I rarely travel to the same place all month. I can’t. I get bored. New Year, New ideas, I’m open to anything. Trying to start off the year with the right mindset. I need to work. Flights Attendants choose their schedule according to the number of days off, destinations and a myriad of other considerations. My choice this month is Dublin. I know what you are thinking “why Dublin in January”. I’m sure you are envisioning rain, mist, fog and a limited amount of daylight. With inside-out umbrellas and rain sloshing up from cars. Clothes uncomfortably damp and unruly hair. I think that sums up Ireland in the winter. It’s all part of the fun.
Everyone flocks to the Temple Bar area for live music. Why not, music starts in many pubs around noon! The way I look at it, this is the only place I can enjoy live music way before my bedtime! I love it. In the past I never really associated Dublin or even Ireland with an intriguing culinary scene. Dublin was always more about the music, a few pints of Guinness and Fish and Chips to round out the night. I will always sneak into a pub for music, however, gourmet food, and local trendy establishments top my list of things to do this month.
The day started out damp and cold and I was almost waiting for the rain as an excuse to duck into a cosy pub. My chance came around 4:30 and I was pleased to discover the music was in full swing. There is an open small table in the back of the pub and as I settle in I catch a glimpse of the bar out of the corner of my eye. Endless pints of Guinness lined up and down the counter waiting to settle. I will not succumb to ordering a Chardonnay. That can wait until dinner. A couple soon came in and when the table next to me opened they joined the gaiety of the crowd. Singing, dancing, laughter. I remembered why I love Dublin so much. The feeling is carefree, almost untroubled in this atmosphere. We were talking. They had visited their daughter in England and were finishing their travels through Ireland. They were from the U.S., and on my flight the next day! Yes it really is a small world. I finished the last of my beer, bid them farewell until tomorrow and went in search of dinner.
Fade St. Social is located just far enough away from the tourist crowd of Temple Bar, a quick 10 minute walk. I wanted to try the Tapas part of this restaurant (Gastro Pub) in hopes of having a variety of dishes. Starting with the bread. The basket comes with focaccia and brown bread served with truffle butter, unsalted butter and Maldon sea salt. They had me at truffle. Next the Truffle hen egg, potato and olive oil foam, toasted soldier ( yes I had to ask – simply toasted bread) with hollandaise and mushroom powder. Onto the Truffle pasta with charred asparagus and parmesan. Do you see a theme in my dinner? My dining companion enjoyed the bacon and cabbage burger,fried pork belly in balsamic, smoked pudding, crispy cabbage, peppered bacon, lyonnaise and a milk bun. All the descriptions scream foodie. The burger was quite small, however, I was told it was delicious. The hen egg was our favorite of the night as was the pasta. The restaurant has an open-kitchen and seating is very comfortable. Our waitress inquired as to where we were from and during our discussion we found our her friend just landed a job as a flight attendant. Once again reminded of what a small world this really is.
Avenue by Nick Munier caught my eye during my internet search offering Food, Art, Music and Drink. I also needed a restaurant that would work with my companions dietary restrictions. Tucked into the artsy enclave of Crow Street, you will find this outstanding restaurant. The menu was varied and definitely highlights local ingredients. My dining companion listed her restrictions and our waiter was very knowledgable and gracious with us. They agreed to let the chef prepare a nice fish dish for her with the concerns for her allergies met. First course, salad of avocado with roast almonds, pickle radish, apple, poached hens egg, parmesan tuille and dressed with lemon.
Both of these restaurants satisfied my epicurean nature. I am also happy to report as I walked, shopped and drank espresso during both of my trips to Dublin I was rewarded with changeable weather and even a glimpse of blue sky fading in and out.
Somewhere to sit in the pubs at Temple Bar and warm up with a pint of Guinness after a day of sightseeing. People of all ages enjoying the music and conversation. Easily obtainable reservations at the restaurants of my choice. No lines at the tourist attractions that are open. It’s Ireland; the weather gives you one more thing to talk about. Just a few of the reasons why Dublin in the winter is not such a bad choice!