Tag Archives: restaurant

The Olives of Wrath

Sitting in Café des Irlandais last weekend, Johanne and I sat over a shared starter of foie gras served with chocolate shavings and croissant. The dish was cohesive: the croissant complimented foie gras; the chocolate drew out the paté’s flavours. A number of olives were scattered on the plate. I avoided these. I eat olives, but they aren’t my favourite food.

I decided to brave an olive. I took a small piece of the croissant, patted the foie gras onto it and pricked the olive with a fork. The moistness of the olive added to the taste experience. The olives tasted sweet.

“These olives are delicious, Johanne. Try one!”

Johanne grimaced slightly. “I’m not a big fan of olives. I find them bitter.”

“These taste sweet, as if they were soaked in something.”

“I’ll try one.” Johanne leaned forward and pierced an olive with a fork. She bit into it and nodded her head. “Mmmm, you’re right, they are nice.”

“See, I told you.”

“I can see what you mean about them being sweet. But that’s not really a surprise since they are not olives. They’re grapes.”


Foulada, The Chilled Drink of Fouls

Over the weekend, some friends and I went to Kilkenny on a pseudo-hen. The weekend was a refined affair involving afternoon tea, dinner, private screening of a movie, colossal breakfast and access to a spa. It was most pleasant. Unfortunately, there was one incident that left a black mark on the whole experience. This smear came in the form of what was is known as “Foulada”.

Foulada was first encountered on the menu of an Asian infusion type restaurant. It was described as “rose jelly, chilled milk and ice-cream”. This had to be experienced to be believed. I anticipated an authentic Asian treat. It arrived at the table and was exactly as described; jelly, milk and ice-cream. The jelly was chopped up through the – what was by now – pink milk. Shredded fruit (or carrot) provided much needed texture.

A minute or two into the exploratory investigation that was my dessert, I realised there was peanuts in it too – Foulada with peanut surprise. You probably ask why I ordered this concoction. I opted for Foulada because it just sounded too ghastly to be true. I doubted any self-respecting restaurant would put it on the menu unless they deemed it a surprise to the unsuspecting open-minded individual.

Today, I reminded myself to Google “Foulada”. I was convinced that the hotel had obviously created some botched version of an Asian delicacy. Look at my Google results. Never have I seen such sparse results for any Google search. This dessert is rare or something the hotel restaurant made up. The fourth match in the search is the hotel’s menu. How funny is that? foulada

Club Sandwich

I’ve a friend whom I regularly make fun of over an exchange she and I once had.

One day, I had a personal issue I wished to discuss with her. She suggested we meet for lunch.

I met her at Jervis Street around midday. Instead of her high spirited self, she appeared rattled. Her body language was square and uptight.

“Parking around here is a nightmare,” she said in a forceful exhalation.

I visualised her driving in circles for half an hour, getting impatient (and tense) behind the wheel. I suggested we head towards Henry Street for lunch.

“What would you like to eat” I asked. “Do you want something ‘dinner-y’ or would you like something light?”

“I’d like a club sandwich.”

Oh right. A club sandwich,” I thought to myself. “Could you be anymore particular?”

 “There’s a bagel place just there,” I suggested cheerfully, thinking a Club Bagel might be a compromise. “We could get a bagel, maybe?”

“I don’t want a bagel,” she responded sharply. “I want a club sandwich.”

“OK, a club sandwich. Where can we get a club sandwich?” In my head I scoured the vicinity for sandwich shops and gastro pubs “I am not really a club sandwich kind of person …”

“I would not have come to this area for lunch,” she added firmly.

I could not help but take offence.

We eventually settled on lunch in the Gin Palace. My friend seemed happy in her surroundings. Thank God, the club sandwich was to her standard.

To this day, I give her a lot of slack on the incident. One evening, in a good restaurant I enquired on her behalf if there were club sandwiches on the menu. The waiter informed us there was not.

“You are such a fucker,” my friend said once the waiter was out of earshot.

“You love me really,” I responded.

Friends who Dine

Now and again, I meet Friends who Dine. Together we visit fancy eateries of Dublin. Friends who Dine comprises of Friend who has a fondness of club sandwiches and no other form of sandwich is good enough; Friend who thought fox hunting involved actively using foxes in a hunt; and me, Stephen. Our choice of restaurant alternates; we take turns to choose each time we meet. Our last gathering involved a fancy dinner in Chez Max, drinks in No Name Bar*, crashing a party and more drinks in Whelan’s. Our stay in Whelan’s was short. By that stage, we had wined and Jameson-and-ginger-aled ourselves into a drunken stupor. Club Sandwich Friend who Dines misplaced her coat and handbag, all of which were found on top of the cigarette machine. It was time for her to go home. Fox Hunting Friend who Dines had to rescue a sleepy friend from the loos. She was next to leave. Needless to say, a good night was enjoyed by all. 

Last night, Friends who Dine met up at an Argentinean Grill for an early bird. Since the onslaught of the recession, we have resigned ourselves to less garish flashes of cash. Surprisingly enough, the restaurant was not particularly busy at six o’clock on a Wednesday during a recession. There were a few groups scattered about the light and airy space. One couple had obviously allowed a lunch time meeting evolve into afternoon drinks. Thankfully, they carried their flushed faces and irritatingly, loud voices home by the time our steaks arrived. Our table sat next to a huge window overlooking a busy street. Seeing how I am mad for “people watching”, I found it hard not to look out the window. The proportion of hotties/passers-by was impressive. During one such voyeuristic session, I noticed a cyclist coming towards the window. He showed no signs of slowing or stopping. In fact he peddled his bicycle with a greater intensity the closer he came. He approached the window as if oblivious to the fact a restaurant window was merely feet from him.

“Oh my God, what is he doing?” I screeched audibly, expecting his front tyre to bounce off the window. I braced myself for impact 

Club Sandwich Friend who Dines clapped her hands and cheered.

Fox Hunting Friend who Dines sat with her back to the window. She wiggled in her seat in an attempt to see the spectacle. “What is it?” she asked as if excluded. 

I was confused by Club Sandwich friend who Dines’s reaction to the display. Why was did she clap her hands in excitement? It was then I recognised the face of the cyclist. It was Boyfriend. He swerved his bike away from the window inches from the glass, before flashing a winning smile. He sped into the distance. Club Sandwich Friend who Dines had obviously recognised Boyfriend moments before I had. Fox hunting Friend who Dines was in the dark until we explained the events. I had forgotten the restaurant was on Boyfriend’s cycle-route home. He had completely taken me by surprise. It was nice entertainment.

After the restaurant, we rounded off the night over cocktails in a nearby hotel and a coffee in the apartment of Fox Hunting Friend who Dines. They presented me with my birthday present, a copy of Nigella Lawson’s Express Cookery Book. I’ve been instructed use it for a dinner party for Friends who Dine. Imagine the bicycle stunts Boyfriend will have perfected by the time my dinner party comes around.

Something was Amiss (while going for a piss)

On Thursday, after having chips and a burger for lunch, I OD’d on a burger and onion rings for dinner. Boyfriend and I chose to dine in the restaurant affectionately known as Empty Pockets, aka Eddie Rocket’s. While in the diner themed restaurant, I needed to use the bathroom. I excused myself from the table because that is what polite people do.

The visit to the bathroom and thought process pretty much went like this:

Stephen leaves table and beelines for the door of the kitchen like a man on a mission. A waiter is alerted. Waiter intervenes by pointing the door to the toilets. Stephen sees the door and enters first door on right.

While in the bathroom, Stephen pauses for a moment.

“Hmmmm, funny there are no urinals in here”

Stephen shrugs dismissively. He enters cubicle and notices sanitary bin in the corner of the cubicle.

“These must be same sex bathrooms”

 While in the cubicle, Stephen hears the clopping of heels on the tiled floor.

“Hmmmm, they are either the noise made by expensive men’s shoes … or … women’s shoes. FUCK … I am in the wrong bathroom”

Stephen sticks his head out of the cubicle door and checks to see if he is alone. He washes his hands quickly and rejoins Boyfriend. Boyfriend is not surprised one bit when Stephen recounts the events to him.