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All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

The Irish Independent Weekender

Restaurants and the Recession

For the last decade, it has seemed as if finding value for money, and eating out in restaurants, have been polar opposites.
Restaurant critics discussed meals that cost several hundred euro for a single dinner. Stories of bankers and hedge fund managers dropping several thousand euro on exotic, rare vintages of great wines in a single evening became the stuff of legend.

The Irish Times Healthplus

The Irish Times/Healthplus

Grains of Life

We begin today with a few simple questions. Simply tick the correct answer:

1. Amaranth is: a. An Inca God. b. A by-product of uranium mining.

2. You meet a Quinoa. Do You: a. Shake hands and use a formal greeting. b. Bow respectfully and proffer a gift.

3. Teff is: a. The most popular item ordered at the IKEA restaurant outside Belfast. b. A Baltimore slang term for a junior drug dealer.

How Cool is This?

Garret Byrne

We had been planning to run story on Flahavan's, Waterford's oatmeal masters, to let you know that they have just launched two new products.
Organic quick oat sachets are the first, simple to use single sachets, and the second are organic portable porridge pots. (A little word, here, to keen campers; these portable pots are only brilliant when you are out camping: a hearty energy breakfast in seconds).

Pasta in the Bag

A number of years ago, when you were still writing your column for the "Irish Times", you gave a recipe for a pasta dish which I greatly enjoyed but can't remember how to make.
As far as I recall, it involved part cooking the pasta and then finishing it by putting it in a turkey bag with a cream & garlic sauce and baking it so the pasta would absorb the sauce.
By any chance, would you be able to let me have the recipe, or remind me what the book was from which you sourced it?

Many thanks,
Fintan Swanton.

The Bridgestone 100 Best Guides 2009

John and Sally McKenna

The new Bridgestone 100 Best Books for 2009 – the 100 Best Restaurants and The 100 Best Places to Stay – are in the shops and almost out of our lives and on their way to – hopefully – connecting nice curious people to nice, satisfying places to eat and stay throughout the country. Lots of ace new places to eat and stay, lots of lovely new creative people discovered. Aidan Crawley of The Irish Times quickly and unobtrusively took this lovely shot, above, when we launched the books in Dublin's peerless L'Ecrivain restaurant.

Limerick you're a darling

1 Pery Square, Limerick

It's always the same.
Ever since we published the first editions of the Bridgestone 100 Best Guides, back in 1992, we get to publication day – which is tomorrow, Thursday 29th – and someone turns up and opens an outstanding new destination. It's been the same every year, and 2009 is no exception. Patricia has just opened No 1 Pery Square, and it's the address Limerick has been waiting for. Valerie O'Connor is knocked out.
Take it away, Val...

Obama's Margarita

An interesting little story from AP:

Visiting one of his favorite Chicago restaurants in November, Barack Obama was asked by an excited waitress if he wanted the restaurant's special margarita made with the finest ingredients, straight up and shaken at the table.

"You know that's the way I roll," Obama replied jokingly.

Making a meal of it...

We read, in today's Irish Times, that union sources involved in talks with the Government over proposed spending cuts have described the language of a framework document as a “blancmange”.
Government Chief Whip Pat Carey is also quoted as saying that pay cuts mooted for TDs and Senators “will form part of the decision and menu that will be presented for decision in the next few days”
Blancmange? Menu? What is it with all this covert foodie talk? Shouldn't they be chewing over some hard decisions before they get to dessert?...

That Was The Week That Was

Nash 19

Some news from the week of the Obama inauguration...

Nash 19 in Cork city is offering a Valentines meal for two to go: start with organic chicken liver pate or love potion, then monkfish and tiger prawn pie or Green Saffron lamb curry or chicken and asparagus pasta with Country Choice Parmesan, then a Benoit L'Orge chocolate heart, and a bottle of fizz and a red rose. €72.50 is the price, order by Feb 10th and collect on the 13th. Claire Nash and her crew also have a surprise in store this week, but we can't say anything about that just yet...

Obama Presidency rocked by discovery!

Bob the Builder

For months now, it has been the phrase on everyone's lips: “Yes, We Can”.
From Barack Obama to to every democrat you ever met, all had one simple message tied up in one little slogan: “Yes, We Can”.
But we have all been hiding a dark secret. A secret that covers up plagiarism, that reveals prejudice, prejudice against small little characters in hard hats with bib 'n' tucker trousers and checked shirts.
That's right: just cast your mind back. Say it: “Yes, We Can”.


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