Category Archives: Eating Out

A Taste of Dublin, Part 4

So it was on the second full day that we decided to stop for dinner at a local pub. We had seen the signs for the Hairy Lemon every time we walked back and forth to the hotel since they were on the same block. Just the name alone got the better of us and we knew we had to give it a try. It was a very quaint place jam-packed with old mementos and signs from years’ gone by in Dublin. The place was quiet when we got there and we easily got a table. The server was very friendly, as every server we came across in Dublin was. We ordered drinks ( I had a Guinness, of course) and took a look at the menu. They had quite a large selection, including several traditional Irish meals. We both saw the traditional Irish stew listed on the menu and agreed that it sounded wonderful so we both ordered it. Neither of us was disappointed. What came out was a very large stainless steel crock (actually 2 crocks, one for each of us) on a platter with a very large baked potato and some homemade brown bread. The stew was absolutely amazing. The lamb was super-tender and just melted in your mouth and all the vegetables were perfect. The server said the vegetables came in fresh every day from the market the chef shopped at, and he picked out what he wanted so sometimes there was something different in the stew each time. This time, there were definitely parsnips in there and they were good. We both finished our bowls clean and devoured the homemade bread, which they bake fresh each day and sell by the loaf if you want to take some home. I could barely touch my baked potato, and it was a big one. I ended up eating about 1/2 of it, but it was cooked well and I enjoyed it. Neither of us had room for any dessert after.

I searched around on the Internet and have found that many of the Irish stews are basically the same recipe. although some use different vegetables or no other vegetable besides potato, so it is really your call as to what you want to make. Others also use a lot of beef broth to darken it. The stew we had was lighter but did taste of beef broth, so they must have used some. Try this one and see if you like it.

Traditional Irish Stew

4 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups leeks, sliced
1/2 cup flour
4 ounces butter
1 cup Guinness beer
3 cups beef stock
1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus 1 tablespoon chopped
1 cup peas, shelled
1 cup leeks, sliced thinly
Oil for frying

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the lamb and brown evenly. Remove the lamb from the pot and set aside. Add the leeks and saute until soft. Add the butter and melt. Add the flour to make a roux. Turn the heat down to low, and cook the roux until it is brown, about 15 minutes. Whisk in the beer and stock. Add the reserved lamb, bring to a simmer, and cover. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours.


While the lamb mixture is simmering, combine the parsnips, carrots, potatoes and garlic in a large bowl. Toss with remaining olive oil, salt and pepper and rosemary sprigs. Place the vegetables in a roasting pan and place in a 400-degree oven. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Remove the vegetables from the oven and discard the rosemary sprigs. Add the roasted vegetables and the peas to the lamb mixture. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the chopped rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Add the thinly sliced leeks to a pot of heated oil and fry for 3 minutes, or until crisp. Remove the leeks from the oil and drain on paper towels. Season the leeks with salt. Garnish the stew with the fried leeks.

You could substitute some scallions for the leeks used at the end if you wanted to without frying them any, just chop them up and use them as a garnish. Either way I don’t think you can go wrong. I’ll definitely be trying this one at home myself.

We are just about done with our meals from Ireland. All we have left is our final day, which we spent entirely at the Guinness Storehouse at then at Whelan’s Pub for the show. I did get some recipes from Guinness while we were there which I will be posting tomorrow, and you can check my personal blog tonight for my account of the day we spent with Guinness. It was great! So, until tomorrow, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on October 10, 2012 in Eating Out, Lamb, One Pot Meals, Soups & Stews


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A Taste of Dublin, Part 2

To pick up where I left off yesterday, we did not really have a dinner that first night in Dublin. We were so tired we had slept right through dinner and just went downstairs to the bar in the hotel to see if we could just get a drink and relax. When we arrived there, we found out that we could still order things off the var menu. Neither of us was tremendously hungry, but we did want to have a little something. We each decided to order the lemon tart with raspberry sorbet and an Irish coffee. I can tell you, all three things tasted fantastic. While I did not get the exact recipes for the lemon tart and the raspberry sorbet, I did find some recipes that I think will bring you the same tastes that we had that night.

Lemon Tart

1 fully baked warm tart shell, 9- to 9 1/2-inch (you can buy a store-bought shell if you want, or I will post  the recipe for the pastry shell following)

7 large egg yolks

2 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2/3 cup lemon juice from 4 to 5 medium lemons

1/4 cup grated lemon zest

Pinch table salt

4 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces

3 tablespoons heavy cream

Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the tart pan with the shell on a cookie sheet.

In a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together yolks and whole eggs until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until just combined, about 5 seconds. Add lemon juice, zest, and salt; whisk until combined, about 5 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a medium non-reactive saucepan and add the butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency and registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the curd through a single-mesh stainless steel strainer set over clean non-reactive bowl. Stir in the heavy cream; pour the curd into the warm tart shell immediately.

Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and until the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Remove the outer metal ring, slide a thin metal spatula between the bottom crust and the tart pan bottom to release, then slip the tart onto a cardboard round or serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve.

Tart Pastry

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon table salt

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick, very cold), cut into twenty-four 3/4-inch cubes

1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour for dusting

Whisk together the yolk, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside. Pulse to combine 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture; pulse to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together, about 25 seconds. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Unwrap the dough; lightly flour a large sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap and place the dough in the center. Roll out  the dough and line the tart pan. Freeze the dough 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, adjust one oven rack to the upper-middle position and the other rack to the lower-middle position; heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chilled tart shell on a cookie sheet; press a 12-inch square of foil inside the tart shell and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake on the lower rack for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. Carefully remove the foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Transfer the cookie sheet with the tart shell to the upper rack and continue to bake until the shell is golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.

Both of these recipes come from America’s Test Kitchen, but of the ones I looked at, these seemed to be the ones that would produce the results closest to what we had. For the raspberry sorbet, I looked around all over the place to try to find one that I thought would be close to what we had when I came across this one.

Raspberry Sorbet

1 pint fresh raspberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

Wash the raspberries well. Dissolve the 1/2 cup of sugar into the 1/2 cup of water. Combine the sugar-water mix and the raspberries in a blender (optional you could strain out the raspberry seeds at this point if they bother you. A lot of people don’t like them). Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker. Freeze as for making ice cream. It takes about 30 minutes in a 1 quart gel canister ice cream maker. Let the sorbet harden for an additional 30 minutes in the freezer. (Don’t leave the sorbet in the freezer too long, or it will be hard to scoop and have the texture of a popsicle.)

That’s all there is to it. It’s a pretty simple recipe that I think will produce results just like what we had. Here’s a picture of what we had at the Brooks Hotel;

The Irish coffee we had I thought would be similar to what I make but it did taste different. I have posted my recipe before if you want to see how I make it, but I watched the bartender make hers and she did it somewhat differently.

Irish Coffee

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

1 1/2 ounces Irish Whiskey

6 ounces fresh brewed coffee

Clotted cream

Pour hot water into your coffee glass. Allow the glass to get warm and then dispose of the hot water. Add the sugar and whiskey to the glass. Pour the hot coffee over the whiskey and sugar. Top with clotted cream and serve.

Now I add extras to my Irish coffee, but I have to say it tasted great this way.You could get a good taste of the Irish whiskey and the clotted cream, which we don’t really do, tasted great. We each had Irish coffees on several nights and noticed that different bartenders make it different ways at the same bar. The first bartender we had mixed the whiskey and sugar before putting the coffee in. She also topped the cream with a single coffee bean, which I thought was a nice touch. The second bartender told us when he served it that he did not mix the sugar into the whiskey and gave us spoons to do it. He said some people don’t like the sugar mixed in, so he leaves it up to the customer. You could certainly taste the whiskey more in the second bartender’s version, but both were pretty good. Here is a picture of the one we had on the first night.

Michelle liked that served each one with a piece of Irish chocolate too :). They also left a piece of chocolate on our pillows every night.

I was going to include the Irish breakfast in tonight’s post, but this one is already running long so I think I will include it in tomorrow’s post instead. It was quite a full breakfast, and unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of that one, but it was good and I’ll fill you in on all the contents tomorrow. We’ll see how long tomorrow’s post goes and what I’ll include or maybe I’ll just wait until the next day. Keep checking back to see what shows up. until then, enjoy the rest of your evening and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Beverages, Dessert, Eating Out


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A Taste of Dublin, Part 1

Now that I finally have some time to sit down and do some writing, I can talk a little bit about our trip to Dublin and our food and beverage experiences. We weren’t quite sure what to expect in terms of food when we arrived in Dublin. I am sure I am not the only one who has heard horror stories about cooking from Britain and Ireland. I can tell you that we did not have a bad meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner, while we there. Everything was great. Granted, we did not always have a lot of time to do meals because we wanted to do a lot of things and only had 4 days to do it all. We also knew that we were going to spend an entire day with Guinness while we there, as they had requested since they sponsored the contest I won.

When we arrived in Dublin the first day, it was about 11 AM. We went over to the hotel and couldn’t check in until 2, so they graciously held or luggage for us and we went exploring around the immediate area. The rain was torrential that day, which we really limited where we could go and do things. We walked aimlessly in the rain for a while trying to figure out where we could go. We eventually ended up at the Dublin Wax Museum, which was a nice treat. It is housed in an old bank so all the rooms are in old bank vaults, making it seem a little creepier. We had a great time walking around there and took some great pictures (you can check my other blog soon or my Facebook page now to see them). By the time we were done there, it was still only about 12:30, so we decided to get some lunch.

We walked around trying to find some places to go. There are pubs everywhere (we would later find out that Dublin has 750 pubs, and that doesn’t include the pubs in the hotels, which pushes it over 1,000). We found a place near the hotel called Peter’s Pub. It was a small, quiet location that was perfect for us. We sat down and were met by a very friendly barkeeper who sat us at a table right in the window. They have a very simple lunch menu, which included the lunch special, which is soup, a sandwich and a pot of tea for 10 Euros. Michelle and I each decided to have that. We both ordered the same thing, a tuna sandwich a pot of tea and the spiced beef soup. I was not familiar with the Irish spiced beef before, so I wanted to give it a try. It was worth it, for sure. The spiced beef was certainly a different flavor to the soup. It took a little investigating on my part, but I was able to find that spiced beef is very close to what American’s would call corned beef. The difference is while we use a brisket, they use a rump roast. It is something they use for holiday meals and is traditionally served cold. I was able to find a recipe for the spiced beef if you want to give it a try.

Irish Spiced Beef

6 lbs sirloin tip roast or 6 lbs beef eye round
3 bay leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground mace
6 ground cloves
1 clove garlic, crushed and made into a paste with
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
2 teaspoons molasses
2 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 cup salt
1 bottle Guinness stout

Mix all the flavorings and spices together. Place the beef in a large bowl and rub all over with the spice and flavoring mixture. Cover and refrigerate the beef. Rub in the mixture once or twice a day for a week; turn the beef as you repeat the rubbing in process. The spices and flavorings will now be mixed with the juices drawn from the beef.

Tie up the meat firmly and place in a large pot or Dutch oven. Rub in a final teaspoon of ground cloves. Cover the beef with cold water and the bottle of Guinness. Simmer gently for 5-6 hours until the beef is tender. Allow the beef to cool in the cooking liquid. When it is cool, remove it from the liquid, place it on a serving dish and cover it with a weighted plate. Refrigerate until serving time and serve thinly sliced and cold.

Peter’s Pub had diced the beef and served it in a beef broth with some vegetables like potato, carrots and celery. It tasted wonderful with the bread they had served. The tuna sandwich was a simple sandwich but was a large serving with some chips on the side. The whole meal was incredibly filling for both of us and we each had a pot of tea, which really hit the spot after being in and out of the rain for a few hours.

The great thing we noticed about the different pubs and places we went to in Dublin is that no one ever rushed you out. They would let you sir for hours if that is what you wanted to relax and enjoy yourself.. Being from New York, I think we expected to get rushed around and we sat around for about an hour relaxing before we finally asked for the check. He gave it to use with a big smile and wished us a good day.

Tomorrow I will continue posting some recipes of things we came across in Dublin, including the late night snack we had the first night of a lemon tart with raspberry sorbet and Irish coffees and the traditional full Irish breakfast we had the next morning. Check back to see how it was and what was in it. You can also check my other blog where I am going to write more about our trip to lead into getting back into my blogging and what our experiences were like.

I plan to get back to posting regular recipes we made at home at the end of this week so you can check back for them at the end of the week as well. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 7, 2012 in Beef, Eating Out, Soups & Stews


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Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

We had an awesome time at the Mets game last night, even though the Mets lost. They just can’t seem to score any runs for Johan Santana, but that’s for another rant and another blog :) . It was great to get out just the three of us and have some family fun and leave work and everything else behind for a few hours.I thought I would do a quick post on some of the things available food-wise now at the ballpark.We all ate ballpark food, well sort of. Ballpark food has sure changed over the years. Sure you can still get a hot dog, a pretzel and popcorn (and we did get popcorn), but you can pretty much get whatever else you might feel like having at Citi Field too. Sean had pizza, which was real New York pizza from Cascarino’s, and I have to say even though I am not a big pizza eater, it looked and smelled really good. Instead of having the usual hot dog, I went off the board and tried a hot pastrami on rye from the sandwich shop they have there. It was an awesome grilled pastrami round brisket that they cut and put on fresh rye bread with some great New York deli mustard and the best half sour pickle I have had in a very long time. It was the best pastrami sandwich I have had in ages and I would definitely get it again. Michelle went with a Keith burger from the Keith Hernandez grill and she was a little disappointed in it. The burger itself wasn’t bad, and the greens and tomato on it were super fresh, but she wasn’t thrilled with the amount of mustard on it and didn’t like the taste of it. For the price of the burger ($11.00) it was a disappointment. Sorry Keith.

They have a pretty wide array of selections at Citi Field that we haven’t tried yet. There is Catch of the Day featuring Shrimp Po’ Boys, El Verano Taqueria, which has Carnitas that looked awesome, Daruma of Tokyo making their own sushi (I don’t think I would go for sushi at the ballpark; I love it, but it just doesn’t feel right) and the World’s Fare Market, which offers Chinese, Korean, light fare and Italian. in the past we have gotten fries from Box Frites, which were cooked perfectly and nice and crunchy, Blue Smoke and their awesome pulled pork sandwich and of course the Shake Shack, where I really liked the burgers but I have to say was a little underwhelmed by the shakes. I just didn’t think they were as good as everyone raves, at least not worth waiting online for 30 minutes for.

We had great seats by the left field foul pole (where we’ll be for 5 more games this season) and had several balls in batting practice come our way, but we didn’t get any of them. Since we’ll be back for 5 more games, it will give me the chance to try some more things and see how they are. How do you rate ballpark food nowadays? Have you been to other stadiums where you can tell us about the food? Leave a comment and let me know!

I need to go shopping tomorrow so I can some things in to cook now that this crazy week is coming to an end. I have already picked up some boneless turkey breast and some pork spare ribs, so I just have to come up with some recipes to try to post this weekend. I promise I will! Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Eating Out


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