Affordable eatery: Lexie’s Joint
“Peace, Love, Burgers” is Lexie’s philosophy. I love Lexie’s burgers and am even more satisfied when I see the restaurant’s prices. Burger patties are offered in beef, “cluck” (ground chicken), and the “beanie” (a vegetarian bean patty, as the name suggests). Lexie’s also has the best fries I’ve ever tried. The truffle fries are a personal favorite and nothing can beat their fried pickles, which are $3 for a “boat load.” My burger of choice is the “Wild-Things,” which comes with bacon, Muenster cheese, tomatoes, Sriracha aioli and avocado. The specials at Lexie’s change daily, and the establishment also offers amazing milkshakes to pair with your burger. Stop by Lexie’s on 212 Islington St. and I promise you won’t regret it.
Bakery: La Maison Navarre
Experience a taste of France at La Maison Navarre in downtown Portsmouth. The shop at 121 Congress St. offers freshly baked pastries in a modern atmosphere. The macarons are a definite must-try, available in 18 different flavors ranging from pistachio, salted caramel and coconut, to traditional flavors like chocolate and vanilla. The café/bakery also makes macarons with ice cream filling, for which the flavors change daily. Other menu items include sweet and savory crepes, freshly made bread, sandwiches and weekly soups. Also, if you’re 21 or older there is a wide selection of wine to choose from.
Coffee: White Heron Tea & Coffee
Established in 2005 and located on 601 Islington St., just outside of downtown Portsmouth, White Heron Tea & Coffee offers customers its own brand of organic teas, coffee, snacks and a breakfast/lunch menu. The store’s selections of baked-goods vary from day-to-day, and it also offers a variety of vegan options, but my personal favorite are the scones.
Clothing store: Summer Sessions Surf Shop
Located in the Vaughn Mall Courtyard, Summer Sessions offers modern clothing for both men and women. Founded in 2002, Summer Sessions has been bringing surfer fashion to New Hampshire’s seacoast ever since. Free People, Vans, Obey, Hurley and Ray-Ban are just some of the many brands the store carries
Moxy is a modern American tapas restaurant with the best whoopie pie sliders (served with chocolate dipping sauce) you will ever eat. Located at 106 Penhallow St., it’s a perfect date restaurant, or a place to share unique dishes with a loved one. Some popular menu items include fried pickle chips, chili pepper cornbread, beef short rib marmalade and fried clams. Moxy puts a contemporary twist on traditional New England cuisine that will have you craving more.
Unique boutique: Ganesh Imports Inc.
From clothing and jewelry to home decor such as tapestries, oils, incense and dream catchers, Ganesh Imports at 57 Market St. offers customers fun bohemian fashion and great gift ideas. It’s an awesome store, whether you’re simply searching for new earrings, a purse or room decorations. I especially love their sterling silver rings, which are incredibly unique and affordable.
Shio is a Japanese restaurant located on 2454 Lafayette Road., minutes away from downtown. Because of its location, Shio sees a lot more locals than tourists, but the assortment of sushi it offers makes Shio’s sushi bar loved by many. Traditional sushi, sashimi and Maki rolls are all served in the restaurant. Shio offers customers regular or sushi bar seating, or the ever-popular Tatami rooms. My personal favorite of Shio’s sushi is the “Crazy Roll,” which is shrimp tempura, avocado and spicy mayonnaise, topped with tobiko, which are as tiny fish eggs. The presentation of the sushi is always beautiful and the staff is sweet and accommodating.
Pub: Book & Bar
Like the name suggests, the Portsmouth Book & Bar is a bookshop and bar, all in one. Located at 40 Pleasant St., the Book & Bar offers coffee, beer, food and live entertainment. The bar is located in a restored historic building from the 1860s, and its menu includes breakfast, lighter bites, sandwiches and desserts. All of the books have been pre-owned, but are in great condition. Often times I go in just to browse the selection, as it is constantly expanding.
Entertainment: Bull Moose
If you’re looking for affordable entertainment, whether it’s via classic movies, CDs or records, Bull Moose is worth a visit. Established in 1996 and located on Congress Street, Bull Moose offers a wide range of movies in all genres as well as new and pre-owned entertainment for whatever your taste and budget is.
Stationary: Gus & Ruby
Gus & Ruby is the cutest little stationary store, making for great gifts for loved ones or a stationary haul for back-to-school season. The selection of greeting cards is lovely, and aside from agenda books, notepads and calendars, there is also a wide variety of decorations such as paintings, mugs and jewelry holders.