Salem Food Tour highlights history and future of harbor town’s foods

A food tour is a great way to acquaint yourself with a town, its people, history and gastronomic ins and outs. Photo: Jacquie Kubin

SALEM, Mass., October 7, 2012 – A tasty tour of this harbor town can be had with Salem Food Tours. When visiting the area, book the four-hour tour early in your trip so that you know where to find your next meal.

On this gastronomic journey, the guide takes you through the town to learn about the exciting foods and food scene in Salem where organic, vegetarian and local foods have gastronomic rule. 

As you walk the streets of Salem, Karen stops to point out the historical and hysterical, pausing to relate a fact or tell a story along the way. The tour visits some really unique food choices you might not otherwise know about including Scratch Kitchen, where bacon rules and the oh-so delicious chowder recipe goes back to the 1880’s.  I can honestly say it is the best Chowder I have ever had. 

Chef prides himself on his scratch made ketchup and slow cooked bbq. One in our party grabbed Chef’s pulled pork sandwich to go declaring it “amazing.”

Comida Mexican Taqueria (Click to enlarge) (Images: J. Kubin)

Comida Mexican Taqueria (Click to enlarge) (Images: J. Kubin)

For a fast bite of authentic Mexican cuisine with a modern twist, visit Comida Mexican Taqueria where BoHo hip meets great South of the Border foods made from scratch daily.  The menu includes homemade salsas and mole poblano sauce that you can add to rice, beans, chicken, steak, carnitas and plenty of fresh vegetables and chef Shawn  very own pickled onions and slaws.   

Choose a bowl or a burrito, it is worth seeking this fast spaced place out.

One of the most unique “fast food” experiences ever had is at Life Alive, where steamed foods and emulsified sauces are combined in flavor profiles that are healthful and wholly satisfying.  Dishes are fairly simply but filled with flavors.  Our food tour taste, The Swami, combines Curry Miso Sauce with a mix of sweet, salty and umami as almonds, raisins, shredded carrots, broccoli, tart dark greens and pearl onions are served over steamed brown rice.

Manager Christina finished our experience with locally made vegan mint chocolate truffles.  Not much more can be said then yummm.

The funny thing about this dish – I have never enjoyed the over powering flavor of curry however the deft balance of the flavors in the dish have made me a convert – at Life Alive at least. I will admit to scoring two portions - it was that good.

42 Church, Salem, MA (Click to enlarge) (Image: J.Kubin)

42 Church, Salem, MA (Click to enlarge) (Image: J.Kubin)

At Church 43, Chef Doug Papows guest are both very alive, and very dead.   A new menu features fall inspired dishes.  On the tour, we tried Chef’s version ofWellfleet oyster with pumpkin seed jalapeño pesto.

(bottom image).  

Also on the menu for an expanded tasting were the Phyllo wrapped “purple haze” consisting of aged goat cheese with hints of fennel pollen and lavender, and  paired with orange whiskey marmalade.

Classic Carbonara with house made linguini and house cured pancetta With Grana Padano and lamb osso bucco with house made handkerchief pasta roasted grape tomatoes, spinach & feta gave us a hint of the bountiful and tasteful entrees from the kitchen while the feather light chocolate cake provided a sweet ending.

Milk and Honey, Salem, Ma (Click to enlarge) (Image: J.Kubin)

Milk and Honey, Salem, Ma (Click to enlarge) (Image: J.Kubin)

Served with the meal were a selection of wine pairings, including California favorites from the La Crema vineyards. 

There are foods to eat while  in Salem and then foods to take home.  Visit theSalem Spice/The Picklepot, met with proprietor David Bowie to learn about the history of the Spice Trade Industry that came through the bustling wharfs of a 19th Century Salem. 

Offering local fruits and vegetables and prepared foods, Milk and Honey owner’s Sharon and Bill shared local cheeses, chocolates, and artisanal pumpkin crackers. I was most impressed by the offering of Great Hill Blue Cheese, a mild local cheese that was very good with slices of crisp apple.

Salem Wine Imports, Salem, Ma (Click to enlarge) (Image: J.Kubin)

Salem Wine Imports, Salem, Ma (Click to enlarge) (Image: J.Kubin)

Salem Wine Imports featured three Italian wines, a region that is once again gaining popularity following years of focus on southern Chilean wines and the ever present French dominance of the market.

Owner Eric Olsen offered not only a taste but a bit of map assisted knowledge as to the wines which ranged from $9 a bottle to $16, staying moderate and attainable for any shelf. 

The wines we tasted were Fondo Filara Cataratto, Nicosia Frappato, and a great table wine perfect for your Thanksgiving table, the Tuscan Red from Toscana Rosso, which at under $10 a bottle makes a very moderate choice for a large gathering. 

For more information on the Salem Food Tour, contact Karen Scalia at 978-594-8811 or

Comida Mexican Taqueria
131 Essex Street, Store 2
Salem, MA 01970

Scratch Kitchen
245 Derby Street
Salem, MA 01970

Life Alive
281 Essex Street
Salem, MA 01970
978-594-4644 or 978-741-9463

43 Church
43 Church Street
Salem, MA 01970

The Picklepot
75 Wharf Street (Pickering Wharf)
Salem, MA 01970

Salem Wine Imports
32 Church Street
Salem, MA

Milk and Honey Green Grocer
32 Church Street
Salem, MA 01970
978-744-6639 or -978-74H-ONEY



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Jacquie Kubin

Jacquie Kubin is an award winning journalist that began writing in 1993 following a successful career in marketing and advertising in Chicago.  She started Communities Digital News in 2009 as a way to adapt to the changing online journalism marketing place.  Jacquie is President and Managing Editor of Communities Digital News, LLC and a frequent contributor to The Washington Times Communities as well as a member of the National Association of Professional Woman, New American Foundation and the Society of Professional Journalist.  Email Jacquie here

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