I know my postings have been scanty these days, but the last couple of weeks has been a mad dash to finish up school for the kids, pack them off to various camps, and then pack ourselves up for more than two weeks in Ireland. We're really here for a celebratory return to herself's roots on for a landmark birthday, and coincidentally a not-so-landmark birthday for me in Cork City.
Big thanks to Boo.com (a Euro-Yelp) for a couple of great eating suggestions, first in Dublin, then in Cork and Kinsale. A few recommendations I give at this point (Day 4 in Ireland): In Dublin, a great lunch or dinner (if you book enough advance) can be had at the Winding Stair, close to the famous Ha'penny bridge. The Winding Stair has a good bookstore on the ground level and some windy steps that bring you up to a cozy spot focused on the local and organic. I had two special things for lunch --a seafood terrine with incredible brown bread, caperberries, and light aoli. This was followed by local celeb smoker Sarah Barnes' smoked pollack poached in milk with onions and cheddar mash - excellent. Very good wine list as well. We had a nice Alsatian Pinot Blanc. Also try the lamb chops, which for Americans, are very mild and fine.
First pint in Dublin was actually not Guiness, but a "Plain" from Mssrs MacGuire's (Master Brewers). Fresher and lighter in body than any Guiness I've had and very delicious. Herself had the "Haus" pilsner which is in Czec style, racy and delicious.
Next off to Cork County. We started off for Issac's for my birthday
dinner, but when the menu didn't look food-allergy safe, we stumbled in
to an alley next door and a very special place: Greenes Bar & Restaurant
48 MacCurtain Street,
T: 021 4552279 F: 021 4506355
The first thing that strikes you is the beauty of the waterfall outside in the courtyard where you can sit and have a drink and wait for your table. The iridescent rock was there for millennia but the waterfall is actually man-made and well lit so it dominates the view from inside the restaurant as well. The hostess was French as was much of the staff, and the food is surprisingly well executed. An amuse-bouche came out of beautiful chicken liver mousse over some onion confit and drops of special balsamic vinegar. Since it was a special occasion, I got something totally unexpected and decidedly non-native...kangaroo tenderloin with roasted zucchini for my appetizer whilst herself went local...Irish beef carpaccio. Then onto (maybe a tad too) ample entrees of Monkfish with potato gratin, and Beef Filet with potato cake and chanterelles for me. Both were very nice indeed, though the Filet's chanterelles were odd and unlike any mushroom I've ever had . We had a memorable bottle of wine as well, 2005 Mercurey 1er Cru Champs Martin from Domaine Emile Juillot (Theulot Vineyards). Fresh bing cherries pop out of an earthy core. Well worth seeking out. (I plan to when I return to the States).
Today we were off to the quaint village of Kinsale to the south of Cork. Best find there was the small tables at the Fishy Fishy retail store where the place was hopping on a rainy day with people enjoying the excellent seafood chowder, oysters, and crabs. We liked it so much that we bought dinner to bring home and warm up --little aluminum coquille-st.-jacques shells filled with cod, smoked cod, and salmon, bound together with cream and potatoes and topped with delicious basil bread crumbs. This, with a loaf of there excellent homemade brown bread was a great simple supper. A late night find? The Long Valley for a cool pint of Murphey's.