Eating Out in Ireland

Ireland’s restaurants and pubs have their traditional dishes as well as fusion food. At Ma Murphys Pub in Bantry, I enjoyed my first taste of Shepherd’s Pie.

Just found this YouTube clip of Ma Murphy’s Pub. Surprise, surprise. I recognized Mary, the owner, as the lady who had served us. It also featured her best customer, Shaun, sitting in the corner of the pub. He had talked to us on our way in, and out. I just nodded in a friendly way. My Irish comprehension skills are limited unless I have a stout to go with it.

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

On our last morning in Ireland, we stayed at a centrally located Bed & Breakfast in Cork. The lady owner from Creedon’s Bed & Breakfast (on tripadvisor) hugged us before we said goodbye. A nice young man named Finbar kissed me on the street. The Irish are a warmhearted folk. And their breakfast warms my palate too.

Irish breakfast

Irish breakfast

My husband, a Marylander, can’t get enough of seafood. Here we had lunch at The Waterfront (a.k.a. Chez Youen) in Baltimore, Co. Cork. It seemed this restaurant, along with two other adjoining ones, form the center of town, from where you have a great view. All in all though, I was a bit disappointed by this seaside village, because it is mostly residential. At least, we had a good lunch .

Seafood platter in Baltimore, Ireland

Seafood platter in Baltimore, Ireland

 

Here we are at the Elbow Lane in Cork, where my husband had this tasting tray for € 9,50.

Beer tasting tray at the Elbow Lane in Cork

Beer tasting tray at the Elbow Lane in Cork

The restaurant is often fully booked and many hungry folks had to be turned away or told to wait at least an hour. We are sturdy, so we decided to have a seat outside and brave the possible rain. We were rewarded, these were some of the best back ribs I’ve ever had. And the rain stayed away.

spare ribs

Decided to have a go at the kimchi salad, and it was delicious. Fusion food at its best.

kimchi salad

Ireland is the best place to turn an abandoned church into a place to feed the hungry. This Church Restaurant stands in Skibbereen.

Church Restaurant in Skibbereen, Ireland

Church Restaurant in Skibbereen, Ireland

When we travel, we like to explore the culinary side of the country. The selection of food, as well as language usage, offer a good mirror image of its people. That’s hearty and kind for the Irish.

Notes from the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, Ireland

This was our annual summer holiday at Pinewood Cottage* in Kilcrohane. Among lots of resting, we also did a lot of reading, eating, and sleeping, for a whole week.

Morning exercise

Stopped for a pub lunch in Glengarriff.

A pub in Glengarriff

Traditional Irish pub food: chicken salad sandwiches and a crab cake plate.

Irish pub food

Had some good food at Arundel’s Restaurant in Ahakista, where waiters have to cross the street to serve patrons down at the pier.

waiters crossing

Our rental cottage – very spacious with three bedrooms, and we used the fireplace twice. Not for heat, just for comfort in the evening. We had been very lucky with the weather as well, we only had sun and wind, and plenty of it.

Pinewood Cottage, Kilcrohane

*Pinewood Cottage at TripAdvisor: http://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentalReview-g1652479-d7678709-Pinewood_Cottage-Kilcrohane_County_Cork.html

Spinola Bay, St. Julian’s on Malta

A week ago, I was on Malta for three sunny days. We were told, this time of year is called St. Martin’s summer. This stands for a short period in mid to late November with slightly higher temps and sunshine (in Maltese: Is-Sajf ta’).

We arrived in 26°C weather and had built up a sweat on our brow by the time the hotel transfer driver showed up. He drove like a maniac and I had trouble with the seat belt, because I’m not used to buckling in cars designed for left driving.

This was the first impression we got while riding with that maniac from Valetta airport to our destination Spinola Bay, St. Julian’s.

Entering Valetta

Our hotel, Cavalieri Art Hotel, a four-star hotel (country rating), has a seafront terrace and pool,  and … construction on the other side.

Pool am Morgen

St. Julian's, Malta

The lobby was impressive and the food was good. The breakfast buffet was very British with lots of bacon, ham, sausages, beans, and the likes. We had sunny mornings with a good breakfast sitting outside, which was the best part. The rooms are rather simple, but the maid service was excellent. With a personal touch.

Cavalieri Art Hotel lobby

We had lunch at the Restaurant Gululu, which is located along the waterfront of Spinola Bay in St Julian’s. Yes, we enjoyed the food and the view.

lunch at Restaurant Gululu, St. Julian's

Don’t let the appetizer prices fool you – the portions were rather big. Try the peppered sheep cheese and Kapunata, which is a Maltese version of Ratatouille made from tomatoes, capers, aubergines, etc.

appetizer menu on Malta

 

It takes 2:40h to fly from Frankfurt to Malta and three days there were perfect for me.

At the hotel, most guests stayed weeks at a time – most of them were either retired Brits or work-force Germans having long vacations.

Three Days in Riquewihr, Alsace

Again, here are a few more impressions of our visit to Riquewihr.

The last time, we had been here was in 1996. Back then we could only stay for one day, because suddenly we had a baby with a high fever on our hands. Being new parents, having just moved to Europe from Japan, with only mediocre French skills, we decided to head back to Germany to see a doctor.

This time around, we were on our own. That little boy is now a college student in England and our daughter was in Poland on a school trip. The only rise in temperature we expected to get was from having red wine. 🙂

The whole town is so neat and clean. There is something interesting to see around every little corner. While we were there though, there was often a sour smell wafting out of courtyards (wine making in process).

Store front Riquewihr

This is either a vegetable storage bin or the recycling of one’s no-longer-edible vegetables, serving as decor.

vegetable box

 

 

corn in window

Main street,  rue du Général-de-Gaulle, is very inviting with its many restaurants (30 of them, I’ve been told).

Rue du Général-de-Gaulle à Riquewihr

At the restaurant La Grappe d’Or , we were seated upstairs. That’s nothing unusual in itself, only the fact that the ceiling is extremely low. We had to walk in bent over, so did the waitress serving the food. With the help of some good red wine, we made it out of there OK. Slightly more bent over.

Nevertheless, I had the best salad ever there. Look for “Salade Automne” with figs, chestnusts, strips of zucchini, mint leaves, on a bed of lettuce, with a bread basked. My husband had the “Escargots Baeckaoffa” (some potato casserole specialty with snails). He was not raving about the food as much as I was, but he liked it.

La Grappe d'Or à Riquewihr

La Grappe d’Or à Riquewihr

We had a very pleasant time in Riquewihr.

Sabai Sabai Thai Restaurant Review, Oberursel

A couple of weeks ago before our son Thomas flew back to England to resume his studies, we went to Sabai Sabai * Thai Restaurant for dinner. It was our son’s idea as he had just returned from a two-month teaching stint in Thailand and wanted to compare Thai food made for the German palate.

He now knew quite a bit about Thai food and so this seemed the obvious choice for our farewell dinner in style. The restaurant itself used to be the German guesthouse Gaststätte Stadt Strassburg, which closed its doors around 2007.

The interior looks spacious when you first come in. There’s the obligatory portrait of the Thai monarch on the wall with two big elephants underneath. The window sills are lined with orchids and other Thai decor. The ambiance is pleasing.

But for four people and four dishes as well as beverages, the tables are a bit small. We had to do a bit of moving plates and glasses throughout dinner.

Service was excellent. We enjoyed listening to Thomas’s small talk carried out in Thai with the waitress (yes, they have an authentic staff) and then ordered his recommendations.

I chose the Pat Thai which was excellent. The crumbly topping is roasted peanuts. Delicious!

Pat Thai

Pat Thai

Another dish we ordered was Gung Sabai Thai, a house specialty with prawns.

Gung Sabai

Gung Sabai Thai

Gaeng Kiew Wan is a green curry, and duck was my husband’s meat choice.

Gaeng Kiew Wan

Gaeng Kiew Wan

* The meaning of ‘sabai sabai’: very calm/tranquil/easygoing/comfortable

In Thai, one of the many ways of making a meaning similar to ‘very’ in English is to double the word (this might also apply to a few other Asian languages). This is called reduplication of adjectives, e.g ‘dee dee’ means very good and ‘arroy arroy’ means very delicious, etc.

Sabai Sabai Restaurant website: http://www.sabai-thai-cuisine.de/