Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dingle in January

Last weekend, Linda, Wendy, Sue and myself decided to head up to Dingle. Linda's sister got a lovely summer house up there and we kinda invited ourselves along. As Linda knows the way in her sleep, she was the driver for the weekend.

The weather in Cork wasn't very promising but as soon as we were out of the city, the weather cleared up. Traffic was easy and we made good head. When we arrived in Dingle we stopped for a light lunch at the Apple Tree. A bistro style cafe with no frills attached. Their speciality is chips with cheese....and since Linda was so excited when she ordered them, I decided that I have to try them. In a very weird way, they were yummy and I couldn't stop eating although I was already stuffed after half the portion. Sue followed our example while Wendy opted for the seafood chowder.....which looked and smelled amazing.

Linda, best tour guide in the world by the way, headed to the house to prepare it for us, while Wendy, Sue and myself started to visit the local shops for some retail therapy....(for the fashionistas....I got a great pear of sandals).

Since Linda knows the area very well, we agreed to go on a walk......hmmmm...lets say, it was a long walk and thanks God we found a pub halfway through. A pint helped us on the way again.

Since it is January and Dingle really lives of tourism, most restaurants were closed but Linda managed to secure a table at the Lord Bakers pub. I love old fashioned pubs and when they offer good food, I am normally in heaven. The Lord Bakers is named the oldest pub in Dingle and is run now by John Moriaty who seems to be the local celebrity as he seems to know everyone. The interior is old pub style without looking made up. Bare brick walls and dark colours made it a cosy atmosphere. Walls are covered with personal photographs that shows John Moriaty with several 'famous' people. The staff was friendly and attentive. John was also voted best host in 2009 by Georgina Campbell.

The focus is on seafood and local produce. Catch of the day was monkfish in a garlic cream sauce which Wendy ordered. Served with potatoes and mixed vegetables. Wendy was very quite during the dinner - a good sign. Linda ordered steak and asked for medium to well done and her face lit up when it came exactly that way. Sue and myself opted for stuffed mushrooms in a garlic cream sauce. I asked for mashed potatoes and it was a problem - although it wasn't on the menu. It came with scallions....just the way I like it. the mushrooms were perfectly cooked and the stuffing was flavoursome. The garlic cream sauce wasn't to overpowering. For desserts I had the best apple crumble ever.....and I mean the best ever.

We ordered a bottle of Pinot Grigio San Vigilio to go along the food and the wine was fresh and crisp and went perfectly with the fish as well as the steak. After all that food (and still feeling the legs after the walk), we only managed to go back to the house and finished the bottle of Prosecco Wendy brought along. We all had a great night sleep (although too short for Linda who was dead surprised that the 3 of us were up and chatty by 8am).

Sunday morning was lazy, we had lovely breakfast prepared by Linda and took our time. As it was kinda rainy we went for the spin in the car and enjoyed the coast views. We left Dingle around 3ish and took our time. Of course, we had to stop in Killarney for some retail therapy and started slowly to think about food again.....Linda actually suggested McDonalds.....thanks God, neither Sue nor Wendy we went further towards Cork and stopped at the Mills Inn. Another lovely old style pub with excellent food. They had a set menu of 2 courses for €19. We all opted for the stuffed mushrooms (I know I have an affection towards mushrooms) which were perfectly good. The breading stayed on the mushroom and the filling was plenty enough to taste it actually. The filling was pesto while it came served with a sweet chilli dressing. You would think that can't work but for some weird reason it did. Sue had a vegetarian Lasagne while Linda opted for the beef lasagne - both portions were plentiful and rich. Wendy got shiny eyes when she saw her portion of mussels in white sauce (the smell was just amazing) while my fish & chips portion came served in a newspaper and was massive. The bread we were served is baked in house as well as the tartare sauce that came with my fish....I was in heaven....on the way home we were all very quiet, sad that the weekend was over, happy that we had full bellies.

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