Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Erin go bragh

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2007 at 9:07 AM

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

I wish I'd had Belly Boy along as photographer on my recent trip to Ireland. His photo work is so much better than mine. But I'm still going to indulge myself and share some of the snaps. Food is a great deal improved across-the-board in Ireland since my first visit 20 years ago. Gastropubs abound. Butcher shops advertise the individual farmer who supplied that day's lamb, beef and pork. Irish cheeses are artisanal quality. The brown bread is universally excellent. At top are steamed mussels reaped in the flats off Ballyvaughan along with a basket of bread and the favorite local beverage. (Though I also tried Murphy's and Beamish stouts on other stops.)

We had some traditional fare, too, such as (below) cabbage and bacon:

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

And shepherd's pie ....

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

And boy did we like open-faced sandwiches, a staple in pubs, such as this crabmeat and smoked salmon combo in Cliffden:

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

We also saw quite a few servings of psychedelically green mushy peas, particuarly as a side dish to fish and chips. But we only saw them. We just can't abide eating this staple of the British isles. The fried fish -- giant slabs encased in crunchy batter -- was another, pleasing matter altogether.

Unfortunately, as you can probably tell, overcooking of other vegetables was typical in the "traditional" restaurants. But at fancier dining rooms, where a plate of steamed vegetables always accompanied the main courses, the snap peas, carrots and broccoli frequently had a little crunch. And the potatoes were always good. Sometimes, you'd get potatoes prepared two or three ways as a side -- scalloped, roasted, mashed and boiled.

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

Also always good were the pubs. Pricing was pretty uniform. A pint of creamy Guinness -- drawn in a two- or three-step process so the foam settled into a thick, creamy head -- cost about $3.50 in Euros, or about $5. A tot of Irish whiskey was perhaps 2.50 Euro, unless it was one of the rising number of single-malts. Midleton's, which costs more than 100 Euros a bottle, seems to be the acknowledged high-end leader. I bought one shot of it -- for 16 Euros -- to accompany our final big meal, a lobster and salmon feast in Gaby's in Killarney.

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

Our best drive was around the Dingle peninsula, where we stumbled on a seafood shack, Out of the Blue, that proudly advertised that it sold no fried fish or chips and only sold seafood  fresh from the dock that day. No seafood, no menu. The day's menu we encountered is shown here. I had a plate of oysters and some fine grilled fish. Below are the sweet and moist giant prawns Ellen ordered. It was one place in Ireland that did NOT sell Guinness. We had to make do with wine, muscadet, I think.

 

 

 

 

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

Finally, I wanted to mention the ubiquitous Irish breakfast. Eggs, bacon (more like slices of ham), sausage, a grilled tomato, sauteed mushrooms, white pudding, black pudding and toast. About the puddings, which are sliced from cylinders like sausage and the discs pan-fried: I really liked it. It's akin to Irish boudin. The grain filler seems to be oats, rather than rice. There's a strong jolt of sage and white pepper in the seasoning (plus blood in the black pudding), but whatever pork parts are used in the making of it aren't particularly gamey. I grew quite attached to the stuff before my trip was over. They sell it in airport shops, but a big sign said its import into the U.S. was prohibited. A pity.

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • In defense of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights

    An op-ed in today's New York Time by Katha Pollitt says what I've been struggling to say about the reaction to the attack on women's reproductive rights launched by means of the undercover videos made by anti-abortion activists.
    • Aug 5, 2015
  • Maddie's Place makes a believer out of a skeptic

    After a long hiatus, I return to Maddie's Place in Riverdale and find the food is a lot tastier than I remembered.
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • The Lemon Cakery is pure bliss

    In the eternal and often epic battle between "cake" and "pie," I normally come down on the pie side of things. The Lemon Cakery puts that rule to the test—deliciously.
    • Oct 1, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation