An Afternoon in Hanover, New Hampshire: The Farmers' Market and Murphy's on the Green

Amy writes:

Every couple of years, I participate in the Classical Association of New England's Summer Institute, which my husband lovingly calls "Latin Camp." Teachers, professors, and non-academic lovers of Latin, Greek, English, history, humanities, archaeology, and all things ancient, descend upon the campus at Dartmouth College and spend a week immersed in collegial study and celebration of our passion. A typical day at "camp" includes at least two, if not three, lectures by experts in their field, a class meeting each of the two courses an individual has signed up for, an optional workshop and/or reading group, and for those of us in "The Ancient World in Modern Film," a movie at night. We sleep in (thankfully, air-conditioned) dorm rooms, and we eat meals from whatever campus dining hall is serving at that particular moment. We even have a camp song.

I love Latin Camp, but by Wednesday afternoon, I needed a break. The food options weren't all that great this year; in fact, the "best" choice was a cafe that tended toward burgers, deep-fried whatever, and taco salads, and there is only so much of that you can eat in a week. That's when I remembered that Hanover has a wonderful farmers' market on Wednesday afternoons. I didn't have a kitchen to cook in, but I could poke around and enjoy looking at all the fresh fruits and vegetables and local crafts. I ended up buying some baby artichokes for Chris and a delicious cupcake from The Cupcake Queen for myself. Here are some pics from the market:

Seeing all that good food made me hungry, and I knew that cafe food wasn't going to satisfy me. The next thing I was supposed to do that night was attend a lecture, then a pre-movie reception at 8. I had a few hours, so I went to Murphy's on the Green for a drink (as several of us did at various points that week) and to think about dinner. I remember Murphy's from "Latin Camps" past - in the late 90's (when I was in my twenties), a group of us spent more time in Murphy's than I care to admit, and in 2009, our last night in Hanover was a post-banquet blur spent at the pub. And a pub it is, ostensibly anyway, of the typical Irish variety.

I had never eaten at Murphy's, but I had pub-food expectations: fish and chips, shepherd's pie, maybe some sort of sausage and potato dish. At the suggestion of the ever-friendly and knowledgable barkeep, Dennis, I grabbed a menu and was pleasantly surprised at the offerings. Murphy's is preparing incredible locavore-minded dishes made from fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients. It was then that I realized I wasn't going to make that night's lecture; everything sounded so wonderful.

I did, at last, decide upon an appetizer of "Sauteed Hollander Mussels"- sweet mussels and cherry tomatoes cooked in a complex sauce of dry vermouth, garlic, thyme, and Boucher bleu cheese (what an addition!) topped with crispy fried shallots. The bleu cheese gave the sauce a surprising tang and delightful creaminess that begged for the accompanying toasted baguette to be dipped in it. My mouth is drooling just thinking of that sauce as I'm writing this. I. Loved. This. Dish.

For my entree, I had a hard timing choosing among the "Balsamic Marinated Misty Knoll Leg Quarter," the "Asian Spice Rubbed Pork Flat Iron," or the "Garlic Infused Colorado Lamb Sirloin." Of these three, Dennis steered me toward the lamb, which was amazingly tender, not at all gamey, and perfectly seasoned, sitting in a hearty stew-like bed of curried white beans and tomato confit, topped with a palate-cooling tzatziki sauce. Heavenly, and the perfect choice (kudos to you, Dennis).

I was itching to leave out of fear I might be "caught" by my peers not eating in the already-paid-for-dining-hall (a tad extravagant for your typical New Englander), when a trio of my "camp" buddies walked in for drinks and a quick bite. Paranoia aside, I finished up the lamb, grabbed another glass of Pinot Noir and left my bartop post to join them. Some time late, a plate appeared before me, compliments of Dennis, who knew I really wanted dessert. Joyfully I cut into halves these two "Vermont Butter and Cheese Whoopie Pies" and shared them with my friends (before snapping a photo, I'm sad to say), although I kept the accompanying cognac cream shooter to myself (you know, germs). All agreed they were delicious, and we headed out, will full and happy bellies, to the reception.

To sum up, this was an excellent dining experience, made better by the hospitable service and friendly company. I highly recommend Murphy's if you are in the Hanover, NH area. Actually, even if you're not in the area, for this outstanding restaurant is less than a mile off VT Interstate 91, Exit 12. The Farmers' Market is on Wednesdays from 3 to 6. It makes a great afternoon!
Murphy's On The Green on Urbanspoon


Emily @ Life on Food said...

I love Dartmouth's campus and Hanover. I spent one summer there and it was great. Did you get to visit the King Arthur store across the river?

Lomo said...

I do love farmers' markets, they just offer so much and I think they are great to just wander around! What a great way to get out and about. That restaurant looks amazing!

Susan Lindquist said...

A perfect daytrip for me! I'll keep it in mind when I headup to the King Arthur corporate store in Norwich!

Thanks for the recommendation and good job 'carpe-ing that diem'!

Christine's Pantry said...

It's been years since I have gone to Hanover. Great photos.

Shu Han said...

lovely photos of the market! I work at the farmers' market in london, and always love seeing photos of beautiful produce (: and cooking with them afterwards of course;)