It just keeps getting better and you have more reasons to fall in love with Portsmouth than ever before. What am I talking about? Restaurant Week, of course. Only twice a year can you enjoy a three course meal at some of the Seacoast's best restaurants for just $29.95.
Featuring 43 restaurants, this fall's Restaurant Week begins November 7, 2014. You can enjoy your meal in dowtown Portsmouth, just a 10 minute walk from the Inn. Or take a scenic drive to Durham, Rye or Hampton, NH or try Kittery or York, ME. For $29.99 for dinner and $16.99 for lunch, you can eat the fixed price
menu at any one of the participating restaurants. Or you can order a
la carte if you see something you prefer there. This year, there are some new places to explore this year. Or you can visit an old favorite.
Here are some of the new kids on the block. Salt Kitchen & Bar is located at the Wentworth by the Sea Resort and features local foods in a contemporary atmosphere that has not forgotten its historic roots. Located in the newest buildings in downtown Portsmouth, the British Beer Company offers classic pub fare with an amazing variety of beers and lagers. A short walk off the beaten track in the West End of Portsmouth (where the locals enjoy MoJo's BBQ) is the newest dining option called Tavola. Enjoy this fun Italian eatery with great brick wall ambiance and friendly staff. And while not a new name to Portsmouth, The Rosa Restaurant is at its old location but all new inside. There are just too many to list here, so see all the options at the Restaurant Week website.
Restaurant Week wraps up on November 16th, 2013, so make a reservation to
stay at the Martin Hill Inn and you will be just a 10 to 20 minute walk
to all the downtown Portsmouth restaurants. Other seacoast locations
are a 15 to 25 minute drive away.
Honestly, I have not painted since I was in elementary school (except one attempt at watercolors with my aunt about a decade ago). So when I decided to try out the "Art With a Splash" shop on State Street in Portsmouth, I was not sure what I was getting into.
I took a while deciding which night to try my hand at painting with acrylics on canvas. You see it was not just a matter of finding a night when I was not already busy, but also a night when the subject painting looked appealing (and not too hard).
So one quiet Thursday night, I joined about 15 other intrepid, budding painters to try my hand at a lovely seascape with mountains, sailboats and lovely flowers in the foreground.
Everything is waiting for you, all the paints, palates, smocks, brushes and canvases. All you have to bring (if you want) is some wine or other favorite beverage and maybe some snacks. Give this some thought, because you are going to be there for at least two fun hours creating your masterpiece.
So we get settled at our table with easels and canvas. All eyes are turned to the back of the shop where Jim, our instructor, stands ready with his blank canvas and the original that we will be working from. Mind you, I don't say "copy" because everyone's will be different and that's the way they like it at Art With a Splash.
Over the course of the evening, I mix colors, try different brush techniques, get bailed out of a bad bit of prospective rendering and generally have a great time. My neighbor has a much bolder style with her palate and she has broad strokes running through her sky and seascape. Across the way, another customer has a way with the mountains, giving subtle depth to the valleys between the hills.
And here it is, my masterpiece!
By the time I walked home that night with painting in hand, I was decided that a return visit was certainly in order. I'll have to keep my eye on the works of art coming up in the next few months until one grabs me.
Look at the calendar of paintings for yourself and see if an evening with wine, cheese and art may not be just the memory to paint for your Portsmouth vacation.
Art With a Splash is located at 222 State Street, Portsmouth, NH and can be reached at 603-427-8251 to make reservations or book through their website. You can walk back to the Martin Hill Inn after your moment of artistic expression in just 10 minutes.
Nothing says summer more than peaches, warm and ripe enough to send sweet juices running down your hands as you eat them. While we often take advantage of the season to make these peach pancakes at the Martin Hill Inn, we also love to enjoy a bit of summer on the off season. So here is a simple recipe for that bit of peach sweetness anytime. If you are in Portsmouth, NH, we hope you will come try these and some of our other yummy breakfasts. Enjoy! Peach Pancakes Serves 6-8
2 1/4 cups flour
4 Tbs cornmeal
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 large can peaches, drained
2 eggs, beaten
4 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs peach liqueur (optional)
plus enough milk to equal 3 1/2 cups of liquid
Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, stir to combine.
Put the peaches, eggs, vegetable oil and peach liqueur in a large quart measuring cup.
Blend with a stick blender until the mixture is smooth (unless you want a few peach lumps).
Add enough milk to equal 3 1/2 cups of liquid, if needed.
Add the wet to the dry ingredients, stir to combine but be sure to leave
some lumps which are the sign of a good pancake batter. Let rest while the griddle heats. Give the batter a quick stir or two before using.
Cook on a hot griddle. Serve with butter and maple syrup.
As the owner of a romantic B&B in a town with loads of great restaurants, I am often asked about where to have dinner in Portsmouth for a special occasion. I am always happy to recommend Ristorante Massimo because it has the three most important qualities of a top romantic dining spot: atmosphere, service and great food.
When you enter Massimo's you are greeted by warm colors and soft wood paneling before you get a big smile and friendly hello from Massimo himself. The dining room has brick and wood walls adorned with oil paintings of beautiful scenes of Italy gently illuminated with small gallery lights. The whole room radiates love, comfort and elegance without a bit of stiffness or pretense.
Located in the lower level of the historic Custom House building, the restaurant takes full advantage of the architecture which creates nooks and alcoves for tables of two or four without separating you from the hum of the dining room. If you are planning a private party, these is a separate room for up to 20 of your friends. Massimo or Davide will help you with all the details.
After you are settled in, the staff will acquaint you with the select wine list and you can pour over Chef Jericho Loichle's latest offerings. Tempting anti-pasti lead you into small plates of hand made pastas most available as appetizer or main course. Sauces you will recognize such as Carbonara and Bolognese sit alongside Carne di Maiale Affumicata, or smoked and braised pork served with house-made chickpea gnocchi, sautéed dandelion greens and ricotta salata.
Soups, salads and main courses follow with the emphasis moving from pasta to meats and seafood. Duck, veal, beef, lobster and salmon all find their places on the Secondi menu. Many of the servers have been with Massimo for years. So if you are having trouble deciding, they are ready to help. But you are never rushed through your dinner here. Everything is well paced and beautifully presented.
I recently visited Ristorante Massimo for April 2013 Portsmouth Restaurant Week. The special fixed price menu offered many tempting items, but I settled on the Torta di Verdure followed by Capesante con Risotto - porcini crusted day boat scallops over a locally grown king trumpet and blue oyster mushroom risotto; finished with a saffron lemon emulsion. To round out the evening, I had Torta alla Cioccolata - Valrhona chocolate mousse tart served with amoretto flavored raspberries and toasted salted walnuts.
For a limited time, Massimo's will be having Bistro Night each Thursday evening featuring a menu of three tantalizing courses for $29.95 per person. Each dish is created with fresh seasonal foods. Don't miss out on this opportunity as I'm sure it will be gone in a few months, chased off by the visitors from far and wide who hear about Ristorante Massimo from critics and locals alike.
Ristorante Massimo is located at 59 Penhallow Street, Portsmouth, NH. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made through the internet or by calling 603-436-4000. The Inn is located just a 15 minute walk from this little bit of Italian dining heaven.
Now a well established part of the dining scene on the New Hampshire Seacoast, Portsmouth Restaurant Week returns on April 4, 2013. There are 49 restaurants
participating this year compared with around 36 when the event started. So this is sure to prove a culinary extravaganza for locals and tourists alike. The participating restaurants range from Portsmouth to Durham, Rye to Hampton and
from Kittery to York, ME. Being in Portsmouth, our bed and breakfast provides an ideal location for visitors to experience the semi-annual Restaurant Week because it is only a 10 minute walk into downtown.
For $29.99 for dinner and $16.99 for lunch, you can eat the fixed price
menu at any one of the participating restaurants. Or you can order a la carte if you see something you prefer there. It is the best way I know to sample new restaurants or visit one you haven't walked
into for a while. Locals research the menus in advance and plan their
dining strategy! With so many restaurants participating, it is hard to choose from fine dining, ethnic, pub food, pizza, burgers, pasta, seafood, or just about anything else you can name.
Restaurant Week wraps up on April 13, 2013, so make a reservation to stay at the Martin Hill Inn and you will be just a 10 to 20 minute walk
to all the downtown Portsmouth restaurants. Other seacoast locations are a 15 to 25 minute drive away.
Since the weather is cooperating with just the right mixture of cold and moisture, the Sugar Houses of New Hampshire expect to have a good year. You will get to see and learn all about maple syrup production during their annual Open Houses on March 23 and 24, 2013.
Next door, the state of Maine celebrates Maine Maple Sunday on the 24th. All in all, a sweet weekend to be visiting the Martin Hill Inn since Portsmouth, NH is so close to so many maple syrup producers.
At the Inn, we serve organic 100% pure Grade A maple syrup with our waffles, french toast and pancakes. We think it tastes wonderful, particularly on the blueberry pancakes. But if you can
visit these maple houses, I think you will experience the different grades as well as the variety and
unique flavors that only come from small production and local purchasing.
Over 110 maple houses will be open for this 18th annual event. Syrup
and syrup products will be available for sale and some locations will
have breakfasts and petting farms. Visit this site for
sugar house locations in New Hampshire. Stay at the Martin Hill Inn
and you are a 30-45 minute drive to sugar houses in Nottingham, East Kingston, Brentwood and Candia.
We look forward to your visit and hearing
of your sugar house adventures.
While we are often developing new recipes for breakfast at the Martin Hill Inn. We rely on some time tested gems, such as this Cornbread Recipe, to come out of the oven perfectly every time. Good for a full sheet of cornbread or as Cornbread Muffins, this basic recipe will become a favorite in your house.
What I like most about this version is the perfect balance between cornmeal and flour that gives enough cornmeal flavor while the flour holds the bread together. Choosing vegetable oil over melted butter (you can use either) increases the moisture content in the cornbread preventing the too often dry-crumbly cornbread of bad memories.
Like most muffins, quick breads and pancakes, this recipe can be prepared ahead in two bowls, combined in the morning and, voila, you have beautiful cornbread in just 35-40 minutes on a Saturday morning. Better yet, if there are any leftovers, weekday breakfasts are covered.
If you decide to stay here at the Inn, we are likely to pair the Cornbread with Baked Cheddar Omelets with Hot Salsa! I hope you enjoy this recipe and do contact the Martin Hill Inn if you have any questions.
Cornbread or Cornbread Muffins
Yield: 9x13 pan or 2 dozen muffins
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbs baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter, cooled slightly
Grease a 9x13 baking pan or 2 muffin pans. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (or 425 degrees if you are making muffins). Put the oven rack in the upper part of the oven.
In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs and then beat in the milk and vegetable oil (or melted butter). You can stop at this point if you have used vegetable oil, put the wet ingredients in the fridge and start again in the morning.
Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, stirring to combine, but leaving lumps in the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan or muffin tins.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes for the pan of cornbread. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes for muffins. When done, a toothpick should come out clean and the top spring back when tapped.
This was our 12th visit to the Inn and we keep returning! The Inn is an old beautiful building and the rooms are extremely clean and comfortable with lovely furnishings. A delicious breakfast was served every morning...