Monday, April 19, 2010
The Old Spot
Kicking back on the Salem Trolley Tour
I'm back to the blog again as spring comes to Salem. Last week was taken up by organizing and participating in what is known in the travel industry as a "fam", or familiarization, tour for meeting planners to acquaint them with out lovely little city and its amenities that can accommodate conferences, reunions, weddings. We took the Salem Trolley tour, went through the House of the Seven Gables, visited the Witch Museum, as well as sampled really tasty food at Finz and Rockafellas. What struck me most about both the interactions between the visiting meeting planners and the vendors from different businesses in Salem was how unified Salem is as a community. Salem was presented as a diverse, interesting, cultured, and a really friendly place to visit. It made me want to live here. Oh, wait a minute...I do live here. I knew there was a reason.
Which brings me to my next blogging topic, one of my favorite spots to meet friends for a pint.
According to the Old Spot, I am "local colour", which is, to quote the owner, actually fancy talk for a regular. Located at 121 Essex Street, across from the Hawthorne Hotel, the Old Spot is an English pub with many beers to uphold that assignation.
And it looks and feels like an English pub: low benches with cushions and pillows surround low tables where people gather in groups for a pint and a meal. There is a fireplace and...only ONE TV!!! (Yay!) The wood is dark; so are many of the beers. They serve Guinness, shandies, black and tans. (Shandies are beer mixed with lemonade- eww, and black and tans are a stout mixed with a lighter lager. Black and tans are named after a paramilitary group sent into Ireland in the 20's from England to suppress the Irish. The Irish don't like the name for this drink).
The food is a mixture of pub fare with more modern and upscale food. You can order a traditional Cornish pasty- beef, carrots, potatoes, onions, and gravy inside a crust of flaky pastry, or something as nouveau cuisine as their mushroom salad: sautéed portobello, crimini, and button mushrooms, over arugula, with truffle vinaigrette and shaved parmesan. Traditional English fish and chips or grilled salmon. I have yet to try the desserts, but there is one I don't even have the courage to ask about- the spotted dick.
Which brings us to the name of the pub. The Old Spot is the name of the oldest pedigree of spotted pig in the world, from Gloucestershire, England. We like pigs in Salem- soon I will tell you about In a Pig's Eye, another local favorite bar/restaurant. And as an aside, my own person artistic path seems to be taking a detour into Piggy Land for some reason; my sketches of pigs have become like a personal diary. Let me know if you like them and I will publish more as I do them.
Piggies Flirting at the Salem Diner
Piggy Family Camping