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June 30, 2019

The most useful eateries for slapdash travelers like me are notable places that serve excellent food and are likely to have a table on short notice.

Call and try to get a booking if you can, or just show up and see if there's room for you at the bar: 

Clanbrassil House

9 Clanbrassil St. Upper, Merchant's Quay

The housemade pork sausage with...

May 21, 2019

The Game of Thrones hype has Nothern Ireland's tourist scene buzzing. And in July, the British Open will be played in Northern Ireland for the first time in decades. I have family and friends coming to visit Royal Portrush golf course during the practice rounds, so I figured I ought to run up to Ulster and check out the scene. My whirlw...

April 15, 2019

 On  April 15, 2017, my family was touring Connemarra in a 17-seater van. (I was driving.) It was well after noon and everyone was hungry.

There weren't a lot of restaurants along the rural highway, but out of the blue, A food truck appeared on the banks of the Killary Fjord, like a vision from the end of the rainbow. Our lunch...

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...

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