A Taste of Ireland: Second Helpings of Dublin

10 Jul

There usually comes a point on vacation when you hit a wall. After a week of go-go-go across Ireland, with a little less sleep than I need to be a nice human being, I hit mine on the drive back to Dublin. All I could think about was getting out the car and flopping into bed for a total-afternoon nap–blinds drawn to the world. I’m glad I didn’t.

If I hadn’t visited The Greenhouse, I would have missed out on one of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted in my life: passionfruit souffle–a warm cloud of sweet and tart, dusted with confectioner’s sugar and topped with sunshine-yellow sorbet and a sprinkling of the tropical fruit’s slippery seeds. Cue: Hallelujah Chorus.

So after lunch, I got my nap–just a quickie, but enough to refuel for a final 24 hours of culinary adventure. A drive across town just before sundown took my friends and me to a gorgeous European-style patio (a.k.a. beer garden)–and we even had the balmy weather to enjoy it. Well worth leaving the city centre to sip from the extensive list of Irish craft beers at L. Mulligan Grocer.

On Saturday, I climbed hundreds of stairs in a former chocolate factory to reach the Urban Farm, where 160 varieties of potatoes grow in recycled water bottles wrapped in AstroTurf. There are all kinds of cool things going up there. It’s a place where city farmers are working with fish waste to create eco-fertilizer, rigging up plants to send out tweets, and planning a blow-out rooftop party to celebrate this year’s harvest. Amazing place to get new perspectives on feeding growing city populations–not to mention sky-high views of Dublin. Call ahead to book a tour.

Padraic Og Gallagher of the Boxty House, checking up on his spud crops at the Urban Farm.

Lunch at Gallagher’s Boxty House in the Temple Bar district was another must-do. The boxty is a traditional potato pancake. It’s used here as a wrap for quintessentially Irish fillings such as filet beef in whiskey and mushroom cream sauce, and it also sometimes gets an international twist in dishes such as paprika and coriander mini Boxty pancakes, served with vegetarian chilli, grated red Irish cheddar and chive sour cream. P.s. They do boxty ice cream too.

And my last recommendation before leaving this lovely city (and country) behind: Chapter One, in the Dublin Writers Museum. It’s a Michelin-starred spot with the funkiest decor–this stained glass window of Irish authors was one of my favourite features.

And while the menu offers a world of fancy–think poached lobster, stuffed rabbit and carpaccio of veal haunch–nothing got our table more excited than the bread cart. It was stacked with warm house-made sourdough, brioche and wholegrain loaves, just waiting to be slathered in butter–another simple ingredient the Irish do so well.

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I hope this series of blog posts will inspire a few more people to go eat their way around Ireland some time soon. If you’re curious to know more about Irish cuisine, just click on the place names to discover what’s delicious about Dublin, Sligo, Galway, and The Burren. And if you have any of your own recommendations to add, please share in the comments section below!

More treats from the Greenhouse


10 Responses to “A Taste of Ireland: Second Helpings of Dublin”

  1. Andrew Dobson (@dobbernation) July 11th, 2013 at 7:48 AM #

    Great piece here on the lovely city of Dublin!

    I had such a great time eating my way around the city in March when I was visiting for St Paddy’s Day and am so glad you had a chance to visit the Boxty House! One of my favourites.

    Those interested in travel to Dublin I just published my Top 5 Culinary Experiences on Travel + Escape which you can check out here:


    • Valerie Howes July 11th, 2013 at 8:27 AM #

      Thanks, Andrew. I also dined at the Shelbourne from your list. Fab place for a classic afternoon tea, and it has a lot of history too.

  2. Janet Harron July 11th, 2013 at 2:17 PM #

    Two searing food memories from a trip to Dublin in March:

    After our first long day, a dozen plump oysters at the Porterhouse (Temple Bar) were the perfect pure protein pick-me-up.

    Amazing LOCAL sausages our friend Yvonne picked up in the SPAR!!!!!

    • Valerie Howes July 12th, 2013 at 11:53 AM #

      Irish oysters. <3

  3. Juliet Stevenson July 11th, 2013 at 3:59 PM #

    I loved the very generous helpings of Chinese food we found along a river in the walk into Dublin. Around 10-15 different food stalls set up for the lunchtime trade – lovely food and very reasonable. The Shelbourne for Afternoon Tea was delicious too. Most of all it was the company and the lovely Irish people we met while in Dublin that made the trip. Looking forward to going back there and this time having enough room in my suitcase to bring some food/goodies home!

    • Valerie Howes July 12th, 2013 at 11:53 AM #

      Those food stands by the river were such a great find.

  4. Arlene Stein July 12th, 2013 at 9:13 AM #

    I would have to say that The Greenhouse is truly a spectacular restaurant and well worth the trip to Dublin (amongst others). Finnish Chef Mickael Viljanen, is putting out food that hits an international standard. Dublin is a very sexy, modern city – I recommend putting it on your bucket list!

    • Valerie Howes July 12th, 2013 at 11:52 AM #

      Agreed. Beyond the perfect dessert, The Greenhouse served up extremely creative dishes. And their little bread warmer bags – wonderful!

  5. Marilyn Stevenson July 19th, 2013 at 7:15 PM #

    Planning a trip to Ireland with my daughter in 2014, and have looked
    forward to the info that has been sent to me from my friend ,
    Val Delisle….

    Please send the above pic’s and info, [ especially the one of Urban Farm ]
    to my friend Marilyn. Her E-Mail address is above…. THANK-YOU .

  6. Valerie Howes July 20th, 2013 at 4:13 PM #

    Hi! The easiest way to get Marilyn the images would be to send her this link: http://valsopenkitchen.com/2013/07/10/a-taste-of-ireland-second-helpings-of-dublin/ . I hope you and your daughter have a fantastic time. I met my Mum and sister in Dublin for a weekend before this trip, and we all loved it. Great place to bond!

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