Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dublin Docklands Maritime Festival (part two)

The ships, craft booths, and food booths lined both sides of the River Liffey. The boats are various shapes and sizes, from all over the world. We paid €2 per person to board one of them, well worth it.

The Maritime Festival continues today and tomorrow. Definitely worth a look if you are in Dublin!

PS- bring sunscreen! Just because it's Ireland doesn't mean that sunburns can't happen (yeah, oops)

Dublin Docklands Maritime Festival (part one)

Yesterday we arrived at the Dublin Maritime Festival unsure of what to expect. The weather was perfect, sunny skies, with just a touch of a breeze. We had plans to meet up with friends later in the afternoon, but we arrived early and had a few hours to walk around and scope out the scene. Many interesting booths, big ships, street performers to watch, and great food!

Throughout the seven hours we were there, we shared
a German bratwurst


and a chicken taco from the “Taco Man”

We also saw a pig being roasted

“yards of slush”


“man of aran” fudge

and we watched some street performers while waiting for our friends

"Real Gourmet Burgers"

Friday night we had plans to go out with friends. We decided to stay in the neighborhood and dine at a local favorite, "Real Gourmet Burgers". My husband and I had been there several times in the past, but for whatever reason a review never made it into the blog, so here you go.

First, the location can’t be beat. It’s very convenient for everyone in our neighborhood and if you happen to live outside of Ballsbridge, there’s a bus stop directly in front of the restaurant.

Second, the atmosphere is quite pleasant, though it can be a bit loud at times. However you must remember that this isn’t fine dining. If anything it’s an Irish version of Red Robin, though a bit more upscale.

And then there’s the food. Next time we are there, I promise to get a few pictures, but for now a description will have to do. The hamburgers are huge. They are so tall that it’s easier to eat them with a knife and fork. The lettuce is always crisp, tomatoes full of flavor, and the mature Irish cheddar is well, good Irish cheese. Many of the sauces and relishes are made in house and very tasty. Due to the enormous size and height of the hamburgers, I recommend that two people split a side dish (the skinny cut fries with rosemary are delicious). The bar menu is rather limited as the only beer offered is Italian, Peroni, however the wine list is decent and the usual non-alcoholic beverages are available.

Real Gourmet Burger, you are a neighborhood favorite!

The restaurant website is under construction, but look here to view the menu.

A night out with friends in Dublin isn’t complete without a stop at the pub for a pint or two. Lucky for us, there are many in the neighborhood to choose from.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dublin Docklands Maritime Festival- this weekend

Attention Dublin residents: The Dublin Docklands Maritime Festival starts today!

Friday 12:00pm-7:00pm
Saturday 11:00am-7:00pm
Sunday 11:00am-7:00pm
Monday 11:00am-6:00pm

Check out their website for more information. We are planning to attend tomorrow. I'll post a recap and pictures later this weekend.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

angry (mostly with myself)

Yesterday I heard a loud noise and looked out the window to see a moving truck parked at an angle behind my car. It appeared they were working at the neighbor’s house. The truck looked close, really close, but I assumed that if they had actually hit my car, they would have come to the front door. Plus I saw that the back of the moving truck was open, so I assumed the movers had dropped something in the truck, thus explaining the noise.

I should have gone outside, but I didn’t want to confront a big group of guys by myself, plus it would have been obvious that I was going out to look for damage and there were several of them right by my car. As they were leaving, something told me to write down the name of the moving company.

A few hours later I went outside, and sure enough, they hit my car. I’m so angry. I’m angry with them for hitting it and not taking responsibility, but I’m even angrier with myself for not taking care of it immediately. I should have gone outside when it happened; I should have called the Garda (Irish police) and the RSO (regional security officer at the embassy). If you are not in the foreign service you probably think calling the Garda and RSO is a bit dramatic, but it’s actually what we are supposed to do.

I showed the damage to my husband when he came home and of course he asked why I didn’t call him, the police, and the RSO. I know, I know. He is very glad that I didn’t go outside to confront the movers, particularly since I was alone.

I don’t think we will be following up since I didn’t actually see it happen. I realize it’s not horrible damage, but still, my car only has 1200 miles on it and it was parked in my driveway. I’m not ready for bumps and bruises yet :(

The damage….

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

it all started with a walk in the park...

Yesterday we decided to take advantage of a few rain-free hours and go for a walk in our neighborhood park.

Herbert Park

We walked to the end of the park and decided to keep walking. We came across a wine store and decided to have a look.

Of course we had to buy something :) It was in the “Manager’s Choice” section and very reasonably priced € 11.99.

Then we found a cute little grocery store that carries a wide variety of specialty items from around the world.

My husband was very happy to have found ricotta cheese. I’ve not been able to find it here, so the poor guy hasn’t had lasagna in a long time (it’s been added to next week’s menu). The produce looked great so we bought some asparagus. That led to him deciding that he should grill, so off we went to the butcher (sorry, no picture).

We decided to open the wine we had purchased earlier in the day. It was very good.

From the store’s website
“Domaine de Serame Syrah Reserve
In recent years this historic estate has been transformed into a Languedoc “First Growth” The quality of the wines is remarkable this beautifully balanced blackberried Syrah could easily pass for an expensive Northern Rhône….a steal at this price! Wine of the Week Irish Times Feb'08 Amongst a sea of Syrah emanating from the Languedoc, this stands out, particularly at this price. Delicious, cool, refined plum fruits that sail .right on through to the finish, given extra interest by hints of woodsmoke. There are plenty of tannins, so save it for a roast lamb, beef or pork.”

And then it was time to eat.

We have plenty of leftovers. All in all, a very enjoyable day!

kitty mohawk

The cats had flea treatments this weekend. They don’t have fleas; it was just preventative. Very easy to do, just a couple of drops of medicine on their backs. Of course Bella decided to move as I was applying it, then bumped up against something. Presenting, kitty mohawk.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Today we went to Church, not church church, The Church

I saw The Church a few weeks ago and wanted to check it out. We were there for lunch today and had such a lovely time. The staff was friendly and efficient. Prior to ordering, I asked our server what kind of dressing came with a particular salad. She then asked me if I was allergic to anything. After telling her that I was, she consulted with the kitchen and told me that the dressing did contain walnuts, so I ordered something else. Great job on taking care of customers with food allergies!

The food was served quickly and was delicious. We sat in the Main Bar at The Church. The atmosphere is a lot of fun and great for people watching. In addition to exceeding all of our expectations in a restaurant, The Church is also rich with history. Check out their website.

This place should not be missed in Dublin!

Friday, May 22, 2009


I thought I was done with the IVF paperwork, oh was I mistaken. In addition to my usual responsibilities, I’ve been working on paperwork all week. I’m so tired of it. The new infertility clinic wants all of my medical records (infertility/ IVF related). This wouldn’t be a big deal except that some of it was never translated from Russian into English. I’m not going to translate everything, but they really do need copies of all the lab work, tests, medication schedule, and the embryologist’s report. Again, some of it was translated, particularly the contracts between us and the clinic. I laughed today as I noticed our signatures agreeing to raise our child/ children according to the “Code of Laws of Marriage and Family of Belarus”. Hey, I would have signed just about anything at that point.

Anyway, sorry for the long absence, it’s been a busy week. Me, hundreds of pages of medical records, the scanner, and an English/ Russian medical dictionary. Good times.

Attention cat and dog owners!

You need the FURminator.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, and wondered if it would hurt the cats because of the small metal teeth. Used gently they don’t seem to mind the brush at all. The amount of hair it removes is amazing. A must have for all pet owners.

5 stars

random cat pictures from the week

Bella crawled under a blanket and made herself comfortable.

Every afternoon around 4:30, Guinness goes into the foyer and waits on the table for my husband to come home from work. It doesn't matter what time he walks in the door, Guinness is there waiting for his "daddy".

Naughty kitties, again.

Guinness in the etiquette books, again.

Monday, May 18, 2009

floating book fair review

Last Friday we were informed that the “world’s largest floating book fair” would be in Dublin for ten days. My husband and I both love to read so we decided to check it out on Saturday.

We arrived just as they were showing a brief film on how the ship works, information about the all-volunteer crew, and the mission of the organization. It turned out that the ship belongs to a group called Logos Hope. It is a Christian organization that from what I understand, travels around the world selling books and participates in projects such as building schools and orphanages, and provides medical care in developing countries.

The number of books was impressive, as was the selection. They had everything from cookbooks, books on business, reference books, kids books, and of course Christian books. Approximately a quarter of the books are Christian (many from well known authors). The all-volunteer staff was extremely polite and helpful, books were all brand new and well organized.

For my friends with infertility: if being around small children is difficult for you, I would avoid it. There were a lot of families there and lots of little kids running loose. I made it about 30 minutes, but when I overheard a woman tell a young boy to put back a baby name book because “Thank God I don’t need that anymore”, it was time to go.

Overall I’m glad we went; it was interesting to see.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Product Review: onion chopper

I will admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect, as the few reviews on Amazon weren’t overwhelmingly positive. I’m so glad I took the risk and purchased this product. It will never be a useful tool for a professional chef, but for the at home cook with sensitive eyes, it’s a lifesaver.

5 stars

disappointment at lunchtime

After going to the Jameson Distillery about ten days ago, we were all hungry and headed over to a restaurant in the same courtyard as the entrance to Jameson. The restaurant was clean, staff was friendly and attentive, and the food was AMAZING. I ordered a half portion of the smoked salmon and caper salad. For a mere 4.50 Euro, I expected a very small portion, little piece of smoked salmon, and a few bits of the other ingredients listed on the menu. Was I in for a surprise, it was huge. Not oh a little bigger than expected, but “err, is this the half portion”? Large pieces of smoked salmon were draped over the crisp lettuce, capers and green olives on the edge of the plate, four dollops of a guacamole mixture, and the dressing was a light lemon and olive oil. As noted earlier, the service was above and beyond. Everyone in our party thoroughly enjoyed their meals.

As we had planned to go to the floating book fair yesterday, my husband asked if I wanted to go out for lunch first. I immediately suggested the restaurant by Jameson, which from our house is quite far. We arrived at the restaurant and I noticed the menu was different. Uh oh!! Sure enough, in just ten days it had changed ownership, new staff, new chef, new menu. My salad was gone. I’m going to speculate that it must have been financially motivated. I would not have been able to buy the ingredients at the store and made the salad myself for 4.50 Euro. I almost felt guilty that it was so inexpensive, like maybe I should have offered more money. It was THAT good and THAT big. Yesterday I ordered the warm goat cheese salad; it was good enough, but nothing like the salad ten days ago.

Chef of the amazing, smoked salmon and caper salad, if you are reading this, would you please contact me and tell me where you are working now?

Friday, May 15, 2009

attention Irish readers- books

I received an email from the embassy today informing me of an event in Ireland. The brochure states that this is the "world's largest floating Book Fair with over 6,000 titles at bargain prices". There's a volunteer crew representing 45 countries, and an exhibition by local artists. I don't know much about it, but thought I would pass along the information. We are planning to check it out this weekend or next.

Dublin 14th-24th May 2009 Sir John Rogerson's Quay

Cork 3rd-12th July 2009 Horgan's Quay

Look for a HUGE ship!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

new toys

With two furry, black cats, I'm always looking for ways to keep the shedding to a minimum. I used to use these two brushes

which worked fine, but then I heard about the FURminator. The reviews are great, so I had to order it.

The other new toy is an onion chopper. I can't stand the stinging and tears from chopping onions. I hope it works!