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Downtown businesses are transformed into restaurant destinations during Taste of Downtown Nashua. Courtesy photo.




A Taste of Milford

When: Friday, May 30, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Downtown Milford, around the Oval and side streets
Cost: Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door
Visit: milfordimprovementteam.org
 
Taste of Downtown Nashua
When: Wednesday, June 4, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Downtown Nashua on Main Street and side streets
Cost: Tickets cost $35 in advance, $40 at the door
Visit: downtownnashua.org




Two Tastes
Stroll and sample in Milford and downtown Nashua

05/22/14



 Milford and Nashua are opening up their downtowns to welcome hungry visitors to their annual “Taste of” events.

 
An evening on the Oval 
Last year’s attendees are already asking if Fuzzies Ice Cream & Deli will be bringing back its lobster roll for A Taste of Milford (a favorite from last year’s Taste, and the answer is yes, it will be back). A Taste of Milford has sold out four years in a row, and it’s likely to sell out this year as well.
The fifth annual A Taste of Milford will be on Friday, May 30, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Eateries and food vendors set up in downtown Milford on the Oval with samples for guests. 
It’s not just about the eats, either, Milford Improvement Team Executive Director Wendy Hunt said — it’s also about downtown businesses and shops.
“It’s really just to showcase these businesses,” Hunt said. “It just shows how welcoming this whole downtown area is — there’s so much to do.”
What’s unique about A Taste of Milford is that local food vendors and cottage businesses also offer samples, not just Milford area restaurants. Over 20 restaurants and food vendors are participating in this year’s Taste, like Cafe on the Oval, Clark’s Tavern and Giorgio’s Ristorante, as well as foodie businesses like Two Happy Butchers, Maple Lane Farm and Noni’s Homemade English Toffee. 
“We have a nice mix of Mediterranean to New England,” Hunt said.
She said guests come from all over southern New Hampshire, including Nashua, Manchester, Mont Vernon, Wilton and Amherst.
There are only 600 tickets available, so space is limited and demand is high. Attendees will also receive a goody bag when they arrive at A Taste of Milford, and during the evening, they can cast their ballots for Best Entree, Best Dessert and Best Presentation.
 
Try Main Street eats
It’s only once a year that shops like Beckonings or Fortin Gage in downtown Nashua turn into foodie destinations. 
Restaurants set up portable kitchens or serving trays with sweet and savory samples inside various businesses on Main Street. There are locations with wine and beer tastings, too. It’s a great opportunity to grab a bite of something new, but also to look around, shop and meet business owners. 
“The restaurants really put on their best for this event,” Great American Downtown Executive Director Rebecca Dixon said. “After the event people tell us what they liked, and which was their favorite. … It’s never just one favorite.”
The 20th Annual Taste of Downtown Nashua is on Wednesday, June 4, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. along Main Street from Canal Street down to Beckonings (just before Eldridge Street).
“A lot of folks when they get their tickets they map out where they want to go,” Dixon said. “It really showcases the downtown just by getting people into stores they might not have visited yet or sampling from restaurants they haven’t tried.”
Restaurants participating in this year’s Taste of Downtown include Surf, Villa Banca, Peddler’s Daughter, Estabrook Grill, Unums, King David Coffee Roasters and Portland Pie Co., to name a few. 
There are three newcomers to this year’s Taste: Cava de Vino, JajaBelle’s and Agave Azul.
You can easily visit each spot along the Taste of Downtown Nashua, but the Hot Spots are what many attendees look for. Attendees who get their tickets stamped at each Hot Spot can enter to win a gift certificate to one of the participating restaurants.
“It kind of has evolved to take on a life of its own,” Dixon said. “It’s become a real fun scavenger hunt that’s become a part of the event.”
Dixon said her favorite hidden gems during the tour are the musicians who play throughout the night. Businesses offer raffles and giveaways located along the route, so there’s plenty to check out along the way. Plus, a free parking pass comes with your ticket, so you can stroll and eat worry-free.
There are only 700 tickets available for this year’s Taste of Downtown Nashua, and last year, Dixon said many had to be turned away on the day of the event.
“We do get people from as far away as Maine,” Dixon said. “And people who come back year after year, too, [from] all over New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine. It’s become a tradition for a lot of folks.” 
 
As seen in the May 22, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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