Tag Archives: travel

Furlong & Kehoe: Ice creamy goodness on Thomas Street

19 Jul

furlong & kehoe

Just a quick little post this time. I was brought to a new ice-cream shop yesterday on Thomas Street called furlong & kehoe. Check out their website for information and what they’re about. As you may have gleaned from this blog over the last while- I like quirky, independent shops/producers that do things their way!

This is one such example. We got chatting to Ian and he gave us some background to this very new venture. We got to sample some of the flavours- Beetroot and chocolate was very interesting and you tasted both very independently. Maple and Bacon was also delicious and very different. I went for their vanilla- which was really beautiful and had that great elastic consistency you get with proper ice-cream. They’re only new- 2 weeks old- so I would certainly recommend giving them a try. Dublin is all the richer for new foodie- ventures like this and I think they are well worth supporting.

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Brussels food guide: Beers, Frites and all things nice

3 Jul

I recently travelled to visit a friend in Brussels for a long-weekend. I was very excited as I had heard much about the food, frites, beers and of course the chocolate!  I was in unsafe hands- as Shane had been living there for 4 months at that stage- so knew all of the haunts I should visit.

Stoemp

Eating out: We spent the weekend grazing around the city, and thus only ate out a few times- two places are worthy of a mention- one is 9 et Voisins. The restaurant was very full upon entering and we were seated at demi-communal bench seating.  Service was very friendly and enthusiastic. We both opted for Stoemp, a traditional dish of sausages served with mashed potatoes- infused with a purée of some sort (I opted for spinach). It was delicious. The sausages were chargrilled and the mash was wonderful. Simple food, but delicious!

Busy counter at Noordzee Mer du Nord

The second place that we both enjoyed was Noordzee Mer du Nord. We ate here on a sunny Sunday afternoon. It serves tapas- style plates of fish. We had one plate of small pieces of fried fish and a plate of brown shrimp croquettes. Topped off with two glasses of white wine- the total bill came to about €16. The ‘restaurant’ is a long metal bar which you can stand at, or they have a few tall tables on the neighbouring square. The service is certainly robust, but good fun. If you don’t collect your order promptly- expect your name to be screamed over a megaphone. Really. Definitely worth a visit if the weather is good.

My favourite frites from the weekend

Monument to the frites

Frites: When I asked you nice people for tips for Brussels- my friend John got quite enthusiastic about the frites. I didn’t realise what a feature of Belgian life they are. There are even statues of them currently dotted around the city to mark the fact they are celebrating a special year of gastronomy in 2012. Shane is currently busy with the onerous task of compiling a list of the 10 best Friteries in the city. We sampled 2 of his favourites. La friterie de la Barrière de Saint-Gilles is regarded as one of the best in the city and this was certainly the case, however my favourite was Chez Antoine on Place Jourdan. The latter is surrounded by bars- some of which will allow you eat your frites at their tables if you buy a beer. We whiled away a very pleasant half hour there.

Bars:Here is a brief round-up of some of the bars we visited:

Potemkine – my favourite- retro with fantastic, old-style fridges behind the bar. Front opens right up and was the perfect place for some people watching.

Flamingo– big, little bit like a canteen. Newly gentrified area, thus a very good place for people watching.

Moeder Lambic– nice long bar- great selection of beers. Frequented it more than once.

BarBeton– nice bar- smallish but good atmosphere.

Walvis– little alternative music wise- good bar with a Villo (Their version of Dublin bikes- €1.60 for a day pass- brilliant for getting around the city) station right outside for the journey home.

Somewhere that is well worth a visit that also has a percentage volume is the Cantillon Brewery. It is a traditional brewery, brewing only in the winter months (to make use of the low temperatures) but still open for tours during the summer. It is very informal- they give you a brief, but insanely informative talk and let you wander the building at your own pace. Afterwards they will give you some samples of the beer. Admission is €6.

Aksum Cappuccino

Sweet tooth stuff: Belgium is very famous for its chocolate, it goes without saying. Brussels is hanging down with chocolate shops- most of them catering to the tourist trade. There are exceptions to this though. Shane happened to be living very near one of the chocolatey highlights of Brussels, Pierre Marcolini. The chocolates and other sweets in this shop are incredibly beautiful. They are works of art. Wouldn’t a photo be ideal here to illustrate my point? Unfortunately- no photography allowed. I ate one of their almond milk and raspberry ice-cream cones. It was delicious, but be prepared to pay more than you would for a Cornetto. If you are a caffeinated individual- I would have to recommend Aksum, an Ethiopian coffee-shop. It is a friendly and cosy place to recharge the batteries on a quiet street. Free wifi too.

Finally- over the course of the weekend- we tried to sample as many different beers as we could- in the tasting sense rather than the binge sense.  Aided by the fact most beers are served in 200-300ml measures. We managed 23 different varieties between us- ranging from the lowest supermarket own brand- to the delicious craft brew.

Here they are:

Lindemans framboise – like blended raspberries.

Stella Artois

Westmalle tripel

Omer traditional blond

Taras boulba

Zinnebir

Maes

Volga- brewed with vodka.

Vedett wit

Cantillon lambic- the basis for their other brews- sour!

Cantillon framboise

Cantillon gueuze

Mac chouffe

Rond blanc sureau- flavoured with elderflower. Served with a strawberry and wedge of orange. My favourite I reckon Rond blanc sureaufrom the weekend.

Leffe blond

Jupiler

Delhaize 365

Hoegaarden

Grimbergen blonde

Delirium Tremens- deceptively light! 8%

Leffe radieuse

Adelardus triple- sweet and again deceptive. Another 8%-er

Witkap stimulo

Food tips for Brussels?

11 Jun

I have a weekend in Brussels coming up- with the same character who was my dining companion in my London post. We both like our food, so I was wondering if you kind people would have any food suggestions for Brussels? Are there any restaurants you have been to? Any food shops that I simply must see? All suggestions are welcomed and appreciated! 

Edinburgh food guide

16 May

Last week, I asked you nice people for suggestions for food related places in Edinburgh. I got some great suggestions in terms of places to eat-out in and some interesting shops.

I went over with my better-half to visit some of her nearest and dearest and they brought us to two places I want to talk to you about.

The first was Holyrood 9A. This is a great spot for a few reasons. As you walk in there is an impressive array of interesting beers on draught at a very attractive bar. Crucially  it had one of my favourites Blue Moon. Secondly the menu was interesting, with an array of quirky options. My (adventurous) Cheese burger was served with nice skinny fries and a side of slaw, and presented attractively. Also it was nice to be served a burger that you could actually eat with your hands rather than the towering skyscrapers most places serve. Approving noises were made all around. Others got the steak-sandwich, and the Shroom Italienne, with Piri Piri fries. Service was very friendly and prompt. Also worth noting- this place is child friendly- crucial as we had a little person in tow.

The other place we frequented was The Scottish Cafe. It is located in the National gallery in the Princess Street Gardens. It is an open and airy dining room and was  humming on the Sunday afternoon we visited.  It sources a huge amount of its produce from Scottish producers and the menu reads nicely.

I opted for the cheese sandwich with chips (god I ate mundane options this trip). In truth it was a posh cheese sandwich, with Isle of Mull Cheddar, nice red onion relish, and a barley and beetroot mix. The barley and beetroot mix was different, my only gripe was the cheddar was grated and made the sandwich a little dry. My better half had the rabbit terrine with some bread (more on this in a minute) and she enjoyed the dish. We finished with a rhubarb tart and a portion of set cream. The tart was tasty and different from the typical, it was almondy and moist and I ate every morsel. The better half  and her sister shared a portion of set cream. I managed to sneak a taste or two- and it was one of the most delicious deserts I have tasted in a long time. The consistency was perfect and it had a rich vanilla taste- studded with an abundance of vanilla flecks.

While the food here was good- I am sorry to say the service was not at all in the same league. The side of bread mentioned earlier- ordered with our food, didn’t arrive. After reminding a waitress it still didn’t arrive- and on the third asking finally arrived at the table-  quite some time after the dish it was due to accompany. I asked for a refill of water and it never arrived. There were a lot of staff walking around- but they seemed ambivalent, certainly towards our table.

 

I would like to thank everyone who tweeted, facebooked and left suggestions for this trip- I really appreciate it.  Also I would like to thank the other half’s family for the weekend and for bringing us to these places. I’m looking forward to the next trip already.

Edinburgh tips

7 May

I’m very excited about an upcoming weekend break to Edinburgh. I’ve been twice in recent years, and loved it. Once with my college class and once for the Heineken Cup Final (Sorry Leicester Tigers)- but as you can imagine- these were both rather lively trips- this time should be (somewhat) different.

So I was wondering did any of you have any advice for good food-shops/restaurants/ bars etc?! All suggestions welcome and very much appreciated!

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