When Expedia asked me about my favourite places to eat around Ireland, a lederhosen-bedecked part of me could hear Julie Andrews singing about a few of her favourite things in an alpine, Sound of Music setting. Not that I’m about to burst into song or – worse, still – parade about in lederhosen, but you might indulge me, all the same, if I wax just a bit lyrical on the subject of favoured spots for supping.
If the entry for Earth in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was “Mostly harmless,” then my entry – making the rather colossal assumption that I’d have one – would probably read: “Mostly spuds.” However, even if it is (mostly) possible to do so, man – or, in my case, woman – does not live by potato alone, and my favourite food places, inevitably, serve much else besides.
Coming up with a list such as this is always fraught. Through the good offices of this blog, and in being a contributing editor for John and Sally McKennas’ Irish Food Guide, I’ve had the privilege of eating in many fine places indeed, more than I could do justice to here. In the end, the selection below is as much about favourite food people as favourite food places – the one almost invariably determines the other.
W.J. KAVANAGH / L. MULLIGAN GROCER
WJ Kavanagh, Dorset St.
While I could probably live quite well on spuds alone – and believe me, there are far worse diets than one that is predominantly potato-based – I do find that my mornings are much the better for the existence (and consumption) of good, properly brewed coffee.
Last week's Sunday Times, where I was all about the coffee
(the article lives online, but behind the Sunday Times' paywall, alas)
It was thus my great pleasure, last week, to have the opportunity to relay, via the Sunday Times, the thoughts of some of my favourite coffee people – Colin Harmon of 3FE, Karl Purdy of Coffee Angel and Paul Stack of Marco, among others – on the subject of the variable, but improving, standard of coffee available to us here in Ireland.
“I want to be a barista when I grow up.”
I’d hazard a guess that you’re not likely to hear little Johnny or Mary coming out with that one too often.
The tools of the barista's trade
Yet it was the wish expressed by Flavio Urizzi, export sales manager with espresso machine manufacturer CMA SpA and one of the technical judges at last week’s Irish Barista Championships, that being a barista would be seen, not as a job on the way to another career, but as a worthy profession in and of itself. His was a vision of people retiring at 60, saying I was a barista and proud of it. And why should they not? Good baristas have a lot to be proud of. Anybody watching the championship finalists in action last Thursday could have seen that.