Posted in food, thoughts, Uncategorized

Before nine nine nine is ate ate ate

You’ve made it to the bathroom. That’s not the problem. You lean heavily against the door. Shaking. Holding the walls for support. Head pounding. Stomach tight.
And still, that’s not what worries you most. Through your swimming skull you realise; you’re playing body roulette.
Desperately waiting for the coin to fall. Heads or tails.
Can you guess correctly?
Can you guess in time?

And you think to yourself. What on earth did I eat?

Posted in food, Out on the town, thoughts

the cure

Her eyes sparkle as I look up. I’ve been staring beyond the grains of wood in the table. “enjoy” she says and gives me a knowing smile. The coffee has a tanned film, the spoon almost disintigrates on contact. She’s made it strong. She knows. And I think, “Christ, I must look awful”

Posted in food, Uncategorized

Going for good coffee in Dublin

In memory of my Great Aunt, who passed, and my Gran – her Sister – who were ladies versed in the fine Art of High Tea.

Café Leon
There are two on wicklow street. Firstly there’s a little one with only 12 tables or so. The seats are a little old and lumpy and the coffee grinder can be a little loud in such a small place but the coffee is good, the staff are nice and it’s got a small dark intitmate vibe (at this point I have been merrily tapping away in a corner for about an hour without being bothered which is good in my book).
The larger one, further down the street from grafton street, is a little fancier. The back area serves lunches and dinner. It’s very parisian and the Chocolate Opera cake is richly decadent.

The Cake café
Nestled behind the Daintree paper shop on camden street is a little treasure of sweet treats and savouries. Good coffee, good tea, friendly staff and an ecologically sound building ethos. This is where I encountered ‘hugs and kisses’, which are X and O shaped shortcake biscuits with cinnamon cream. Nom.

Airfield house café
All the way out in dundrum this café is the lunch rooms of large house and grounds. The coffe and tea should be enjoyed on the veranda whilst looking out at the gradens. (I feel the ladies would most certainly have approved of this one). Airfield house and grounds features a finely cultivated garden, some pens of chickens, goats, pigs and a field of cows, sheep and miniature horses. There are also allotment style mini gardens for children to plant vegetables and learn about growing foods and insect life. There are day talks and, my favourite bit, a garage of old cars from the 1920s (i think, could be wrong about the year). It’s a small grounds but definatly worth a visit.

Avoca Café
It seemed that the ladies would take the view of ‘Expensive plus Exclusive equals Good’ with regard to certain things. So for that reason I include Avoca café. There is one on suffolk street on the top floor of the Avoca shop. The coffee was good and came with the foam expertly swirled into the face of a girl. What some of these barristas can do with just the flick of a jug is quite impressive.
There is also one on the grounds of the Mount Usher Gardens in Ashford and the grounds are sizable making this worth a visit in good blooming seasons.

I need to double check this is still there but.. It would simply not be an appropriate ‘in memory of’ if it did not feature a tea house. Half way through the CHQ mall is a small tea shop with seats at the door. It has teas from all over the world and the owner can recommend a blend for any occasion. At the time of visiting you could get a High Tea of a pot of tea and a three tiered platter of treats (slice of sandwich, scone with jam and slice of cake). I find the CHQ mall a little souless but there was no denying the quality of the tea here.

And of course: Queen of Tarts
I am unsure whether the ladies would have preferred the large one on Cows Lane where you can watch people of so many diversaties eat some of the finest tarts in dublin and on a saturday experience a sea of colours in the Cow lane art market.. Or the small and cosy one on dame street which has very little room but almost feels like you must have a concentrated atmosphere to create the richly concentrated flavour of the sweet foods. Given the favoured fare of the ladies when I was out with them was tea and scones with jam I think they would have been quite happy with the pastries here 🙂

some of the fresh produce used in Queen of Tarts for their savoury treats

Posted in byphone, food, forfun

kick like a mule

my goddaughter, a young lady of excellent taste, got me a Mule fairtrade coffee pack and mug.

Unfortunatly my plunger just wasn’t doing it justice. A few weeks later in a little kitchen supply shop off plunkett st in cork I came across an adorable art deco decorated 1 cup espresso pot. perfect. It may kick like a mule but since it’s only a mini cup the bruising is quite small

Posted in food, Out on the town


saturday night out and I’m buying. it’s a ‘welldoneyou’vefinishedyourexams’ dinner. I want to do 3 things.
1. get something tasty.
2. get something in-expensive
3. not go somewhere that looks cheap! (supposed to be a treat after all)

Gained all three, in the guise of Yamamoris set menu. The one on the quays not the one on george st.
for 30 per person there was a drink (soft for me Saki for them), soup starter (misos not my thing although it’s supposed to be very good for you), plate of crispy gyoza (like little deep fried veggie-filled slugs.. but tasty).

The mains: Its a set menu so my expectation of taste, portion and quality were pretty low. I was wrong.
Tofu baked in mango sauce for them (apparently it tasted good but I’m not fond of spongy styrofoam myself). I got the ju-ju, hich was a hot grill plate of bean sprouts, peppers and minced steak. It was Delicious. The meat was sweetly spiced and the bean srouts crunchy. the dish was accompanied by two bowels of dipping sauce, one was fruity marmite like, the other a deep smokey red pepper sauce. There was also a stack of iceburg lettuce and bowl of rice.
I’d had a similar dish years ago in a korean restaurant. The waitress back then suggested placing the rice into the centre of the lettuce leaf, dipping the meat in the sauce and adding it, wrap the leaf closed and Bite! So I used that method here too. A cold crisp envelope around a sweet meat / rice centre works very well. Two bites into it and our charming waiter appeared out of no where “if you are going to use this method” he says with a big smile and flourishes something white across the table “you’re going to need more napkins”. it was worth it.
Dessert. My favourite part to any meal. Exam boy got the green tea tiramisu (again not something I’d enjoy) and the plate was almost transparent from the ferver with which it was eaten. I got the banoffi. It was crazily sweet but good. the cream was a little heavy for my liking, the strawberry lifted the dish greatly and I would, if getting it again, get some more strawberry to help it.
we ended on a coffee.

final bill: 60euro total.
final result: Stuffed and happy
Last word: The staff were wonderfully friendly, there was the occasional dip in service speed when it was busy but thats expected on a saturday night. Would defiantly go again.