Southern NH

Republic Cafe
When I first discovered Republic I ate there 3 times in 2 days… does that tell you anything?  You’ve probably walked or driven past Republic on Elm Street in Manchester, NH before… but next time you’re in the area let your feet lead you to the door and walk on in!  This is a stop you won’t regret.  The menu ranges from tapas style antipasti to generous plates with combinations of flavors that will blow your mind.  What is particularly clear at Republic though is the fresh, fresh, fresh nature of everything that is plated.  Just inside the door, next to their stunning tin paneled marble topped bar is chalkboard that lists the farms and local sources for all of their produce and goods.  No farms, no food.  Simple. 
The cold antipasti can be combined to make a tasting plate for the table that is nothing short of divine.  My favorites: Red Quinoa, Beet and Moroccan Spices; Sicilian Caponata; Curried Roasted Cauliflower… and the hummus and North African pickled veg and marinated spiced olives… you can’t make a bad choice!
There is a little something something that I’ll share with you.  It’s almost embarassing, but we’re friends, so I’ll share… the handcut frites on the hot antipasti menu verge on orgasmic.  There… I said it.  3 times in 2 days.  No lie.  They arrive at your table screaming hot and they are thin and salty and seasoned with lemon and herbs and they are the kind of incredible that makes you want to kiss the chef and set up an arrangement on the side that involves back allies and handing off brown paper bags of steamy crispy salty seasoned goodness for whatever price the man is asking.  I am tempted to tell you more, but I’m afraid you’ll end up there all the time and I’ll never be able to get a table there again!

The Rustic Leaf —

Dedicated to local farm sourcing with a focus on organic ingredients, this gem of a restaurant in Milford, NH should be on your destination list.  Beautiful, rustic interior setting.  Allergy friendly menu.  Talk with your server about your requirements (call ahead if you have a severe allergy, of course).  We have had terrific gluten free vegan meals and dairy free meals.  The salad selection is most impressive with combinations of greens, fruits, nuts (and cheeses).  Vegan entrees range from handmade pasta (not gluten free yet) to risotto to my favorite “Chile Dusted Avocados, Organic Brown Rice with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Organic Black Beans, Roasted Corn, Fresh Tomato Salsa” — YUM!  Meat eaters also have a variety of items to choose from.  I can’t see how anyone would be disappointed by a meal at The Rustic Leaf.  Let me know if you go and what your favorite menu item is!

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