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Friday, April 29, 2011

SHINING STAR OF BRIDGE STREET

STAR OF BRIDGE STREET

Just have to tell you about Star Anise in Bridge Street. Had the most fantastic lunch there yesterday. It is a very convenient venue, so close to Patrick Street. Inside, the colour scheme is just gorgeous, the room bright. The food too is gorgeous and the people you’ll 
meet are friendly and efficient.


Had dinner there a good few months back and so we were expecting a high standard. We weren't disappointed and herself reckoned it was her “best lunch ever”.

My starter was certainly the best Tomato and Basil Soup I’ve ever had. This was a darker colour than your normal effort, topped with Parmesan shavings and also a swirl of Olive Oil; it leaves all other such soups in the weakling category. 

The other starter was Marinated Olives with salad and hummus; another top notch opener, the most beautiful herby/garlic marinade and, if memory serves me right, for just over 3 euro.

I always have an eye for the specials as does the other half who went for the Lamb Kebab with Couscous and a Cucumber/Yoghurt dip. Could start wading through the Thesaurus for superlatives but let me just say that it was brilliant.

I picked the fish of the day which was fresh Haddock, served with rustic sliced potatoes and haricots verts in the most delightful sauce of Fennel, Tomato and Saffron. Could go with brilliant again or maybe just wow! Presentation all round was excellent.

Ended with a selection of desserts (they do a Dessert Plate for Two there) and enjoyed a sample of Vanilla Crème Brûlée, Vanilla Panna Cotta and a New York Style Baked Cheesecake.  Finished off with some excellent coffee having had a delicious Chenin Blanc to accompany the earlier courses.

What a day: sunshine outside and a taste of the Mediterranean inside.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

WHERE TO EAT

WHERE TO EAT 

wheretoeat.ie is the website of the Restaurants Association of Ireland and quite a handy one.

Home Page highlights Special Offers, Latest reviews, and a Featured Restaurant.
Tabs here also for Gift Cards, Events, Places to Stay, Recipes and Cookery Schools.

I had a run through and there is quite a lot behind the various tabs. Take the Recipes for instance. Here you can find everything from Rhubarb Crumble to Beef Wellington, dozens of good ideas and all suited to the local scene.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DINE IN CORK WEEK

Issacs-regular participants


DINE IN CORK WEEK
Always look forward to Dine in Cork Week. Why not, with four courses for €25.00? 

The participating restaurants make a genuine effort to give value for money. Take Fenns Quay, for example, who have five choices of starter, mains and dessert. And others, such as ECO in Douglas, have as much choice, if not more
.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

BRAVO JACQUES

BRAVO JACQUES 

Jacques  claim to be the city’s longest established restaurant and they do the simple things superbly.  Here they serve great food and they serve it well and the customers keep on coming.

It was full last Saturday night. But they are used to full houses, well capable of handling the demands, the confidence built through the last three decades or so.

We were welcomed with a smile and soon seated and all the staff we met were friendly and efficient and all interaction was carried through with good humour.

That care for the customer runs through the establishment. We ordered their Rack of Baby Easter Lamb with a soft herb crust and a sprouting broccoli (€28.90). After the expected “delay”,

AROMATIC ACE FROM GASCONY

AN ACE FROM GASCONY
Domaine de Pellehaut Ampelomeryx   2007, 13%, €13.99, Curious Wines
Gascony, best known for its Armagnac (I also like the local Floc), produces some “popular wine-bar wines” according to Hugh Johnson who notes Pellehaut as one of the better producers.
Picked up a bottle of Domaine de Pellehaut Ampelomeryx 2007 at Curious Wines recently and this blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Manseng Gros and Manseng Petit, sure surprised me, in a very pleasant way.

Colour is inviting, so is the nose and the promise is delightfully delivered onwards by an excellent Vin de Pays. This has a share of awards to its credit and Johnson recommends that you DYA, i.e. Drink the Youngest Available. The

Friday, April 22, 2011

THE BOSUN: A CORK TRADITION

THE BOSUN: A CORK TRADITION

“For over a hundred years, we have provided sustenance to the traveller.”

There are some terrific food traditions in Cork and Monkstown’s The Bosun  is one of them. I “travelled” down there this week and can report that Nicky Moynihan and company, who won the Irish Pub of the Year in 2002, are still serving up top class food, as many of you know. It is a lovely harbourside destination and there were a few eating out of doors there at lunchtime. Food is

Thursday, April 21, 2011

STAR OF THE WINDY MOUNTAIN

Domaine des Anges white 2009, AOC Ventoux, 14%, €13.30 (Karwig)
This is a blend of Roussanne, Grenache blanc, Bourboulenc and Clairette. Colour is a pale honey, clean with hints of green. The pleasantly aromatic nose is full of promise: there are pears for sure, maybe light citrus also, and overall it is really lovely to

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

BEER HEAVEN

BEER HEAVEN
For two days this weekend, Cork’s Franciscan Well, will be Beer Heaven for micro-brewery aficionados as no less than 20 Irish microbreweries will represented in one place. No wonder they say the Franciscan Well Easter Beerfest is the single best way to taste the best beers that Ireland has to offer. 

A new North Cork Brewery, Eight Degrees, will make its debut here with an ale called Howling Gale. Let’s hope that will be the only gale around the North Mall. The beer fest starts at 2.00pm on Saturday and concludes at 11.30pm on Sunday.
For all the details click here.

Easter Family Celebrations @ Midleton Farmers Market


Easter Family Celebrations @ Midleton Farmers Market

This Saturday we have lots of music and fun activities for kids

Traditional Easter Egg Painting
Live MUsic
Face Painting
Lots of Chocolate treats from O'Connails

So come early and bring the kids for a Great Day at the Market

Domaine Aonghusa's Classy Syrah


Domaine Aonghusa Corbieres Noah 2007 Syrah, 14.5%, Karwig (€16.50), 
This is a spicy full bodied red, 100 per cent Syrah. The nose is redolent of black fruit and there are herby hints. The concentrated fruit continues through to the palate where strong tannins balance it up. A really well made Syrah. You won't be disappointed with this dark dark red one.
Languedoc: Chateau de Peyrepertuse

DUNSLAND: WALLED GARDEN - EASTER EGG HUNT - TOP NOTCH NOSH


DUNSLAND EASTER FUN
Called to Dunsland Garden Centre  the other day and was

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NASH 19: TWENTY OUT OF TWENTY

NASH 19: TWENTY OUT OF TWENTY


Nash 19 surprised me again when I called for lunch last Friday. Not just the friendly welcome, the informed service, the introductory breads and olive oil and then the amuse bouche. All that is still there. But how do they manage to vary that menu, day after tasty day. And there is a new wine list to boot.

After a chat with Claudia, who told us all about the menu (including their famous Producers’ Plate), we decided on a main course that was Indian, based around a fantastic tasting marinated chicken from East Ferry. If you see them around elsewhere, grab one. They are magnificent. And this was particularly so, served up with a Tarka-Dahl lentil sauce, a crispy fresh salad and a spot-on Naan bread.

From that new wine list, I treated myself to a glass (€6.50) of Prinz Donatus Von Hessen’s 2009 Riesling, a beautifully apple flavoured wine giving a direct drinking pleasure especially with the Indian dish.  

Haven’t been impressed with Tiramisu of late but must say that Nash 19 have come up with a winner, a decent slice of the cake, infused with strong coffee and a unmissable note of alcohol. Will call for that again!


EASTER WINES

EASTER WINES


The team at From Vineyards Direct have come up with really attractive offers to bring even more cheers to the Easter Weekend. Orders received prior to 1pm on Wednesday will be delivered prior to 6pm on Thursday, just in time for the weekend.........and don't forget, one can't buy any alcohol on Good Friday !!
 Dominique Geary is happy that  “our selection of five wines will suit all budgets and will  happily marry with traditional  Easter Fare”.

Monday, April 18, 2011

IN PRAISE OF EAST CORK. WELL WORTH A VISIT!

IN PRAISE OF EAST CORK. WELL WORTH A VISIT!

East Cork rarely hits the tourist pages. Many writers routinely extol the attractions of West Cork and its friendly people. That friendly bit annoys. As if somewhere between Kinsale and Glounthaune, you draw a line between

NEW YORK ROAST #6

WATCH OUR FOR NEW YORK ROAST NO 6!

Petroleum and coffee had no value a few centuries ago.  Now, they keep us going. And this new coffee will keep you going more than most.

Friday, April 15, 2011

EASTER PARADE

EASTER EGGS FOR ADULTS & MEALS FOR KIDS

Chic, petite and delicious. No. Not me. But Pandora Bell’s Real Eggshells filled with Praline Chocolate, the perfect gift for loved ones and, yes, even me! You can get them singly for €2.95 and a basket of five for €16.00.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

20% DISCOUNT ON CURIOUS CHARDONNAY


Cuvée à l'Ancienne, Mâcon Charnay Chardonnay 2009, 13%, €10.39, Curious Wine


This cuvée (or blend) has a pale straw colour with hints of green and  pleasant peachy aromas. On the palate, it is full, with citrus  prominent, and a gentle acidity. Over all the wine is fresh and lively with a lasting finish. Indeed, it is one of those wines that didn't promise all that much at first but which went on to deliver very well.
Négociant /Producer www.Boutinot.com recommends

3 TIERS OF TEMPTATION


AFTERNOON TEA IN THE AMBER LOUNGE

Following a tip-off, I called to the Fota Island Hotel  last Friday to sample their Afternoon Tea. Now, I’m passing on that tip. If you want to treat yourself and your loved one, maybe a pal or a visiting relative, then make a beeline for the Fota Resort and call to the Amber Lounge.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

IRELAND'S MASTERCHEF

THE SEARCH IS ON TO FIND IRELAND’S FIRST EVER MASTERCHEF CHAMPION!
Are you passionate about food and love to cook? Do you constantly impress your friends and family with your culinary skills? Are you an amateur cook with amazing talent? If so, you might have what it takes impress our judges, Nick Munier and Dylan McGrath to become Ireland’s first ever MasterChef Champion!
Don’t miss out, APPLY NOW for the chance to win the coveted title of Ireland’s first MasterChef Champion and a cash prize of €25,000!          
For further information and to apply go to:

Application deadline is 27th April 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

FALLON ELECTED PRESIDENT OF RAI

KILDARE RESTAURATEUR ELECTED NEW PRESIDENT OF THE RESTAURANTS ASSOCIATION OF IRELAND
Mr Brian Fallon, Restaurateur, Fallons of Kildare is the newly elected President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland. With over 20 years experience in the restaurant sector, Mr Fallon  is the 16th President of the Association and his term will be for two years. His father Frank Fallon also served as President over 20 years ago.
He succeeds Mr Paul Cadden. The Restaurants Association of Ireland  is the premier representative body in Ireland, and the national organisation representing over 600 restaurants employing over 64,000 people.
During his presidency, Mr Fallon  plans to

Monday, April 11, 2011

EL BULLI'S BEER CREATION

THE BEER THAT EL BULLI BREWED 

Estrella Damm Inedit is a creation of Ferran Adria and the team at El Bulli’s, a unique never-been-done-before beer blend. This creation is meant to go with food but I found it goes perfectly well without it also. It is one of the best, if not the best, beers that I’ve tasted.

Inedit – as you know, there are other varieties of Estrella - was created to pair “with the most exquisite and challenging foods. Foods that contain: citrus and oils...Bitter notes:...Asparagus, Artichokes...Oily textures: salmon, tuna, fatty cheese.”

Built a meal around those challenges, salmon and asparagus on the main course, and the beer, served in wine glasses, was a splendid match. It is cloudy, is lightly carbonated, has a creamy texture and the soft full body leaves a long and lasting finish.

Next challenge doesn't appear on the shortlist. This was a

Friday, April 8, 2011

Celebrate the Thai New Year Festival in Skibbereen

    Celebrate the Thai New Year Festival in Skibbereen

Elephant Island is a Thai restaurant recently opened in Skibbereen by Marc and Saifon Phonchot. They offer authentic Thai cuisine focused on using the best local ingredients.
Elephant Island are celebrating the upcoming Thai New year by hosting a festival weekend from Friday 15th till Sunday 17th of April.
In honour of the festival they have four new dishes on the menu using the best local produce and offering these new additions at half price for the duration of the weekend. Highlights include Crispy Quail egg dumplings using fresh Quail eggs from Brendan Ross in Dunmanway and Seared Schull Scallops with glass noodles, ginger and corriander served Thai style. 

The four dishes and

IASC, FEOIL, MILSEOG and more at THE FARMGATE

FARMGATE CAFE  

A budding Irish food producer asked a more experienced operator if he should make something new and spectacular. “No,” was the reply. “Do something simple and do it well!”

The wise head must have had Cork’s Farmgate Cafe  in mind. They buy the fresh ingredients downstairs in the English Market, cook it well and then present it on the tables upstairs. Just brilliant. And yes, I know, one needs a great deal of training and expertise to get the simple things so right.

Like many restaurants

Thursday, April 7, 2011

CLASSY FRUIT OF AN INDIAN SUMMER

Kangarilla Road, McLaren Vale, Chardonnay 2009, 13.5%, €16.99, stockists   
During a recent French holiday, the question of what information should appear on the label came up. Our host was quite adamant that it should be the wine-maker’s name and had no time at all for those who want the grape variety there. “We use up to nine different grapes in one wine here. How do you fit all of them on the label?”
So we start now with some info on Kevin O’Brien the maker of this top drawer Chardonnay. The James Halliday Wine Companion 2010 has honoured Kangarilla Road as a 5 Star Winery.
Praise too from

LocalMarkets.ie Celebrates National Launch

Online Food Producer Marketplace Goes National!
  


An innovative online retail business, that offers customers the convenience of having premium quality food delivered to their own home, is celebrating the launch of itsnew nationwide service.

LocalMarkets.ie, a Cork-based business that was

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

CORK FOOD: NEW PRODUCTS, NEW PLACES

CORK FOOD: NEW PRODUCTS, NEW PLACES

Interesting stroll around town yesterday, after fuelling up with a coffee and scone at Electric on the Mall.

Called into Nash 19   for Karmine’s new product: Cider

CALIFORNIA TASTING

ZIG ZAG ZIN
Zig Zag Zin was just one many Zinfandels tasted at Jacobs On the Mall who, on Monday afternoon, hosted a tasting for the Wine Institute of California.
The Zin is the grape most associated with the huge West Coast wine industry. Monday’s selections were excellent though I must say I really liked the Beringer Founders 14.5% on the Febvre stand where Peter Corr was an excellent host.
Left to r: Peter Corr (Febvre), Kevin Crowley (Fenn's Quay) and Maurice O'Mahony (Wine Alliance)

They also had the Cake Bread Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the most

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

SUNDAY MORNING AT BALLYMALOE

Ballymaloe last Sunday, click to enlarge

SPARKLING MORNING IN BALLYMALOE 

It was a sparkling spring morning as I drove into Ballymaloe on Sunday: blue sky, the pristine greens of the trees and fields and the bright yellows of the daffodils along the drive all

Monday, April 4, 2011

LAMB AND EGGPLANT SHEPHERD’S PIE

Classic Irish Dish Gets New Mexico Twist in this guest post by Steve Collins

LAMB AND EGGPLANT SHEPHERD’S PIE

Shepherd’s pie is a classic Irish pub dish. The best ones are a braise of meat and vegetables covered with a layer of cheddary mashed potatoes and baked until a crust forms and the gravy bubbles. This one uses lamb and eggplant because they go so well together. Because I’m from Santa Fe, NM, I couldn’t resist adding some dried ancho and chipotle for a bit of spice. Enjoy this with a substantial ale and good craic.        

Eggplant Lamb Shepherd’s Pie

1 eggplant, peeled and

Saturday, April 2, 2011

THE LUNCHEON

The Luncheon by Caroline McCarthy
Click to enlarge
Appetising? Maybe not! Find out more at http://corkandabout.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 1, 2011

BURGUNDY BARGAINS FROM WINE STORE

BURGUNDY BARGAINS

If you read the Twitter-feed today, you’ll see that Chardonnay is making a comeback. But, for me, it never went away and it certainly didn't go away for the winemakers of Burgundy who continued using the grape to make some of the best whites around.

If I have to select just one area from which to choose Chardonnay then Burgundy must be it. And if I have to select just one producer then that will be Olivier Merlin because Mrs Tyrell sternly recommends him and his wines in the Wine Store’s April newsletter.

Chardonnays highlighted include Macon-La Roche Vineuse 2008, Macon-La Roche Vineuse ‘Vieilles Vignes’ 2007, Pouilly-Fuissé 2008 , and also Pouilly-Fuissé ‘Clos des Quarts’.

And it is not just Chardonnays. Pinot Noir and the region’s own Gamay feature here as does a decent discount. Check it out here and don't forget to subscribe to the newsletter for even bigger discounts.

As usual, the newsletter features some upcoming wine events, including one in Dungarvan on May 20th. I think I may have a date with a certain Elizabeth R that day. Pity about the clash. Sorry, Liz!

SPRING FOOD SHOPPING

SPRING FOOD
and more...

Spring is in the air and with it comes these mouth-watering recipes, courtesy of Good Food Ireland. Check these out:


But if you want to spend less time in the kitchen, Good Food Ireland’s Linda Thomas has some advice: “Take a look at our restaurants, hotels, country houses, B&B's, delis, coffee shops, cookery schools, butchers, country storehouses and farmers’ markets who are revolutionising the way local produce is experienced and eaten in Ireland. We have come very, very far in recent years, to the point where significant international tour operators are now organising food trips into Ireland. That would not have been possible several years ago.”

A Good Food Ireland roaming voucher makes the perfect gift for food lovers and can be used with any of our 260 members and growing. To purchase your Good Food Ireland voucher 
click here >>>
Check out all the fabulous 
Offers, Events and News on the Good Food Ireland Website

Called to Cinnamon Cottage on the Rochestown Road which has just opened after a major re-vamp. Looks open and airy with lots of good food on display (producers such as Kanturk’s Jack McCarthy and Buttevant’s Old Millbank prominent), fresh breads and a tempting salad bar.  

But I was on the lookout for prepared meals and saw only a quiche and some marinated chicken breasts so I headed back to Mahon and old reliable Flynn’s Kitchen. Thought I was too late when I saw just one portion of his famous cannelloni in the tray but Iain had another tray in reserve and the day was saved! Beautiful stuff!

Had been tipped off about a confectionery shop in the Mahon Shopping complex so checked it and soon found myself gaping at the fantastic selection in Amandine’s, a French influenced patisserie stall on the ground floor. Loads of cakes here of all sizes and for all occasions. Picked up a couple of small pastries, a jam confiture topped cheese cake and another in which baker’s custard was topped with glazed fruit. Gorgeous. But take it easy!