“Pho Keene Great” Grand Opening: Photos & Review

The line outside prior to PKG's opening.

The line outside prior to PKG’s opening.

This afternoon at just before three, approximately 25 people were in line to be the first paying customers at the new Keene Vietnamese restaurant, “Pho Keene Great“. If you’re new to the Pho Keene Great story, here’s a recap of what happened with their viral showdown with the City of Keene’s Dragon. When the door was opened for the first time today, the initial customers were welcomed by the PKG crew, all wearing black uniforms including t-shirts and hats bearing the Pho Keene Great logo.

PKG’s bustling staff-on-duty numbered at least a dozen plus Chris Rietmann, the proprietor of Route 101 Local Goods, who was at the front at a table offering the hot-selling Pho Keene Great merchandise like t-shirts, hats, bumper stickers and the newest item – tote bags. Plus, each customer walking in was given a free limited-run “Live Pho or Die!” sticker in the shape of New Hampshire and featuring the PKG logo character.

If you aren’t able to come to Keene and still want your own Pho Keene Great gear, you can order it online with your credit card or cryptocurrency like bitcoin at Route 101 Local Goods.

Only a fraction of the busy crew on-duty at PKG.

Only a fraction of the busy crew on-duty at PKG.

After the initial group entered, more came in and by the time I left an hour later, not only was I full, but so was Pho Keene Great. Founder Isabelle Rose was seen in the kitchen, constantly active and focused on preparing the delicious food.

The guy sitting next to me at the bar, Matt, has spent most of his life running professional kitchens and he makes a habit of reviewing the restaurants he visits on Yelp. His review for Pho Keene Great was the first the restaurant had received and he left five stars and this review:

I was in line for the grand opening and was served second out of the group. I ordered their meatball pho.

Broth: simple, clear, delicate.
Noodles: perfect.
Meatballs: dense, perfect.

Route 101 Local Goods' Chris Rietmann talks to a happy customer.

Route 101 Local Goods’ Chris Rietmann talks to a happy customer.

Service: excellent, professional, well seasoned.I’ve been a part of at least 20 restaurant openings in my career and looking around at this one, I see very few foibles or parts that need polish. The food was barely too long in coming, but this is literally DAY ONE, HOUR ONE. I’m extremely impressed at how well out together and error-free this has been, and I can’t wait to come back. I’m so happy not only that there’s a pho place in town, but moreso that there’s a place in town with truly fantastic food and service in a restaurant that is perfectly suitable for everything from family dinners and celebrations to business dinners.

Southeast Asian food should tick all boxes when it comes to flavor in each bite. Pho Keene Great delivers on that necessity and does it in a classy but relaxed environment, and at a reasonable price. Definitely recommend.

The restaurant will initially be open at 3pm daily except Tuesdays and offer a limited dinner menu, though with a full bar and liquor license. They even have a beer on tap from Marlborough’s Frogg Brewing.

Later they are planning to expand Pho Keene Great to include lunch and take-out, but for now they’re keeping it simple to get the gears turning. The restaurant is located next door to City Hall at 11 Central Square in Keene, NH. Here are a few more photos I snapped of the grand opening: (more…)

Derrick J Interviewed at Liberty Forum 2019

Derrick J Freeman of VictimlessCrimeSpree.com and Anypay.global was recently interviewed on “Destination Unknown” with Vin Armani and Dave Butler live from Liberty Forum 2019. It was a great interview, so I cut it out of their recent fifteen hours of broadcasting from Liberty Forum 2019 in Manchester, NH. You can see the full 15 hour broadcast here.

Here’s their interview with Derrick J:

Forbes: Keene is “Crypto Mecca”

Forbes Magazine Covers Keene's Crypto Scene

Forbes Magazine Covers Keene’s Crypto Scene

I awoke today in the Princess Resort in Acapulco on day number one of Anarchapulco 2019 to some awesome news: a new Forbes article refers to Keene as “Crypto Mecca”! Thanks to their reporter, Rebecca Campbell, for her excellent story featuring Keene’s amazing, world-leading crypto scene!

Longtime readers of Free Keene already know Keene is a top world city for per-capita businesses accepting cryptocurrency.

Now that fact has made one of the world’s most popular financial publications, Forbes. You can read the full story here, titled “Market Downturn? The People Using Crypto Show Why The Market Is Not Dead”. Also featured in the article, the amazing crypto-art of Nanu Berks, which is quite exquisite.

The article is a testament to the success of the model of moving liberty-minded activists together to the same place. Over and over, Keene’s activists prove they are able to attract a disproportionate amount of media coverage here, despite our relatively small size. Also, the Seacoast’s killer crypto-activist duo of Derrick J Freeman and Steven Zeiler get honorable mention for their amazing work bringing Portsmouth businesses into crypto as well as launching the amazing Anypay merchant crypto acceptance app.

Thanks to Forbes for the coverage, but most importantly to the pioneering local businesses who are accepting cryptocurrency and made this possible.

Vin Armani’s Epic 15+ Hour Broadcast from Liberty Forum 2019

Vin in Nevada. He's gonna need more than that hoodie now in NH!

Vin in his Nevada days.

The Free State Project‘s wintertime convention, Liberty Forum, happened this weekend and they had the good fortune of having the talented Vin Armani perform a broadcast throughout the event.

Vin is the host of “Destination Unknown” a weekly podcast with co-host and FSP early mover Dave Butler. Both Vin and Dave headed up the epic live video feed that aired for over fifteen hours spread across the three day event in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The broadcast featured various interviews of speakers at Liberty Forum including Lyn Ulbricht, Stephan Kinsella, two-time Liberty Legislator of the Year winner Mark Warden, Derrick J Freeman, and Free State Project founder Jason Sorens. They also interviewed movers to NH both new and old. It’s a lot of content.

The live video streams, archived on the FSP’s YouTube channel, also featured the excellent documentaries, “101 Reasons Liberty Lives in New Hampshire” and “Derrick J’s Victimless Crime Spree“.

Here are the streams. The first video is under two hours, as it was just for the evening of Thursday, February 9th:

Day number two, Friday, featured two streams, one over seven hours long: (more…)

NH State House Examines New Voting System Proposals

Are New Hampshire’s representatives finally taking a closer look at alternative voting systems? For years, the state elections committee in the state house has rejected any proposed changes to NH’s voting system, regardless of how much sense they have made. However, now that Maine has adopted “ranked choice” voting, perhaps NH’s reps are taking the issue more seriously.

I was surprised recently to receive a call from Keene Sentinel reporter Jake Lahut asking me for my opinion on ranked choice voting for an article that appeared last week. As someone who has been a longtime libertarian, I’ve seen how the “vote for one” system we have in place hurts third parties, so I definitely support ranked choice and its competitor, the easier “approval voting”.

Both systems solve the “wasted vote syndrome” where voters, afraid of the worst of the two evils winning, will vote for the “lesser evil” of the two major party candidates. They will do this even though they may better agree with a third party candidate, like a Green or Libertarian, simply out of fear of their least favorite major party candidate winning.

Ranked choice allows the voter to rank their favorites on the ballot while approval voting allows the voter to simply vote for all those candidates they’d be alright with winning the election.

Last week in the state house, HB 505 was heard that would allow for approval voting to take hold in New Hampshire’s elections. Here’s the bill’s full hearing in front of the house elections committee: