Tambo 22 Restaurant

Salmon, Chancaca Y Rocoto

Tambo 22 opened in March 2020. Staying open through the pandemic shows a tremendous amount of grit and no doubt a lot of community support.

When my friends and I went out to eat last month, we were talking about where we should eat next. One of their colleagues had mentioned Tambo 22, which is a Peruvian-inspired restaurant in Chelsea, and she was intrigued. So was her husband, who also happens to be a chef. He wanted to try the cuisine too and wanted to come with us.

We ended up being a group of seven and went to dinner there last night. If you look to the left of the restaurant sign in the picture of the exterior below, you can see the almost full moon, which I always enjoy seeing.

The restaurant is very small and there is on street parking, but it’s very limited. The restaurant’s days and hours are limited too. Wednesday through Sunday, 5pm – close. The close is different hours on different days.

Now this is just a random thing that’s personal to me. I hate driving over bridges. Coming from Quincy, I had to drive over the Tobin Bridge to get to Chelsea. It’s very tall and very long. Because of the restaurant’s hours, I also had to drive at night. I drove soooo slowy and was a nervous wreck. The same way returning home. I’m amazed that I used to drive over it almost everyday many years ago when I worked in Salem.

Anyway, I must say that as soon as I arrived, I felt very comfortable. The service is good and there is a nice ambiance. A bit loud, because it was filled with people. Everyone was enjoying themselves and there was a nice vibe with the holiday spirit in full effect.

Tambo 22 exterior and sign

By now, you’re probably wondering why I haven’t gotten to the food yet. Well, it was a mixed bag with our group.

I loved my meal, although I found the the portion to be small. I finished the whole thing and didn’t have any leftovers. That’s quite unusual for me.

With slight edits, the menu describes my meal as “Salmon, Chancaca Y Rocoto: Skin on Salmon Filet, Raw Sugar Cane Rocoto Glaze, Yuca Frita, with Pickled Cabbage.” The glaze was sweet and a little spicy. The salmon was nice and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The cabbage was great and I loved the yuca too. I just wanted a bigger helping, so I could bring some home. Others had larger portions, but thought the food was just okay. Well, every restaurant isn’t for everybody.

I was the only one who wanted dessert, so I took it to go. I cannot pass up churros! Especially with dulce de leche.
churros with dulce de leche

When I got home, they were still a bit warm, but I warmed them up even more. The portion size was good and I only ate half. The taste was enjoyable, but I didn’t love them. Will I happily eat the rest of them today, though? Absolutely, yes!

Overall, it was a nice experience and I had a lot of fun. Will I drive over the Tobin Bridge at night to go here again? No. But that’s just me.

Pumpkin Spice or Peppermint Mocha?

This past Saturday, instead of ordering my groceries online and picking them up, I went into the store. This is how the man gets you! I fell prey to seasonal flavor temptations. But did I get the season wrong? Is it still all about pumpkin spice? Or has that ship sailed and peppermint mocha is now the favorite? Enter the battle of the seasonal flavors.

What did I buy? I got Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Pie Spice and Bolthouse Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte, with the tagline, “Made For Sweater Weather.” The tagline got me. It felt so cozy! Also, I like Bolthouse Farms in general, so I often get something from them if it’s new.

As I was linking to these items, I noticed that the pumpkin spice latte is no longer available. Now the season items are Holiday Nog and Peppermint Mocha.

When I was shopping, I kept noticing the Christmas items and peppermint mocha flavored goodies. But it seemed too soon and I still wanted my pumpkin spice fix. But today, I received a Starbucks Rewards email giving me some seasonal instructions.

“Have a very merry martini — Introducing the new Peppermint Mocha Espresso Martini, available exclusively at our Starbucks Reserve® Roasteries. Made with Starbucks Reserve® espresso and topped with peppermint-infused whipped cream and candy-cane sprinkles, this cocktail is perfect for holiday happy hours.”

Maybe my seasonal flavor consumption has gone awry. The cereal is really good. I haven’t tried the latte yet.* So pumpkin spice or peppermint mocha? I think it’s whatever you like. Both seasonal flavors are good, but soon pumpkin spice will be gone for the year.

Stores are ready for us to do Christmas shopping and want us in the mood. So they set the tone by switching flavors. It’s interesting that Starbucks created both flavors. Peppermint Mocha in 2002 and Pumpkin Spice in 2003. Then the rest of the world followed.

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* Updated 11/7/23: I tried the latte. It’s neither strong nor sweet, and I prefer both strong and sweet. So that is especially disappointing. I had hoped to taste a more robust coffee flavor and some nice spice. I didn’t taste much of either, so I don’t recommend and would not buy again.

Muji Spinach & Cabbage Miso Soup

Muji Spinach & Cabbage Miso Soup

Over the last several months, I’ve found myself wanting to have a light soup available quickly. A soup that I didn’t have to make myself. Something more substantial than a bullion cube and that I could keep at home and grab when I wanted.

I’m not sure where I saw Muji soup first, but it was one of the vloggers that I follow on YouTube. Several of them were enjoying Muji soups, snacks and coffee. Everything looked really good, so I went on their website and ordered a bunch of things. This might seem like a sponsored post. I wish! Sadly, it is not. I just enjoy their products.

Muji is a Japanese brand that I first learned about when I saw the store on Newbury Street in Boston a few years ago. I generally don’t like shopping in person that much, so I mostly buy online. But their store is one that was a joy to wander around and look at all the fun items. They have just about everything! Sort of like Target, but with a cool minimalist aesthetic.

Since I’m not in Boston much anymore, I figured it would be easier to order online. The shipping fee was rather expensive, but the delivery was in less than 24 hours from when I ordered. Maybe it was worth it, because I didn’t have to fight Boston traffic or exhaust myself looking for parking going to the store.

Anyway, the soup! It’s quite good. The packages are very small though, so I ended up making two servings, which really feels like one. Unfortunately, I also realized that I probably shouldn’t have too much food containing miso, which is fermented soybeans. For health reasons, I’ve mostly eliminated soy from my diet. Otherwise, I definitely recommend Muji soup and the store overall.

Oh, and writing about soup has me thinking about chowder. Which I prefer to buy rather than make. It’s time to revive The Chowdah Project! So during this month, I hope to try some chowder and blog about it at least once. Now, where shall I go….

Emma Andrews Library Author Series

Emma Andrews Library Author Series

I have some exciting news! On Thursday, April 7, 2022, at 7pm, I will be interviewed as part of the Emma Andrews Library Author Series!

Over the past week or so, I’ve shared it on different social media platforms. But of course the news had to make its way here. The main topic is about why and how I blog! It all started here. Hmmm. Well, actually my blogging beginnings go back to the old blog, Anali’s First Amendment.

It’s hard to believe that I moved to this domain eight years ago! And it’s now almost eight years here. For a combined 16 years of blogging! The official anniversary is April 29th, which is approaching fast. Time to start thinking about my new word of the year and the lessons of last year’s wordSURRENDER.

But back to the event! Emma Andrews Library is a small library and community center in Newburyport, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1886 by schoolteacher Emma Andrews as a lending library to serve local children. For me, as someone who grew up with parents who were both schoolteachers, and from childhood to this day always enjoying going to the library, this event feels especially wonderful.

The interview will take place over Zoom, so everyone is invited to watch and take part. It will be a Q&A format moderated by local author and writer Áine Greaney. If you’re interested in registering for the event, send an email to emmaandrewslibrary@gmail.com and you’ll receive a link.

Hope to see you then!

The Best Of New England

New England scene showing pumpkins and a field with haystacks

My mom and I recently went to a farm stand. It was so perfectly New England in late summer moving into fall. The pumpkins, stacks of hay, freshly picked vegetables and fruits remind me of the beauty in Massachusetts.

Given the levels of trauma and sadness happening in this country on a daily basis, any degree of serenity and peace I can find is a much needed gift. So with this roundup post, I’m celebrating some the best of things in New England.

Best Drive-In Movies

Going to drive-in movies is a thing again because of the pandemic. I remember going a few times when I was very young and having a blast. Fodor’s Travel lists ten of the best drive-in movie theaters around the country and three of them are in New England. With chilly weather here, it’s the perfect social distanced activity.

#3 Sunset Drive-In – Colchester, VT

#2 Mansfield Drive-In – Mansfield, CT

#1 Wellfleet Drive-In Theater – Wellflett, MA

Best Places To Live

As a third generation New Englander, I’m definitely biased, but there are many good things about living here. People travel here from all over the world to attend school. Whether you love ’em or hate ’em, our sports teams are some of the best. We have world class hospitals and medical care, which is especially important right now. Five places in New England made Money magazine’s list of the 50 best places to live in America.

#37  Salem, NH

#28  Chesire, CT

#26  Braintree, MA

#14  Chelmsford, MA

#12  South Windsor, CT

Best Craft Distilleries

Rhode Island Spirits, located in Pawtucket, came in third in USA Today’s list of the ten best new craft distilleries.  They sell organic and gluten free gins, vodkas and liqueurs. This reminds me of the great time I had touring a rum distillery with my father.

Best Pizza

The Daily Meal recently declared the top 101 pizza places in the United States. Several New England pizza places made the cut. Connecticut has the most places on the list of the New England states and beats the entire country with the number one spot. Mystic Pizza is arguably Connecticut’s most well-know pizzeria and the movie by the same name helped launch Julia Roberts into stardom. Back in January 2019, Playbill wrote that Melissa Etheridge was working on the score to a stage adaptation of the movie. Despite the fame of the pizza shop, it’s not on the list.

#90 Micucci Grocery – Portland, ME

#86 Slab – Portland, ME

#67 Al Forno, Providence, RI

#47 BAR – New Haven, CT

#45 Zuppardi’s Apizza – West Haven, CT

#43 Colony Grill – Stamford, CT

#40 Tilton House of Pizza – Tilton, NH

#25 Galleria Umberto – Boston, MA

#16 Modern Apizza – New Haven, CT

#9 Sally’s Apizza– New Haven, CT

#7 Santarpio’s – East Boston, MA

#1 Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana – New Haven, CT

Best Scents

I can’t claim that these are the best scented candles, but I like the idea of them. The brand is called Homesick and the scents are supposed to remind you of a place.

Scent is a big thing for me, so I was thrilled when I was invited to take a smell walk in Boston. That walk focused on scent was one of the coolest things that I’ve done as a blogger.

The Boston candle is described as “Fall days spent wandering the cobblestone streets. Notes of spiced tea with clove and orange capture the City on a Hill.”

There are a few more city candles and state candles too. I think these would make a great gift. To wind up this roundup, here are the descriptions of the scents for each of the New England states.

Connecticut: “Warm-baked pies fragrant of nutmeg, clove and lemon. Eucalyptus and oakmoss evoke memories of brisk fall afternoons spent outside.”

Maine: “Reminiscent of wild Maine blueberries and lavender fields. Woody notes of cedarwood and patchouli balanced with a floral bouquet.”

Massachusetts: “Apple cider, simmering coffee, and just-baked donuts. Sweet hints of tonka bean are balanced by spicy cinnamon and a touch of fragrant clove.”

New Hampshire: “Cozy up with a cup of hot apple cider. Autumn days spent outside with views of foliage and the sweet smell of vanilla in the air.”

Rhode Island: “An afternoon on the Cliff Walk with hot apple cider and cozy sweaters to keep warm. The rolling tides carry the sweet and spicy scents of fall.”

Vermont: “Vibrant foliage covers the rolling hills of the Green Mountain State. Scents of cinnamon and apple pie blend with decadent maple syrup.”

What do you think? Do these scents represent the best of New England? And just because you might like it, here’s a cider donut locator. It doesn’t get much more New England than that.