Michael and I headed to Manchester last night to see the Monarch's in their final regular season game. (They have made the play-off's.) We like to head into the city early on game night to find free on street parking. We find a nice spot and then dine at a restaurant we can walk to before sauntering to the Verizon Arena.
The dining destination we picked last night was called Z food & drink and it is right on Elm Street, closer to the arena end. We can thank Nancy for the recommendation to this little gem. Despite the Z name, it was far from sleepy. The restaurant does not take itself too seriously as evidenced by the Mr. Potato Heads and Connect Four games left on each table. I also had a fun sparkling white wine called Coppola Sofia Blanc de Blanc that came in a pink can with a pink straw.
The menu is unique and creative, though, it's not a huge list. They are putting their energy into making a few tasty dishes rather than having to a list so long that they can't possibly be perfect at all of them.
Michael and I shared a calamari appetizer. That seems to be our favorite appetizer to share since we order it at every restaurant that has it on the menu. (Leave us a comment if you know of a calamari appetizer we shouldn't miss.) The Z version came with two dipping sauces, one with smoked paprika romesco sauce and the other with a basil sauce. We've never had those two flavors to dip our calamari in before and they were wonderful. I think I liked the basil sauce the best of the two they served.
For dinner, Michael got the pork dish. It was a thick slice or braised pork with a mango-ginger sauce/puree and a lime-cilantro sour cream drizzle. He also got red beans and rice with the dish. It was good, or at least the taste I got was.
I was fascinated by the Asian Nacho menu description, so I ordered those and a goat cheese croquettes salad as my meal. Let's talk about those Asian Nachos first. WOW! I love food combinations that I have never seen before and the nachos sure did please me. Instead of traditional nacho chips, Z's used crisp won tons. They then put grilled chicken, red and yellow peppers and jack cheese on top of the crisps. And finished it off with drizzles of sesame peanut sauce and wasabi sour cream. YUMMY! I would go back again just for an order of the Asian Nachos. My salad was good too. The goat cheese croquettes looked like little crab cakes on a field greens. The whole salad was spotted with pistachios and dried cranberries. I do wish they had soaked the cranberries in something to make them softer. I would recommend a soaking in champagne or balsamic vinegar, but I'm not in charge of their menu. The salad came with a champagne vinaigrette. Only a foodie would have whipped the cell phone out to take a photo of the nachos!
We paid the bill and headed down the street to the Verizon Arena and found our seats at the Monarch's game. The Monarch's played the Providence Bruins. It was a physical game. Sometimes it seemed as though they were more interested in checking and beating on each other than actually focusing on plays and scoring. Some would call that a good hockey game. The annual bed pan race was held during the first period break, and Concord Hospital lost their title as reigning bed pan champions. The game remained scoreless until the last three minutes. At that point, the Monarch's started handing goals to the Bruins. That was disgusting! The Bruins ended up winning with three goals.