Gypsy Grub

A fine food enthusiast travels the world, and her own backyard in search of the best eats.

Month: June, 2012

On The Way to Derry

 

I have been eating so many Irish breakfasts (that are all very similar) that I feel I should not document every one every day, but rather give them their own post. Therefore, I have only documented my lunch and dinner eating rendezvous.

TEA TIME

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On the way to Derry, I came across a small church where the famous poet Yeats was buried. I pulled over, took a look at the church, his grave, and went into a small room for some tea. The display case was filled with delicious looking freshly baked goods, and wholesome soups and salads. After a while, I decided on this beautiful berry crumble.

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I could tell the potential of this berry delight as soon as I set my eyes on it. Not only was there delicious crumble, but it was topped with a generous portion of clotted cream (which brightens up any meal, whatever it may be). The crumble had clearly been made from fresh ingredients that very day, and satisfied my palates need.

DINNER

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Derry (also known as Londonderry) is a very hectic, dirty town. Despite this, it still holds some charm, especially in the road along the river, and the pedestrian bridge. I stayed at a B&B called the Saddlers House, which is run by an adorable elderly gentleman. He kindly informed me that on that day (Monday) a good restaurant called Quay West (pronounced key west) took 50% off all of their dishes for dinner.When I arrived I ordered the traditional Beef and Guinness Pie, and Tobacco Onions. The Tobacco Onions were very greasy thin fried onions. They were a bit too greasy, and fatty for my taste, and seemed to lack flavor. The puff pastry on the Guinness Pie was dry, and not good. To my surprise, the stew inside the pie was lovely. The bits of beef were tender and perfectly cooked. The sauce was a bit too salty, but still good. The only thing I would criticize would be the lack of vegetables. I did wish there had been more peas and carrots.

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Across the Ferry to Galway

In Dingle I stayed in a beautiful bright yellow house called Tower View B&B. Our hosts were lovely and inviting, and there was a beautiful view. In the side yard there was a small corral full of friendly farm animals.

BREAKFAST

This was the beautiful view I got to stare at as I ate my breakfast. Absolutely lovely.

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Since they did have chickens, and goats I expected the food to be fresh and superb. Unfortunately I do not think they utilized what they had very well because it did not taste as fresh as I expected.

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The bread tasted packaged, and old. I find that I am not so keen on soda bread (even if it is brown) but more on nutty-seedy whole grain bread.

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For breakfast I got the salmon scramble (again). They scrambled eggs were a bit dry, and tasted store bought. Now that may sound snobbish of me to say, but when I was growing up we always had a couple chickens as our pets. We would get fresh eggs every morning from them, and they always tasted delicious. You can definitely taste when eggs are store bought, or fresh from the coop.

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The biggest perk of the Tower View B&B was the side yard full of beautiful, friendly animals. I particularly fell in love with this goat. Here I am feeding him some fruit remaining from the breakfast. In a short time we became fast friends and I sat and massaged his little stubby horns (which had just come in).

LUNCH

On the drive to Galway I spotted a farmers market. I don’t think people love farmers markets enough. They are an amazing inexpensive way to get produce and local goods. I love them also in different countries because you get to experience a different culture.

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We picked up a few things at this farmers market that I have never seen in my farmers market in Orange County.

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As you all know, I am going through a passion fruit fascination. To me, everything about them is perfect. The sweet-tartness, the way the little seeds have very hard, but very thin shells that pop lightly in your mouth. Its all perfect.

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This one in particular was good. I had never actually eaten a fresh passion fruit before so this was a first for me! I was surprised to find that it had a very rough exterior. It took many tries with my teeth to open it, and even with a knife it would have been a challenge. However, once the treasure box is opened, gold lies within.

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A vendor also convinced me to get one of his “award winning” Lamb and Guinness Pie’s from local lamb. The Irish are really into their Guinness, and it was a very good pie. I did not have an oven, so I did not eat it at its prime, but it was still lovely.

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I came upon a stand that had a beautiful whipped meringue. How could I not buy one? They looked huge, light and airy. And indeed it was. It melted in my mouth, and the middle was soft and creamy..

 

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This strange looking bread was the best thing I ate all day. I wish I would have made the vendor give me the recipe as I bought it from her. Little did I know it was going to be heavenly. Contrary to its looks, it isn’t actually bread at all. It is more of a quiche. It has lentils, tomatoes, eggs, and is baked and bound together with gluten free flour. I will make it my mission to get the secret to this strange, Irish delight.

DINNER

After arriving in Galway I was ready to get some good city food in me. I had planned on going to a different restaurant, but my host (who was a self proclaimed foodie) assured me Bar 8 had the best food in town.

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I was not brave enough to try the mussels at Bar 8, but thankfully my companion was. She says “the flavor was rich, but the texture was too gelatinous for you to forget that there was a small sea creature in your mouth.Thank God for the small bites of bread in between, otherwise I would have felt like ‘the monster who ate the small sea creature village”

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Although I could not compel myself to try a mussel, I did try the juice which was very rich and well seasoned.

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For my starter I got a beautiful salad. Bar 8 has a personal relationship with all of its suppliers and supports local farmers. All the ingredients in this salad were local, and tasted amazingly fresh.

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The greens were beautiful. The goat cheese married perfectly with the vinaigrette, and the oranges, and flowers were a beautiful Garde Mange.

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I got a side order of freshly baked Ciabatta bread. They cleverly drizzled a bit of olive oil on it to give it more of a buttery taste, while still maintaining health benefits.

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For my main course I ordered Koftas. I still, unfortunately, am not quite sure about what they are exactly. Despite all this, they were delicious. The outside was crusted with finely chopped walnuts, and inside was a warm meaty haven. It was sort of like a less fried savory beignet, filled with vegetables, and bits of walnuts. The flavors and textures were done perfectly.

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The side salad had a lovely sophisticated, creamy dressing and had diverse vegetables. The restaurants chef (who was trained in Spain) was also a forager, so their dishes were full of beautiful unexpected roots and produce.

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I also got to taste Pork belly on a bed of mashed potatoes. The pork belly to me was nothing spectacular, but I am not generally a meat lover, unless it is amazing. I found the meat to be dry, and unflavorful. The bed of potato underneath however, was a perfect mix of textures and flavors. It was mashed potato mixed with lightly pickled red cabbage, and root vegetables. Overall, it was a lovely presentation, and great flavor.

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DESSERT

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For dessert I was stuck between the Chocolate Sampling plate, or the Cheese Plate. I decided to be more European and get the cheese plate. Bad decision. My palate is not developed enough to appreciate a brick of mold sold as “cheese”. Apart from the goat cheese, and the fresh fruts and vegetables the cheeses repulsed me. I may be young, and naive, but I think logically humans are not suppose to ingest rotting dairy.