Food Blog, Uncategorized

Birdz of a Feather



The Gertz Girlz are bird lovers. You might even say extreme bird lovers. One of us is the loving mother of a 29-year-old cockatiel. Another not only finds daily joy in feeding birds, but she even had the nickname “Birdie” at one time. For these, and other more gastronomic reasons, it seems fated that we would eventually pay a visit to The Purple Finch Café in Bedford, New Hampshire.

Gertz Girl DeeDee Sez:

Yes, I’ve been a parrot parent to my cockatiel Arnie since he hatched on April 15, 1989. Tax Day. And he’s been taxing me ever since! But I love him dearly. And now I can say I love the Purple Finch Café!


Arnold Edgar Gertz (aka Arnie) loves himself some Dunkin’ Donuts Everything Bagel.

Gertz Girl LisaLisa Sez:

This café has consistently won the Best Breakfast Place for the last several years (voted via customer polls) in the Manchester area. I kept reading about them in both NH Magazine and The Hippo, two local publications that take food pretty seriously. We took advantage of their “call ahead” service and set off on a beautiful Sunday morning recently. Walking into a busy café, made cheerful with splashes of purple and lime green throughout, we noted stencils of little purple finches which charmingly make appearances  throughout. In addition to tables in the dining area, you can also request a seat at the breakfast counter which has a large tv screen, where on this morning you could watch Ina Garten cook up a storm, while you ate your own delicious meal.

The Purple Finch has garnered a few awards, and rightly so!

One of the highlights of our visit was possibly the friendliest and most pleasant servers we’ve ever encountered – a smiling woman named Linny. She came to our table right away and let us take our time with the menu, answering questions and bringing our beverages to us in seconds. The menu takes a while to peruse as you have your choice of both breakfast and lunch menu items.

At 11am it’s usually a toss up for me. I decided on the Avocado Toast $8 (A slice of wheat toast topped with mashed avocado, sliced tomato, a poached egg, feta crumbles & scallions. Served with a cup of fresh fruit). Except could I make a few changes? Special orders don’t upset them. I swapped out the fresh fruit for a side of their amazing Sweet Potato Dots (think tater tots only healthier) which come with a little cup of real maple syrup for dipping. Also, could you hold the feta crumbles? No problem.

Avocado Toast with Sweet Potato Dots

When our food arrived, I got exactly what I ordered PLUS “would I mind trying a new dish the chef is trying out and telling us which of the two you prefer?” Being the helpful human being that I am, I was happy to oblige. The experimental dish was similar but more interesting: An English muffin topped with mashed avocado, field greens flavored slightly with a light Greek dressing, topped with a perfectly cooked poached egg. Outstanding.

The Arcadian Avo, a brand new dish not yet on the menu! No doubt it will be soon!

I let Linny know it was my favorite of the two and asked what the name of it was. The newborn didn’t have a name yet, so Linny rushed back to the kitchen to ask the Chef and came back triumphant – “The Arcadian Avo”. Pass the cigars, this one is special! So glad we could be there for this proud moment.

Gertz Girl DeeDee Sez:

As I mentioned in our Parker’s Maple Barn entry, when out for brunch I go for Eggs Benedict whenever possible. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Purple Finch has not one, but three types of Eggs Bennie (WOOT! WOOT!) but for this visit I decided to fight the urge and try something different.

How do I love brunch? Let me count the ways! Choices, choices and more choices! Purple Finch doesn’t disappoint with its inventive yet down-to-earth menu and there were so many dishes that attracted me. Among many contenders, the finalists were Breakfast Nachos, the Cowboy Breakfast Burrito (yes, big Mexican food fan), The Breakfast Caprese and the Chicken Corden Bleu Stacker.

And the winner is (insert drumroll)…the Breakfast Caprese!

The Breakfast Caprese

If you’re a fan of the salad, you’ll love the sandwich, unless you’re a vegan or vegetarian. This is an egg sandwich that made me think of what might happen if a BLT and a caprese salad had a baby. Served on a grilled ciabatta roll, the tomatoes were bright red and juicy, the field greens crisp and varied, the bacon thick and spot-on crispy. Instead of fresh mozzarella, they use a basil infused cream cheese, which I think helps make it easier to handle. It’s not super large, but things tend to slide around in a stacked sandwich with a lot going on. This one held it together well; though I did have to ask for extra napkins, I didn’t look undignified getting it into my mouth.

The Caprese Sandwich with Shredded Hash Browns.

The shredded hash browns I ordered from a choice of sides were crispy on the top and tender on the bottom. Potato perfecto! They weren’t seasoned, which I prefer. I like to control my own salt and pepper.

As Lisa mentioned, our waitress was friendly and enthusiastic. I got the feeling that she eats at Purple Finch on her days off! I know I would. I could easily try EVERYTHING on their menu, and that has never happened in all my many, many years of dining out. DeeLish!

Gertz Girl EvaEva Sez:

I really liked this place. It’s clean and bright and they even have a small coloring corner set up to keep the little kids quiet so I can focus on my Instagram scrolling.



Happy Kiddie Koloring Korner!

The menu has some great choices. I ordered the Finch-wich: A breakfast sandwich with fried egg, cheddar cheese, sausage patty and hashbrowns on a grilled bagel. It usually comes served with the house-made Sweet Potato Dots, but I swapped those out for a side of seasoned homefries and bacon. Delish! The sandwich with those crispy hashbrowns is a brilliant combo and the thick bacon was a solid 10.

The Finch-Wich Sandwich

Gertz Girlz Final Dish:

After we left the Purple Finch Café, we took a peek at their Take-Out Menu which we grabbed on the way out. We discovered the genesis of the café – Jeff and Julie, who met in the food industry while they were working their way through college at UNH, and decided to build a breakfast-serving nest together six years ago. Kudos to the Lovebirds!

There are many more items we want to try including a soup special, Scallop & Bacon Chowder, and every one of their unique sandwiches and salads! When the weather gets chilly we’d like to try The Harvest French Toast – Three slices of golden French toast topped with fire roasted cinnamon apples, cranberries, walnuts, powdered sugar and whipped cream!

We will be returning to the Purple Finch Café because of the great experience and, because, you know “Birdz of a Feather?!”

More info:

Food Blog, Uncategorized

Her Big Fat Greek Birthday



Dee’s birthday was coming up at the beginning of March and the other Gertz Girlz wanted to take her out to dinner to celebrate. They knew just the place too. “There’s this great Greek restaurant we want to take you to.” This was received with a less than enthusiastic response. (See our text conversation below.)


Hmm…a gastronomic roadblock. We all know someone who just isn’t ‘into’ certain types of food. We were treading on thin phyllo here. After all, it was Dee’s big day but we KNEW this restaurant wouldn’t disappoint. In the end, it was what we call a Win-Win. Huppa!

Gertz Girl Dee

Dee Sez:

My limited experience with Greek cuisine began in the ’70s when my mother, always the fearless baker, tried her hand at mastering phyllo on the way to making baklava. Not that I had a basis for comparison, but her result was a revelation. The outer phyllo layers were delicate and crispy, giving way to a sticky bite and a chew of sweet filling both rich and complex; a nut-filled sugar rush of the grandest order. I considered it strudel’s swanky cousin.

Amphora’s Decadent Baklava!

For my mother it was a labor of love, but unfortunately for our family the labor proved a bit too arduous. Those were the days before ample counter space and tall center islands, so the work was done hunched over the kitchen table, which puts enormous strain on the lower back. She made it just once more and then went back to strudel, one of many delights on her rotating schedule of desserts, including mandel bread (or mandelbrot, a softer Jewish version of biscotti) and sour cream coffee cake.

Moms Sour Cream Coffee Cake.jpg
Fran’s Much Loved and Well Worn Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

A decade later I was a novice cook, just starting out with what would become a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. The first was the homespun Betty Crocker primer, a gift from my mother when I finally moved out of her house. The second was my first purchase: The Culinary Arts Institute’s magnum opus. (From Betty Crocker to Culinary Arts…geez, I wasn’t TOO cocky.)

The humility and the hubris of a newly-minted cook.

In relation to Betty’s book, to this day I have tried only one recipe from The Culinary Arts many pages, an appetizer plainly named Feta Cheese Triangles (probably a subconscious desire to follow in my mom’s phyllo footsteps).

The Culinary Art Institute’s Feta Cheese Triangles

Working with phyllo can be intimidating, but if you follow instructions to the letter –keeping dough moist under a damp cloth, having plenty of melted butter on hand and a good pastry brush – and if you are patient and careful, it is a fairly forgiving dough. The end result was simply wonderful, delicious and decadent. Crispy, creamy, salty, and oh so rich. And let me tell ya: I made it only one other time, for a friend’s backyard wedding, because it was a freakin’ back breaker.

So why would I say that I didn’t especially care for Greek food? Easy: an unpleasant experience with stuffed grape leaves at a now defunct Greek diner in Belmont back in the ’80s. The memory of why I didn’t like it has faded, though ‘bitter’ and ‘slimy’ come to mind. I also don’t like olives, and I refuse to eat baby animals, so the ubiquitous lamb is out. But are these enough reasons to turn my nose up at all that Greece has to offer? Is it fair? No on both counts. So I gave Amphora a try.

Gertz Girl Lisa.jpgLisa Sez:

Having lived in the heart of Boston for many years before marriage, I made a sacrifice moving to New Hampshire eighteen years ago. I traded phenomenal dining-out options for a big house and better air quality. But it was a dismal sacrifice for a serious foodie who became faced with a choice of Applebees vs Pizzeria Uno.

Over the years, I have been more than thrilled to see small, interesting restaurants come onto the local scene. Amphora in Derry, New Hampshire is one I’m particularly proud of. I consider it a hidden gem. If you like casual and intimate dining, great service, and delicious Mediterranean food, you have hit the jackpot here. The décor has a sunny feel to it – perhaps it’s the pleasant lighting, lemon-colored walls, and authentic Greek artifacts scattered about, but on a cold, gray New Hampshire day, it feels like a warm oasis.

We were seated in the last booth, behind the water bearer statue.

My absolute favorite dish is the pork souvlaki dinner entrée – two skewers of tenderly roasted pork seasoned apparently in heaven. It’s served with fluffy rice pilaf, and a tzatziki sauce (a zesty cucumber-garlic dip made with real Greek yogurt drizzled with olive oil) on the side – perfectly tart and creamy to compliment the seasoned meat. But I’ve jumped ahead.

Pork Souvlaki Dinner Entrée with Rice Pilaf and Tzatziki Sauce

The appetizers are some of my favorite items on the menu and I made sure our Birthday Girl got to try some of them. We started with the “Mezza” a quartet of tasty dips accompanied by warm pita bread. This is a “hidden” menu item so be sure to ask for it! It’s fun to try all the dips and decide on a favorite.

The Mezza Quartet: Tzatziki, Melitzanosalata, Kopanisti, Hummus

Another wonderful appetizer is the Eggplant Frites. These long beauties are seasoned and lightly fried leaving a creamy eggplant interior that melts in the mouth. They’re also served with a side dip of the wonderful tzatziki.

Gertz Girl DeeDee Sez:

Amphora was a great experience and a very special birthday gift–thanks again Gertz Girlz! Our waitress was friendly and helpful with requests–especially when we asked the music be turned down slightly. The Mezza dips were delicious (LOVE hummus and fresh pita). The Eggplant Frites were crispy and creamy and so addictive I might have to try them at home.

Eggplant Frites with Tzatziki Dipping Sauce

The Gyro I was hoping to try had lamb mixed in with the ground beef, so I opted for the Souvlaki Sandwich with Steak Tips. At only $7.95 it was a delicious bargain: another super fresh, thick pita stuffed with juicy tips, lettuce, tomato, onion and yogurt sauce. DeeLish!!!

Souvlaki Sandwich with Steak Tips

And what great conversation we had! Naturally, one of the topics was foods we would never try, such as periwinkles, octopus and escargot. Disclosure: I did try escargot over 30 years ago. In the English language it’s a rubbery snail swimming in garlic butter, but who would eat it described that way? Even in French, once was enough for me. And of course, we talked about our favorite scenes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which we all love and have seen countless times.

Gertz Girl Eva.jpg

Eva Sez:

One of me and my mother’s favorite things to do together is watch chick flicks (with a big bowl of popcorn of course). We watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding a couple of years ago and I loved it. The scene where the grandmother is running around in the middle of the night chasing “the Turks” is hysterical! So whenever we go to Amphora it brings back that happy memory and also of their family restaurant, Dancing Zorbas.

Eva’s Thracian Chicken Sandwich

And if you go to Amphora, please do try the fresh feta cheese, so creamy and tangy and wonderful on the warm pita bread!

Fresh Feta Drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Gertz Girlz Final Dish:

Amphora has garnished accolades from The Boston Globe food critics as well as winning Best Greek Restaurant from New Hampshire Magazine. The owner, Peter Tsoupelis has great pride in his family’s Greek heritage and offers family dishes, but with his own unique culinary touches. He is quoted as saying, “Amphora is not your grandmother’s Greek restaurant.” Perhaps not – but allow us to recommend what I consider to be ‘Greek Penicillin’ the Avgolemona Chicken Soup. Yia Yia would approve!

Avgolemona Chicken Soup

When the Gertz Girlz catch a cold, this is the first place we go for a large takeout container of the delicious chicken, pastini, and lemon soup! And Dee can’t wait to visit again. Huppa!

More info:

Food Blog, Uncategorized

California Girlz



The youngest Gertz Girl will graduate high school next year and has her heart set on a career in film production. So, for February break we jumped on a plane headed for the west coast. There is something very hip about California and you feel it as soon as you step out of the airport. You may arrive feeling like the Clampetts (Google it if you’re under 40), but you leave feeling cool as Compton (Google it if you’re over 40). Cue the song from 2Pac and Dr. Dre  – “Let me welcome everybody to the Wild, Wild West.”

Gertz Girl Lisa.jpgLisa Sez:

The best part of this trip was going to be the warm weather and exploring all the differences between Cali and New England. The weather decided to disappoint us with the first cold spell in decades. We got over it. We also got to laugh at people wearing ski hats and Uggs in 65 degree weather. It was a wonderful four days and the stellar food scene played a big part of that. Here are some of the highlights of our trip:

The Hudson Restaurant: Located in West Hollywood (my hipster 80-year-old mother corrected me to call it “WEHO” like the locals). This super hip, but casual restaurant caters to a young adult clientele. Everyone who works here looks shiny and stylish. We arrived early on a Saturday evening, and realized the restaurant is built around actual trees that are located throughout and go through the ceiling! After a long day of travel, I was initially annoyed at the volume of the music but that passed – because it was just the most AWESOME playlist I’ve heard in a restaurant. We were served some delicious food and it was such a fun vibe that I was soon singing along to BBBBenny and the Jets – only to be joined in unison by two guys dining a table away. Happy is The Hudson!!!  Good food and service too!

Eva checking out the Hudson menu.

Bristol Farms Market:  There are a few of these scattered around Los Angeles but the one on the corner of Fairfax and Sunset Boulevard is like an intimate cross between Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I cannot express how much I love this store. A profusion of flowers greet you outside. Once inside, I developed a serious crush on Peet’s Coffee and a beautiful French bulldog named Rose.

Our new friend Rose, the French Bulldog. Elle est un joli chien!

This place was within walking distance from our vacation rental and thank you very much! I experienced an amazing and warm Croque Monsieur for breakfast, and also learned there is something called a Poke Bowl (pronounced Pok-Ay), a culinary idea that I really hope soon makes its way to New Hampshire. All kinds of fresh raw and cooked fish can be combined with lots of fresh veggies, nuts, and sprouts to create your own bowl of delicious nutrition. Yum!!!

Luscious cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and macarons at Bristol Farms Market.

Catch L.A.: This was our splurge night out. It’s an Oh-So-Pretty restaurant with an Oh-So-Pricey menu. Upon arrival to the large ground floor vestibule, two very good-looking gentlemen greet you. They verify your reservation, then one of them escorts you to the elevator and sends you to up to the beautiful rooftop restaurant. Selfies abound up there amidst greenery and twinkly lights. We stuck with small plates like the skewered chicken meatballs and I had the best sushi of my life, the Catch Roll (crab+salmon+misohoney), which was accompanied by another handsome young man who provided a sushi fire show with his hand torch. A shout out goes to Cory, our very personable waiter! Check out their lit website

Catch LA Meatballs_Crop_Adjust_COMBINED.jpg
Pretty rooftop seating and chicken meatball skewers with a mustard seed ponzu.

In-N-Out Burger: Goes without saying that everyone must try this ubiquitous chain. We went to the one in Westwood before we checked out the UCLA campus. I’m completely intrigued by In-N-Out restaurant and may actually dedicate a whole blog post to them. Suffice to say we left satisfied, and it was the cheapest date we had in Los Angeles. Kudos.

In N Out Burger_Cropped.jpg
Have YOU heard of the Animal Burger? It’s NOT on the menu…

Pink Taco:  A friend whose husband grew up in California texted me while I was out there, “Josh says to try hole-in-the-wall Mexican.”  We had to clarify if it was an actual name of a restaurant. It wasn’t.  Apparently, any Mexican food in L.A. will be better than any Mexican food in New Hampshire. My beautiful niece Jill resides in Los Angeles, and suggested we meet at Pink Taco.

Pink Taco Exterior
Arriving in style at Pink Taco!

It does not fit the hole-in-the-wall category but we were just fine with it. Again, there were trees in the middle of the dining room, which I find so charming. In addition, the food and atmosphere were festive but relaxed, the Happy Hour margaritas awesome, and the restaurant interior was one of the most seriously pink and funky places I’ve been to. A major bonus – my niece arrived with her charming boyfriend and her well-behaved chihuahua Ziggy, and the hostess didn’t bat an eye. He stayed at our table happily eating bits of chicken burrito (I mean Ziggy here). So basically, it felt like we were dining in Mexico with a Chihuahua. I told you, California is cool.

Eva and cheese quesadillas.                             Tee shirts for sale, modeled by a Day of the Dead doll.
The Cadillac Margarita.

The Griddle: This renowned breakfast joint IS a hole-in-the-wall, with a daily line of people waiting patiently to get in. We lucked out on a Tuesday morning and were seated right away by a vivacious young waitress who thought maybe I was someone famous!? Hmm…way to score a good tip! We ordered our eggs and pancakes and noticed a tableful of LAPD officers tucking into their breakfasts with intensity.  Our plates arrived and OMG these were huge portions! It was tasty too. We salute The Griddle!

Breakfast at The Griddle_Adjust
Lisa is embarrassed to admit this was her portion. But she didn’t finish it!
Eva’s pancake. One is more than enough!

Rite-Aid: Yes, you read that right. I have to include the West Hollywood Rite-Aid in this post. Let me just say this is proof that Los Angeles has it over us big time. This was a Rite-Aid on steroids, including a coffee and Cubano sandwich bar. I went in for Tylenol and left with a fresh pistachio frozen yogurt, a bottle of Grey Goose vodka and a pair of yoga pants! Enough said!!

FroYo at RiteAid_OLOVES.jpg
Pick your flavor, pick your toppings…at Rite-Aid?         Artisanal olives in ‘tea’ sleeves. Only in CA!

Gertz Girl Eva.jpgEva Sez:

Oh, and by the way I fell in love with L.A. and will be pursuing my career dreams there. Here’s a sample of my inspiration from this trip! Eva’s LA Video 


Someday I’m gonna be a STAH on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

Eva Avenue of the Stars.jpg

Gertz Girl DeeDee Sez:

You Bitchez! I’m SOOOOOO jealous I wasn’t there 😉


 Gertz Girlz Final Dish:

The rumor is you have conquered L.A. when you conquer their notoriously challenging freeways. I was asked how I did driving on “The 405” and “The 101”.  Please give this Boston driver a big fat break. I mean we are not on bucking broncos here and you have five lanes to play with. I can handle Storrow Drive at 50mph so I’m pretty sure the California drivers were more scared of ME in my rental car. We can cue Dr. Dre again: “Let me welcome everybody to the Wild, Wild West!”

Food Blog, Uncategorized

Seoul Sistahz

Photo Jan 28, 2 44 02 PM.jpg


You’re either into the Winter Olympics or you’re not. For many of us in New England however, it’s a welcome distraction. We can totally relate to trying to stay balanced on the ice…we do it almost every day just trying to get to work! For the Gertz Girlz, the Opening Ceremony and Parade of Nations is one of the highlights. It’s inspiring to see all those young, fit athletes representing every country in the world. This is one of the few events that brings the global community together and it’s also a chance to learn more about the culture of the host country. This year, it happily nudged one of the Gertz Girlz to suggest we visit a Korean restaurant and give their cuisine a whirl. There are not many to choose from “up in these parts,” but a gold medal should definitely go to Seoul Kitchen in Westford, Massachusetts.

Gertz Girl Lisa.jpgLisa Sez:

Dee told me she wanted to try a specific Korean dish. But for the life of me I couldn’t recall the name of it. Biddy Biddy Bop? Bim Skala Bim? (yes now I’m aging myself). I gave up and consulted ‘Auntie’ Google. Ah. Bibimbap. “Dee and I are going to try Bibimbap on Sunday,” I told Eva (who couldn’t make this particular Gertz Girlz outing due to drumline practice). “What is that? Like techno music?,” she asked. That made me feel better. So did the visit to Seoul Kitchen restaurant in Westford, MA. And please don’t judge a restaurant by the strip plaza it lives in. This one made me wish I had dressed a little better. Once inside, I was really impressed with the casual elegance and sparkling interior of this good-sized restaurant. I admired the beautiful décor with its warm color scheme of neutrals and a mix of light to deep coral accents. It was spotless.

We had three distinct seating areas to choose from, including a long, attractive sushi bar, a dining area that included booths and regular tables, and the bar area which held a classy ambiance.

Photo Jan 28, 2 44 47 PM.jpg

Once we were seated, and looking at the menu, Dee shared that the mother of the owner makes the pork dumplings by hand everyday (we have since discovered via Phantom Gourmet that she can no longer keep up with the demand, and now has help). But her efforts were appreciated by the Gertz Girlz! They were fried but not greasy, the filling was savory and satisfying, and the dipping sauce was just the right accompaniment.


But, as much as we enjoyed the dumplings, they were slightly eclipsed by a quartet of complimentary dishes brought to us as a sort of Korean “amuse-bouche” by our attentive waitress. We sampled Spicy Kimchi (cabbage), Korean Broccoli, Seasoned Cucumber, and Soy Potato and Carrot Cubes. These were new to our palates and very good nibbles. We also learned that these small side dishes are unique to the Korean culture and are called “Banchan.”  These are almost obligatory on the Korean table.


We sipped our very good ice-cold vodka martinis and waited for the celebrity dish to arrive. Bibimbap. It was easier to pronounce after the martini, to be honest.

Gertz Girl DeeDee Sez:

I first became aware of Bibimbap about four years ago, while working on a recipe card project. I was intrigued by the ingredients, particularly the sunny side up egg topper–which is now a trend, especially on burgers, pizza and red meat, but back then it seemed like a novelty. Anyway, what can I say? I’m a sucker for gooey egg yolks.

Here’s an interesting bit of history about Bibimbap:

There are a variety of choices for meats, grains and sauces. I ordered the Bibimbap with brown rice and soy-sesame beef. The beef was wonderfully tender, and the veggies (carrots, zucchini, celery) were perfectly tender-crisp. The marinade had just the right flavor balance of soy and sesame. I was disappointed in my choice of grain, though. You can also choose white rice or quinoa, but I was attempting to eat healthier, which was a mistake, because I really don’t care for brown rice. It’s certainly not a strike against Seoul Kitchen; the rice was perfectly cooked and slightly chewy. I just should have listened to that nagging inner voice that said, ‘order the white, dummy’. Oh well…


And be forewarned: the stone bowl stays very hot, and even though it is set in a safety tray, it’s easy to forget that as you reach for something. Especially after a martini! And I struggled with the chop sticks for some reason (maybe it was the martini) so gave up and went with a fork. Utensils are kept in a pretty wooden box; the forks are wrapped in napkins secured with a paper sleeve, and there are paper sleeves covering the bowl of the spoons. I was impressed.

Photo Jan 28, 2 56 37 PM.jpg

Gertz Girl LisaLisa Sez:

Service is so important and our server didn’t disappoint. She was patient with our questions and discounted our martini when she found out our vodka brand wasn’t available that day. Another side note – the restroom was impressively clean and pretty which is very important to this Gertz Girl.


Gertz Girl Eva.jpgEva Sez:

I wish I could’ve been there, I really love an elegant ambiance. I peeked at the menu online and there are enough upscale Pu Pu items to make me happy.

Photo Jan 28, 2 45 04 PM.jpg

Gertz Girlz Final Dish:

Dee and Lisa arrived on a Sunday between the lunch and dinner rushes, so it was fairly quiet, but didn’t stay that way long. Soon there were five parties joining our section, including one with children in the 6-10 age range. We wouldn’t call Seoul Kitchen a family restaurant, per se, because of the ambiance and slightly high prices. For example, the Bibimbap is $17.95. But it’s perfect for friendly get-togethers or romantic date nights.

If you can’t make it to Seoul Kitchen, but would like to make Bibimbap at home, download the recipe card Dee mentioned earlier in the link below. And if you make it, please let us know what you think!

Bibimbap Recipe

More info:

Food Blog, Uncategorized

Parker’s Maple Barn



If you’ve lived in New Hampshire for at least 15 years (as we have) and still haven’t visited Parker’s Maple Barn Restaurant, we suggest you do. Visiting on a balmy day in mid-October is also a smart move. This rustic eatery nestled in Mason, NH definitely falls under the category of “Destination Restaurant.” A mile-long winding road was raining autumn leaves and pine needles in full sunshine, and brought us abruptly to Parker’s. As Dee said, “you know that you’ve arrived.”

Authentic in its rustic vibe, Parker’s has created an outdoor waiting experience that is part aromatherapy (the maple hits you as soon as you open the car door), charming, whimsical and relaxing. The restaurant, gift shop, outdoor coffee bar, and multiple woodsy seating areas make for an eye-catching exterior. Plentiful parking, including a spillover lot across the street let us know that Parker’s was established and popular. We arrived at noon on a Sunday and there was a 1.5 hour wait (no reservations). We had anticipated this and so should you. Breakfast is served all day, so act like royalty and order what you desire no matter the time.

After a 90 minute wait, we were immediately rewarded with a generous hot beverage service.  The good coffee (according to Lisa) was placed on our table in a carafe – no waiting for refills! If you are a tea drinker, like Dee, you can expect a carafe of hot water, and a tea chest with plenty of regular and herbal choices. We received quick service from a friendly, seasoned (and clearly exhausted) waitress. The food was worth the wait – it was a concise menu with many original temptations.

Gertz Girl DeeDee Sez:

As the name suggests, the restaurant is a large barn-like building decorated with wooden signs and whimsical folk art. There are plenty of rustic outdoor seating options (tree stumps, stone benches) while you wait for your table. But it isn’t autumn in New England if yellow jackets haven’t crashed the party. They chased us out of a covered bridge (another seating option that is no doubt packed when it’s raining), down a path and into the kitschy gift shop. We took a quick look, but opted to enjoy the fresh air and expansive grounds instead.

If you are “hangry”, DO NOT sit in the restaurant’s indoor waiting area. With so many customers, the barn-style door opens and closes with jarring frequency and almost everyone entering or exiting lets it slam shut. It will get on your nerves.

But let’s talk food! When out for brunch, my go-to dish is Eggs Benedict. My expectations are never high, mainly because Eggs Bennie is hard to mess up. Overcooked eggs are always the biggest disappointment, with rubbery ham and overly lemony Hollandaise tied for second. But when our waitress put down my plate, I marveled at how picture-perfect they looked. Honestly, look at this!


Perfectly poached orbs enrobed in a glistening, sunny sauce. Big points for providing a steak knife; this was a first. I have never understood how restaurants think it’s easy to cut through ham and English muffins with a butter knife.

And for the first time ever, I experienced that perfect Eggs Bennie bite. First silky and creamy, followed by salty and tender, and finally gooey and chewy. Heavenly. The home fries weren’t bad, either. But the side of bacon was just okay. I know there’s no such thing as bad bacon (except bad for you), but I think they are missing a great opportunity to offer a maple-candied option, since it’s all the rage these days.

Gertz Girl LisaLisa Sez:

Have you ever been offered “Breakfast Appetizers?” Me neither. How fun! I mean Deep-Fried Blueberry Bites? We might do this on our next visit, but at 1:30 we were in the mood for a lunch appetizer–Spicy Maple Chicken Tenders. The five oversized tenders were amazing. Like something you would get in a great urban Asian restaurant–very lightly breaded, subtly sweet and spicy, and truly tender. One of the lucky Gertz Girlz got to take some home for midnight snakz.


There were some seasonal specials that sounded incredible and involved pumpkin and cream cheese, but I ordered the Maple Ribs with Eggs Any Style, Home Fries and Toast. I hit on the ribs first. Wow! No sticky bbq-like sauce – just pure delicate maple flavor on tender pork that practically jumped off the bone. A little shout out to the whole wheat toast – it was extra thick and flavorful and a great vehicle for the perfectly cooked over-easy egg yolks.

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Gertz Girl EvaEva Sez:

I guess beverages are important to the Gertz Girlz! The waitress kept refilling my ice water which scores points with me, as one of my nicknames is “The Camel.” I was really excited to see a Thanksgiving Sandwich on the menu as it’s one of my favorite meals. It was fantastic and stacked with juicy, roasted turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I was just a little disappointed by the appetizer plates (kinda chintzy). Food this good deserves to be served on fancier dishes!! (Side note: The other Gertz Girlz didn’t realize until now that Eva is a bit of a dish snob!)


Gertz Girlz Final Dish:

Between the “forest bathing” we did beforehand, and the wonderful dining experience we had afterward, the Gertz Girlz are so glad we made the drive to this unique New Hampshire establishment! Dee bought a beautifully decorated tin of Parker’s maple syrup for $11 and she and her husband enjoyed it on French Toast last night. It was divine. And if you visit between March and mid-April, treat yourself to a tour of the Sugar House while you wait to be seated.

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