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

  • Architecture lecture: Sheila Kennedy on "soft" design

    Sheila Kennedy, a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of Kennedy & Violich Architecture Ltd., will give the June Freeman lecture tonight at the Arkansas Arts Center, part of the Architecture + Design Network series at the Arkansas Arts Center.
  • Petition calls for Jason Rapert Sewage Tanks in Conway

    A tribute is proposed for Conway's state senator Jason Rapert: naming the city's sewage sludge tanks for him. Petitioners see a similarity.
  • Health agency socked with big verdict, Sen. Hutchinson faulted for legal work

    A former mental health agency director has won a default judgment worth $358,000 over a claim for unpaid retirement pay and Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson is apparently to blame for failure to respond to pleadings in the case.
  • Religious right group calls for compromise on damage lawsuit amendment

    The Family Council, the religious right political lobby, has issued a statement urging its followers to oppose the so-called tort reform amendment to limit attorney fees and awards in damage lawsuits.
  • Constituents go Cotton pickin' at Springdale town hall

    Sen. Tom Cotton, cordial to a fault, appeared before a capacity crowd at the 2,200 seat Pat Walker Performing Arts Center at Springdale High tonight to a mixed chorus of clapping and boos. Other than polite applause when he introduced his mom and dad and a still moment as he led the crowd in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance — his night didn't get much better from there.

Visit Arkansas

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries

Top Commenters

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation