February: Warm and sweet in Salem

8th Feb 2013




Sweet on Salem 

 
We've had some wonderful winter food excursions this early part of 2013 and are excited for our upcoming February Tours. We are sold out around Valentine's Day, however we do have other Tour dates brewing. Please check our reservations page for updates on availability.  


New Tour Partners 
We warmly welcome Turtle Alley Chocolate Company on our Tours, which carries their homemade chocolates, as well as the new Grapevine Restaurant, featuring Northern Mediterranean fare with an emphasis on  freshly prepared foods using local ingredients.  Photo: Grapevine's Chef Tim Caldwell presents their pan roasted local cod with root vegetable fumé in a saffron-tomato broth. Delicious!  
Click here to view all our Partners, and THANK YOU you for patronizing these wonderful shops and restaurants. This is the time of year when you can experience all that Salem has to offer without the crowds, and support hard-working local businesses during their quite season.  🙂
 
I'm just wild about saffron… 
Bit of flavor kismet. My eyes kept noticing the vials of saffron at Salem Spice, it's distinct reddish hue tempting me. It is the world's most expensive spice, however since the tiniest bit goes a long way it is an accessible addition to the home pantry.  A few days later lunch at an Indian eatery (the fantastic Dosa Temple in Somerville) I ordered a dessert – badam halwa (almonds flavored with saffron) – and it melted in my mouth.  Then a Food Tour stop at the new Grapevine Salem and their was local cod in a savory saffron broth which made us all want to lick our plates.   It was saffron love!  So what is the deal with this exotic spice?  Derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, it takes some 14,000 stigmas – collected by hand – to produce only one ounce of saffron threads.  The history of saffron expands more than 3000 years, and has been used for medicinal purposes as well as an aphrodisiac.  

Want to buy saffron? Says David Bowie, proprietor of Salem Spice: "Saffron is a wonderfully fragrant spice with a wide array of applications. There are several grades of saffron, you want to select by color and thread length." He continues "A vibrant and bright red color is important and signifies the highest grade.  Long threads let you know that it is fresh and potent. Remember that only three threads are available from each flower, and each must be harvested by hand then gently dried."  Stop by Salem Spice and grab your treasure today! 

 
Have a saffron recipe you'd like to share? Email us!  Click here for a badam halwa recipe, a simple yet luxurious treat for that romantic dinner at home. 


George Washington ate here

I've been on a quest to find out what George Washington ate on his visit here in 1789.  The President stayed at the home of Captain Joshua Ward on Washington Street, and then  and attended a ball in his honor at Assembly Hall on Federal Street.  Thank you to the Salem Public Library, Mount Vernon and the Library of Congress for your all their help.  What we were able to locate was the original invitation sent to Washington, as well as a letter back from Washington in gratitude which begins: "Would words express the feelings of my heart, I should have the happiness to demonstrate to my fellow citizens of Salem that their affectionate address is receive with gratitude and sincerity…"    Although we were unable to find any mention of food, we do know that he was fond of certain things – and indeed using Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery we can gauge some of the things they may have enjoyed on their own estate table.  We know that the President was noted for a love of fish. Our bet is oysters were definitely part of the meal!  We'll continue our quest, and are hoping when the Phillips Library reopens next year there may be more information on this subject to be found. In the meantime, wishing you a happy birthday Mr. President!  

 

February Events

62 Restaurant and Wine Bar welcomes Valentine's Day with a special menu. They are also celebrating their 5th year anniversary.  Congratulations to Chef Tony and Val and their staff on five wonderful years! Visit their website for more information on this special anniversary dinners and to make reservations. 

Finz will also be doing a Valentine's Menu. Also coming up a special Cape Ann Beer Dinner on February 27th.  We can attest from a recent Tour that Cape Ann beers pair incredibly with food – really great brews. Visit their website for more information.

Scratch Kitchen is having a Notch Beer Dinner on February 10th. Also, a great local deal: Tuesday nights are now family nights – kids under 10 eat free off  children's  menu (with accompanying adult spending $15 or more.) 

43 Church has posted their Valentine's Menu – and the special evening includes dessert and champagne and music by local group The Dejas.  Reservations recommended. 

Red Lulu will be celebrating Valentine's, more information coming soon on their website.  We do know Chef Brian is not only running a couple of specials, they also will have some twists to their usual flair. 

Don't forget Salem's wonderful shops – wine shops, chocolate shops, and more – to put together an amazing local gift for that special someone. Fragrance, bubbly, red wine, chocolates, hot sauces, exotic peppers, spices (saffron!), homemade raviolis, and more!

Tour Partner News
February

Many of our Tour Partners have some special things planned this month.  
Scroll down to read about some of the happenings about town.  Shown here: The 'Broken Heart' at Red Lulu in Salem.  

Salem in Winter

A great stay!

Even if you live on the North Shore, staying in Salem overnight can be a great way to break the winter blues and get away from it all.  If you stay at any of our local B&Bs, don't forget to mention this when you book your Food Tour spots. To see a list of local places to stay, visit our website.  Henry Derby HouseNorthey StreetMorning Glory, and The Salem Inn are just a few of the many fine places that are open this winter, and many have special off-season rates. 
 

From the pens of our guests

"Took the Salem Food Tour yesterday and have to share our fabulous time! Seven women out together celebrating a birthday… We met new businesses to Salem and veteran ones, each of which were ready to share their passions with us, generous with their enthusiasm and food, and clearly pleased to be part of highlighting Salem and food.  The pace was perfect, enough time to talk to the chef/owners or purchase a treat, but then exciting us for the next stop.

Highly recommend this activity to share with extended family, girlfriends, out with other couples, new or longtime residents and folks visiting Boston or the North Shore – where else can you dine so well, learn a bit about food, wine, Salem and one another?"  – G.C., North Reading, MA, via Yelp

 

Aprons, dishtowels, mugs,
oh my!

Visit our shop to view all aprons and other Salem Food Tour items – a deliciously fun way to bring a little Salem magic to your kitchen.  Also make great gifts!

Disclaimer

While on a Salem Food Tour, management is not responsible for any excess joy or belly laughter that may occur.  We reserve the right to make sure you leave with great memories.