Archive for February, 2010

Bewley’s, Dublin, Ireland

The first time I came to Dublin I tried Irish Breakfast and ever since then I was hooked. I had it once at a proper cafe, and another time at the airport on my way home because I really really wanted Irish fry. I’d like to point out the airport one was disappointing. Anyway, now that I’m back in Dublin, I really wanted to get Irish fry again. You know what’s sad? It’s been two years since I was in Dublin last, and during those two years, I kept telling Kyung I wanted to get Irish breakfast locally, and the two years came and left so quickly and I’m surprised we never actually got it. I can’t believe two years can pass so quickly without you realizing it!

Anyway, today Rock Star woke up early (as did I) so we could meet for breakfast at a place called Gruel. I’d like to point out it was closed. The restaurant lied. So we walked down the street toward Grafton St (where all the shopping is like Thomas Brown. It’s also the location of the McDonalds I went to the last time I was here and had curley fries. Yum). Once on Grafton we came to Bewley’s, which according to Rock Star is one of the oldest coffee houses around. They brew their own coffee and distribute it. They also offer a proper Irish Breakfast!

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The inside of the coffee house is as you’d expect – woodsy, very spacious, lots of giant baskets of pastries, and a ton of different coffees and teas. One thing I find nice about Dublin is that pastries are displayed in baskets or shelves. They’re not in glass plated display cases. Or like Tokyo where it’s on display on shelves but in plastic wrap.

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Lovely latte art on my cappuchino, complete with crisp hollow almond cookie. Sprinkle brown sugar into the drink, delicious!

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Finally, the REAL reason I came to Dublin (just kidding, kind of). Irish Breakfast (Irish Fry, Irish Brekkie, Morning Heart Attack) at last. Two pieces of bacon (to us Americans it looks and tastes like ham), sausage, poached egg (though normally it should be fried), potato bread, toast, tomato and tomato salsa (normally this should be baked beans and tomato), mushrooms, and white and black pudding. The white pudding was actually very oily and savory. The poached egg was great as well, especially when sopped up with the toast. The tomato salsa was great with the potato bread and the egg. YUM!

I think I liked my first Irish Breakfast better (because of the beans and fried egg) but heck, I can’t complain!

Bewley’s Oriental Cafe
78/79 Grafton Street
Dublin 2
Tel: +353 1 672 7720

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Chapter One, Dublin, Ireland

I have a big passion for trying Michelin rated restaurants. Call it the snobbery in me, but I find it very adventurous and fun. When work called to me from Dublin, my friend Rock Star found a grand place – Chapter One! To the locals, they all recognize it as a big achievement that this restaurant has one Michelin star, since it’s the only one in North Dublin (apparently there are several in the south). The north is considered ‘rough’. What separates the two halves of Dublin is a river in between.

Behold the mysterious opening:

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You go through a green metal fence and down a set of unassuming stairs, where you’re ushered into a warm, cozy dining room with absolutely friendly service.

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Apologies for the horridly dark photos, but I was so exhausted they all came out terribly! I also forgot to put it on close up mode. Oh wells =(

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This is the Irish Angus Beef for two. Rock Star and I split it. Local beef covered in a wonderfully creamy and savory mushroom sauce with two sides of potato and veggies. The cool thing about this meal is that they rolled out a silver cart with a wooden cutting board on it, had a giant piece of beef, and sliced it in front of us, served it, then doled out the mushroom sauce on top. They also bring the veggies out in a silver pot and dole it out onto little white serving plates.

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It’s not entirely true that Dublin doesn’t have good food! This place is great! Everyone else loved their meals. Mind you, it was four girls, and we did a pretty good job in eating all our food!

Veal

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Halibut

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And of course, a cute pot of tea and the standard place of rich chocolates to complete the meal.

Dainty chamomile

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Rich cocoa

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This is definitely a JEWEL in Dublin! The last time I was here the meals I had were okay not stellar, but this goes to show that there is definitely a place for fine dining.

chapter one
18 – 19 parnell square
dublin 1, ireland
tel +353 1 873226

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Five Guys, Carson

The last entry of Burger Month!

Five Guys is the East Coast In n Out. Started in Virginia, it has a lot of the same principles that In n Out does – fresh meat patties, none of it frozen, and they started out super local and then blew up and become national. They have a very creative menu where you can put lots of toppings that you normally can’t request at a typical burger chain – sauteed mushrooms, jalapenos, bell peppers, etc. I love making my own burger creation each time I go. They don’t offer fried eggs though *sob*.

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Several months ago, when I was in New York, I actually passed a Five Guys in Greenwich Village. Unfortunately, I did not eat it then though I should have (I had just finished chowing down on some other food AND froyo a few minutes ago). More close to home, there are two Five Guys that recently opened in SoCal, one in Carson, and one in Cerritos. When Kyung and I are in SoCal, we usually drag everyone to the one in Cerritos, but this time we went to the one in Carson to meet with his parents (they thought we were crazy). As we opened the door, we were created with the signature giant boxes of shelled peanuts. There was even a sign on the door that said you could only eat the peanuts within the restaurant. Never saw that before!

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The walls are covered in articles raving over Five Guys, many from the East Coast such as Washingtonian Magazine, etc. I love the red and white too, makes the place seem more diner like than it probably really is. Friendly staff and quick food, can’t complain.

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Behold my cheeseburger. I love that the burgers come wrapped in foil. I’m so used to fast food chains wrapping everything in paper that it’s kind of nice to get a different type of wrapper for a change. The burgers taste fresh and just right – not too large, medium sized meat patty that’s not overwhelming, slightly melty cheese, fresh vegetable toppings. This isn’t a show burger, it’s a burger as you want it to be.

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I think the fries here are interesting – they still have the skin, which gives it a hearty taste and doesn’t make you feel like you’re eating artificial potatoes that were frozen ten months ago. They also have two kind – the regular, as above, and the seasoned ones, which are like fries covered in a dense layer of MSG powder. Both are good, one is easier to eat because it’s not so salty/spicy. I also love that they come in a styrofoam cup – they spill out into the paper bags your food comes in, so you have lots of surprises waiting at the bottom of the bag.

Five Guys
Southbay Pavillion
20700 Avalon Blvd
Carson, CA 90746
310-515-7700

The monthly round up – looks like Barneys wins! And there you have it! Stay tuned for next month!

Barney’s
Fatburger
Sonic Drive In
Red Robin
Five Guys
Tommy’s
Bullshead
Clarke’s Charcoal Broiler
Bob’s Big Boy
St. John’s Bar and Grill

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