Friday, February 20, 2015

Winter 2015

Hey New Englanders! Hope you've all been surviving the snowpocalypse. If any of you reading this post are not from the Northeastern United States,  these past two months we have had bone-chilling temperatures and record-setting snowfall. This February has become the snowiest month for us since record-keeping started in 1872, with 45.5 inches; but in total, we've been hit with 90.2 inches, 7.5 feet, since the new year.And if that doesn't blow your mind already, there are still chances we could get even more snow as there is still a month and a half left of winter! It's been a winter I'll never forget, but hopefully one I'll never experience again! 

Here is a batch of pictures from the February 15th snow storm. 


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Howling Wolf Taqueria

Fact: people eat more during the winter than they do any other season, and I know all of my blog posts for 2015 can surely attest to that as they have all been dining-related. I think one of the reasons why we consume more now is because we need an extra layer of insulation to stay warm. I mentioned today’s subject in a blog post from May (, and I am excited to finally be spotlighting it. The Howling Wolf Taqueria in Salem, Massachusetts offers up melt-in-your mouth, muy caliente food, and is the best Mexican restaurant around! 

Transplanted Californians and New Mexicans will think they have been transported home when they sink their teeth into one of the items off of Howling Wolf’s ample menu of Mexican fare. Funky, but unpretentious, this restaurant is located in the heart of Downtown Salem, and is an affordable half-Taqueria half-Tequilla Bar. Mondays Beeriot Night (1 burrito and 1 of draft beer for $9.95), Tuesdays are $2 Tacos, and Wednesdays are Wild Wing Wednesdays ($.30 Mexican wings).  For the past three years, Howling Wolf has been voted the #1 Choice for Mexican Restaurant in Salem and has earned Regional Gold in the region by Wicked Local readers. Additionally, they have been featured on the TV shows Chronicle, Phantom Gourmet, and TV Diner. 

Something you can expect every time you come to Howling Wolf is it to be packed! Interestingly though, their host will never write your name down, but will always remember to seat you before the pack of wolves who came after you. Their patient and friendly staff should be  celebrated as much as their food. I swear the whole staff posses super powers because they all work  at lightning fast pace and never crack under pressure. 

Howling Wolf cite ‘freshness, flavor and value of food and drink’ as their ‘highest priorities.’Their staff, led by a Guadalajar chef,  use only the freshest ingredients and make everything daily, including their crisp tortilla chips.  My favorite items are their quesadillas and burritos. Holy Guacamole! 

Their is no denying that this winter has been hard. One of the best ways to cope with the February blues is going out, but unfortunately this year, us New Englanders have been forced to hibernate more often than not. But if you live in Salem, the best part is, Howling Wolf delivers! The only thing is if you don’t reside in the Downtown area, your delivery has to be a minimum of $20. Although dates to Howling Wolf should not be missed! The atmosphere here is fun and casual. On Mondays, they do Stump Trivia, and live music is performed on the weekend. So if your Valentine's Day plans fell thru this weekend, I would definitely recommend rekindling things with your 'wolf' in this hole-in-the-wall joint as the experience will leave anyone howling with joy! 

Howling Wolf Taqueria 
76 Lafayette Street 
Salem, Massachusetts 01970 

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Jaho's Coffee & Tea

I hate winter, and after New England was hit by Storm Juno last Monday, my distaste for the season has grown even more so. One of the best tweets I have ever read has been: ‘why is that February drags along like a sloth tugging a garbage truck, but I blink and June is over?’ Excellent question! But something that has been making this winter more bearable has been coffee shops. Central Perk may have been the favorite spot for the characters from Friends, but for me, Renee Zellweger, and Angie Miller, the second-runner up from season twelve of American Idol, it’s Jaho’s Coffee and Tea in Salem, Massachusetts. 

Celebrities enjoying their Jaho's fix. Pictures courtesy of Jaho's Twitter. 

Founder Anil Mezini was inspired to start his own business after traveling the globe. It was in Italy where he grew to understand fine brews, and in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea where he became passionate about tea. Recently, Jaho's was awarded the Best Coffee Shop 2014 by North Shore Magazine. Besides their over fifty fair trade beans and loose leaf teas (impressive number there!), Jaho’s also serves bagels, baked goods, gelato, and artisan sandwiches. You can also purchase paintings their, and online you can order their drinks and tea accessories.

The most unique thing about Jaho's is they have Zodiac Tea! Here is what is inside each sign’s signature tea. 

Capricorn (December 22- January 19): Even the most stubborn Capricorn cannot resist this unique blend of Coconut black tea.

Aquarius (January 20-February 18): A spiritual blend of black tea, wild berries, strawberries and blueberries that only an Aquarius could handle.

Pisces (February 19-March 20): A smooth, fruit blend of plum and cinnamon for the sensitive Pisces. Caffeine free.

Aries (March 21-April 19): This is a fine energetic blend of black tea flavored with Apricot Brandy, perfect for the courageous Aries.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Heavenly combination of black tea and lemon for the traditional Taurus.

Gemini (May 21- June 20): A clever blend of Mango and black tea, sure to impress even the most discerning Gemini.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Inspiration. Sensitivity. Evasiveness. This is what a Cancer experiences upon tasting this tropical blend.

Leo(July 23-August 22) This special blend of the finest Masala Chai is a perfect match for the powerful Leo.

Virgo (August 23-September 22): A logical combination of black tea and vanilla will delight the always logical Virgo.

Libra (September 23-October 22): The Libra will enjoy this harmonious blend of ginger, fruit and black tea.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21): A mysterious blend of oranges, black teas and spice to satisfy the thirst of the Scorpio.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21): Strong and flavorful, this blend of Passion Fruit and black tea should do justice to the Sagittarius. 

While I don’t believe we should live our lives according to alignment of the stars, I do believe I possess the main characteristics of my sign, Libra, and funnily enough my two favorite types of tea are what make up a Libra speciality. During my latest visit, I tried Sagittarius and it was divine! 

Sagittarius Tea- half Passion Fruit, half Black Tea. I loved the color the water turned to when the tea steeped. It reminded me of beautiful,burning fall leaves. 
The chocolate chip cookie is the official cookie of Massachusetts,
and Jaho's knows how to make them. Look at the chunks!

I think the hardest thing about February is the cabin fever. It’s been scientifically proven that soldiery confinement is one of the worst things you can do to your body, and going to Jaho’s lately, whether it’s been to catch up with friends or get some homework done, has been lovely. The other day on Facebook, my friend’s mom shared a post from the page, Humans of New York. The person profiled was a 93-year-old women named Mary and she had this to say: "If you force yourself to go outside, something wonderful always happens!" I can’t wait for spring and summer when I can enjoy my beverage at Jaho’s outdoor seating, but I think it’s essential in the winter that everyone takes the extra measure to brace the cold and get out because being at home on your laptop all day is deteriorating to your overall well-being. I would like to end this blog post with a quote from Jaho’s website: 

“We love coffee, we love tea, we love great food. We love sitting in a relaxing café and watching the world go by. And, most of all, we love trying new things, meeting new people and traveling to new, exciting places.To us, life is a journey filled with beautiful pictures, far-away places, new tastes, good friends and the stories that we all share. We hope you’ll join us in our journey and share your own experiences. Finally, we hope you’ll enjoy everything you try at Jaho's as much as we do.”

Jaho's Coffee & Tea
197 Derby Street 
Salem, Massachusetts 01970 

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