(actual Irish art on an alley wall)
I left you last while I was off speeding through the Irish countryside on what was basically a glorified electric rickshaw. That day included a coach bus trip, a "train" ride and a Bourne Identity like drive in a black sedan drivin by Just Joni.
I am home now. And have gone through the photos and memories of the past two weeks and would love to share with you (or regale you with my opinion) on the food I noshed while visiting the Former Red Headed Step Child of the British Empire.
Let's start with pub food. Fair to moderate. One place clearly took the pizza out of the freezer and placed it in the oven. And I know what you're thinking, "why in God's name are you eating pizza while traveling to Ireland?". And I ask you where is there a "Little Ireland" in our major cities. I can take you to Little Somalia, Little Mexico, Chinatown. The list goes on. Now I called my Boston reference desk (Anastasia Beaverhausen) and she said in Southie there are some traditional Irish pubs that serve the fare. Which to me means sandwiches and fries under the guise of "chips". The food in Ireland is comfort food. Including the top of the McDonalds-like hamberger bun passed off as a roll at one pub. And it was just the top of the bun.
The few times we stepped out of the pub box I was pleasantly surprised. Below are my favorites (and admittedly some were from pubs). If I was with it enough to get the name of the restaurant I will note it. If not, assume I was drinking.
|spicy beef salad - little kick to it - was drinking|
|smoked mackerel pate - olde castle bar|
donegal town, co donegal, ireland
The above pate was pretty friggin' good. We were in the sleepy seaside tourist trap of Donegal Town. Cute city, but loaded with tourists. And a really drunk woman who took our photo and then jokingly wanted to charge us 200 euro. I was only impressed in that she was going to charge us 50 euro but then took 4 pictures (drunken slip of the finger I assumed) AND did the math to charge us the right amount. Good times.
P.S. The rehab clinic in Dublin is next door to the Guinness factory.
|sticky toffee pudding - pat collins bar|
adare village, co limerick, ireland
The above brown mound of goo was a stand in the glow of the fridge and eat it like the Richard Simmons is beating down your door because you used your last carb card in the Deal A Meal deck on a sad sack of pretzels in the conference room. I don't recall sharing this and if I ordered it again I would Danielson your hand so fast Mr. Miyagi would choke on a fly. Sticky Toffe Pudding with Cream was hands down the best thing I ate while in Ireland. A traditional British dessert, this steamed cake is bathed in toffee and caramel sauce and is dirty dancing with some sweet cream. Worth every empty calorie and is certainly on my list of desserts to try and make.
I do have two actual restaurant recommendations in Dublin.
First is Brasserie Sixty6. Located in Dublin 2 on South Great Georges I was very pleased with our dining experience. I ordered off the 3 course menu (completely afraid of blowing my Deal A Meal Deck...I joke. I'm sure Deal A Meal worked for someone).
|cooked and smoked salmon and chervil fish cake|
w/ celeriac puree, caper and shallot dressing
|rotisserie chicken - garlic, thyme and lemon|
w/herb stuffing balls, mash potatoes, peas,
broad beans, radish, pancetta and lettuce
|lemon and chocolate eton mess|
w/strawberry ice cream
(basically meringue pieces mixed with
chocolate mousse on a bed of
strawberry ice cream)
Finally I come to fish and chips! After two weeks of traveling I managed to only eat a handful of chips (or freedom fries W. might call them) and no deep fried fish. I knew the Minnesota State Fair was coming up so there was no rush for deep fried anything as of late. However, being the last night in Dublin the Golden Girls and I ventured out for some fish and chips. And for the sake of story telling...as Sophia would put it -
Picture it. Dublin 2012. Buckets of rain coming down. A sense of defeat and victory permeate the air as the Olympics are overstaying their welcome across the Irish Sea. I find myself seeking refuge is a Costa coffee shop (think Starbucks without gumption). As I settle in for the tsunami to pass my attentions are piqued by the Colin Ferrall-esque gentleman to my right. I only imagine his attentions were also piqued by my soaking bosom in a tight tee shirt (covered by a sweatshirt and jacket). Soon a conversation starts (read:my American self was not about to sit in an unpadded chair and therefore budged my way to his nook). As I learned that all Irishman are interested in what I have to say or I just don't know how to keep my mouth shut we soon started chatting about food. We covered various restaurants in the area and the seriously disturbing documentary that was airing locally about midwifery. Neither of us understood the wading pool in the living room birth.
Long story short, Colin eventually brought up the topic of fish and chips. I assured him that my traveling companions had already indulged and that being from a Great Lakes region I was versed in the consumption of fish fried or otherwise. He insisted that I try Dublin fish and chips at Leo Burdock's. He then followed it up with, "you do realize you are on an island right?". He actually didn't say that but I thought it to myself.
A few hours later I gathered my girls in the lobby and we layered up our scuba gear and headed out to find Leo Burdock Fish and Chips. My keen navigation skills got us suuuuuuppppppeeeerrrr close. And with the help of the well signed Dublin streets (seriously no damn street signs - all Irish come GPS loaded apparently) we found it about 4 pair of wet panties later.
My only beef with Leo Burdock was the 6 foot sign hanging out front listing all the celebrity that have visited and binged. Why the beef? Because while The GG's were in getting our meal I tried to find a place to put my name and there was NO room. I assured the management that back in my country that I was a well respected food blogger and lover of dow eyed puppies. He didn't care. So I ate my emotions with his chips. He won this time. And because I am a nice person I will link to his page. And when he sees all the traffic coming from Two Birds One Scone he will get his.
More fun to come very soon - involving crock pots, more from supper sluts and red pants.
Aaaahhhh...crap. I NEVER got to try shrimp flavored Pringles! But I did try black and white pudding (the dessert that is really a meat). Much like closing time at a bar I had my choice of meat at the "continental breakfast". I kid about the bar thing. I would never...really. Below is my black and white pudding. I really liked the white and not the black. That's not racist. Ask Black Kelly or Madam Butterfly.
|that is not my finger next to the puddin'|