12th birthday. When we asked her where she wanted to go for her birthday dinner she said, without any prompting from us, “Giuseppe’s”. When a 12 year old picks Giuseppe’s over all the other restaurants she knows in Concord, Manchester and Portsmouth, you know that it has to be special. And that it is.

Devanee and I are HUGE fans of the Giuseppe’s spinach rolls and calamari. The spinach rolls are unique. I can, as with apple fritters from Apple View, eat them till I explode. So can Devanee. There are times we order two servings, eat it all and then order two more to take home. They are never the same. The ratio of spinach to feta is a moving feast (and yes, I once told them to make a new batch with more cheese); and their crispiness varies. But, they are always irresistible. Their calamari has always been exquisite. Yesterday the girls had a large Pollo Florentine Alfredo pizza. It was good. Their pizza is always great. Divine. I had their prime rib special. That is the first time I have ordered beef at a restaurant in decades. I don’t eat that much beef. I just had a feeling that this was going to be good, because it was the special. Boy, was I right. The steak melted in your mouth. There was only a modicum of fat and it was easy to pare it away. Bravo. Thank you.

Dining at Giuseppe’s is a holistically satisfying experience. It isn’t just the food or that they have superb Italian wines. It is more than just the staff being delightful. The ambiance captivates you and the whole place has a buzz. The music is always a plus (and we remembered poor Giovanni, the late piano player, with fondness). It is the COMPLETE dining experience, sans par in the Lakes Region. You meet fun people from all over, around the globe. I have met Brits and folks from down under. Yesterday we met someone quite important in the entertainment industry from Boston. Yes, we swapped cards.

Don’t take my word for it. Ask others. Check it out on the Web. But, the fact that it was crowded on a Wednesday evening tells its own story.

So, the bottom line is we are HUGE fans of Giuseppe’s. Period. Whenever we don’t have major conflicts we try and attend the ‘all day’ annual music extravaganza, on Sunday in March, to benefit Julie’s father, Giuseppe Gnerre’s Music Scholarship Fund. I am sure I have been at least 10 times. That is how we got exposed to Paul Warnick and his hip hopping band. [Check out the Giuseppe’s web site for the March 2013 event. Make sure to get a reservation when Paul Warnick is playing. Those seats go fast. Paul is mega popular.]


Julie, got us a chocolate cake (with the Giuseppe’s musical motif, at my request).

Click the images to ENLARGE them to full size.




This cake was beyond yummy. It was heavenly.

I know my chocolate cake. The reason I am so dark brown is all the chocolate cake I have eaten in my life since I was a baby. My mother, though she couldn’t cook, was a par excellence cake and dessert maker. She made the richest, cholesterol dripping (though we didn’t have any idea then) cakes, fluffs and puddings in the Louis XIV decadent style. This chocolate cake was on par with my mother’s, and there can be no higher praise, though I am sure this was considerably healthier than anything my mother aspired to. [If she was making a ‘small’ cake for say 12, she would use about 36 eggs and about 10 pounds of butter. Suffice to say people, the son in the lead, would rave about how good it was. And now doctors ask me why my cholesterol is so high and why I look like the poster child for ‘massive heart attack waiting to happen’.]

The cake was made by
Jennifer ‘the cake lady‘ J. MacDonald,
whose motto, per the sticker on the cake box is:
More than just a pretty cake!!‘.

We will concur. We don’t know her. Never heard of her. There was a small, hard to read phone number on the sticker. It is: 603-393-5847. The price was good too, thought that might have been a special for Julie.

We will definitely recommend her cake.

The sticker also says: ‘If you can dream it, I can bake it’.

I like that. I am not sure whether she knows that the Animal Planet show ‘Tanked’ has a similar tagline. But, they don’t make cakes.

From Enid Blyton’s Noddy series. All the books had this, the ‘Noddy Toy Village’ picture, on the inside of the front and back covers.

When I was 6 or 7, my mother made a cake for my birthday, with each and every one of these buildings, in 3-D, standing up, all in cake, on top of a large cake base, exactly as they appear in the picture. She even built the arched bridge for the train.
I dream of that cake. Maybe I will get Jennifer to make me another.


My preferred wine glass for good, red wine. It has to look and have a feminine form.

I do have one complaint, albeit a small one and it has to do with how small the wine glass was.

I didn’t have my reading glasses, so I told the delightful young man serving us to get me a GOOD, Italian red house wine. He did. The wine, as I expected, was superb. Went down nicely. But, I was shocked. It was served in a small, rotund glass! They know their wine. You can’t properly drink red wine from a glass that doesn’t have a true female shape! For a good Italian red, you need a glass with some body, some fluting, some grace.  I bitched to Deanna.

Yes, I could have told them to switch glasses. But, I didn’t want to be ‘fussy’.

I ordered a second glass, it was so good.

Yes, I appreciate that it could be a cost issue, but don’t short change red wine drinkers. Make the profits on the beer drinkers. Dilute the beer, give them smaller glasses. They won’t know any better. Red wine is a sacred thing, especially to an Italian (or for that matter a papal historian). Sorry, to bitch, but red wine is a VERY IMPORTANT part of my life.


How I Met Julie

The red building at the corner of Dover and Main in Meredith. I am told that Bob Montana who created the Archie Comics used it as a studio. For a time there was an electrical lightning shop in there.

I am only relating this here because it falls into that category of what people often tell me about me and my life: ‘it could only happen with you‘.

The above red building, which has always been red as far as I can remember it, was an electric lighting shop (i.e., lamp store), c. 1997.

I was in there one afternoon, midweek, browsing when I saw this young lady, with long black hair, buy a large, wrought-iron standard light and walk out of the door with it.

Me being who I am, and even though I was with folks, I immediately trotted after her, approached her from behind and said: ‘would you like me to carry that for you?

Now you have to realize that I was probably the ONLY non-white person within a 50 mile radius of Meredith that day in 1997; and I don’t exactly look like a banker. So, for all she knew, I could have taken her lamp and run off.

But, to her credit, she took a chance. She looked me over, handed over the lamp and said: ‘thank you‘. That was it. Nothing else. She walked across to Main Street and then started walking down it. I followed. Must have been quite a sight. She never said a word or looked back. She walked a few hundred yards. We came to a white apartment block on the right hand side of Main Street. She opened the door. Still no words between us. It was very formal. She walks in. I follow. Wow nh Anura GurugeShe went up a flight of stairs (or two). I was right behind. She opened a door, turned around, reached for the lamp. I handed it over. She said: ‘thank you. That was very kind‘. I acknowledged her thanks, turned around and started walking back (aware that I had just walked out of the shop leaving folks behind). As I was about to descend the stairs she calls out: ‘do you know who I am?‘ I turned back and said I had no clue. She goes: ‘Do you know Giuseppe’s?‘. I tell her that I have eaten there. She adds: ‘Oh, I am Julie. I own Giuseppe’s. Next time you are around say “hello”‘. A few weeks later, when I was there I did just that. She remembered me. She has never forgotten me since.

Yes, when I started ‘Waiters on Water‘, WOW NH, Julie was one of the 1st to sign up.