I have quite a few real Irish recipes and Irish-American recipes to share with you today so in the interest of space, I’m using links. I’ll include a few yummy photos too, of course!
After reading Dianne Jacob’s post about food bloggers being pushovers (or not), I want to state clearly that even though I eat at Fenn’s Quay and Electric at least once a week, Tweet/blog about my visits there, am friends with Kate (something that happened after I wrote my TripAdvisor review) and know Ernest and Dennis, I do not receive any freebies or benefits that are not also given to other customers. Every so often, I get a free tea or hot chocolate as a random act of kindness to a group of people or customers, but this is not timed or in association with any action on my part. I have never ever been asked to write a post or review about either place. Below, I am listing what I like about each place.
FENN’S QUAY RESTAURANT
Fenn’s Quay (owner: Kate Lawlor), Sheares Street, Cork City Centre
Why the love?
1) The specials change daily and feature seasonal ingredients so it doesn’t get boring. But popular standards are always on their main menu. All at reasonable prices.
2) It is walking distance from my home, so it’s convenient.
3) The staff are friendly, helpful and knowledgable.
4) The food is delicious, using quality local ingredients.
5) The restaurant is clean with aubergine velvet banquet seating and chairs that feel elegant even though it’s a casual spot.
6) Ever since day one, my baby boy has received a warm welcome there and they make it easy to dine out with a little one. I am a sucker for a kid-friendly restaurant that isn’t geared toward children (ie, no frozen chicken fingers on the menu or plastic cups for everyone to drink from).
7) Free coffee refills.
8) Open from 8:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday. That’s three meals a day, six days a week!
9) Comfortable and warm. A very important attribute in rainy Cork.
Electric Bar (owner: Ernest Cantillon), South Mall, Cork City Centre
Why the love?
1) Simple but creative sandwiches and soups after Noon for reasonable prices.
2) It is walking distance from my home, so it’s convenient.
3) The staff are friendly and welcoming to my baby boy, LB.
4) There is a changing table in the handicapped restroom. Though it took me over six months of motherhood to discover that (I never asked).
5) It is clean with great natural light streaming in the windows.
6) They carry Australian non-alcoholic ginger beer and pitchers of water with different sliced citrus or fresh mint.
7) Welcoming to my knitting group. Knitters are the like the skateboarders of the craft world. We are too busy knitting to order lots of food and drink so not a real money-maker for wherever we meet.
8) Sometimes there is a little taster of biscotti with my hot chocolate and it’s such a treat. Not always there as it is not listed as part of the hot chocolate on the menu, so a nice surprise.
So, there you have the details on why I eat where I do. Now, there’s no need to doubt the sincerity of my posts and enthusiasm for Fenn’s Quay and Electric. I go to these places with regularity and love them without any compensation, freebies, bribery, brown envelopes or begging. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?
Brunch may have been around for decades but Fenn’s Quay Restaurant, located on Sheares Street in Cork City Centre, is jazzing it up this Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Executive Chefess Kate Lawlor created a delectable brunch menu featuring local ingredients in classics, like Eggs Benedict with Rosscarbery Rashers, Eggs Florentine (available with Ardsallagh goats cheese) or Boiled Eggs and Soldiers with Marmite, and indulgent favorites, like Feirm Úr Buttermilk Pancakes with your choice of crème fraîche, homemade jam or maple syrup.
For light eaters, there are Croissants, Porridge or Fruit Scones served with Irish butter and Kate’s own house-made jam. With a variety of brunch dishes on the special menu, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Known for its family-friendly menu and staff, even the littlest brunchers will enjoy themselves. I know my little man, LB, will be having a blast. He’s in love with Kate’s Irish soda bread!
Sunday brunch on a bank holiday weekend is the perfect time to treat yourself to a relaxing meal. Make your outing a family affair or gather with friends. Fenn’s Quay will have its own playlist of Jazz favorites playing in the background so your conversation can be center stage.
Fenn’s Quay is proudly now an Eircom WiFiHub, a service that allows Eircom broadband, eMobile and Meteor customers to connect to the Internet when they are out and about. Each Twitter user receives one free mimosa when you Tweet about your brunch, mentioning @FennsQuay.
No. 5 Fenn’s Quay Restaurant offers cosy dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere. The menu offers fresh, simple, and creative dishes from the regions of Ireland with global inspiration. The casual dining room ambiance combines contemporary elegance with rustic traditional. Street parking available in front or in nearby North Main Street public lot. Reservations can be made by calling 021.427.9527.
No caravan and no trip to the Canaries, but we enjoyed an Irish summer vacation this year. We went to West Cork and it was foggy and rainy the entire time! Thank goodness we don’t mind the weather but really wishing I had Welly boots that fit in my purse! I’ll try to write more about the trip in the future but in the meantime, here are a few photos of Baltimore and Cape Clear Island.
Yep, check out that soft gray horizon into which you can gaze for minutes upon minutes. All kidding aside, the crab sandwich I ate on Cape Clear Island was worth the entire trip! Not to mention an amazing meal at Roulf’s in Baltimore. But that’ll be in a real blog post eventually.
Carrigaline Photographic Society are pleased to announce their latest photography exhibition, Insights, running in Cork Airport from September 17th to Ocotober 12th. This latest exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Cork Airport and the Cork County Council Arts Service. The official opening is at 6:30PM on September 21st as part of Culture Night celebrations.
The images in this photographic exhibition represent the individual insights of each photographer as they responded to their environment, events in time, or a concept that the photographer created for the purpose of creating a unique image. Each photographer has used the tools and techniques of photography to realise their vision and the results stand as a testament to their individuality. The equipment used ranged from traditional film cameras all the way to the latest digital cameras, using a variety of media.
The final images show the strength of photography as a method of expression and its ability to move and communicate with the viewer. The universality of photography to communicate emotion, ideas and to inspire the viewer, without the use of spoken language, stands as one of its main strengths. The viewer is invited to share this experience with the photographer and to take from the images what they wish. Happy viewing.
Carrigaline Photographic Society has the ongoing objective of developing, promoting and improving the knowledge, practice and appreciation of the art of photography. Meetings are on the last Wednesday of every month in St. Mary’s Hall, Carrigaline. See www.carrigalinephotographic.com, for further details.
Recently, I had the opportunity to help Margaret Smith lead one of her famous UmNumNum cupcake courses. I’ll admit, I was curious whether baking cupcakes among strangers would be as fun as with friends. Turns out, it is!
The class started with everyone meeting one another and breaking into smaller groups. The smaller groups shared ingredients and tools so it was a team effort. It was about then I was thinking this would have been my dream hen night back in the day! But we had a dance off and ice cream sundaes so kinda close, right? Anyway, the recipe Margaret uses with her classes is amazingly simple and, dare I write, fool-proof. And you can create flavored cupcake combinations with it too. But I can’t talk about that or I’ll be craving a great cupcake all day. So here are some photos from the class.
And here are the cupcakes I made and brought home. My butcher got six of them!
Margaret Smith is founder and head instructor at UmNumNum, a boutique cookery school in Ballincollig, and was co-organiser of the 2012 Social Media Day Cork. She can help even those self-professed to be ‘helpless in the kitchen’ learn how to cook a meal. Margaret has studied social media and marketing and puts her knowledge into practice for Goodalls and other leading food companies in the Republic.
The structure that once served as the transport station for those leaving Ireland by ship is now the Cobh Heritage Centre. I visited it with my family last winter before the Titanic anniversary brought new artifacts and stories to the forefront. The building has been well-preserved (or restored) and has some shopping and dining options. Signs remain marking where waiting areas were (first and steerage class) as well as photographs and memorabilia. Though we had heard from a few friends that you could look at the log listing everyone who left Queenstown (as it was called back then) if you had a name and date, this seems to have changed. Now it is only possible to submit a form requesting a general search of Irish records for a fee. I am not sure it is anything more than I can do online and at the County Cork Archives, so this was a disappointment. Particularly since we had heard so much about the Cobh Heritage Centre and this place seems more like an exhibit. But entry into the building, shop, and cafe section of the building is free and worth a stop in if you have ancestors from County Cork.
Though I had different expectations about what to expect from the visit, I did enjoy the experience and the reminder that life was very different back then and a departure from Ireland was not like it would be today.
The train to Cobh is very conveniently located just a little west of this building so very easy to walk around.
A friend of mine wrote to say she would be visiting Cork City with her family (herself, her husband, her two lovely daughters). Yay! I’ve not seen her in years! Of course, I instantly wanted to tell her about all the great things to do and places to eat so I jotted down my favorites if I was to visit Cork for a couple days in Springtime. This is what resulted. Be forewarned, it is mostly related to places to eat. Big surprise, I know.
A great start to the day is a good breakfast. The key is to have one that nourishes you without leaving you in a food coma. Eggs are great for this because of the protein. My two favorite places in City Centre to eat eggs are Fenns Quay and Liberty Grill. Fenns Quay also is one of my favorite places for lunch and dinner.
Fenns Quay on Shears (behind and one block west of the Courthouse on Washington) is one of my favorites for food and they have a la carte breakfasts every day (except Sundays) starting at 8:30am. Nice coffee (so says my Seattle-raised hubby). I love their eggs Florentine with Ardsallagh (a local goat cheese). Their hot chocolate is yummmm! They melt real chocolate buttons in it. For lunch, their specials are always good and I adore their chicken in green salad. Their burger is bun-free and one of the most authentic American in terms of the texture of the meat. The head chef is Kate. They are child friendly without being made for kids. Their Hollandaise is Pasteurized. Off the tourist track. Good wine and beer (including 8 Degrees Brewing, I think) selection. Recently nominated for Best Restaurant, Chef and Customer Service for the upcoming RAI regional restaurant awards.
Liberty Grill has very American fare and their breakfasts include many a delicious item. Portions are ample. Queues are commonplace during peak meal times or weekends. Their Hollandaise is Pasteurized.
Telephone: +353 (0)21-4271049
Facebook: Liberty Grill
For some culture, scenery, and food on the outskirts of the City, check out Fresco Bistro & Eaterie in the Glucksman Gallery on the campus of UCC. Every weekend, there are family/child events (free) at the museum. Fresco Bistro is nice for weekday breakfasts or lunch or for brunch on Saturdays or Sundays. Their flourless chocolate cake is light and sooooo good. The place is run by Brian and Kash. For more about Fresco Bistro, read this blog post I wrote.
Fresco Bistro & Eaterie in the Glucksman Gallery on the campus of UCC, Cork City
Telephone: +353 (0)21-4901848
Facebook: Fresco Bistro UCC
Need to take a break to rest your feet, refuel your belly between meals, or to make sure you know what you’re doing next? I recommend stopping into Electric‘s downstairs cafe. They have my favorite bottled gingerbeer (aka ginger ale) as well as coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate, tea, beer, etc… View of River Lee from back seating section. Good natural light. Nice scones and sweets. It is on South Mall near Grand Parade. Free Wifi. Ask at the bar for the password. Of course, if you want a bigger meal, their upstairs has a lovely menu.
For something more active than sitting and eating, climb the belltower of St. Anne’s of Shandon and ring the Shandon Bells.
If you’re in the mood for a picnic and the weather agrees with that idea, why not pick up a few nice sandwiches, salads, and drinks to-go. Top three sources for tasty and affordable picnic sandwiches (excluding any national chains) are:
- Long Valley, 10 Winthrop St has AMAZING corned beef sandwiches. They also have chicken and beef sandwiches and probably ham, but I only have interest in the corned beef salad sandwich. Trust me, it’s good. And less than a fiver!
- Wild Ways, 21 Princes Street, Cork City, Telephone: +353 (0)21-4272199
E-mail: feedback form, Website: http://www.wildways.net
- The English Market has all the stalls and options to create your own custom picnic. Pay a visit to On the Pig’s Back some cheeses or pate, then get some fresh apples from one of the produce stands, olives from The Olive Stall, fig preserves and goat cheese from Iago, and a loaf of bread from Alternative Bread Company.
I recommend going for your picnic in Bishop Lucey Park (by the central library between Grand Parade/North Main Street/Tuckey Street) or in the slightly farther away but more sprawling Fitzgerald Park, which is about 15 minutes walk from city centre and a great spot for a picnic on a nice day. There is a little cafe there with Cornettos and soda but not much for real food. A museum there too.
Fota Wildlife Park is great for kids of all ages. Ideal for cloudy days or sunny ones. Check out the cheetah run and stroll among the animals. The staff know so much and are always willing to share facts, tid bits and history. I particularly love hearing about their Bald Eagles.
For science buffs or rainy days, I recommend a visit to Blackrock Castle Observatory. There is even the option for a tasty meal at Castle Cafe which has really nice menu options (not too pricey). Free parking at Blackrock Castle around the corner by the water.
Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork C2, Co. Cork
Observatory Telephone: +353 (0)21-4357917
Observatory E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Observatory Website: http://www.bco.ie/
Observatory on Twitter: @BlackrockCastle
Observatory Facebook: BCO
If you want to do a little shopping, there are all the usual shops plus my favorites for women’s apparel: Amity and Store. Those are the shops to visit if you don’t want to dress like everyone else. Also The Dressing Room but they are pricier than the other two I’ve mentioned and much more suited to a professional wardrobe. Chain stores are easily found on Patrick’s Street and Opera Lane (list of stores and hours here).
But perhaps I’ll do shopping in a separate post since you’ll have plenty to do in a weekend visit to Cork as it is. And if you’re into knitting or sewing, definitely check out some of the city’s wool and knitting shops (there’s a list here) and the Cork Button Factory.
Oh, and if you get sick and need a prescription at an odd hour when you’re in Cork there is a late-night pharmacy on Patrick’s Street and Irwin’s Late-Night Pharmacy is on Shandon near North Gate Bridge.