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March 4, 2019

Sunday was the annual Seed Swap Meet at the Irish Seed Savers farm in East Clare. I met quite a few characters and picked up a dozen paper envelopes containing interesting seeds for this year's garden. I also contributed quite a few seeds from my dried chile pepper collection. If New Mexican Chimayo chiles start sprouting all over Irela...

January 1, 2019

Black Pudding and Foie Gras with Pistachios at Vaughan's Anchor Inn in Liscannor

Humble Irish black pudding and sinfully rich French foie gras hitch up in this intriguing appetizer by chef Denis Vaughan at Vaughan's Anchor Inn. The combination lights up the palate while it tweaks the culinary imagination. 

The combination o...

December 31, 2018

Tempura monkfish tacos with mango slaw & chile-lime mayo at McHugh's in Ennis.

Hot, crispy Irish monkfish, tangy tropical fruit slaw and cool chile mayo all wrapped up in a soft Mexico City-style corn tortilla. This is Eire-Mex at its finest. And as the former curator and head judge of Houston's Tacolandia taco festival, I can...

December 30, 2018

Game terrine with Mirabelle plums and walnuts at Gregan's Castle in Ballyvaughan.

Clare rabbit and venison bits were set in a savory pate and garnished with tart plums and walnuts in chef Robert McCauley's "Late Summer Game Terrine" at Gregan's Castle at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill near Ballyvaughan. Chef McCauley has a special fon...

December 29, 2018

Oyster on the half shell with sea lettuce and trout caviar at Tartare in Galway.

This gorgeous gigas oyster on the half shell was served with a drizzle of herbal oil, a leaf of sea lettuce and a dollop of sparkling trout caviar at J.P. McMahon's Tartare Cafe. The oyster was the star of a seaweed feast that also included a hearty bowl of...

December 28, 2018

Rabbit shoulders braised in red wine with onion confit served over mushroom polenta at Piglet Wine Bar in Dublin.

Savoring these deep dark and delicious stewed rabbit legs in red wine sauce was a mesmerizing experience. Rich and hearty, yet with a delicate texture, the tender meat fell away from the bone with the slightest prod. I swirle...

December 27, 2018

"Oysters 3 Ways" at PJ's Oyster Bar in Carlingford

Au Naturel, Kilpatrick and Grilled, are the three offerings on the "Carlingford Oyster" section of the menu at PJ Ohares Bar. I ordered a pair of each. The half shell oysters were black-lipped and quite delicious, though still a little skinny in October. The Kilpatrick were over-the-top...

December 26, 2018

Air-dried lamb salad at Connemara Greenway Cafe in Oughterard featuring air-dried lamb from McGeough's Connemara Fine Foods, the award-winning butcher shop located right around the corner.

Oughterard is the gateway to Connemara on the road from Galway. Greenway Cafe on Main Street in Oughterard is a locavore hangout and hip coffee shop--...

December 17, 2018

Braised Veal Shin with Baby Turnips, Polenta and Anchovies at Etto, Dublin

We sat at the counter and ordered veal shin with polenta. Sort of expected a plate of marrow bones, but was delighted to see the boneless tender shin all shredded away from the bone and lightly fried together into a meat tower surrounded by a moat of juice. The on...

December 14, 2018

Fat Mussels served Thai-style at Martin Shanahan's Fishy Fishy seafood restaurant in Kinsale.

From the quality of the mussels, to the spicy Thai sauce, to the beautifully crafted bowl they are served in; everything about this bowl of mussels is top shelf. And so was the roasted cod, the monkfish in butter cream sauce and just about every...

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