The Black Irish

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From as early as I could remember St Patrick’s day was always a day of celebration. We would wear green and head into town and party. It would be festivities all week-long. As a child there is nothing more I would lived for. This day was a big deal and I didn’t even know why. Who was St Patrick. Patrick that was a strange name in itself. Apparently he got rid of the snakes in Ireland but in Montserrat there were still lots of snakes so why were we thanking him. And believe me I would’ve been the first to thank him because I have such a huge fear of snakes. These are the questions I would constantly ask but no one was forthcoming with answers when a young Santis O’Garro asked.

Then my mom met and we all fell in love with Dermot. Or Donut as we used to think ( because on a small Caribbean that name was uncommon). To cut along story short we all moved to Dublin in May 1995. And for some reason St Patrick’s day was never the same. There was just a line of people walking through the streets, or people getting drunk everywhere. Where was the dancing, the street food stalls the celebration the carnival and why was Montserrat the only other country in the world that St Patrick’s day was a public bank holiday. What connected these two totally different world and cultures.

Here’s some answers…

The slave trade was a

lucrative business back in the day. A lot of slaves were sent to the Caribbean as well as America. They were used to grow cotton, sugar cane etc. I’m going to concentrate on the Irish role in all off this, because this is where we get the  link.

Although most of the Irish were sent to the Caribbean during the Cromwell era Irish men and women were freely emigrating to the West Indies 25 years or so before the Cromwellian cruelties. Montserrat a British Territory was subsequently colonized by Irish Catholics fleeing from nearby St Kitts ( st Christopher ) and Virginia because of strong religious intolerance. Few people realise that between 1600 and 1700 Irish people were sold as slaves, although the African Negro were more suited to the semi tropical weather.

By the mid 1600s The Irish were the main slaves sold to Montserrat and Antigua. At that time 70% of the population in Montserrat were Irish.

As the Irish slaves regain their freedom they too became planters. Subsequently the African were enslaved to work the sugar fields. There was a myth that because of their oppression by the British that the Irish slave masters would be more humane to the negro slave this was not the case.

Soon the enslaved Africans out numbers there Irish masters 3-1. They planned and all out attack to get their freedom. They chose March 17th in 1768 partly because they knew the masters would be celebrating on this day… St Patrick’s day. However someone leaked the plan and their punishments were severe.

A failed slave uprising led to Montserrat becoming one of two places in the world to celebrate St Patrick’s Day as a public Holiday the other being Ireland.

Today we celebrate St Patrick’s day in honour of those who lost there lives and because we Montserrations are The black Irish of the Caribbean. You would only have to look at the phone book to see how Irish The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean is. Thanks for reading …TCDub xxxx

The Vintage Kitchen

HELLO HELLO oh hi I have a little secret to share with you. I’ll make it short The Vintage Kitchen on Poolbeg st next to Mulligan’s pub. If you already know about this place then fair play to ya. I love it. I was there something like four times last year such is my addiction. Anyways I’ll break if down for you.

I was kindly gifted a record player and a couple of  records as one of my Christmas presents and I just took that as another excuse for a revisit , as they to allow you to bring in your own records oh and wine !! To be honest when I first heard that I thought it was one of these places that served crappy food and the BYOB was a gimmick to get the customers. We’ve all been there ehem. Well not here the food speaks for itself. It’s seasonal, tasty and pretty to look at.

To start …

I started with the Game risotto while Jenny had the Goats cheese and figs. I thought my risotto was rich and delicious . And to justify me saying they serve fresh seasonal produce our waitress even said to watch out for pieces of the bullet in my meat. Thankfully my meat was shrapnel free.

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To follow…

I opted for the lamb shank while Jenny had the poussin. I thought the combination of flavours compliment each other perfectly. Although I must say the presentation of the poussin was impressive. All this was smashed down with a M&S medium priced Red ( Chatea le Roque) .

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My thoughts…

This is my kind of restaurant. The staff are friendly, relaxed and helpful. The restaurant is buzzing. The food is cooked to a such a high standard that it’s worth bringing that lovely bottle of wine that you’ve been saving for a special occasion. I personally think €25 for 2 courses is more than value for money. Every time I visit this place it just gets better. I wanted to keep this place to my self but hey I might as well share it with you.

thevintagekitchen.ie

Next Post is the TCDub on tour Barbados

The Oar House

The Oar House

The Oar House

I’m an advocate of Howth, It’s one of my favourite places in  Dublin. Then again I love the sea, and I love seafood so it’s a no brainer why I find myself going back again and again. I’ve never had any problem with any of the restaurants although I usually stick to the restaurants that promote a more of a homely vibe. This leads me to The Oar House which is recognised as one of  Dublin’s finest seafood restaurant.

My first thought was….

Wow this place is busy. Now this is  3 o’clock on a grey miserable Monday afternoon. The type of day that if you had it off you would more than likely to be tucked cosily under a duvet or in a bar sipping on a hot whiskey or three. A lot of restaurants in the city centre aren’t this busy  on a Saturday night never mind a Monday afternoon. I have to say I love the fact that you can see directly into the kitchen via the fish counter.

To start…

I had the muscles in a garlic, cream and wine sauce while Ronan had the  chowder. The chowder was the right consistency of chunky fish pieces in a sauce of love sauce oh yes baby!! I loved my muscles and the portions just a perfect. The bonus was the thick homemade brown bread to mop up the sauce.

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To follow…

We both opted for the  trio of fished grill which were  sea bass, mullet and turbot. Oh boy I have to say  this was amazing. We order chips and a salad to accompany this but to be honest the fish spoke for itself, it was so fresh and with just the barest of seasoning. Being from the Caribbean where we are fans of marinating and seasoning, but this was perfect.

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My verdict…

The staff were lovely and friendly without being over the top I must say it was the best Monday afternoon I’ve had in  ages. The fish and chips looks to be a hit with the customer there and the portion sizes are man sized. If you need a seafood top up get yourself there.

Thanks for reading .

TCDub xxx

my table. (and what I love about food.)

So true…

southern belly

I want to say something about food.

Well, I want to say a lot of things.

And as always, I want to speak out of a place that recognizes my privilege. For one, to be able to sit in a comfy brown chair and write about it, and also, that I have the means to buy good ingredients, cook them, and feed myself and at times, others.

There is something to be said about sitting down at a table with plates with forks and maybe a few nice glasses. Maybe a cute napkin or some candles. Very similar to the picture at the top of this blog. It is a simple joy, that I can reproduce this from time to time. And really, it doesn’t take much.

But there’s something inside of me that gets excited when I know I am to be cooking for people I love and for…

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Terra Madre

Terra Madre

Terra Madre

Like I said before I love my food  best when it’s simple and tasty. And last Saturday it dawned on me that I was going back to the gym so that meant it was healthy eating for the next 5 out of the next 7 days. Oh Lordy !!!

Me being a planner, I decided that I was going to try this Italian that I just never got around to dining at for whatever reason….. Terra Madre (Mother Earth ), as a treat for what I was about to do to my body!!.

My first thought was? WHY WAS I NOT HERE BEFORE?

This place is located on Bachelors walk, blink and you will miss it. As you can see from my picture its downstairs and the best word I can use to describe it is cosy.

We booked a late meal on Halloween night of all nights but I can tell you now the only thing scary here is the amount of bread that was consumed.

To start…

Olivia and myself  both started with the bruschetta. Mine was called “Lardo di Colonnata ” This was a Tuscan delicacy made from pork fat which was delicious but I have to admit I robbed a little too much of Olivia’s “Talli di Cappero”.  These were wild caper sprouts harvested by hand, apparently they are very rare. Marco our waiter explained to us that you would have to forage in the mountain before dawn to get them. And they are only grown in certain parts of Italy. Well all I can tell you they were worth the effort. I was addicted!!

Wild caper sprouts

Wild caper sprouts

To Follow….

I had the Ravioli and Olivia opted for the Fettuccine.  My dish was just out of this world with the right amount of sauce the  Ravioli was filled perfectly. To be honest I ate this so slow because I just had to savour every mouthful. The Fettuccine was cooked to perfection al dente. If you look at the portions you could see they were the right amount of generous but we both observed after that we didn’t at any time feel bloated as can happen when you eat pasta. Once again Marco explained that the reason why pasta is cooked al dente isn’t just for the  bit of bite but  because its easier to digest which was new to me.

Beloved Carbs!!

Beloved Carbs!!

To accompany this we had a “couple” of glasses of  the Monteulciano d’Abruzzo. It is a mouthful I know but I would recommend this because going in I said sure I’ll have a glass and it tasted so good I ended up having three which defeats the point of not getting a bottle. But hey I’m easily led.

To finish…

As I said previously I usually only ever  have 2 courses and I was happy to just have another glass of wine but  it was suggested that Olivia should try the chocolate salami. Ah sure why not!! These were lovely although the only thing salami about them was the shape. But I have been dreaming about them ever since. The right amount of chocolate served with walnuts and hazelnuts smothered in honey.

Chocolate Salami

Chocolate Salami

The Verdict…

This restaurant has only been in Dublin 2 years and its reputation grows. This is the type of place where the food does the talking. I left with a longing to visit the south of Italy. The service was outstanding and educational. The atmosphere was warm and the décor was shabby chic. All these factors combine I think this is a must go place it is as Authentic as your going to get.

http://www.terramadre.ie

Terra Madre

Bachelors Walk, Dublin

IF you want you like this review be sure to follow me on Instagram THECARIBBEANDUB or Twitter @thecaribbeandub. Thanks TCDub….Love Dublin xx

 

Ryan’s Parkgate st /F.X. Buckley

Here goes….anybody from Dublin North would know that Fx Buckley sausages are up there with Super Quinn’s … Controversial !! Seriously a bit of cheeky banter while buying meat is always up there in my books.

The last few weeks I’ve been having cravings for red meat, and whatever the body wants the body gets. Fx Buckley upstairs in Ryan’s of Parkgate St.
was a recommendation ( thanks Donal) and I have to say I was ashamed I was never in it before. We went for the value meal of course where you get 3 courses for €26 +€4.5 if you chose steak.

I wanted a simple feast so I started with the chicken wings, these were fleshy and on the right side of crispy the sauce was tangy but not over powering. Ok I’ll leave the chicken wings but I felt I have to live up to my cliché yes I am black and I know a good piece of chicken when I see it.

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Ronan had the muscles in a white wine and cream sauce. It was divine. I swear I want to visit the gym these bad boys go to because they were huge. All joking aside they were lovely.

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To follow..
We both order the rib eye, Ronan medium rare and mine rare .I’m so fussy about the way my steak is cooked but I have to say they cooked it to perfection. Mine came with baked potato in what tasted like Garlic butter and Ro’s came with chips. The steaks were huge and the quality was ridiculously high.

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We both had a glass of the Merlot to accompany our meal.

To finish …
I had the Berry crumble and it was worth sacrificing the old diet for I could taste it now oh Lordy. Ronan had the Ice cream I think the poor fella was defeated at this stage to be honest.

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The verdict..
The meal was simple food cooked perfectly. The portions are generous. Note: I would concentrate on the steaks. I’m slightly ashamed to say this I loved this so much I had to bring my friend and her fiancée here the very next week yes on Friday. Three days ago!! Quick note… People always say Irish meat is dearer than that of other countries and it is, But no matter where I’ve had a piece of steak nowhere compares to ours. Come on now the only advantage of having all that rain and greenery is so that the cows are grass-fed and the beef is extra tasty… Go Irish xxx TCDub

Da Mimmo

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I have a bumpy relationship with Italian food. Simply because I’ve had more bad meals than I care to remember. From doughy pizzas, over cooked pasta and reheated lasagne the list goes on and on. To me the nicest Italian meal are always the simplest. I mean the best, freshest ingredients cooked simply.

For a catch up with my grandad I settled on a midweek meal. I was in the mood for an Italian and Da Mimmo in North Strand was my chosen restaurant.

On entering the cosy restaurant We were guided to our seat by a bubbly Italian waitress.

To Start we ordered

Bruschetta and Garlic bread with mozzarella. Did I say the bread was homemade oh Lordy. It was Divine. Although to even contemplate eating the main we both had to stop short of finishing the starter.

Wine..

We were recommended the half bottle of Merlot which was perfect as I was driving .

To follow
I had the seafood tagliatelle and my grandad had chicken in a creamy mushroom sauce with roasted cubed potatoes.

My tagliatelle was just beautiful and when I read le Mare I didn’t expect the whole sea to be on my plate but there it was if was. The muscles, clams, prawns, shrimp and squid was the perfect accompaniment to one of the nicest pasta I have ever tasted.

The chicken was cooked perfectly and it felt the mushroom sauce was infused into it. I couldn’t fault it at all. The accompanying roasted potatoes (which I’ve tasted elsewhere ) were delicious and flavoursome .

To end..
I rarely have three courses at a restaurant and pudding is usually the course I leave out but they did have traditional Italian deserts such as Tiramisu, Panna cotta and Italian hot chocolate. I spied the Tiramisu being ate by another customer and it looked delicious.

I ended with an espresso and my grandad had an Americano.

My thoughts..
It was gems just like Di Mimmo that made me want to start blogging about Dublin in the first place. These affordable restaurant whose sole focus on quality invites you to get a genuine representation of their product. Tonight I fell in love with Italy it and it didn’t cost me the earth.

The portions as I was told are Italian sized. The pizzas look like they a worth a try seem to do a lot of take outs.

Note: I’d advise you to always book a table as this restaurant seats 20 max.

Www. Damimmo.ie

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ely bar & braserrie

20130825-173312.jpgEly first came to my attention at Taste of Dublin a few years ago, the girls could vouch that I couldn’t leave the place without their famed burger. So when The Dining Room had a groupon for a 3 course meal for 2 with a bottle of wine@ €69. It was a no brainer to purchase it.

This voucher was valid for Ely Bar and brasserie in the IFSC which is one of three Elys in Dublin.

From the minute we were guided to our seats downstairs in the vaulted dining room I felt welcomed and relax. Our waitress was hands on and helpful even when I was indecisive in regards to my main.

I had the scallops to start which were cooked to perfection and my partner had the Duck leg salad which was described as tasty and fresh.

To accompany our meal we decided on the red Domaine Les Deux Cols ‘Cuvée d’Alize’ Côte du Rhône 2012 France.

For main I had the pan-fried veal rib eye and my partner had the Turbot. I found my steak perfectly cooked and as for the Turbot it’s one of the nicest pieces of fish I have ever tasted. Absolutely outstanding.

To be honest I’m not a dessert person but as it was part of the meal we decided to share the chocolate fondant. Which was just the right consistency of oozy chocolate ( bring me back there now).

Because we were only having one desert the waitress kindly suggested that we have out expressos as part of the deal. I just thought this was just another example of perfectly trained staff. It’s the little things.

My thoughts… Overall I couldn’t fault this meal it is definitely one of the best cooked dinners I’ve ever had. I liked the fact that you’re getting an honest plate of food and would definitely come here again and pay full price.  For more info have a look at their website
http://www.elywinebar.ie

The Wax Museum

I’ve been promising to bring my little sister Annalise aged 10 on a day out for about a month now but for whatever reason I’ve never got around to it. So today was D-day and she has insisted on writing this blog up herself as it looks better from a kids point of view apparently.

20130815-201711.jpg I woke up today knowing that my sister had somethingplanned for us to do. But when I looked out of the window today I was a bit disheartened to see that it was raining. I was waiting for a phone call for her to tell me our day was cancelled. I did get a phone call instead I was told to get ready.She arrived to tell me we were going to The Wax Museum, I wasn’t very excited to be honest.

At the beginning of the tour we saw Poets and Authors. I remembered Oscar Wilde who my sister said had a very colourful life. Next was Irish history. I loved this, I learned about the famine, the war between Britain and Ireland and the people such as Michael Collins and Thomas Clarke who changed Irish History.I thought the man who was telling the story sounded a lot like father Ted.

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Next it was onto the room of horrors aaaaghh. This room had Frankenstein and Dracula and some pretty gross stuff. Did you know the author of Dracula is actually Irish so cool. Twilight had to start somewhere eh!!

The room with all the famous people was cool but I didn’t think some of them belonged there I won’t name any names. I though Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and Yoda were cool. Hello where was Rihanna?

Highlight : Room of Horrors

Lowpoints: We didn’t have an umbrella 😦

After…..

We went to this cool place for lunch called The Mongolian barbeque where you get a choice of 1 meat, noodles a load of veg, spices and sauces. Then this man with 2 giant chopsticks cooks them right in front of you. I thought this was delicious. And I am a FUSSY eater.

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By the time we left the rain had stopped and as I walked through Temple Bar I saw the coolest name for a cafe (The Badass cafe). It was time for Ice Cream which we had in Botticelli’s .

I had a great time out with my older sis TCDub. Thanks for reading Annalise Curran. Check out my facebook page (Caribbean united).

http://www.waxmuseumplus.ie
http://www.mongolianbarbeque.ie