Hey. A guest post from my equine-friendly step-sister Judy who ventured across the county border to Limerick City and posted this bulletin.

Living in East County Clare, Limerick is my nearest city and I go there fairly regularly.  Recently I noticed several establishments offering lunch for a fiver or less.  Had I not been familiar with the eatforafiver blog I would probably not have paid any heed to them.  However, I determined to eat for a fiver on my next visit to Limerick.

Limerick, perhaps surprisingly to some, is, at 91k, Ireland’s third largest city, beating Galway by some 15,000 and being nearly twice the size of Waterford.  It is Ireland’s first National City of Culture and there is lots going on.  Of course it is also home to Munster Rugby and I have many times left the superb Thomond Park venue more than a little hoarse from screaming encouragement at our wonderful Red Army.  The atmosphere in Thomond Park, especially on those occasions when the Boys in Blue descend on us from Dublin, is second to none.

I digress as today was eatforafiver day for me.  I headed to Arthur’s Quay Shopping Centre as it has several establishments offering food (more than just soup and a roll) for the requisite price and opted for a Chinese stir-fry.   The place was empty, but I put this down to the fact that I was only getting around to lunch at three o’clock in the afternoon.  The menu board outside boasted a good selection of familiar sounding beef (€5) or chicken (€4.50) dishes and I ordered a beef dish with noodles only to be asked for “six euro please.”  Polite questioning elicited that rice, noodles or chips were one euro extra.  Looking at the menu board again I guess technically it does state this but I found the wording misleading (half & half €1 extra is what I saw) and think I can be forgiven for misinterpreting it.

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B

 (^ Click = big)

However, you may disagree?

Indeed eatforafiver has several postings from Chinese restaurants with very tasty looking and positively reported on meals where rice or noodles were included in the price.  Oriental Emporium on Abbey Street (31st October 2013) in particular had my mouth watering.  Unfortunately today I had no option but to cancel my order.

I headed for my second choice in Arthur’s Quay, the Foodcourt Carvery/Deli …

B1

… where, for €4.95 I could have a chicken, ham, mushroom & spinach pasta bake with side salad or chips.  Sounded pretty good.  Must have been because by the time I got there it was sold out.  However, I was offered in its place a pulled pork wrap, again with a choice of salad or chips.  Acceptable.  I opted for the salad.

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The wrap was hard and dry underneath, I deduced as a result of having been sitting on a warming tray for at least a couple of hours, but OK on top.  The pork was cut into several small chunks and definitely not pulled (which seems to be the “in” word for pork these days) but hey, at €4.95 I wasn’t complaining.

D

Mixed with the pork was a sparse selection of chopped soggy vegetables, all served in an inoffensive though rather sweet sauce, which provided the only flavour to the dish.  The salad was crisp and enjoyable.

I imagine that this restaurant does a very good lunchtime trade.  The seating area is open, clean and bright, with plenty of well spaced tables.

E

 

F

Other food options were bacon and cabbage for €8.95 and chicken kiev for €7.95.  The pork wrap was also offered for €6.95 served with veg & mash or chips & salad and I suspected was only offered to me at the lesser price, but with less choices, to use it up.  However I didn’t mind this. I believe I could also have had a free tea or coffee but a glass of water suited fine on this occasion.

Overall impression:  Staff – friendly; salad – tasty; pork wrap – could not have told you what it was from taste alone, thus disappointing; Chinese – feeling duped as I think it a fair assumption that a stir-fry is served with at least rice included in the advertised price.  I would like to visit the Carvery/Deli again sometime, at an earlier hour, to hopefully sample the pasta bake.

H

 

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Lagoona Feast

That man Garwin Liu has a good nose for cheap, filling food. This is the guy who recommended Star Pizza and the Oriental Emporium, where I’ve had two great feeds. He told me about the Lagoona Bar, just opposite the National College of Ireland on Mayor Street in the IFSC area ages ago. I was a little reluctant to go because the last time I was in that area I got stuck in an almighty traffic jam that lasted for ever.

Anyway, Garwin was in touch again recently through the eatforafiver Facebook page and mentioned Lagoona again. Guilt and curiosity combined today with a little flexibility in the middle of the day and the availability of a feeding partner: the young lad, on interminable school holidays, and perpetually peckish.

I think part of the problem the last time I was in Mayor Street was that the Luas tracks were being laid and the place was a mess. It’s all settled down now and today the area, even out of term time, was hopping. I have a pal who used to work in NCI some years ago when it first moved from Ranelagh. Back then, NCI was a bit lonely among cranes, not yet occupied office blocks, remnants of old dockland buildings and a lot of hoardings. Then, it was difficult enough to find somewhere to eat. Now you can’t move for bagel bars, pubs, pizza parlours, sandwich shops and pricy pasta purveyors.

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The Lagoona is a big place, situated in a corner of Custom House Square which is home to several other bars and restaurants.

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It was a pleasant day and most other establishments had several tables and chairs outside to facilitate al fresco dining. The Lagoona had two quite high tables, one of which we nabbed when we’d got our food.

Garwin told me that Wednesday’s special was roast meat in a roll with chips. And he was right. The choice of meats was beef or pork. The young lad opted for beef and I went for the pork. You can opt for different breads if you want and also have a few salad items to accompany the meat: lettuce and mayo for the young lad and coleslaw for me.

The portions of roast meat were generous and the meat was nicely cooked, moist and tasty.

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The rolls were pretty standard but fresh. The chips were a little hard, probably from being kept warm for a little bit too long. Still, hey, this was a pretty decent feed for a fiver. I think in the amount of meat stakes, the young lad was the winner.

There’s a carvery special each day (click to big up) …

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… and there’s lots of other food on offer too …

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… including this whopper sausage.

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We took a little wander around after our lunch to see what else was on offer. The odd thing was that the Lagoona seemed to be the least busy place in the area. Maybe it’s because it’s principally a bar. Maybe it’s because it’s a bit dark inside. Maybe it has too few tables outside and maybe they are the wrong sort of tables. They’re high, man-type tables. Maybe it’s mainly a student place and it’s not term time. I don’t really know.

Anyway, thumbs up for Lagoona. Meat, bread, chips. Cheap and filling. Nice one.

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Lagoona is on Facebook and Twitter, btw (thanks @MsFrugalone for the latter link).

 

So, yes, I was in a film, set in Belfast but shot in Dublin in the early 1970s. It was a made-for-American-TV film called ‘A War of Children‘, starring Jenny Agutter and Anthony Andrews among others. The only reason I mention it (well, apart from pure vanity) was that the opening scene was shot just off Harcourt Road, the location for yesterday’s eatforafiver adventure. Interestingly (to me anyway) the road on which the scene was shot no longer exists. It was Old Camden Street which kind of curved through what is now the Camden Hotel. Charlotte Street, which continued from Charlemont Street to Camden Street is also gone.

(There’s more information about these streets and the history of this area on wideandconvenientstreets and comeheretome, if you’re interested. Both of these sites are fascinating if you’re at all keen on finding out more about the history of Dublin.)

The Birdcage Bakery…

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… is at 21 Harcourt Road, between the Soup Stop (previously described here) and an Abrakebabra (another branch of which I dealt with here). It’s been open since November 2013 and has been the subject of loads of reviews, including ones from Lovin’ Dublin and A French Foodie in Dublin. There are also consumer reviews on Yelp and on its own Facebook page. Overwhelmingly positive. And I’m not going to disagree.

I got there early, just before 12.30pm mainly because I’m fed up arriving at places when half the food is gone. Also, I saw on their Facebook page that there weren’t that many seats. (It seats about 10 or so but it’s mainly a take-away place.) I was greeted warmly (nice) and the choices were explained clearly. You do have to look in different locations in the Birdcage for the price of things and maybe making their price list a bit clearer is something they could look at for the future.

There’s a good choice of food … (click to embiggen)

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… and most of the single items (wraps, calzoni, and so on) are under a fiver. They also do deals …

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My crappy photos …

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… give no sense of the portion size but let me assure you that the items are pretty substantial, especially the calzoni. As you see they also do soup (but not on hot days), coffees and tea, and a range of scrumptiously delicious looking cakes and biscuits (this pic shows only a small selection of the sweet goodies on offer) …

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A French Foodie’s review was tacked up on the window and I saw that she had had a salad box for under a fiver, so that’s what I opted for too although the salad boxes aren’t advertised or listed anywhere that I could see.

For my fiver I got a large salad box (a small one is a fourer) comprising these salads here …

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Ok, so from the left: potato/feta and cherry tomato, chickpea and chicken, and bean and rocket: each dressed freshly and not an ounce of mayonnaise in sight.

The salads are spooned generously into a plastic box and, if you want to eat in, the box is served on a slate.

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Water was offered and accepted gratefully. A fiver changed hands. I sat and ate.

The Birdcage Bakery is lovely and bright, decorated with appropriate murals …

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and shelves containing coffee and ingredients.

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It’s a pleasant place in which to spend a bit of time although one is always conscious of the substantial traffic that seems to speed along Harcourt Road.

Its natural customer base must be the offices opposite and around the corner on Charlemont Street. It’s not a long walk from Adelaide Road and Hatch Street either and I’m sure that they’ve done their marketing there too.

The salads were gorgeous. They were fresh tasting, interesting and quite filling. I love beans and chickpeas anyway so … yeah… good. I’ll go back and I do recommend that you try this place if you work anywhere close. It opens at 7.30am for breakfast

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and closes at five.

My fiver spent, judgement made and integrity upheld, I then had a flat white (€2.50). Oh. Yes. Well-made. Gorgeous.

Do try The Birdcage Bakery out. It’s restored my faith in the eatforafiverthing.

If you work nearby, by the way, please give Darragh next door in Soup Stop a bit of your custom too. I’d love to see these places continue to do their independent thing.

 

To end, here’s a gratuitous picture of our cyclamen …

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Camden Snack @ Martino’s

I was going to tell you about the film I was in but you’ll have to wait.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted but such are the rhythms of the work I do. March to mid-June is busy. Well … manic. And this year, because Easter was so late, it was super-manic.

Why we all have to suffer because some crowd in 325CE decided that the date of Easter should be determined by the equinox and the full moon beats me. It’s inconvenient and, in the 21st Century, just a bit bizarre.

Today, I was going to try Toni’s Diner on Charlotte Way at the top of Camden Street but, to be honest, I’m feeling fat at the moment and the last thing I wanted was a feed of chips. And then I thought I’d have a look in a new place that seems to have opened opposite the Aussie BBQ at that triangle at Kelly’s Corner. It’s called Grubhub but when I went in, the bloke behind the counter was more interested in his phone than a potential (actually, his only) customer and the filled rolls were a whopping €7.50. It seems that you just need to put ‘Pulled Pork’ on the menu to give yourself a licence to charge a fortune for a glorified sandwich.

Luckily (although it was more to do with good marketing than luck) a very pleasant person outside a relatively new place at the corner of Camden Street and Grantham Street, Martino’s, had waved a wooden board in front of me a few minutes before, on which were little bits of pizza impaled on cocktail sticks. The pizza was tasty and her patter was enticing. So, I wandered back to Martino’s to see what was on offer for my fiver.

outside

Martino’s is where a sushi place was until reasonably recently. It’s tiny, with room for a counter, a coffee machine, a pizza oven and two very small tables, but they’ve made the best of the available space outside to put another four or five tables outside, some of which are under an awning.

interior

Before I go on, let me just say that I have a deep affection for Camden Street. True, it’s a little run down but on what other street can you get your thesis bound, book a holiday, sort out your taxes, dance until 2am, get a t-shirt embroidered, play on a slot machine, buy a bike, get your computer fixed, hire a bike, purchase street art supplies, get a loan, visit a gallery, order your wedding stationery, have a bohemian mingle, eat well and eat poorly, and get muntered in any number of interesting pubs?

Back to Martino’s. You won’t get stuffed for your fiver here, but you’ll have a pleasant (very) light snack and you can people-watch to your heart’s content. They do muffins, pastries, coffee and, from well before lunchtime (they open at 8am, btw) pizza, calzone and arancini. They do paninis and so on too but at this stage I was hungry so I wasn’t in the mood to write out a list. Here’s the menu board:

menuboard

I ordered a slice of anchovy pizza and an Americano, sat down outside and waited.

Service was quick (and friendly). Not a massive slice of pizza. In fact, a very small slice of pizza …

pizza

… but it tasted pretty good. Thin base, decent cheese, not too much tomato sauce, and a generous helping of anchovies. The pizza is part of a meal deal: a slice of pizza and a drink for €3.95 (although a post on their Facebook page from January advertises it at €3.50 – that’s a 12% increase in a few months). In hindsight, I might have been better ordering 3 Arancinis for €4.50 or a couple of Calzones (although they were sold out of these by the time I got there).

Martino’s have just launched another deal recently: all you can eat pizza with a glass of wine for €15 and they plan soon to open until 3am, presumably to cater for the drunken sweaty crowds emerging from the Palace down the road. Good luck with that.

Not much more to say except that the coffee was pretty good. Martino’s seems to be part of an expanding enterprise. They have a Trattoria in Ranelagh. Unfortunately their website is impenetrably crap so I couldn’t work out whether they are anywhere else and their Facebook page doesn’t really say.

Summing up: pleasant helpful servers, tasty pizza, small portions, good coffee. Don’t expect to be stuffed but do expect what you eat to be tasty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mmmm … Buttery

I used to spend a fair amount of time in the Buttery. In fact, in my final year in college, I used to spend most Tuesday afternoons there, between lunchtime and after the tutorial I used to miss on a regular basis. In those days it was mainly a pub, with an added haze of marijuana smoke. It was also the place where I had my first legal pint of stout. Angela worked there. She wore socks, sandals and too much make-up. I remember the Buttery being pretty basic, a little dingy, with not great coffee but quite outstanding chocolate biscuity things.

It’s now HUGE … and bright. And it does food, and probably better coffee than it used to.

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For those who don’t know, this is the Buttery in Trinity College Dublin (shortly to become Trinity College, the University of Dublin). The entrance is located to the right of the steps leading up to the Dining Hall, the Buttery being in its basement.

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It’s actually quite a good space, with several (maybe 4 … ish) distinct areas and a variety of seating to suit individual diners/snackers and different size groups.

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The furniture is standard canteen but the Buttery is clean and well lit. One of the spaces, with vaults, has more subdued lighting and seemed today to be more popular than the others.

There’s a pretty massive selection of food on offer. At the lower end of the cost scale, there’s coffee, biscuits, cakes, sandwiches, rolls, paninis and so on. I didn’t really pay much attention to these, to be honest, although it’s hard to ignore the preponderance of signs for the Lavazza brand of coffee which must have a thing going on there.

For more substantial eats, there is a salad bar, with cautionary instructions …

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… and with a reasonable selection of cold dishes; most, however, involving mayonnaise to a greater or lesser extent.

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There’s also a fried food section,

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… the size of the sausages providing brief but significant temptation. And a hot food section with the following items, the first once being beyond my budget unfortunately:

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The idea of potatoes accompanied by potatoes didn’t really appeal to me although it was probably the slightly healthier option. However, my choice of the lamb casserole was confirmed when I saw the size of the portion being ladled on the plate of the customer in front of me and that the meat to sauce ratio looked pretty good.

Here’s my plate-full:

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A lot more potatoes were destined for the plate but I stopped the server just in time.

So, what have we got here? A good number of potatoes, small, roasted in their skins. A ladle and a half full of french beans. And a truckload of casserole. A fair feed for my €4.85.

Let’s remember two things here. Firstly, this is a canteen rather than a bistro. The Buttery is catering for a variable number of hungry students, some staff members, some people like me drifting in because we happened to know that there’s cheap food available, and people such as the older woman beside me who comes in at least once a week and gets a cheap but substantial hot meal. Secondly, this large plate of food cost less than a medium size Lindt Easter bunny.

The casserole, which contained quite a few lamb pieces, carrot, onion, and red pepper, was VERY tomato-ey. But there was lots of it and it was hot. The potatoes were lovely: soft inside, with an almost crispy and slightly caramelised skin. The beans weren’t great to be honest. the serving comprised a mixture of beans that had been in the bain-marie for some time and some that had been more recently cooked. They were a bit soggy. Edible but soggy.

But hey, I’m not complaining. This was a hearty feed in the centre of town for €4.85 and, if you don’t like the sound of the casserole option, there’s lots of other things to choose from for your fiver.

The evidence:

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Just Sayin’

McDChickMayox3

 

3 x €1.50 = €4.50

 

Back soon!

White Sole @ Fish Shop Blackrock

With the wind whistling outside, punctuated by violent showers, it was an obvious choice. Lunch al fresco.

To be fair to Fish Shop (which is at the back of the Blackrock Market but more easily accessed from George’s Avenue), it’s in a reasonably sheltered spot. And while not being in a building as such, there is a wooden structure with benches, a roof and (helpfully) some blankets in which you can eat your fish in comfort.

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I’ve mentioned Fish Shop before when, following a pub lunch with the spouse, I was seduced by a sneaky portion of slip sole (it’s at the end of this entry here). I didn’t really give it the space it deserved at that time so it was on my list of places to re-visit so that I could give it some more prominence.

Fish Shop is run by Peter and Jumoke (here they are in a pic from their Facebook Page).

P&J

It operates from what can only be called a shed. But it’s a shed of remarkable creativity and admirable simplicity out of which emerges food of superb quality.

Unlike your average chipper where solid slabs of battered fish lie palely waiting their oily fate, Fish Shop’s fish is taken gently from a fridge, lovingly dipped in light beer batter most of which is then removed, and carefully lowered into oil. The cooking process is timed to perfection, the batter emerging golden and crisp, its thin crust encasing moist tender flesh.

The choices today (and most days they are advertised on Fish Shop’s Twitter feed) were White Sole, Hake and Pollock. No mussels today, but they’re usually available, served with ajillo, a sauce made principally from olive oil, garlic and chilli.

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The older lad was with me today, his muscles feeling ‘a bit tight from the gym’. Poor fella. Tom likes his food and he does like a bit of fish.

We both chose the white sole because it cost a fiver. And because Peter suggested it would be a good choice. We did cheat a bit by ordering a couple of tubs of tartare sauce at a Euro each. My excuse is that I’ve had it before and that there was no point in trying to resist temptation. The sauce is hand made (in fact Peter was making up another batch while we were there) and is heavenly.

Our fish came with a slice of lemon and was served in a recyclable container.

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As usual, my photos do the food no justice. Sorry. But actually, I don’t think any photos would do this justice because the experience here was more about the eating than the looking. The thin light crispy batter giving way to the softest, freshest tasting white fish. When paired with the velvet textured tartare sauce, well … it was … erm … pretty exquisite.

And great value. Fish can be expensive to buy. I don’t know how Fish Shop can do these portions of fresh succulent fish for the price they do. But long may they do it.

Our joint verdict today was that this was a delicious lunch; well prepared and excellent value. Peter was more than happy to chat to us and answer all our probably tedious questions about where he gets his fish (Howth, from Doran’s), what white sole is (it’s a flat fish (obvs) and I think he said it was also called ‘witch’) and how Fish Shop is doing (OK and they have plans to expand the seating area).

If you live within an ass’s roar of Blackrock, and even if you don’t, try it and see what you think. It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday, 12 – 9pm and they have an arrangement with the wine bar in the market at weekends whereby you can order some fish to accompany your wine.

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Blackrock is also the home of the Blackrock Cellar, an enterprising, friendly and well-stocked off licence with an enviable selection of craft beers from Ireland and around the world (the spouse bought me a box full for my birthday) and lots of gin. They do frequent tastings, stock cheese from Sheridan’s and sell other interesting foodstuffs on occasion. If you’re looking for some alcohol in particular, they’ll order it in. It’s my new favourite booze shop. I bought the older lad a couple of bottles of stout. Just because.

 

Belly Bites: work in progress?

I think I need to give Belly Bites another go.

Last April (as I’m sure you remember!) I visited Mama’s Revenge on Nassau Street and they told me that they had opened another branch on Thomas Street. I meant to try it out but I never did. Now I can’t because it’s been Belly Bites since last November, with a new owner but still looking very like its erstwhile sibling.

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It’s Tex-Mex, serving a variety of burritos, quesadillas, nachos and the like but one of the things that attracted me, despite the weather, was the possibility of putting together a customised ‘salad’ box. Part of this attraction was a suggestion on Twitter that I should try to feature some gluten-free foods in the blog. Not something I had given much thought to previously but now I was on the look out.

Belly Bites is on Thomas Street, just across the road from the junction with Francis Street. Close enough to NCAD.

It’s boards above the counter suggest that it welcomes students …

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… and its prices are competitive. But, then again, Luncheonette in NCAD seems to have captured many of the hearts and mouths of NCAD staff and students.

Belly Bites is not on Facebook or Twitter (yet) and it hasn’t made itself onto Yelp either. So it’s a little underexposed. Certainly compared to other burrito places in the city.

The soup (last Friday) was gluten free -

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- and the menu in the window …

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…  indicated the range of things I could put in my salad box for a fiver.

Inside, Belly Bites is warm and colourful.

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I asked for my salad box in a bowl and chose pulled pork, sweet potato, aubergines, pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese and a hot salsa. I’m not an expert but that sounds pretty gluten-free. I handed over my fiver and sat down.

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There it is.

It wasn’t hot. Why? Well, the clue is in the title: salad box. I suppose I kind of assumed that the pulled pork and vegetables would be warmer than they were. But despite being served from a bain marie, they were lukewarm before they were put in a cold plastic bowl. And, of course, I insisted on the dollop of sour cream on top so I must bear some responsibility for the final temperature.

Notwithstanding its coolness, the constituent parts were tasty and although I got the last scrapings from the sweet potato container, there was a reasonable amount of food in the bowl for my fiver.

The reason I’d like to give Belly Bites another go is that everything I’ve written above sounds as lukewarm as my lunch. However, I don’t think it’s fair to judge it on the basis of ordering a salad box on a cold wet day in February. The place is quite new. Winter couldn’t be a great time to try to get a small eatery established. Their burritos may be awesome.

I can’t help feeling that Thomas Street needs a colourful place like this and I’m hoping it’ll be there for a while yet.

If anyone reading this has been to Belly Bites, please let me know what you think.

 

 

 

A Dark Horse in Blackrock

Guest post. The older lad (Tom) waxes eloquent about his visit to the seaside in the company of his Ma (the spouse). Read on.

Right, enough sitting on the sidelines and eating the spoils, time to get involved at the business end of this crazy adventure.

Like a lazy fisherman, I’d been sitting in my boat waiting for an opportunity, and one just jumped out of the water and landed in my lap. The Mammy is currently working out in Blackrock and she suggested a place near her office that does lunch for a fiver. So, on the condition that I join her for lunch and do the write-up, the MilkyBars were on her.

The place in question is The Dark Horse, located on Carysfort Avenue, a short walk from the Frascati and Blackrock shopping centres. I parked in the Frascati car park (€1/hour) and wandered over.

DH01

The place is, I’m guessing, a refit of an older pub, with a smaller ‘bar’ side and a more spacious ‘lounge’ side, in which the food is served. This is where we chose to sit.

DH02

As you can see, the place was busy enough at lunchtime. We were handed our menus and offered drinks. In keeping with eatforafiver tradition, we ordered a glass of tap water each and cast our eyes over the menu. The Dark Horse offers a full menu of regular pub food but this is the part we were interested in:

DH03

Special menu: Monday to Wednesday only

I was eyeing up the pulled pork wrap, but the Mammy said she was going to have that so, in the interest of variety, I opted for the chicken bap. We were offered the optional chips or soup, but considering how some recent posts have played fast and loose with the rules, we decided against them.

The food took a while to arrive, so we took in the décor on the walls and tables. The walls are covered in posters advertising lesser known and craft beers. Their beer menu reads like this:

DH04

and the wine list has this on it:

DH05

More of that later. The food arrived. The Mammy’s pulled pork wrap:

DH06

And my roast chicken bap:

DH07

As you can see, both came with a small side salad of mixed leaves, red onion and what I suspect were peppers that came from a jar. It came with a sweet and sticky balsamic dressing. It was fine and complemented the food nicely. Now down to business. The Mammy comfortably won out on this occasion. The pork in her wrap was tender and seasoned (as opposed to smothered) with a BBQ sauce that was mild and tangy. The wrap also contained the right ratio of coleslaw to meat ie. More meat than slaw, but enough slaw so as to taste it.

My bap was grand. It was about what you’d expect. A floured bap,with shredded chicken, garlic mayo and spring onion. There was enough of it, it was tasty and it filled me. That is all.

We finished eating and paid. Here’s the proof of €5eachness:

DH08

The Mammy headed back to work (along with pretty much everyone else in the place) and I was left to do a little research.

I got chatting to Alan behind the bar who was keen to tell me about the pub and its hopes and dreams. The Dark Horse is a member of a collection of pubs (of which there are nine), in Galway and Dublin. The pubs are operated by Galway Bay Breweries. Their aim is to turn people onto enjoyment of moderate amounts of craft beers, in place of binge drinking mass produced lagers and stouts. Alan told me that most of their pubs have pool tables and board games instead of TVs so as to encourage people to interact with one another.

Being in rugby-mad Blackrock, The Dark Horse is an exception. They also serve Guinness and Heineken in order to draw in custom from those who prefer more mainstream tipples. The rest of the taps are filled with craft beers from around the world and those produced by the Galway Bay brewers themselves. Alan showed me a bottle of award winning ‘Two Hundred Fathoms’ stout (see pic) of which he had the only remaining case in Dublin. By his account it had been flying off the shelves. As you can see from the label, it’s 10% ABV. 10%!!! I can see why they’re trying to move people away from having a feed of pints when the beers are that strong!

DH09

Anyway, Alan preaches the word of craft beers well, and he seemed fairly passionate about it, which certainly helps get the message across. I’d consider going back for the pulled pork wrap and a bottle of stout, as long as I didn’t have to operate any heavy machinery afterwards!

 

K Chido. OMG. The motherlode.

You know what the weather was like today? Lashing. Windy. Cold. As I approached K Chido, though, the rain stopped. The sky cleared. The sun came out. A miracle? Luck? Fate? An omen? Nah, don’t be silly. It just happened.

K Chido is a van. In an archway. I was afraid I wouldn’t find it. But I did. It’s on Chancery Street, very close to the Four Courts and near this …

KChido06 mottax

… which the older ones among you will recognise as the old motor tax office. More pleasantly, it’s near these …

KChido02

 

KChido01

… which brighten up the streetscape a little.

Just in case you missed it above, K Chido is a VAN and you’ll find it in the archway leading to Fegan’s, a wholesale specialist food merchant.

KChido07 entrance

It’s colourful …

KChido10 truck

 

KChido13 serving area

… as is the seating opposite …

KChido12 seating

Its menu is simple, and Mexican … (click makes big)

KChido09 better menu

The printed menu (again, click to embiggen much) gives more of an idea about what’s on offer for a fiver …

Menu001

… and there’s this which, according to their Twitter feed page, is new …

KChido11 soupsign

There’s a lot of love on Yelp for K Chido’s breakfast burrito, so that’s what I chose. There are some choices you can make in relation to fillings but I make enough choices at work, so I just went for the standard one with chorizo and jalapenos, following the suggestions of the helpful server.

What I got (in no time at all) was big, warm, soft and delicious. It had all the usual burrito stuff. You know, the rice, the beans, the sauce.

KChido14 burritowrapped

It had lots of chorizo. It had jalapenos. And it had a fried egg. A FRIED EGG.

KChido15 egg

This wasn’t just a breakfast burrito. It was a birthday breakfast burrito with some Christmas added for good measure. I munched and I slurped and I licked the burrito juice that dripped onto my fingers. Oh this was good. Very good. And when I’d finished, I just sat for a while and savoured the afterburritosensations. Mmmmm.

Now, I freely admit to going a little over the top here in my description. But the fact is, I love this type of food. Today, this was my ideal lunch. I loved it’s sloppy, soft warmth and its spiciness. I loved the colours on the van and the furniture. I loved the colourful bunting and the Mexican pictures on the walls. The servers were helpful, pleasant and informative, and the whole thing came together as a pleasant eating experience which I aim to repeat.

 

 

Opposite K Chido is a tiny, well-kept park, called Chancery Park, with this intriguing 1930s style building …

KChido03 park buidling

 

It’s got a fountain …

KChido03

… and, according to the sign,

KChido05 times

it should have been open. But …

KChido04 lock

… it wasn’t.

 

 

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