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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: SNHU's The Quill still serving up tasty treats

By KATIE McQUAID
February 24. 2018 12:04AM
SNHU culinary student Andrew Lovaditch prepares Bananas “Foster Grant” tableside during lunch service at The Quill restaurant on Friday, Feb. 23. (KATIE McQUAID/UNION LEADER)



It's a foodie edition of the Scene with a variety of events and dining recommendations sure to keep your body’s natural insulation intact through the remaining weeks of winter.

The theme was inspired by reader Priscilla Gould, who wants more people to know The Quill restaurant at Southern New Hampshire University is still open for business, offering interesting and delicious prix-fixe lunches and dinners prepared and served by culinary students.

“I think there are many people who believe The Quill is no longer open. That’s not so,” Gould wrote to the Scene, after dining there with friends earlier this week. “Last night’s dinner was delicious and the service was very good.”

I couldn’t just take her word for it, so I dropped in during their New Orleans Cajun/Creole-themed lunch Friday. Reservations are required in advance, so I hadn’t planned on eating, but when they offered me a seat and a menu I threw my journalistic integrity out the window and accepted a complimentary taste or two (or 20). I’m kicking myself for not trying the Cajun fried alligator.

It was a busy lunch service filled with regulars like Riccardo Floreani. He visits the “well-kept cultural secret” monthly with other members of the Bedford Italian Club.

“Don’t make it sound too good,” he said, enjoying a glass of red wine from the cash bar. “We won’t be able to get a dinner reservation.”

Another group of regulars, celebrating the 50th birthday of Hooksett resident Sue Harrington, said they have been Quill diners since before it was updated to its current trendy decor with a window to the bustling kitchen. It was BYOB back then, they recalled.

All the regulars had heard the rumors of a possible Quill closure when SNHU recently decided to reduce its culinary program to two years. Bow resident Crystal Proulx said she even sent a letter to the dean in support of keeping it open.

“We love this place,” she said.

It’s hard not to, with three-course gourmet lunches just $15 and four- to five-course dinners for $35.

SNHU Culinary Department Chair Vicki Connell assured me the Quill is here to stay.

The full spring dining calendar, which runs through April, is not available online. But Carrie Morris with SNHU’s culinary department said those interested in getting the brochure and joining their mailing list should email her at thequill@snhu.edu.

You can also see what’s coming next by following The Quill’s Facebook page. Upcoming options include a classical French dinner on Thursday, March 1, and southwestern cuisine lunch on Friday, March 2. Learn more and make reservations by calling (603) 629-4608.

Food Network foodie

Fans of Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Iron Chef America” won’t want to miss the NH Food Bank’s Steel Chef Challenge hosted by Chef Alex Guarnaschelli.

I love to watch Guarnaschelli cook. Even more fun is watching her pick apart dishes that she’s judging, especially when she’s disappointed in them.

The Monday, April 16, fundraiser features a cooking competition by New Hampshire chefs, as well as fine dining for guests. Tickets are $125 for general admission and $200 for VIP reception and a meet-and-greet with Guarnaschelli.

Last year’s Steel Chef Challenge featured celebrity Chef Robert Irvine and was a sellout at more than 700 guests.

Steel Chef Challenge is being held at the Armory Ballroom at The Manchester Downtown Hotel (which is what we are being told to call the former Radisson Hotel until it officially becomes a Doubletree by Hilton sometime this year.)

Tickets can be purchased at www.nhfoodbank.org/steelchef.

Run to Roots at Robie’s

Last week I finally had breakfast at Hooksett’s Roots Cafe inside the historic Robie’s Country Store. It’s unbelievable and worth the trip out to that part of Hooksett. (Coincidentally, fellow columnist Mark Hayward also writes about the establishment in today’s edition.)

I’ve been a fan of owners Amber and Josh Enright’s cooking style since they owned Jewell & the Beanstalk here in Manchester. Glad to see they are still filling tables and bellies.

Check out their rustic and comforting menu at www.rootsatrobies.com.

Beer for breakfast

“Beer for Breakfast” is not a menu item but the name of an upcoming dinner theater presentation by The Majestic Theatre.

This comedy by Sean Grennan is about a group of middle-aged buddies who are enjoying a guys’ weekend until Jessie, the wife of absent friend Adrian, shows up in his place.

“Beer for Breakfast” is directed by Carole Neveux, of Concord, with assistance from Aimee Baker, of Manchester. Actors include Chad Boutin of Manchester, Tracy Carracedo of Windham, A. Robert Dionne of Manchester, and Katelyn Tustin of Hampton Falls.

The all-inclusive dinner theatre will be held at Executive Court Banquet Facility March 2 and 3 at 7 p.m. and on March 4 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $38 to $42. Reservations are required. Call 603-669-7469.

Samples against stigma

A benefit auction and tasting of local comfort foods and craft beverages will be held Thursday, March 8, to support the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester.

The event will be held at The Falls Event Center and features themed raffle baskets and about 50 silent auction items. Tickets purchased by March 6 are $35. Visit www.mhcgm.org/events for more information.

Where have you been eating? Tell Katie by emailing her at Scene@UnionLeader.com.


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