North Shore Noshing with Alex and Luke

Posted: April 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: American, Engine House Pizza, In a Pig's Eye, Marblehead, News, Salem, The Driftwood | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Who the heck are Alex and Luke? That’s what I wanted to know. Better known in their native Canada, these adventurous pals from Toronto have embarked on a whirlwind road trip/social media experiment.

Recently featured in the Toronto news, Alex Sabine and Luke Vigeant set a goal to visit every state and province in North America, guided by suggestions given to them on Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, etc. Where to drive next? They put it up for a vote and let the public decide. Where to eat, where to sleep? You tell them.

Having made their way through the Maritimes into New England, they hit Boston and continued on to Salem earlier this week. Apparently, when it comes to road trip destinations, witch history is a big draw. “When we said we were coming to Massachusetts, Salem was the place people wanted us to visit, even more than Boston. People from all over, some who had never even been to the state, suggested Salem.”

That’s what is fascinating about the social media driven model; the quirky randomness of the experience. You’re not going to a restaurant touted by Fodor’s or lauded on Trip Advisor; you’re having a burger at a place some tweeter’s cousin thought was awesome.

“Most of the suggestions that come our way are food related. Everyone wants us to try their favorite restaurants, but there are so many suggestions, and you can’t use every one. We’ve both already gained weight,” Alex grinned. They claim that so far, they haven’t been given a bum steer yet—they’ve enjoyed every place suggested.

While in Salem, they stayed in one of the purportedly haunted rooms in the Hawthorne Hotel. Exhausted from traveling, then ended up having pizza delivered from Engine House , which they gave two thumbs up. Their Salem stay also included a visit to A&J King, where they enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere along with the delicious macaroons and cookies. Taking a suggestion from a follower, they had a meal at In A Pig’s Eye, about which they later tweeted “It’s a cool place—neat building, food is pretty good— great nachos!”

I caught up with them for breakfast at the Driftwood in Marblehead. “This is the kind of place we love,” said Alex, “and Marblehead is beautiful. That’s what is so great about this—we never would have known to come here.” While Alex enjoyed her poached eggs and “brown toast” (Canadian for wheat), Luke dove into a plate of chocolate chip pancakes, which he declared among the best he’s eaten.

The two are now off in Rhode Island, and who knows where after that. If you’d like to follow their progress and make suggestions, you’ll find them at, where you’ll also find links to their Twitter and Facebook accounts. And the next time you’re thinking about where to eat, why not try asking the social media world for a suggestion?