Greetings blogosphere! Oh how I've missed you. When my plane landed, I had 208 items in my Google Reader. Apparently you don't spend much time reading or writing blogs on your honeymoon. The wedding was great, and I wish I could tell you all about the food at my brunch reception, the eggs, the potato dish, the apple crisp, the cake, but I'm afraid I didn't really eat all that much of it. After all the planning and selecting, I was nervous and excited and laced into a corset, all of which equaled not very hungry. I hear the waffles were quite good though.
The second I got to the Philadelphia airport I did one of the things I've been dreaming about in these final months of diet and portion control, I ordered a giant Cheese Steak. It was awesome and gooey and the chipped beef had that almost crispy and not soggy thing going; it was pretty much heaven on a roll. Screw you corset, I'm allowed to eat again. I've bagged me a man and now it's time to gain 30 pounds, wear nothing but sweatpants, and stop washing my hair. That sounds about right.
The honeymoon in Dublin was fantastic and, as with any trip abroad, littered with gourmet quandaries. Ireland is a country nearly devoid of coffee. Espresso drinks, no problem, but the Emerald Isle does not understand the delicate beauty of a simple cup of coffee. I am a coffee snob, I get mine every morning from a French press, but the few cups of java we did come across were instant. Shutter. The first morning we entered a shop called "Insomnia Coffee Company" and I ordered a cup of coffee, without looking at the menu. You generally don't when COFFEE is right there in the name of the place. That name was so intriguing, I like the idea of them hawking their beverages by advertising that it will give you a sleeping disorder. They asked if I needed anything in it, and answered "cream" for which I received a strange look. I was then handed an Americano with whipped cream on top. I stuck to cappuccinos for the rest of the trip. For the most part, to save a bit of money we stuck to pub food, potato wedges, sausages and the like. I could already feel the pounds creeping back, but as it was my honeymoon (and I'm heading for the sweatpants) I choose to ignore. I made sure to order Irish Stew at one point, with its hunks of lamb and potato, which made for a deeply satisfying dish. Will, who is not a soup fan, looked at the gravy based dish and remarked that it was kind of like a lamb pot roast, which with its slow cooking in a bed of vegetables is pretty apt.
Will and I have a friend from college, Colleen (left), who is doing grad school in Ireland. One night we met up with her, and after a few rounds, I insisted we find a pub that had food, as we had theatre tickets for later in the evening, and it would be nice if we were coherent enough to remember the show. (The Birds at the Gate Theatre by the way. It was quite good, I'd recommend it) We had started to brainstorm about where to go next, when Colleen exclaimed "Chippers!"
Inquisitive looks were proffered her way. She explained that we needed Chippers, or burgers or some such to soak up the alcohol. After she started suggesting places, we realized she meant fast food. Apparently, after I looked it up, the term used to refer to Fish and Chip shops in the UK, but now has come to encompass anywhere that sort of does fast food with fries. Now, here's the thing. I don’t eat fast food. Ever. I gave it up cold turkey almost 5 years ago, and while I occasionally break down and eat a fry that might have been made under golden arches, they really haven't gotten my money in years. I watched Super Size Me and read Fast Food Nation and that was pretty much the end of that. But I was traveling in a foreign country and Colleen insisted that if you've been drinking in Dublin and you need to get something in your stomach, Chippers are the way to go.
Refusing to give my Euros to an American company in this transatlantic adventure we settled on Supermacs, which is basically the same thing except it's Irish so that makes it slightly okay in my head. In we went. Will chose to go with chicken tenders, but if I was doing this thing, I was doing it full tilt, cheese burgers with fries and a soda. It was…. well kinda awful. The beef was flavorless, the tomato was under ripe, the bun less then fresh. The fries (or "chips") were actually pretty decent though, leaning toward that Irish form of potato wedge rather then shoesting, so there was some recognizable vegetable in there, and I of course poured on a bunch of salt. Just like the old days. Will's chicken was a bit more meaty then most fast food, but they lacked crispiness, the breading was just a bit too soft.
It did the job though, and we arrived at the theatre ready for some chilling drama. As we waited in the lobby there was coffee being sold in real china cups, cause the Europeans are awesome with their shunning of Styrofoam. Two Euros later I took a hopeful sip… damn. Instant.