Where: The Gulu Gulu Cafe – 247 Essex St, Salem MA, 01970
When: February, 2012
I know what you are all thinking… “Salem?! How did a carless city gal like you make it out to the burbs?”. Our friend Judd (aka Juddly) suggested to Libby and I that we head up to Salem for dinner as him and his lady friend, Jackie, always come to us here in Cambridge / Somerville. We couldn’t say no, especially as we had yet to get together to celebrate their engagement (!!). Getting out there was pretty painless; we jumped on the green line from Lechmere and quickly got on the commuter rail en route to Salem (I won’t get into detail on the communist era themed trains with everything down to the cabbage smell).
Juddly and Jackie were waiting for us at the train station, thank goodness as it was now pouring rain. We quickly found parking and headed to the Gulu Gulu Cafe which is casual, comfortable, and pug themed (which made me think of my friend Kelly – I am sure she already knows of it). We were seated quickly by the stage and put in our drink orders. Wine – yes, please.
There was some serious decisions going around the table – crepe or panini? I went with the Barcelona Panini which was smoked turkey, machego cheese, arugula, apple butter, and Dijon mustard grilled on fresh Italian Ciabatta bread. It came with a green salad and potato chips. The panini was really good with proportions of each ingredient well balanced. The Dijon mustard left a nice kick at the end (and for some reason always makes me feel like I am eating healthy). I wish the panini had come with fries instead of chips but overall it was great and I would definitely eat there again (the once a decade I am in Salem).
Libby and I decided to share a dessert as well and settled on the S’mores crepe with was milk chocolate, crushed graham crackers, and marshmallows. We couldn’t find the graham crackers until the last 1/4 of the crepe and then decided it would be better without it. Besides that, it was chocolatey deliciousness.
Service was a little slow but this ain’t no busy South End hot spot so what did we expect? People seemed to come for the music but if you were there for other reasons it wasn’t overbearing or too loud. The atmosphere was laid back and fun, I’d recommend it for a group, for lunch, or a place to grab a casual bite with friends.
The ride back to Boston wasn’t quite as smooth as our outbound trip. We sipped on coffees for about an hour at the cafe as there was just one train back – around 11:30. Side note: I shouldn’t have made it decaf as I was falling asleep the whole way back. Once we got on the train it seemed to put along at a snails pace getting us into North Station well after midnight. We waited about 25 minutes for the green line just to find that the next bus at Lechmere wasn’t for another 53 minutes. Seriously? We chased down cabs until we finally got a couple to stop. Nightmare.