June 7, 2010 § Leave a comment
This past weekend, we drove up to Phillips Exeter Academy for Katie’s graduation ceremony. Exeter, New Hampshire is the quintessential New England town. Small, privately-owned shops selling things like locally-made arts and crafts, a town square with a bandstand in the middle of the intersection, and beautiful views by the river all add to the town’s charm.
The school itself has so much history and on Saturday, we got to soak up campus and the main street with Katie one last time, and our evening ended with an amazing meal at The Tavern at River’s Edge. The restaurant is very small, with only about 6 or 7 tables and a bar, and everyone is so warm and friendly that it feels like you’re eating in someone’s private kitchen.
Our family shared the Asian Prince Edward Island mussels and the tuna avocado sashimi as appetizers. The mussels came in a gigantic bowl and were doused with a delicious sesame oil-infused broth that we couldn’t get enough of. Although the tuna avocado sashimi was a much smaller serving, the fish was fresh and the ponzu sauce over it was extremely flavorful.
For our entrees, Katie ordered the New Zealand, herb crusted lamb chops with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus, Jackie ordered the braised beef short rib over creamy cheddar polenta, my mom had the blacked salmon with pineapple salsa, and my dad and I shared the prime rib special. Our servings, despite splitting them or ordering smaller portions (because we had dessert in mind), were still enormous. For example, the two plates of prime rib that you see in the photos were supposed to meant for a single person! And even though we had to wait a while for our food, everything was cooked perfectly and we still managed to wipe our plates clean. The lamb and prime rib were buttery and so tender, and Jackie’s short ribs fell apart the second they were touched with a fork. And the sides held their own as well. Our mashed potatoes weren’t bland afterthoughts but pillows of rich garlicky flavor, and the roasted asparagus (one of my favorite ways to eat vegetables) was aggressively seasoned and crisp at the ends, just how I like it.
We ended our meal with a shared tiramisu that wasn’t too sweet and too drowned in liqueur, which is one of the reasons that usually prevents me from ordering it. It was surrounded by large dollops of homemade whipped cream and gone in 2 seconds.
The next day, Sunday, we headed over to the Exeter gym for Katie’s commencement ceremony, and it was both lovely and bittersweet to see the class – girls in white dresses and boys in their suits – all gather together one last time. Katie even had her own special moment on stage when she won the school’s annual Eskie Clark award and then read the names of her classmates as they received their diplomas. Of course, afterwards there were many goodbyes, hugs, and some tears, but I knew she was also looking forward to a relaxing summer at home before going off to Columbia in the fall.
The Tavern at River’s Edge
163 Water St.
Exeter, NH 03833