Lunch in Kinsale

dsc_2202 I’m just back from Kinsale, where I was one of the speakers at a Soho Solo Ireland event.

dsc_2205I really like Kinsale. For all of the chains that have been creeping in many places, it’s still full of boutiques and interesting bites of food. We ate lunch at Cucina on Market Street, and I can certainly recommend it.

The crab tart special was very yummy and came topped with Caesar salad (photo above).

I do feel for anyone trading in that town, though. The streets are still dug up (how long has it been?), and it must be quite a challenge to keep going.

After our experience in Killarney, I know what that kind of disruption is like. Best of luck to all of them!

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Going Soho Solo in Kinsale

Anyone who is in business for themselves in a small office or home office, who would like an excuse to visit beautiful Kinsale, might consider a conference this Friday put on by Soho Solo Ireland.

It’s called “Reinventing Oneself in These Challenging Times,” and the keynote speaker is Lord David Putnam, the producer of Chariots of Fire, the Mission, etc. My own humble self will also be saying a few words.

It’s on at the Kinsale Yacht Club Friday, Feb 20th from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Cost is €45 for non-members and €20 for members.

Travel Fever

corkairporthotel Acting on a tip from Mr. Mulley, I booked into the Cork International Airport Hotel since I’m off to Japan early tomorrow morning. It’s astonishing value for money at the moment (parking is also half the long-term airport parking price), and whatever some might think about the decor, it sure is fun.

Dinner was had at Cafe Paradiso, and once again it didn’t disappoint. Denis Cotter still has the best restaurant in Cork in my opinion,  and it made me happy to see it packed and buzzing. Anyone wanting to eat there should know they have cut back their lunch service in an effort to streamline. I hope that’s a temporary thing, since one would certainly hope that such quality is rewarded, no matter the economic climate. 

Next post from Tokyo!

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Burgers, Tapas, and Italian in Killorglin

 Even thought I’m in Killarney all the time, I very rarely get to Killorglin, though it’s a minimal detour. A few days ago, I had a bit of time to kill and a bit of hunger and decided to check out the offerings.

One of my excuses for going was to visit the Real Burger Co. (photo right), who have recently become a customer. They seem to be doing quite well, and really take effort with their menu and range of gourmet burgers (not to mention the ice cream!). I like their website as well.

We decided for food, however, to have more of a sit down meal and went to Sol y Samba (photo top) for some tapas. The restaurant is in a former church on top of a hill, and it certainly has one of the nicest interiors of any restaurant in Ireland. With Spanish staff, a good range of wines, and even some entertainment from time to time, it’s a great asset to the town.

Another place worth a mention is Giovannelli Restaurant. I met Daniele at the Dingle Food Festival last year, where he was selling fantastic Italian produce at the farmer’s market. His new place seems to be quite popular (it was fully booked on a weeknight), and the offerings look appetising indeed.

We had to be content with picking up some Italian cheese from the deli counter at the back of the place (he also has a range of Italian meats and sausages).

If you’re in Killorglin, you’re certainly not going to go hungry!

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A Late Taste of Terra Madre

Forgive the lateness of this (not very bloggy, I know!), but here’s a video my brother Sean took of Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food, who was at Terra Madre. Petrini spoke as part of the organics conference…

One interesting snippet Sean brought back, is that it has been proven that the milk of cows who graze on grass has much higher concentrations of healthy fats and less dangerous fats than those fed on grain. Great to see those Kerrys grazing in these parts!

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Eating My Way from Kinsale To Mallow

Ardmore Just a little recap of the rest of my Cork sales trip:

In Kinsale, I visited Mange Tout, a little, tasty shop for delicious food on the go and a good place to grab a cup of coffee.

Gwen's ChocolatesI also learned that Gwen’s Chocolates has opened a branch in Kinsale, and any chocoholic will find their new place irresistible. It’s a stylish, continental-style chocolate cafe, and you can indulge in a cup of the hot stuff, pick up a bar from a good-sized range, or arm yourself with tongs and fill a bag from the mouth-watering rows of truffles.

I made it to Cork City in time for lunch, and managed to find a table at my favourite restaurant there – Cafe Paradiso. Dennis Cotter has been working his magic for a long time, but it feels as fresh as ever. The risotto I had with Bluebell Falls goats cheese, avocado and fresh peas was one of the best dishes I’ve tasted in a long while.

O'Keefe's Food Shop, CorkWe have a few new accounts coming on-line in Cork, notably JJ O’Driscolls and the Spar on the Douglas Road. This is great news for us, since finding our ice cream in the city has been difficult. The Blue Olive still has a selection, as does the brilliantly old-school O’Keefe’s gourmet shop in St. Luke’s Cross.

I spent the night outside Youghal in Ardmore (why not?), where the bed and breakfast lady turned out to be a regular Kerry visitor and customer in our Dingle and Killarney shops. The town is a gem, and the stunning cliff walk (photo top) is balm to the soul.

The next morning, I visited another new account – Grandon Fine Foods in Sallybrook near Glanmire. A gleaming shop attached to a petrol station, it seems to be quite a popular stop for a snack.

UrruOn the way back to Dingle, I stopped at Urru in Mallow. Ah, to have an Urru in Kerry! Any foodie who hasn’t visited one of their two branches is seriously missing out. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll find food blogger supreme, Caroline, behind the counter in Mallow. She served me up a bit of the aforementioned goat’s cheese and some smoked crackers to help me survive the trip back home.

It’s a lot of driving, but I must do this more often!

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Eating My Way to Kinsale

 I’ve gone off on a bit of an ice cream sales trip, which is normally something that my brother does (and much better that I do). Still, it’s been a while since I’ve done a tour of South Kerry and Cork, and I was quite happy to set out. 

Honestly, it’s hardly seemed like work at all, given that visiting customers entails snacking at some of the best food shops in Ireland and everybody was so welcoming and friendly.

After leaving Dingle, I stopped in for a latte in our Killarney shop. Then a scenic drive and a fantastic salmon tart at Truffle Pig in Kenmare. Leaving Kenmare, I had a brief stop at Benoit Lorge’s Chocolate Shop, then drove to Ballylicky (an even more beautiful drive) and rewarded myself with some cheese and a herbal drink at Val Manning’s mouth-watering emporium.

On to Bantry, where I visited De Barra’s restaurant, then to Skibbereen, where there’s a new food and wine shop and the very impressive Field’s Supervalu. Then I drove to Bandon for a cappuccino and cherry tart at the unmissable Urru.

Now I’m in Kinsale, where I found room for dinner at Max’s Wine Bar (including a melted chocolate tart served with our ice cream) and am now comfortable ensconced at Perryville House

Tomorrow I hope I’m feeling less stuffed, because I have a few stops in Cork city and I know I won’t go hungry!

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