The Hippo


Oct 16, 2019








Courtesy photos.

Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge

When: Thursday, May 7, from 4 to 9 p.m.
Where: Participating restaurants in Manchester’s downtown and millyard
Cost: $2 per taco
Participating Restaurants
As of print time, here are the tacos some of the participating restaurants are planning to serve
• 900 Degrees (50 Dow St.), Pompeii Ole Taco: Spicy ground Italian sausage, pepperoni, jalapeno, crushed red peppers, stewed in house marinara sauce. Topped with orange marinated romaine lettuce, mango chutney, Italian grana padano cheese and tequila cream sauce (this taco is spicy).
• A & E Coffee & Tea (1000 Elm St.) Espressanco: Espresso laced pizzelle taco shell filled with espresso ganache, topped with whip cream and garnished with coco powder.
• B&B Cafe and Grill (25 Stark St.), BBQ Chicken Taco: Pulled chicken with James River barbecue sauce, bacon and gyro taco gyro meat with a yogurt sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion.
• Ben & Jerry’s  (940 Elm St.) A Milk & Cookies Taco Delight:  A waffle taco shell stuffed with Milk & Cookies ice cream and toppings
• Cafe La Reine (915 Elm St.), Freddie Mercury Taco: Buffalo chicken, ranch, lettuce and tomato on a corn tortilla.
• Club Manchvegas (50 Old Granite St.) Buffalo chicken and mac & cheese taco.
• Consuelo’s Taqueria (36 Amherst St.), Tucatan Taco
• Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St.), The Masterpiece Taco
• Doogie’s Bar and Grille (37 Manchester St.), Mango Tango Beef Taco
Dos Amigos Burritos (931 Elm St.), Braised Short Rib Taco: Slow braised short rib with colorful slaw and queso fresco on a white tortilla. 
• El Rincon (10 Lake Ave.), Fajita Taco: Beef, chicken, Mexican chorizo, peppers, onions and salsas to choose from (this taco is gluten free).
• The Farm Bar and Grille (1181 Elm St.), Pulled Pork: Pulled pork on a flour tortilla with coleslaw and barbecue sauce.
• Finesse Pastries (968 Elm St.), Taco Dulcita: Cigarette cookie shell filled with coconut dacquoise soaked in Malibu rum with chocolate mousse, orange coconut cheese and butter cream lettuce and tomato.
• Firefly Bistro and Bar (22 Concord St.), El Chupacabra: Chipotle chicken, cholula and cheese. Build your own taco set up with lots of add ons available.
• Fratello’s (155 Dow St.), Braised Short Rib Taco: Braised rib with fresh pico de gallo served in a flour tortilla.
• Gauchos Brazilian Steakhouse (62 Lowell St.) Chicken Taco:  Straight off the skewer chicken and all the fixings.
• Granite State Candy Shop (832 Elm St.) Citrus Crunch Taco Bowl. • The Gyro Spot (1073 Elm St.), Opa Taco: Rotisserie chicken or pork with spicy tzatziki, tomato, onion and hand cut french fries. 
• Hanover Street Chop House (149 Hanover St.), Fire Grilled Steak Taco: Soft corn tortilla filled with spicy dry rubbed USDA sirloin, tomatillo-serrano chili salsa and topped with queso fresco.
• Hilton Garden Inn (101 S. Commercial St.), Smoked Chicken Taco: Chipotle rub smoked chicken thigh, roasted black bean and corn salsa, cilantro lime sour cream and Monterey Jack cheese.
• Ignite/Hooked (100/110 Hanover St.), Costa Rican Fish Taco: Fried Mahi Mahi fresh greens, their own pico and a special creole tartar sauce on a soft taco.
• J.W. Hills Sports Bar (795 Elm St.), Southwestern Chicken Taco: Grilled chicken with southwest corn/black bean salsa.
• Lala’s Hungarian Restaurant (836 Elm St.), Transylvanian Dessert Taco: Soft shell made with a crepe filled with choice of cherry or blueberry filling.
• Lowell Street Eatery (36 Lowell St.), Fish Taco: Fish taco with Asian slaw and mango avocado and tomato salsas.
• Margarita’s (1037 Elm St.), BLT Taco: Fresh taco stuffed with bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese accompanied by house made chipotle mayo or mild three pepper sauce.
• Midtown Café (814 Elm St.) Pulled chicken taco: Pulled chicken with homemade pico degallo, with fresh sharp cheddar cheese and lettuce
• Milly’s Tavern (500 N. Commercial St.), Manchvegas Tipsy Haddock Taco
• Mint Bistro (1105 Elm St.), Pork Belly Taco: Braised pork belly, pickled vegetables, cilantro and guacamole.
• N’awlins Grille (860 Elm St.), Cajun Chix Taco: Cajun chicken taco with mixed greens, tomatoes, and cajun lime aioli sauce.
• Portland Pie Company (786 Elm St.), Mexislice.
• Red Arrow  (61 Lowell St.) Pulled pork taco: pulled pork with caramelized onions and coleslaw.
Republic (1069 Elm St.) Curried Potato & Cauliflour Taco: curried potato and cauliflour filled taco with spicy slaw and tahini sauce.
•  Strange Brew (88 Market St.), El Corazon del Diablo: Chorizo, bacon, pulled pork with pickled slaw.
• Suddenly Susan’s (87 Hanover St.), Amoskeag Taco: All white meat chicken salad with dried cranberries, sliced green apples and leafy green lettuce on a soft taco shell.
• The Wild Rover (21 Kosciuszko St.), Cannoli Taco: A cinnamon sugar shell filled with chocolate chip cannoli filling, strawberry and bananas topped with a drizzle of chocolate syrup.
• USA Chicken and Biscuit (990 Elm St.), Sambosa Taco: Crispy flour made shell, fresh ground beef seasoned with a house seasoning, homemade pico de gallo and finished off with a touch of their white and hot sauce.

Taco time
Hippo de Mayo returns to downtown Manchester

By Allie Ginwala

Get your taco fix and then some during the fifth annual Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge, when more than 40 eateries in downtown Manchester will get creative and serve specially made tacos for $2.

Inspired by a love of tacos, Hippo publisher Jody Reese said Hippo de Mayo was created as a way to encourage people to come downtown and support local businesses. Tacos seemed like a good choice because of their versatility.
“One of the reasons we chose a taco is because every culture has a variation on the taco,” Reese said. “We really hoped that people would get very creative.”
In years past, duck breast tacos, shrimp tacos, barbecued Korean tacos, macaroni and cheese tacos and meatball tacos have lured people to downtown Manchester.
With the influx of extra patrons standing in line for $2 tacos, the time and effort required by the participating eateries is tremendous.
Last year, it was all hands on deck for staff at Dos Amigos Burritos, which made 1,000 tacos in two hours, store manager Kina Gilson said. Being well versed in making tacos, Dos Amigos is mixing things up this year and making a taco that’s not available on the regular menu. Kitchen manager Brad Gage said they’ll be serving a short rib taco (the meat is slow braised for eight hours) with colorful slaw and queso fresco on a white tortilla. 
For places like Suddenly Susan’s Gourmet Deli that don’t regularly serve tacos, the taco tour gives them an opportunity to get creative while showcasing their menu. Manager and head sandwich maker April Robbins said they’ll serve the Amoskeag taco, based on one of their signature sandwiches. 
“We served it last year and people really enjoyed it,” Robbins said in a phone interview. “It’s just a spinoff of our most popular sandwich, The Amoskeag.” 
Normally served on rye bread, the Amoskeag taco is made of all white meat chicken salad with dried cranberries, sliced green apples and leafy green lettuce on a soft taco shell.  
“It seems like a nice change from the other tacos,” she said. “No one else is serving a chicken salad taco.”
Café la Reine owner Alex Puglisi said they’ll turn a menu-favorite sandwich  into a taco as well — the Freddie Mercury taco, with buffalo chicken with ranch, lettuce and tomato.
“[It’s] pretty simple but a favorite,” Puglisi said in a phone interview. 
She said the idea for Café la Reine is to go with a non-traditional taco that brings a fun twist to one of their sandwiches. 
Being such a unique event, Hippo de Mayo draws taco connoisseurs from other cities in New Hampshire as well as Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine. 
“We’ve noticed people travel,” Reese said. “Especially people who are really into that kind of street food and into the taco ethos.” 
Reese said that trying to eat all 40-plus tacos is “absolutely impossible,” just due to time spent waiting in lines — let alone being able to stomach that many tacos. He estimates that the average person will eat three to six tacos, depending on the strategy they take for navigating the area. 
If you’re looking to get the most tacos, he suggested starting in the Millyard and near the ballpark; that area typically doesn’t have too much of a line. 
“I would work the edges if you want to get the maximum number of tacos,” he said. 
The southern end of Elm Street is another good place, as people tend not to congregate there.
If your goal for the evening is instead to get a certain type of taco, choose a few places to wait in line. Download the Hippo Scout app so you can check out what’s being served, how long lines are and when certain locations run out.
“You gotta really ask yourself the question of if you’re going to go for quantity or kinds of tacos that you like,” Reese said. 
Voting for people’s choice will be the same at last year: head to (accessible on most smartphones) and select your favorite from a drop-down menu. The judges’ choice winner (chosen by a panel of Hippo staff foodies) will be awarded $1,000 for their charity of choice.
“Our feeling was that this was really a way to kind of give back to the downtown community, and the event has now taken on a life of its own,” Reese said. “ I think it’s much larger than we ever expected it to be.”
Last year’s taco tour drew about 15,000 tacos enthusiasts, and Reese estimates the number this year could reach 20,000. 
“It’s a phenomenal amount of work and commitment [for restaurants],” Reese said. “I think … they do it because it brings [people] downtown, it helps make downtown a fun place, a place to live and play, and I think that the restaurants are kind of in that same mode.”
As seen in the April 30, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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