Thursday Throwback – Food, The Best Coffee, El Clásico, The Good Kind of Meringue and Some Deer

(Newbridge Park, Good Friday)

TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN. I took so many of these shots (mostly food, what’s new – all the best memories are made that way!) between Dublin and Madrid last month. Days just seem to whizz by, and I’ve only had the time to sit down and sift through pictures this week, which admittedly I probably wouldn’t have done if Granada wasn’t so skin-meltingly warm.

It’s only in the low 30s but it feels like each individual degree represents a furnace, so I’m building up my resistance slowly for the hot hot summer heat that’s on its way. I say ‘slowly’, yet while the Granadinos are showing a whisper of an ankle or no longer wearing a scarf to complement their jacket and jeans, I’m in full blown summer dress mode. Pale legs flailing everywhere. Thank god for marble floors, air conditioning and the recent addition of shading running all along the main streets of the city; sponsored by Alhambra beer of course. Genius, really. It also happens to be a very fine beer. (Try the Especial!)
Anyway, back to these pics. There’s a lot. Something I say so often, that ‘There’s a lot’ should be the name of my blog. Anyway, I’m glad I have them despite the volume – I think we can all relate to enjoying moments but sometimes forgetting some even happened way down the line. Brains, eh?

April was full of amazing meals with family and friends, birthdays, deer hunting (more innocent than it sounds) new experiences, a bucket list tick-off and four cities rolled into 30 days. Most of the food is Dublin, because I mean, come on. We have the best in the world. If you disagree, I will fight you. Have a snack while you scroll through, you’ll probably need one.

April started off nicely with a date at Zaragoza with my sister. We were in patatas bravas, meatball, prawn and chorizo heaven. Not pictured: chicken wings in garlic chilli butter. Delicious as always, each morsel DIVINE. Ah, memories.

Industry flat whites. They break the mould, folks. When I was at home I kept getting them here – simply nowhere else would do.
All of the above are from Sika Restaurant, Powerscourt Hotel. We’re already in May, and this meal still wears the crown for best meal of 2017. Enya had her birthday here last week! Of course someone who lives in a castle would eat at Sika.
Everything was heavenly, from the wood pigeon (my GOD, the wood pigeon) to the venison (the most incredible dish of 2017 for me) to the chips, to the cheeseboard, the champagne, to one of those melting chocolate spheres that’s a show and a dessert rolled (geddit?! Haha, I slay me!) into one. Peter Byrne is a genius. The meal was courtesy of the Powerscourt Hotel, a voucher the group of AA Foodies received on a magical night spent there at the start of last year. If you want to visit somewhere special that serves up exquisite food, with staff that go above and beyond, and opens doors to the possibility of being besties with Enya, give Powercourt Hotel a visit.

Daffodils outside The Powerscourt Hotel. Nothing but beauty and attention to detail down in that part of the world!

Just when you think you’re safe from food, FOOD comes around the corner. Iñaki returns to Dublin, only to be brought on a roadtrip to Galway for the day with my parents, my brother and I to eat at Moran’s and drink Guinness. Moran’s is the best of the best for seafood. We had the chowder (naturally) most had fish and chips, and I had the seafood special, because their smoked salmon and crab will not be beaten. They always have nice craft Irish cider too, but this time sadly didn’t have my favourite. Where are you Longueville? It’s been too Longue. Ville.

A cute little antiques shop we stopped into before visiting Galway city. I liked their real dog, and their porcelain dog.
My view many times during April. The corner of the bar in O’Connors pub, Ballyboughal. Home to the nicest Guinness this side of Dublin.
Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday. Easter Saturday was a family barbecue at the Garland’s house (mentioned here all the time) the best day with the whole gang that started with margaritas made by Niamh (she knows the way to my heart.)
All the meat you could eat! And we continued on the meat train on Easter Sunday, with a juicy leg of lamb. Sure, I had plenty of chocolate too, but nothing beats meat. I need a badge or a t-shirt with that life slogan, stat. And an apology on the back for all you veggies and vegans out there.
Looking for deers in the Phoenix Park was one of our April activities, and it ended up being an effortless success. We weren’t even in the park ten minutes and we were beelining toward a herd of deer, with fresh 99s in our hands. Iñaki was in Irish childhood heaven. Someday I might tell him about the wooden spoon. But for now, I’ll let him enjoy it.

99s are delicious, but in no way filling. We bid adieu to our deer old friends and hit San Lorenzo’s for their weekday (that’s right, not just weekend, folks) brunch menu, where we met our pal Molly and ate Jerk chicken tacos, drank cocktails and had the lols. How all afternoons should be.

During brunch a conversation came up about The Long Room, so we decided to go, with ten minutes to spare until close. Working against the clock, how exhilarating! Props to my sister for getting us in, and the security guard who did too. It never fails to impress, such an incredibly beautiful room. It’s so hard not to jump the ropes and climb the ladders and slide amongst the books in true Belle style. I refrained, despite the burning temptation.

One of our last meals in Dublin. Beef and Guinness pie made by my dear Mother. Just to keep Iñaki happy of course. Worked for the rest of us too.
Back in Madrid for a few days before heading home to Granada and the foodfest doesn’t stop. We needed our strength before the main event (the aforementioned bucket list goal I got to cross off – more on that in a minute) so the night before we went to the always delicious De María with Iñaki’s family, to eat all the cuts of meat imaginable and eat ridiculous desserts.
Naturally we inhaled the meat before I could take pictures, but I have many times in the past. You would have totally seen it already if you were a diehard TSF fan. Which I know all of you are.
I did get a shot of my favourite cake though. Milhojas, the crack of all cakes. I am obsessed. Layers of wafer with dulce de leche in between, topped with a creamy cloud of gooey, kind of marshmallowy meringue. A completely different kettle of fish to our weird powered dry Irish way of making meringue that I can’t stand. Milhojas. Get on it!

Not 12 hours later and we were up and out for more Argentine food. At the time I was convinced I was still full from De María, but once we got to Pizzería El Trébol, all of a sudden I was hungry for everything. You know how that happens miraculously?
Anyway, Trébol is the BOMB for pizza. We ordered a few Fugazzeta and their signature pizza, ‘El Trébol’ which is delicious and all, but back to the Fugazzeta. That’s the simple one on the left. Argentine pizza base is thick and olive oily and focaccia like, and there’s nothing better than a bunch of cheese and simple white strips of onion with some oregano to get you through life.
Turns out they make pretty impressive empanadas too. Iñaki’s parents ordered a huge box to take to El Clásico (the bucket list event, friends) later that night, for half time snacks. They know the suss. I had four.

El Clásico! This part gets four pics at least. The seats were amazing and the match was so exciting, we had to stifle our BARCELONAGOAL screams in a sea of Madrid supporters. Not one single minute was boring, and the empanadas made it super fun, of course. I also enjoyed being under the giant Real Madrid flag. It smelled like plastic, the fumes were intense. Pretty sure I was temporarily high, I was so giddy. Good times, being part of a giant human flag. It was good to tick it off too; I always wanted to go since living in Salamanca. And I did! And I’m pretty sure it was the best El Clásico ever. Not even biased because I was in the stadium. Just preachin’ the truth, diehard TSFs.My time to Madrid came to an end with a very delicious home cooked meal. Is there anything better than Moms who make tasty meals and fuss over you and stuff? My Mam does it all the time, and so does my boyfriend’s Mama. I am lucky. For my last night in Madrid we had cheeses and pâtés and cava and pollo a la portuguesa with mashed potatoes. Needless to say I rolled into bed like a little pot-bellied pig, ready for my departure the next day.
I got the space bus* from Madrid’s Estación Sur, all the way to Granada (That’s 4.5 hours in case you wanna come next time) The chairs are big and comfy, there’s WIFI, good coffee, they give you the paper, feed you sweets and later on a meal with wine or beer, and they have a bunch of movies on the screen in front of you. The only way to travel really! When I got back I unpacked with a crisp chilled rosé as company. The palest I could find. And so concludes the story of many excellent meals, some deer, El Clásico, excellent coffee and the only good kind of meringue.

*ALSA Premium service. I call it the space bus as it’s fancy and modern and feels like a spaceship with it’s lights, bells and whistles. Very much worth the little bit of extra cost on a long journey across España.

♥ ♥ ♥