While recovering from jet lag, we ate a couple of light meals where we stayed, the historic Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. My favorite was the Grace Kelly salad: mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, wild rocket, Parmesan, cucumber, and sweet red peppers. I had to look up “wild rocket” — apparently, it’s a mustard that grows like a weed and has become popular for salads. It has a nice flavor, a bit bitter with a nice tang.
The Traditional Irish Breakfast was the default choice in the mornings and include all of this: eggs, bacon, sausage, black and/or white pudding, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, and potato pancake. We often also got toast just because we ordered tea. I never ate all of that at one time, but I tried everything at some time during the trip. I liked white pudding — a cake made of grains and sausage. Black pudding is the same thing but with blood added as flavoring. I didn’t notice much difference, just a bit darker of a flavor. Bacon is thicker and less crispy than in the US — very tasty. Sausages were also delicious, less spicy but with an amazing texture. The best surprise, though, was that I liked two of the lowest fat components of this feast — grilled tomatoes and the potato pancake which was sometimes called “farl” and sometimes “boxty.”
One of our most memorable meals had nothing to do with the food. We enjoyed a medieval feast at Bunratty Castle, complete with entertainment — quite lovely music, although not all medieval. I suppose the tourists rather insist on “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” and “Danny Boy.”
I didn’t get a photo of the best meal we had the whole trip. We were guests of Lady Fitzgerald at Glin Castle. It seemed a bit rude to take pictures. We knew we were in for a treat when the walk-around appetizers, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel, were so delicious. The meal, prepared by a talented local chef, was served buffet style: salmon roll, beef with horseradish, salad greens, chickpea salad, new potatoes, and potato salad. The dessert buffet was amazing: brown soda bread ice cream, rhubarb tart, sticky toffee pudding, and strawberries and cream. I had a taste of each and it was all yummy. The brown soda bread ice cream was wonderfully creamy with crisp-frozen sweet bits of the bread, so good. And the sticky toffee pudding. Well, there just aren’t words to describe how delicious that was. So good, in fact, that I didn’t have it again the whole trip — I figured I’d already had the best, so why water down the experience?
The Glin Castle visit was on our one rainy day. That meal made up for what was otherwise a rather miserable day due to the weather. It quit raining in the evening, which turned out well. We had a meal on our own in Killarney. The service was slow in the hotel bar where most of our tour group gathered to eat, so we slipped across the street and had a fun meal of fish and chips.
Back in Dublin for a few days on our own after the tour ended, we wanted to have a picnic with local cheese and artisan bread — the kind of European adventure one reads about. The wine expert at the Celtic Whiskey Shop sold us a great wine for the occasion and recommended Sheridans Cheesemongers. The concierge recommended Fallon and Byrne for the bread — a fun shop that felt like a cross between a 19th century grocer and a Whole Foods. The weather conspired against eating outdoors in St. Stephen’s Green or Merrion Square, but we had a great picnic in our room.
Weekend Cooking is hosted at the blog Beth Fish Reads. Check out today’s post for links to cookbook reviews, cooking adventures, and restaurant experiences.