Sunday, May 30, 2010

New kids on the block....Coven...a new, delightful eatery in Salem

At 281 Essex Street, just west of Washington Street, there is a new specialty cafe that opened this week and creating quite a buzz.....A coffee, sandwich and dessert bar, in a building that will always be affectionately known as the Tompkins Furniture Co. (who doesn't have one of their chairs in their house.) Now, there are residential condos on the upper floors and retail and a fitness salon on the first floor. But have no guilt, as Coven is worth every calorie. Just look at the scrumptious desserts. (See Below) While you should have one of their specialty sandwiches first, you may want to have a cupcake as an appetizer. If not, be sure to save room or bring some home. They certainly taste as good as they look.
It has an old market feel, and it's a very inviting and relaxing spot where you can even watch TV or a Movie. Also, it's an internet friendly cafe for those that wish to have a cup of coffee while staying connected....
They're open Sun -Wed. 7:30am to 9:00pm. & Thurs-Sat. 7:30 to 11:00pm. Finally, an after dinner coffee and pastry shop I can walk to. Most probably, I'll need to join that fitness place next door, but maybe, if I walk while I eat and take the long way home, it should be a wash. Works for me!
Meet the owners: Rob & Jen. Wishing you great success!
Tea, coffee, and gourmet cereal for the kids......milk too.

Have you ever seen cupcakes like these? Almost too pretty to eat.

My downfall........BROWNIES

I think we could introduce these for breakfast. Chocolate Croissants.

yum...........and so much more.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day to Freeport Maine

MAINE.......visions of lobster, moose, loons on the lake, and of course, LLBEAN.

In 1912, Leon Leonwood Bean (get it, L.L.Bean) opened a store in the basement of his brother's apparel shop at Freeport Center, selling his now famous "Bean Boot". With this innovative boot, which stitched leather uppers onto workman's rubber boots, Leon began one of the most successful, family run businesses in the country. L.L.Bean quickly established itself as a trusted source for reliable outdoor equipment and expert sporting advise. And if anything fails to operate or wear forever, they will gladly replace it for another........Now, how many places will do that! Does any one need a catalog? Sign up and you will be sure to get a new one just about once a month........ The rest of us might have 4 seasons, but LLBean has at least 12......
If you are into hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, camping, skiing, exercising, or boating, you can get anything you want in one of their specialized buildings. They even have a Home Decorating Center where your house can look just like one from Maine; complete with Adirondack chairs, dishes, tables and rugs. Although, you have to like Loons and Moose etched on everything.
We shopped until we dropped and Ada used all her coupons from having, what else, a LLBean credit card. Shoes, a sweater, and one of those famous canvas bags, all free stuff today. (Although, she knows it took a lot gas purchases and hotels stays to earn those coupons. Who's kidding who!)

The day trip is a four hour round trip drive and will cost you ten bucks for tolls. How New Hampshire can sleep at night for charging $2 for traveling 12 miles through there state is another blog, while Maine gets $3, each way. Parking is free and lunch awaits your arrival. The trip home is uneventful, except for the pretty sun setting skies. Oh...Donald did get something too, a new backpack. Not for hiking as you would think, but as an overnight bag for traveling out west. Always planning he is, for his next great escape!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Toasting the Sixty 2 on Wharf.

Around our table: Dick & Diane Pabich of the Salem Inn, Ada May Roberts of the Amelia Payson House, Gillian Zed/Sixty 2 on Wharf Marketing Manager, John Brick of the Stepping Stone Inn and Mary & David Rooney of Capt. Jacks.

Celebrating their 2nd anniversary in Salem, Sixty 2 on Wharf Restaurant at Pickering Wharf hosted area innkeepers to a four course dining experience that showcased many of the authentic and original dishes available on their menu, and accompanied by especially chosen wines to match the distinctive cuisine. Owner and Chef, Antonio Bettencourt's passion for cooking was sparked while working alongside his mother preparing the nightly meal and holiday dinners. Family trips to Brazil illustrated to Tony the intrinsic relationship between culture, geography and food. The flavors, colors and aromas were things he had never experienced before and they left a lasting impression on the emerging chef........and now it is a family affair, where both he and his wife Valerie combine their talents in offering Salem diners a special place in a modern Italian restaurant. Tony and his team hand craft each item in house from bread to pasta to the cured meats on the small bites menu.
Great fun. Bellisimo and Grazie!
Tagliatelle alla Bolognese
Veal, pork & pancetta rago and parmigiano
Herb roasted half chicken, lemon vinaigrette, haricots vert
Zuppa di Pesce
Codfish, wellfleet clams, calamari and shrimp in spicy tomato and fennal brodetto

My choice: Abbacchio alla Romana
Spring lamb, rosemary, faro & salsa verde

making the pasta in house, and Warm Toffee Pudding for dessert.
Private dining for special events is also available.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A work in progress.........

Now that we are back in Salem, time just seems to move at warp speed. Can’t believe it’s been almost a week since my last blog. Certainly, there are a lot of things going on here in Salem, but I guess the yard has been pre-occupying our days lately. Today was a gorgeous day in the 70’s, and with the exception of some rain on Wednesday, it’s been a perfect week for getting the yard spiffed up. Last week, while down at the Salem Beautification plant sale, we met a gal, Nancy, (and she only lives about four doors down from us), who does yard work as a profession. Need I say no more……..Donald and I had her signed up to help us with "this old yard”; a true challenge for these two greenless thumbed B&B owners. Now that we have a mentor and motivator, I think we might have turned the page of yard despair……… We're definitely a work in progress. And now that the chairs are on the deck and the grounds weeded, the planting begins. Of course, yellow, blue, pink and white is the color scheme. No oranges or reds allowed. Ada picks the colors. Donald decides where they go. Nancy plants.
Happiness reigns............. Lemonade anyone!
Meet Nancy.......
The Iris Collection
The plant Whisperer......

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Meet Marcia, Salem's Unsung Heroine.....

Meet Marcia Lambert, one of 100 Unsung Heroines in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women proudly announced its 100 Unsung Heroines of 2010. These women come from cities and towns across the Commonwealth and will be recognized for their outstanding contributions to their organizations and communities in a ceremony on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 from 1-4 p.m. at the State House in Boston.
Congratulations Marcia.......
As chairwoman of Salem's Beautification Committee this year, Marcia was nominated by our Mayor, Kim Driscoll for her many years of community service, not only in her South Salem neighborhood, but for all her contributions Citywide over decades.
Today, she and her team have organized a plant sale on the Common. All proceeds will help her committee fund the many projects planned to beautify Salem; most noticeably will be the traffic islands throughout the city, the Essex Street pedestrian mall, and much, much, more. This committee has certainly flourished since it's beginning 5 years ago and it's success has become infectious. If you happen to be one of the winners of their citywide window box contest, you're a celebrity......

The sale is a two day event. So if you didn't get there today, go tomorrow between 11am-2pm, and say hello to Marcia while you are there. We got our plants today for the B&B; three lovely hanging plants for the back yard and deck area...... Great prices to.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cinderella having a ball at the Alan Jackson Concert (turn on your sound)

An evening with Alan Jackson and my sista………
While it’s not my first concert, or my second, (my sista and I go as often as we can), I will admit the thrill is always the same when attending an Alan Jackson concert. And lucky for me, he tends to come to New England just in time for my birthday and my sister, in what has become an annual tradition, was able to secure tickets once again this year. Not just any tickets, my sista researches, analyzes and scours the internet for up front, on the floor seats, so that our aging eyes and ears get a good view of all the action and puts us close to the stage for what has to be one of greatest country music sing-a-longs northeast of Nashville. While Ada is a fan, her sister is what we call, a Superfan. Jokingly, I refer to her as an AJ stalker, but it’s all in good fun for sure. Simply, just two country music fans that have loved the sound of a talented lyricist that has been singing about life and “Livin on love”, and “Remembering when”. Performing to sold out crowds made up of the young and the young at hearts, last night we truly appreciated a career that has spanned more than 20 years and 50 million albums sold….. and still touring strong. His "Freight Train" tour pulled into Manchester, New Hampshire for one night and hopefully it will pull into a station near you too....Don't miss it if it does.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Footnote to previous post..........

Surprise, surprise.....Ok, I should have known that if Alan Jackson was playing anywhere in New England, my sister would be scouting out tickets. This morning she called and wondered if I was doing anything next Thursday. Of course, I have my volunteer day at City Hall on Thursdays, but I think the city will survive my absence for a day while she and I enjoy her tickets that put us in the 5th row, on the concert floor. Off the shelf comes that Stetson.
Sorry, Jen, Jason, & Kim, but this star struck fan has her priorities............

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ada may have taken off her cowboy hat for the next few months but.......

her favorite County Music Star has a new album out and she's sharing the good news.. Of course, Ada had it long before it hit the Target store shelves via AJ Fan pre-sales, and, Donald had to listen to it all the way home from Arizona........ what a guy!

Also, in addition to this good news, AJ recieved a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame a few weeks ago. In good company, sandwiched between Russell Crowe and Mel Brooks, AJ's star is located at 6901 Hollywood Blvd. Surely, a trip to the west coast is in order next winter.

Donald thinks, after selling 50 milion records, AJ could afford jeans without holes...