Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I've had the last two days off from work, so I decided to spend some time at one of my favorite haunts in downtown Salem, Jaho. Locals will read this and say "hold the phone, there are two Jahos... which one are you talking about". For the sake of ease, for this post I am talking about the Jaho across the street from Bunghole Liquors. At a later time, I'll talk about the wholesale vendor and coffee house Jaho down the street.

One thing I like about Jaho is that it seems to exist as a lot of different things to a lot of different people. When I was there, it appeared to be a microcosm of the population of Salem: college students, the retired, hip twentysomethings, artists, and families. If only a witch or a historical re-enactment was getting a bagel here, then it'd be complete. Usually when I visit here, I bring a book or some knitting, so I can sit back and people watch for an hour or so while I enjoy my meal.

I think this has to do with the wide range its menu covers. Jaho offers not only teas and coffees and baked goods, but also breads, desserts, sandwiches, salads, soup, an gelato. Yes, gelato. And from what I've heard, it's homemade.

Their coffees and teas are all pretty standard fare for a coffee house. I've had everything from lattes to tea to chai. All are good and what you'd expect from a coffee house like this, so I won't spend too much time on them. The desserts and baked goods are also standard fare and I believe made off site, so I won't discuss them either. They also seem to have a lot of bubble teas, which were wildly popular when I was in there last, but I opted not to have one, as the texture of tapioca freaks me out.

I recently had one of their lemonades, which was quite tasty. Jaho makes their lemonade fresh, and it tastes it. You can also get an added flavor to it. Upon the suggestion of the barista, I had an apricot lemonade. The apricot blended nicely with the lemonade and sweetened it up slightly. I'll definitely be back to try another flavor combination, such as ginger, watermelon, or chipotle.

Jaho's sandwiches are average. Mainly pressed sandwiches or clubs. I will say, I'm always very impressed with how crisp their bacon is, but it should be noted that it was clearly prepared at an earlier time. The sandwiches are not filling, and not really why you go there.

The gelato, however, is one to note. The flavors available change regularly, depending on the owner's mood, a barista tipped me off on. I'm a big fan of the pistachio, biscotti, and mint varieties. Portions are small for the price, but the flavors are so strong, you don't notice or really care.

The one down side to Jaho is the price, but this comes with the territory of a coffee house. Bagels are overpriced/highway robbery for the quality and size (think Lender's Bagels). Sandwiches are also overpriced for the size of the meal. A small club comes to over $8, perhaps $2 too many.

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