Archive for January, 2014

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 …




… 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 …


… 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 …


… and, according to the sign,

KChido05 times

it should have been open. But …

KChido04 lock

… it wasn’t.




Lunch @ Luncheonette, NCAD

Someone, somewhere probably loves Thomas Street. I’d like to love it and I’ve looked at it from lots of different angles. But I can’t.

I do like the National College of Art and Design though. It’s not pretty but it’s pleasantly and creatively messy. Look in any window and there are bits of art, in various states of unfinished-ness and there are people with paint or clay on their clothes, engaged with the creative process. You can feel the energy. I love that.

Luncheonette (you must look at the photostream on their Facebook page) is new and it’s not signposted but I’m going to tell you where it is to save you the bother of having to ask, as I had to. As soon as you’ve gone through the archway …

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… turn right and enter the building in front of you. Walk straight across the atrium and go down the stairs. And it’s just there.

It’s a lovely space: a little crypt-like, with arches. Nicely lit, with upsidedown cups and mugs as lampshades. There’s a variety of tables and chairs and benches.

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It seemed huge for the number of people there at a quarter to one yesterday but, by the time I left half an hour later, it was filling up quickly.

The menu is simple and it seems to change every day. Tuesday’s menu persuaded me to visit sooner than I had planned. This was it and I’m sorry I didn’t go then.


This was yesterday’s (click=big).

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Not quite as intriguing as the day before, but inviting nevertheless. I chose the flatbread and coffee although I have to say that I was tempted by EVERYTHING else.

This is a glimpse of the serving area with a bit of kitchen.

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And this is my flatbread …

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It was substantial. The hummus was lemony. The leaves were, indeed, multi-coloured. And there was a satisfying crunch to it. A sort of healthy salad-y crunch. Tasty. The coffee was good too. €4.80. Not a huge meal but good for lunch and it certainly kept me going until dinner time.

Before the lunchtime rush it was a very relaxing and pleasant place to be. That’s not to say that it became unpleasant later. Just that, in its emptier state, I could imagine spending a bit of time there, you know, thinking. Or just being.

Catherine Cleary wrote this about Luncheonette in the Irish Times on 4 January (nice to see that she dipped her toe in the eatforafiver thing):

My memories of student food are a sea of dismal stodge. But a new student cafe, Luncheonette, is breaking that mould. It’s in the vaulted basement of the National College of Art and Design on Dublin’s Thomas Street. The cafe only opens during college hours so there’s no weekend service but the food makes it worth a weekday visit. I had a Pastel de Nata warm out of the oven one morning. It’s a small splodge of custard baked in puff pastry, a little bit of heaven for €1.70. The “complicated flapjacks” come with creme fraiche and pomegranate seeds on top. It’s all served on paper plates and in takeaway cups with funky (well what else would you expect) decor. The range of €3 sandwiches sound a cut above with red pepper hummous, roast tomatoes and flat bread one option and a baby spinach dahl with rice also €3. Luncheonette is serving posh ingredients at student prices.

Just by the way, if you’re not an artist but ever feel the urge to learn about creating art, I really recommend NCAD’s evening courses. I’ve done two: one, many years ago in art metalwork and another, more recently, on drawing. Both taught by practicing artists. Great stuff altogether.



Oxmantown: to be continued

My fault. I was too late. It must have been about a quarter to two by the time I got to Oxmantown …

2014-01-17 13.42.09

… a (principally) lunch place on Mary’s Abbey with a glowing reputation.

This is yesterday’s menu board, taken from their Facebook page


… and I was hoping to grab a salad but they’d sold the last one a few minutes before I got there. So, I’ll have to go back another time.

No great penance to be honest. It’s a lovely place and the sandwich I had in place of the saladforafiver was a beautiful creation. It was pulled pork with gribiche and rocket in a Waterford blaa. Gribiche? I didn’t know that either but, good grief, it’s gorgeous and they make it in-house. Blaa has been in the news relatively recently, so you should know what it is. No? Here (explained better than I could). The pulled pork is advertised as having been roasted for 12 hours, and I can believe it. Juicy, tender. €5.50. A bit over the fiver. But I don’t begrudge them the extra 50c.

As I was getting ready to leave, I spotted Aoife Mc (who I’ve mentioned before) and who does all sorts of interesting food things: I Can Has Cook blog, the award-winning Forkful, and lots more besides. Aoife created one of my favourite recipes: Roasted Carrot and Pomegranate Couscous, super on its own or a truly delicious accompaniment to something like the Lamb Shawarma recipe in Jerusalem.

Right so. That’s it.

Saw this at Ormond Place, off Arran Street East. Nice.

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I’m kind of breaking my own rules here. The pie that I ate in The Pie Maker cost more than a fiver but, given that the four that I bought to take away cost a fiver each and that I thoroughly enjoyed my time there chatting to the infectiously enthusiastic Sonja and enjoying the decor and surroundings, I’m going to include it here anyway.

I had to do a little work in Galway today. It was a pleasure to drive across the country this morning: cold, crisp weather, beautifully coloured sky, good music in the car and very little traffic until I reached the Lough Atalia Road, made famous by AA Roadwatch.

Yesterday, I Yelped (well, ‘Googled’ is now a word, so …) ‘cheap food near Galway’ and the number one result was The Pie Maker. I was astonished to read the reviews: lyrical waxing doesn’t come close. So, I noted the address (10 Cross Street Upper) and planned to eat there today.




If you look at the photos on Yelp, you’ll see that the pies were priced at a fiver when those pics were taken. The pricing structure has changed. Sweet pies are still a fiver but savoury ones now come with a salad or mash and mushy peas and cost a tenner. The take-away pies are a fiver and, as I write this, there are four in the oven, warming gently.

The Pie Maker is small but gorgeous. There’s seating for about 15 people but they’d be squeezed in tight. The predominant colour is a rich dark green.


Some hats hang from the beautiful copper ceiling and on one wall are pasted probably about 50 or more rulers. It looked intriguing and felt comfortable and welcoming.

The warmest part of the welcome was Sonja. Sonja is Swiss and she’s been in Ireland for a year or so, being creative artistically and musically, and working part time in The Pie Maker. She was infectiously enthusiastic about Ireland, Galway, The Pie Maker and the pies, not necessarily in that order.

My pie (I had ordered a Spinach and Feta one) was served, pleasantly presented in a Pie Maker dish, with a well-dressed side salad and a small dollop of mashed potato.


As you can see, the pie was a lovely golden colour, nicely glazed. The pastry (made with spelt) was crisp and the filling was a glorious mixture of smooth spinach and sharp feta, nicely seasoned. Very tasty. The spud was buttery and smooth, the way I like it. I had an elderflower drink to accompany it.

The other choices are …

Paper menu

(Clicking to embiggen will make it all stunningly clear. My take-away pies were the Chorizo and Mozzarella, the Chicken and Mushroom, the Beef and the Sausage in Veal Gravy: all judged delicious by spouse, big lad, younger lad and me.)

There’s not much more to add really. If you’re in Galway and you’re peckish, give it a go and see what you think. I liked it and I would go back in a flash.


In the car, I was reminded why I loved Lene Lovich in the early 1980s. This is one of the reasons:



Il Siciliano @ The Stables Market

The Stables Market …

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…is where the Ferocious Mingle Marcade was: 72 Thomas Street, close to the junction with Francis Street. The Mingle one has moved to Camden Street.

Some stall holders stayed, however, including Alberto (who I referred to briefly at the end of this post), who runs Il Siciliano.

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Alberto fed me some cannoli some months back and I promised myself I’d go back to sample some more of his Sicilian food. Since then, the Marcade closed and the Stables Market opened in its place in late November. It’s still finding its feet by the looks of it, but Il Siciliano is open and is doing what it does.

I pondered over the menu for a while (as ever, click to embiggen) …

2014-01-10 13.36.38

… As you see there’s a bit of a choice for your fiver. In the end, I settled on the Pitoni (also known as Pidone or Pituni). Although it’s described on the menu as a folded pizza, it’s more like a pasty in shape and size. Alberto spent a bit of time asking me what I wanted in it, and suggested two items: a Sicilian Pecorino cheese and a Sicilian Salami called Capocollo.

He then invited me to sit down while he prepared the Pitoni. Alberto is pretty passionate about his food and, I suspect, he’d go bananas if you described it as Italian. I didn’t dare. While I was waiting, he let me sample some the Pecorino. It’s a hard sheep cheese, quite salty, and the version he gave me had stuffed olives through it, which gave it an olive-y and slightly spicy kick. Nice.

My Pitoni arrived …

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… with a freshly made garnish. I cut into it …

2014-01-10 13.59.12

… and laid bare its innards. You can see (especially if you enlarge the pic) the slices of cheese, the salami, chopped tomatoes and red onion which made up the filling. All fresh, flavoursome with some herby seasoning. The casing was more pastry than bread: warm and unstodgy. The meal was tasty and filling.

The other items on the menu forafiver were Arancini, a Sicilian filled rice ball and Sciacciata, a pie filled with spinach and cheese, by the looks of it.

I’m not an expert on Sicilian food so I have no basis on which to evaluate whether what Alberto serves is a good example. No matter. What I like about Il Siciliano and Alberto is the enthusiasm with which he talks about, prepares and serves the food, and the pride he has in his country’s specialities. That and the fact that the food is tasty, filling and (in my opinion) good value. Il Siciliano is open from Thursday to Sunday from 11 or 12 until about 7 or 8 (sorry, a bit vague about this). The market itself hasn’t quite hit its stride yet but it has the makings of an interesting place to visit. Give it a try and see what you think.


Before I go, let me tell you about yesterday. I was in Blackrock having lunch with the spouse: a reasonable chowder in Conway’s. Anyway, before we met, I went searching for the Fish Shop, a place I had read about on Twitter and in various other places. It’s not that easy to find: it’s at the far end of the Blackrock Market if you enter from the front. However, if you go up George’s Avenue from the village end, you’ll see a sign pointing to a lane to the left which will bring you to it.

The Fish Shop does fish and chips. But it does them well. It’s run by Peter and Jumoke and yesterday they served me the freshest fish (slip sole) in the lightest batter, cooked lovingly and served with the most gorgeous homemade tartare sauce I have ever had. A fiver for the fish and a euro for the sauce.

It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday, 12 – 9. I’ll leave you with some reviews:

from Canal Cook

from Marie Claire Digby in the Irish Times


Tomorrow, I eat pie in Galway.





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