Category: Eating Out
Events at O’Brien’s Chop House in Lismore are very well done. Long tables with lots of random strangers (who turn out to be anything but after a few minutes talking), food served family style in large dishes, beer and wine on the tables for self service: it’s all very relaxed, terribly well organised and enormous fun. That’s why the Husband and I leaped at the last minute chance to go along to a Beer and Curry Feast there last Friday.
Between Little Missy, my work as a freelance journalist and the Husband setting up his own business, it’s not so easy to get away these days. As a result, any time we do head off, there’s as much food packed into the time as possible!Last weekend we waved Little Missy off on her holidays to Nana and Grandad’s house just before Saturday lunchtime. All free and easy then (it’s amazing how easy it is to pack for two instead of two + a small one), we threw bag and baggage into the car and hit off to Limerick in time to have a quick look at the newly covered Milk Market, grab a bag of Pónaire coffee and fly past the The Green Apron‘s stall to buy some of her get-out-of-the-bed-to-eat-it-by-the-spoonful raspberry chocolate conserve (as tasted on the Food Blogger Country Outing), a jar of wholegrain whiskey mustard and some yummy onion confit.
As a child, I was fascinated with our local butcher’s shop. Every time I was sent in there, I’d have my fingers crossed that there would be a big crowd ahead so that I’d have more time to watch, enthralled, as the big men behind the wooden butchers’ blocks speedily and expertly dissected carcasses of meat, saws and knives flashing, all the time keeping up their end of the conversation with their customers. The sawdust on the floor, the posters of cuts of meat on the wall, the chunks of lamb or beef hanging from hooks behind the counter – it all held me so spellbound that I would often forget what I was supposed to be buying for dinner.
While in New Zealand, staying with the Husband’s parents, our nearest café is actually a winery called Fossil Ridge. We pass the small vineyard on our daily walk (sometimes several times a day as the Husband tries to balance lots of eating his mother’s fabulous food with regular competitive brother-in-law weigh-ins!) and the walk does occasionally get a little interrupted. An attractive wooden building, set amidst olive groves and overlooking a pond covered with water lilies, the cellar door is a relaxed setting to enjoy a selection of platters and light lunches to accompany its wines.
I’ve had a sneaking fondness for the Crawford Art Gallery Café ever since I spent a Saturday working there while on the Ballymaloe Cookery Course and have returned several times since. The Husband and I were on a rare Saturday trip to Cork at the weekend, made all the hungrier for lunch by some cheese nibbling at our local Killavullen Farmers’ Market, courtesy of Gudrun at Fermoy Natural Cheese. Despite the crowds in the café, we got a table quickly, which was just as well as I had already spotted lamb’s liver on the menu.
On a quick trip to Dublin today and enjoyed a brief visit to Carluccio’s Caffè on Dawson Street. Lots of gorgeous food to look at and buy – including some very presentable Christmas hampers and gifts in luxurious packaging – in the deli area at the front of their premises but we didn’t have time to linger. In search of some quick soup, we got Pasta e Fagioli, a sustaining bowl of borlotti beans and pasta in a rich broth, with a chunk of olive oil-soaked, salt-sprinkled foccacia. A cup of fresh mint tea (mint leaves in boiling water, sweeten as desired) finished off a simple and satisfying repast. Must go looking for that Pasta e Fagioli recipe in my new Carluccio’s Complete Italian Food cookbook…