Today I had brunch at Sophie’s, a restaurant in the Dean Hotel. A friend had booked it for a long overdue catch up and it was an excellent choice. There aren’t many places in Dublin with rooftops views, so it was lovely to eat in a place where we could enjoy the view. The food was delicious, and even though the table was only available for an hour and a half we didn’t feel rushed. In fact, we ended up snagging a table outside and availing of the sunshine and chatting over a bottle of prosecco. It had been a long time since the three of us had met so we had a lot to catch up on. I will definitely be back, for food and drinks, as it was good value for money and a nice central spot.
We are married for six years now. It feels like we only got married a year ago, which I am assured is a very good thing indeed. We went to see a play and had dinner, which is exactly what we did last year to celebrate. This year we ate in the same place, but it has changed hands, for the better it turns out. We thoroughly enjoyed our second visit to Mr. Fox, the pre-theatre menu is great value and we had the same wine as last time.
The play this year was Private Lives, which is about two couples on honeymoon. This day six years ago I was packing for our honeymoon and I am extremely grateful our Private Lives haven’t turned out anywhere near as complicated as those of the characters created by Coward.
I made a big pavlova for dessert over the weekend. It’s my failsafe, tried and tested dessert but the only problem is the leftover egg yolks that invariably end up going off in a jar in my fridge because I didn’t fancy carbonara within a day or two. This week I’m off work and, therefore, feeling, as Marjorie might have put it, a little domestic. I bought some lemons today and whipped up a big jar of lemon curd. It’s a delicious balance of sweet and sharp and the colour glows nicely. Yummy.
I use a similar recipe to this, but I always use whatever egg yolks I have and throw in one whole eggs. I learned the hard way this is not something to make in a rush. The slower you go, the better.
Having had some time to declutter and reorganise some more, I’ve found some of the things I need to help me along with our zero waste holiday plans. I knew we had more vacuum bags than I had folded away and lo and behold some turned up when I sorted a random box of crap and more turned up when I did a job on our attic space and realised I was ready to let go of more things belonging to another phase of my life which would spark more joy if used by others than if stored for months ‘just in case’.
Packing everything in vacuum bags rather than in suitcases was probably our best packing decision last year. The bags took up no room and kept everything clean and dry en route, then took up no space and-or were pressed into use as laundry bags. We didn’t have to worry about how to squeeze suitcases into the tiny mobile home and our packing to come home was easy as we could squash everything around all the boxes of wine we picked up.
I also found our bedlinen that works fine for a more rustic holiday and which can do double duty wrapping things on the journey home. I might invest in a travel kettle this year because last year we wasted a lot of money and disposable cups on very mediocre tea and coffee. As we bring a picnic bag on board with us, packing two cups and some snacks makes financial and environmental sense.
I also found many summer tops I had totally forgotten about, plus a kaftan that I was sure I’d donated. I’m currently using some of the tops for the gym and I’ll see how I feel about them for summer. An old pair of jeans turned up too, I had been looking for them as they’ll make great shorts once I cut the legs off. The legs parts can be used for cleaning.
This weekend we tried two new places to eat, which are right beside each other and both of which we’re planning to return to as soon as possible. On Friday, I met a friend at El Celler in Blackrock Market. We don’t see each other that much so needless to say we had a lot of catching up to do. The food and drinks were fabulous, and the setting is so cosy and friendly you can stay for hours, which we did. I can highly recommend the cava and the garlic prawns.
I returned to El Celler the next night as I had booked my husband a particularly special dinner in honour of his birthday. Months before, on the day it was awarded a Michelin star, I had e-mailed Heron and Grey to book a spot in their tiny restaurant. I had kept it a surprise until the day before and it was worth waiting for.
We had a quick drink in El Celler as they are very close by each other, then on to the main event. Heron and Grey only serve one set menu and we decided to push the boat out and go for the wines to match. I mean, how often are you going to eat and drink like that? Every course was a surprise and a delight. We loved the informal chat about the food and wines. We’ve been to several other Michelin star restaurants before and the atmosphere here wins hands down-just the right side of casual without being too irritating.
I’m still thinking about the fishy dish with a foam and himself could eat a plate of the cracker with sea foam on top. We’re planning a return visit, and it is probably among the best value for money place we’ve eaten.
We tried two new things on Saturday, which was our proper Valentine’s Day because I had The Longest Working Week ever. The combination of a lot of hours in the office and the tail end of a bad cold wasn’t the best. Thankfully we had the anticipation of a nice date night to keep me going.
We had been to the former eatery that was the Hot Stove several times. Our last meal there had been pleasant but not especially memorable. I read a review of the new iteration some weeks ago and it prompted me to book a table before we went to the theatre. Mr. Fox was really enjoyable and the food was far better than we’d expected. The wine is decanted from casks into nice chunky bottles which suits my zero waste leanings. The food was delicious and we treated ourselves to oysters before our starters. I’ll be trying the deer tartare if I get the chance again.
After this lovely meal, we went to see Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris in the Gate. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting but I wouldn’t rush back. The singing was good but it wasn’t something we’d rave about. However, a night at the theatre is always a good time and we’re already planning our return to see a Noel Coward play.
Last night we went to see The Heiress. I haven’t read the book on which it is based, but the play was extremely enjoyable. I love live theatre and I’m already looking forward to next month when we’ll be back to see Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, about which I know nothing. We ate beforehand in one of our favourite spots, Hop House. I love the food there, but be under no illusions, it isn’t for a fancy meal one goes here. I have Washington Square on my list of Books I Want To Get Around to Reading This Year list. One of my resolutions is to use my fantastic local library more and expand my reading.