10 November 2007

Ireland -- The Good Part Two.

After Galway, we headed to Athlone. We'd read about a restaurant called 'the Left Bank' online and decided we would go and have a nice dinner. It was really lovely, and despite not having a reservation, they accommodated us and made us feel very welcome!!!

We started with a pirri pirri zuke soup. The pirri pirri added a very spicy end note, but the first taste was like, ahhhh this just tastes like really good zuke soup. Then, as it rolled back and down, you began to feel the burn.

As G and I are both fans of the soup, we both had this as our started. G makes soup at home quite frequently, and she manages to get it so smooth and creamy, that when it's a little "not as smooth" I really notice it.

For the main course, I ordered pork tenderloin. G being Jewish and all, we don't do pork at home. And for some reason, I don't often order it in restaurants. I think it's usually paired with something I am not fond of. For instance, pork in restaurants tend to comes with fruit of some sort, in a sauce, as a side, something. And I am not crazy about fruit and meat. Anyway...

I ordered the pork. It came with potatoes and this beautiful basil pesto sauce.

The stuff that looks like chocolate sauce was a balsamic reduction that was quite lovely.

G ordered the steak. When she cut into it, it was glorious. Perfectly cooked and gorgeously tender.

G's had some sort of cream whiskey sauce, and this beautiful mushroom reduction underneath. All in all, the food was amazing. It came with a side of veg... but the pic is pretty bad, so I am skipping it.

From Athlone, we drove on to Dublin, our final Ireland stop. Dublin was great. We did one of those bus tours that drives you around the city and you can "hop on and off". Our tour guide was funny in a lame joke sort of way, and the city was beautiful, cool but no rain. We ended our day in Temple Bar, and had a lovely Italian dinner at a restaurant who's name I can't remember. It was Italian, and had a whack of Italians eating inside, so we figured it must be fairly good.

I was euphoric when I ordered one glass of wine (and then another!) because it was the fist time during our vacation where we weren't finishing dinner and driving back to our b&b! The very first thing I did when we hit Dublin was dump the rental car. I mean, I managed to drive on the other side of the road just fine, but I was quite ready to be done with the responsibility. It was nerve-wracking at night, and much nicer to just sit in the back of a cab with a warm wine glow.

This was one of those rare moments where G chose a better dinner. It happens so rarely that I am always shocked and really angry-jealous when it happens. The great thing about G? She shares. So in the end it was all good.

Anyway, the mystery Italian restaurant had a dinner special which was about 12EURO for a starter and main, which in Ireland, was about as cheap as they came. So for the starter we both (!) ordered the albondigas in tomato sauce.

The 'diggers (as we call the ones G makes) were really lovely and buried under all that cheese! It came with a small salad, and I promise the tomato wasn't that white. It was me playing around with the flash setting on my camera.

From there, I ordered a creamy pasta with chicken, mushroom and tomato. This is a pasta dish I should have loved. But it just wasn't working for me.

I think the big issue with this dish is that the pasta was fresh. And really fresh pasta with really creamy sauce is just way too much softness. So while it didn't make my year, I muddled through just fine.

Now what did G order that was so much better than what I had? The simple beautiful pizza.

Yeah. It speaks for itself. It kicked the arse of my pasta. Fortunaely, G is a light-weight eater, so I made short work of what was left.

Of the week spent in Ireland, this was without doubt the best of the meals. But since it's not all about the food, here's a few shots from our trip, since my brother has asked that I post a few...

This is the town of Dingle. It was our first day in Ireland, and I drove on the craziest twistiest most narrow road ever. The weather was crap on the way up, and then it cleared when we arrived. This town had the best shopping of anywhere else we went, but being our first stop, we didn't buy things thinking we would have ample opportunity later. Fools!

Further on in our trip, we stopped at a place just outside of Doolin that does walking tours of the Burren. During our walk, we had a chance to catch some beautiful views...

On the way to Athlone, we stopped at Bunratty castle and folk park. It was a great way to spend a day...

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