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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: How will he top the Twinkie auction for Santa Fund?

November 17. 2013 9:41PM

A box of Twinkies brought in more than $1,000 for the Salvation Army during an impromptu auction at last year's Union Leader Santa Fund Luncheon. Mike Morin, the event emcee, cleverly brought in a box of Twinkies the same day snack cakemaker Hostess Brands, Inc. closed up operations for a while.

That day, the Twinkie was the "Cabbage Patch Kid" of 2012 and the box of 10 was purchased for $30 by Mayor Ted Gatsas. Like any good entrepreneur, he turned around and sold each Twinkie for $100, donating all the money to the Santa Fund.

Morin is returning as the emcee for this year's luncheon on Friday, and he has been thinking long and hard about how he is going to top last year's auction. The answer may be in his own kitchen. In addition to being a talented host of WZID's "New Hampshire in the Morning," Morin is also a talented chef and baker. He's won several cooking and baking competitions, most recently for his Chocolate Infiniti Cookie.

"They won a blue ribbon at the Deerfield Fair," he told The Scene.

And it turns out Mayor Gatsas is also a fan of Morin's cookies, so it seems the Chocolate Infiniti Cookie may be the Twinkie of 2013.

I was pleased to find Morin left some samples of the cookies at my office last week — purely for research purposes, of course — and I think they are definitely worth as much as a $100 Twinkie, maybe more. If you are coming to this Friday's Santa Fund kick-off luncheon, be sure to bring your sweet tooth and your checkbook.

50 shades of radio

What can't Mike Morin do? The award-winning radio host and baker is also an author. His new book "Fifty Shades of Radio; True Stories of a Morning Guy Being Wired, Tired and Fired" contains many hilarious stories of the stunts he's pulled, famous people he's met, and fans he's encountered during his days behind the microphone. The book, available for $19.95 at GOSHOPNH.COM, even includes some priceless pictures of Morin with various celebrities (and a mustache).

On Saturday, Dec. 14, he will be promoting "Fifty Shades of Radio" to a huge audience when he is a guest on Jordan Rich's WBZ 1030 show from midnight to 2 a.m. At that hour, WBZ's signal reaches 26 states and several Canadian provinces, so it's like being on a national talk show.

Really liking La Reine

One of my boys is taking a weekly class at Majestic Theater headquarters on Elm Street, which means I get to spend an hour each week checking out downtown coffee shops. Last week I happened upon Café La Reine, and I felt like I was transported to a different, cooler city.

It had everything a trendy coffee shop should have — coffee drinks, cozy seating arrangements, the right music, and free, easy-to-access wifi. Did I mention the homemade bacon and scallion cream cheese for my toasted bagel?

I have been passing by the narrow entry of Café La Reine at 915 Elm St. for a while, and I wished I had discovered it sooner. This Wednesday it will host its monthly "Java Jams with Alli Beaudry." It's an open mic night for artists with original work. Sign-ups start at 7 p.m. and the music will begin at 7:30 p.m.

NH365.ORG Event of the Week

Wine tastings are a dime a dozen around here, but I have never been to a spirits tasting before. This Thursday, the New Hampshire Liquor Commission will offer more than 300 spirits and local cuisine for tasting at its Distiller's Showcase of Premium Spirits at the Radisson.

Mixologists will showcase their talents and dazzle attendees with delicious concoctions available in a special bar area at the event. Guests will also have an opportunity to enter to win an all-expense-paid trip to Kentucky to experience the famed Bourbon Trail.

Local fare will be provided by the Granite Restaurant & Bar, O Steaks and Seafood, Valentino's Restaurant, Country Spirit Restaurant, The Wild Rover Pub, bluAqua Restaurant & Bar and Lounge, Tuscan Kitchen, and Triolo's Bakery.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with a seminar titled "The Finer Side of Tequila." The tasting room will be open from 6 to 8:30 p.m. followed by "The Range of Single Malt Scotches" seminar. Tickets are $60 and proceeds will benefit The Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire.

You can find a link to purchase tickets at

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