The first is from Conor, who sure knows his way around Cork and Kerry restaurants.
"I must start by saying all in all I agree with 95% of your listings in Munster but for me the inclusion of Over the Moon in Skiberreen is a bit like having Bacus from Kenmare in last year. It's a restaurant doing the basics right but with a long way to go to be in the top of anything. Also Jacques in Cork city seems to be living on it's past. The menu is rarely changed and it's not the nicest room to dine in. A bit subterranean. I always feel sorry for Star Anise in Cork as it never seems to get the accolades it deserves: maybe it suffers from a small room, but the service and food I always find faultless. Maybe you can't give too many to Cork City.
Lastly I'm delighted to see The Old Convent included as it really is the star in Tipperary. Love your book every year but sometimes feel you miss what's under your noses."
Well, indeed we certainly do miss what is under our noses, and Conor is certainly right to point out that “you can't give too many to Cork city”, as we always try – and fail – to get the best geographic spread for the 100 Restaurants Guide in order to make it as user-friendly as possible.
And here is a typically lively communication from Cathy McClean of the splendid California Market Bakery
"Just to let you know that the California Market Bakery has a new address. We did not move again, the move to Kildare fell through at the last moment, but it has all worked out for the best, as these things usually do, and we have found a bigger and more suitable location for the bakery. We are now literally on the border of the North and South, a much easier trip into Dublin. We will still be much of the same, but with the ability to add some more Californian favourites and some ethnic style breads. We should be up and running by mid-February.
"I just read the November newsletter and was so pleased to see Paul Bertolli’s “Cooking by Hand” mentioned. He is an excellent chef and a good man. I have the book myself, although I do not cook much anymore since the bakery keeps me pretty busy. I knew him when he was at Chez Panisse and his Chez Panisse Cookbook (with Alice) is also a good one. Another great book, maybe not for food as art, but for good food, is “The Zuni Café” cookbook by Judy Rodgers another Chez Panisse alum. It was a great place to eat and I am sure it still is."
California Market Bakery
Flurry Bridge Business Park
Lower Foughill Road
Block B Unit 12
So guys, it's time to get Judy Rogers' book! And finally, from Jill Bell of the excellent Well and Good wholefood shop in Midleton, who also has an excellent letter in the Health Supplement of today's Irish Times
"What has prompted this email and belated thanks is reading the Bridgestone Guide News piece on Pat O'Mahony and his denial of the existence of "bad" food. Great! As usual you word your pithy comments so eloquently.
Vets are ahead of medics and food safety "experts" on this one. Bring a sick dog to a vet and you are likely to be asked what he has been eating. How often does a doctor ask the same question?
Another comparison cropped up in my shop recently as I was bemoaning the fact that my husband had acquired MRSA in hospital. A chef remarked that he wasn't allowed to set foot outside his kitchen while in his chef's gear, yet nurses come and go everywhere, including wards, without any such restrictions."