Faro

Recently took a short break to Faro Algarve Portugal. We were looking for somewhere quite with a pool and a bit of culture. Faro was perfect. 


We flew with Ryan Air. The flight was about 3 hours. Getting from Faro airport to Faro was very simple. You have options of shuttle buses, Taxi or bus. We opted to take the bus. It’s bus number 16 and takes about 15 mins to get into faro. It cost €2.25, pay the driver and have the correct amount. The last stop is the bus station where we got off and our hotel was a 2 min walk. Hotel Eva. 


Hotel Eva is situated right on the Marina and is a very good 4 star hotel. Roof top pool, rooms and suites. There is 2 restaurants with amazing views and they also have a health club. 

Our booking included breakfast. What a great selection of cold and hot food. Friendly breakfast staff. Only one negative, the coffee was filtered, and not nice. But the sparkling wine was excellent. 


Faro is small and you would have it travelled in half a day. But it’s beautiful. 


We booked a boat trip to the islands for our second day. It was a hop on hop off boat. Luckily Faro’s season hadn’t started yet so there was no queuing for the boats. Our first stop was the lighthouse. And this island was our favourite. 


There was a lot of locals here and the beach was amazing. Unfortunately we could not go up the lighthouse as it was closed on a Monday. Our next stop was llha Deserta which was pretty gorgeous. The beach went on for miles. We stayed a while and got some sun and then stopped off at the restaurant. There is only 1 restaurant and is expensive as far as Faro is. 


Our last stop was the fishing island. Another great beach. 


Faro has some great restaurants shops and bars. We really enjoyed our trip here and would definitely go back. 

Limerick 

I was attending a restaurant marketing workshop in Limerick  yesterday. The workshop was run by Marc Thornton from DTA Marketing. It was a very interesting workshop. It was casual and not too formal which is what I like, very relaxing. There was a lovely group of people attending and Marc keep us all motivated. It was worth attending and I learned loads. It was also nice sharing stories with other restauranteurs. Marc runs workshops all over Ireland so do check out his site for more details. 


I stayed in the Limerick Strand Hotel. I’ve stayed here before and would highly recommend it. Close to the city,  the food here is amazing with a great influence on local. The staff are very friendly which is something I found every where I went. Limerick people are very nice. 

The picture above is of a Gin I had in House. House is owned by Alan Clancy who owns House Dublin and 37 Dawson Street. 

They have a great Gin menu (pictured below). The bar man in The Strand Hotel recommended I should definitely try out Breil Pur, a gim from Switzerland. Great Mint and Chocolate Flavours. Loved it. 


The second Gin to try was Elephant Gin from Germany , very different, sharp and zesty. Again a very nice gin plus no elephants were hurt in the making of the gin lol 


Also ordered a bread board with dips. Amazing. The dips were so fresh and the bread was served with Sea Salt on it. Loved it. 


House is decorated very hip and comfortable. Again the staff are so polite and they were smiling, happy staff. A quick trip to the loo was next and I’m glad I did. The loos are amazing, but the best part was the powder room across from the loos. 


I could easily move to Limerick. I loved it. 

Today before the drive home took a walk around the city and popped into The Buttery for lunch. Very cool place. Friendly staff again and very very nice food. I had the Cajun Burger. I loved the whole madness about the decoration, a very funky cafe and wine bar. 


Limerick it was a pleasure and I can’t wait to return again. 

Northern Ireland

After a crazy few months I really needed to get away.  Mayo of course is always my first choice. But this time I decided I needed to go somewhere different. Across the border to Northern Ireland was decided.

I’ve been to Belfast before and loved it, I really like the accent. My last visit here was to discover the city but this time I needed more. I needed to discover Northern Ireland and in some ways I needed to rediscover myself.

The Ramanda was where I stayed, it was located close (walking distance) to the places I wished to visit. I didn’t reach Belfast until around 1pm, even with Google maps I got lost twice, the roads are layed out a bit strange. Well that’s my excuse.

First place to visit was Titanic Experience. It’s loaded with information and so much history to take in. You could very easily spend the whole day here. It’s not expensive and I would highly recommend a visit. I’m a bit of an old romantic and still love the story of Jack and Rose. Trying to take something positive from the sinking of the Titanic is impossible and the movie gives us the love story. Slightly overwhelm and full of knowledge it was time to get back to the hotel.

Dinner choice was Mourne Sea food. But before this a quick stop off at the Dirty Onion. A pub recommend by a friend. It was a really cool place. A great spot in the summer I’d imagine. The outdoor area was very hip and as I was about to leave it was getting busy. I did ask the bar maid what was the meaning behind the name. I won’t write what she told me. But I will say that the Dirty Onion has layers of great fun.

snapchat-422755642

A few pints here and a nice stroll over to Mourne seafood. A little early for my reservation so I decided I’d try a pint of Guinness in the bar next door. Kellys. Very south of Ireland pub. The Guinness was tasty and the Irish rebel songs were fun.

snapchat-453179872

Dinner next. Mourne Seafood is a chic trendy spot. A great smell of fish when you walk in the door, I can tell  you if your a fish fan your in for some lovely food.

Mussels,  small portion ordered to start. Cooked perfectly and not overpowered by the sauce. Great starter. Sorry the picture isn’t great.

img_20170228_174840_666

Next up was the  Lobster Burger.  Oh My God. Food Porn. The nicest Lobster Burger I’ve ever eaten. I’m still dreaming about it. It was fresh and full of flavour, not expensive and served with a side of chips.

20170220_211813

The staff are very friendly. They have a sister restaurant in Dundrum, I’m looking forward to checking that out in the very near future.

The next day, up early as a drive to the Rope Bridge and the Giants Causeway was the plan.

snapchat-1699994850

Reached the Rope Bridge first,  (only got lost twice) it was a cold day with light rain. But I couldn’t wait. Tickets got and a 1 mile walk to the bridge. Let’s do this. The view is breathtaking and you can’t help yourself but stop to try and capture the beauty that you are walking alone side with.  No picture can truely show you this. Been there and seeing it, feeling the wind and rain on your face I hadnt felt so alive in such a long time. When I reached the bridge there was a few people in line before me. I had hurt my foot on the walk so the rest was welcome. Only 8 people are allowed to cross the bridge at one time. Our group was next. Steel steps down to the bridge, I could feel my legs shake, I don’t know why, I’m not afraid of heights, (like seriously have you seen my shoes) . Got to the bridge, started to walk across “don’t look down, don’t look down, don’t look down” then I look down. WOW I’m glad I did. It was breath taking. I couldn’t take a picture,  I don’t know why my hands were shaking and my legs like jelly. Loved every moment of this. There is nothing better than been in the fresh air to clear your mind, and your soul  and be tankful to god for been alive.

Giants Causeway was next. It’s just up the road from the Rope Bridge I was told…. do you think I got lost again?

A really enjoyable 15 min walk down to the Causeway. Nice fresh wind in your face. I could have been anywhere in the world.  It has been  quite a few months since I felt so happy. This trip was so much more than I expected it would be. This trip woke me up from the torture I was putting myself through.

I was getting me back.

Pictured below is some lovely fun pictures I took on the streets.

Thank you Northern Ireland, you gave me more than I expected.

Pizza and a Pint 

After a very busy day yesterday with back to back meetings I was way to tired to cook. So we decided to go to The Central for something to eat. 
I’m usually in the central for coffee or drinks. When you have a chronic illness like mine eating out can be extremely difficult, painful and sometimes embarrassing. 
Pizza and a  Pint offer was on. David the very friendly waiter took our order. I had the veggie with no cheese and I was very impressed. We ordered a side  of the sweet potato fries also, my new favourite. 

The deal is available Monday – Thursday and costs an amazing €9.95. 

Highly recommend and looking forward to having this again. 

Corks cafe and Wine Bar

Headed over here yesterday for lunch. The place is quite deceiving from the out side, much bigger when you walk in. The decoration is lacking variety, lots of Windows so great light coming into the place. In my opinion it could do with a face lift and some funky lights. 

I ordered their lunch special a cup of soup and a wrap. Changes had to be made to the wrap, no meat or cheese. This wasn’t a problem. The soup was roasted red pepper, missing seasoning and a little sweet, but very enjoyable. Presentation wasn’t great with the soup dripping down the side of the cup. 


The wrap was delicious and was served with leaves underneath. Fresh with a lovely spicy dressing. 

Service was unsatisfactory , no cutlery was dropped to the table or a napkin. My guest had sea food chowder, but didn’t have a knife to butter his bread. Tryed several times to get the waitress attention. She did apologise and advised that she was new, poor girl seemed to be the only one working. The wine list looked very average and not as big as I expected from a wine bar. 


The food was lovely but the building lacked any kind of atmosphere, it was cold and dull. It has great potential to be so much better. 

Yorkshire……. Gods own Country 

Gods Own Country  was first used to describe the Wicklow mountains. Several other countries followed suit like Australia,  Wales and even the United States. I recently had the pleasure to visit Yorkshire, but I didn’t get to see much of it as my trip was to visit family in Hull.

I found Yourkshire people are very friendly and polite. And can see why my sister loves to live in such a beautiful place like Yorkshire. There are so many places I would love to see, I would love to visit the Peak District in South Yorkshire, and visit the greenest city in Europe Sheffield and try and count all the trees. The North York Moors looks like a lovely place to visit also. More trips to visit my sister I think. 

Saramique Studio is a family friendly pottery painting studio and coffee house. 

We were in Hessle village for breakfast and popped here after a nice walk around the shops for a coffee. The coffee is locally roasted, their signature Jones blend is very smooth and slightly bitter. Really good coffee. 


Lovely little outside seating area to the front and a great big courtyard  area out the back. 


Their pottery is not just for kids,  but they have adult nights too with a BYO Policy. Sounds like a nice girly night out. I’ll be back. 

I love the decorations in this place. On one side of the room its light and airy where you do your pottery and on the other side is a more relaxed chill out area with comfortable seats. They have sweet treats and local crisps and lemonade. I love love love that they support local. 

This place is good for loads of reasons. A quite cup of coffee, a nice chill area, or pottery. I’m looking forward to popping in again on my next visit. 
Well done guys. 

Eastern Sea Board. 

Last week I took a trip out to Drogheda to Easten Sea Board for lunch. I have not been overly impressed in the past, but decided I would give it another go. It’s been about 2 years since I was there last and seeing tweets from friends with great pictures, the food looked good. New chef maybe? Anyway I was delighted to give it another go. 

Arrived with no booking but was seated straight away. The chairs I do find and always have a little uncomfortable, maybe a good thing for them as your not likely to over stay. 

Quick look at the menus I was undecided between two dishes. Crab Claws or Mussels, I needed to see how both were cooked and if they were lactose intolerant. When I questioned the waitress she brought me the allergen menu. Mussels it was, served with home cut fries and I got to choose another side, I choose Puy Lentils. 

They mussels arrived in a massive bowl, and I couldn’t wait to dig in. They were cooked perfectly, shells  half open and every mussel still in its shell. Happy. 


My lunch guest had the veggie burger which was also served with a side of home cut fries. It looked great, and I was advised it tasted great too. 


My only few negatives are, 1. The mussels should have come with an empty bowl for the shells as I was left searching through the empty shells to find the ones at the bottom. And my 2nd negative is that the salt is rock salt which I hate, but what annoyed me was its served in a small container, and you have to use your fingers to pick it up. I wouldn’t dare, hygiene reasons. Apart from that it was a very enjoyable afternoon. 

I will return but might bring my own salt next time. 

Love Irish Food. 

I can’t understand how ppl can eat and pay for cheap food when Ireland has such quality of raw ingredients. 

This was a tweet I posted a few weeks ago. It seemed to annoy a certain person a lot that he wrote a blog about me. Tweeted the blog but didn’t have the balls to include me in the tweet. Highly rude I think, if your going to talk about me or write about me have some manners and allow me the chance to reply. But I guess we all have different upbringings. I was brought up and not dragged up. 

I’m not going to get into who said what, but basically he hasn’t the same ethos as I do when it comes to shopping Local and Irish for my family or my customers. I don’t buy New Zeland lamb, Polish Chicken or Frozen Prawns when I have access to Irish on my doorstep. 


For example ex customers and friends of this person would prefer to eat in a cheaper restaurant than ours. The restaurant is cheaper because they 1. Don’t serve Irish meat and 2. Have a BYOB policy. Now I’m sorry and I don’t even know why I’m apologosing  but I care what I put into my body and thankfully so do my customers and family. I care so much that in Copper and Spices we grow our own veg and herbs, freshly picked every day. 


He continues to write about cheap cuts of meat and how back in the 70s and 80s how Irish family’s were fed. Em yeah we know, but I guess when you don’t have anything constructive to write about you have to find inspiration from somewhere. Maybe? 

I think at one point he referred to me as food snobbery and ignorant. But a few paragraphs prior to that he pulled out the bully card. He continues to advise his readers about how he is trying to pass his food (cheap) ethos to his kids. 

He then continues and this gave me a laugh, to say that Local food products and beer are dodgy, he then compares local pork to wild boar from foreign shores, suggesting that the boar has a happier life.  Now I think Peter Whelan would have a very different opinion on this, for those of you who dont know who Peter is he’s a local pig farmer.  Breeding a rare old Irish breed of pig called the Irish Grazer. Iv been up to Peters farm , great place and even with me been a vegetarian I can tell ya those pigs were very happy. I’d suggest leaving the Wild Boar on his foreign shore and trying out peters pig. 


Before I buy an Irish or a Local product I do my best to get to know the owner. Visiting farms is a big deal for me or if the owner of a product is too far away I connect with them on Twitter. I find speaking to “Good Food Ireland” if I feel lost as to checking out there members. To be a member of “Good Food Ireland” is a big deal. They have regular inspections of their members. For a restaurant to be a member you will have an inspector call and check  receipts  back as far as 12 months to make sure you are supporting Local and Irish. You must have at least 60% of your menu supporting Local and Irish, and yes Copper and Spices are a member. With a massive 80% of Local and Irish food and drinks. Actually it’s probably higher as since our last inspection we have taken on 3 extra Local Beers, and changed our coffee to Local also. 

I digressed a little. Back to my fellow blogger. He tried to compare my restaurant in Meath to a restaurant in Cork. Saying how the restaurant in Cork only uses products within 12 miles, excellent idea especially if your restaurant is in Kinsale  and you have access to our lovely Irish water. He gives out that I have to travel 40km to get my fish,( em no I don’t)  and laughs at me been a champion of supporting Local food. Firstly I support Local and Irish. Secondly I’m unsure how far his education when, but if he took out a map of Ireland he would see that County Meath is land locked. I can’t see me sitting on the banks of the river Boyne fishing for Trout and trying to sell it to my customers. It might be a good idea for him to come up and try and fish, if he’s lucky he might catch “The Salmon of Knowledge” and gain some. Luckily we have one of the best fish shops around and guess what it’s only over 200 steps from the door of my restaurant to its door, BTW I have small feet. Size 4. 

I love all the Local and Irish beers we produce here in Ireland. Amazing. We have 6 beers in Copper and Spices all Local and Irish. When I go out I really enjoy a good Gin and Tonic, Irish Gin if it’s available and most certainly Irish beer. 

My little pub down in Mayo unfortunately don’t serve either. So when I’m home and my 90 year old grandad wants to go out for a pint and maybe watch a football match I have no choice but to drink Heinekin, I prefer Guiness but in my local it’s not always great.  

Of course we can’t survive without non Irish food. We have to buy our spices in, we buy them whole and mix our own blends. But trust me if they were available and grown here I wouldn’t be buying them in. 

If there is a Local or Irish producer product on a shelf I will buy it before a Tesco , Lidi etc brand. I care what eat. 

Shop Local and support Irish. 

Now before I go I will advise you all that I won’t be tagging him in this blog, tit for tac if to like. To be honest I don’t like arguing and judging by his tweets to me, we share very different opinions and the last conversation I had with him, (actually the first and last) he got all his beer buddies to join in and retweet his opinions. There is a few screen shots from one of his friends below trying to put words into my mouth. 


Klaw 

I was super excited to try klaw out. I had heard loads of great reports so today I finally got to try it out. With my health not in the best form today, slightly off balance and slow on my feet it took me a while to walk through temple bar to get there. 

The menu is on black boards, basic put enough choice. I choose the lobster roll and wasn’t disappointed, found it slightly expensive at €16. It was washed down with a great pale ale. 


Would I go back , yes as some of the other dishes looked amazing. Hats off to them for having fresh fish. Well done 

StockHouse Trim 

Eating out for me has become difficult. Suffering with a chronic illness has changed my life. It’s not always easy for chefs to cater for my requirements but this wasn’t the case in StockHouse

Tom Darcy co owner was on duty, one of the great Gin experts. Stock House has alot to offer, famous for their steaks, but cater very well for vegetarians also. 
To start Tom said he would do me up a starter. It was mushrooms served with onions, peppers, tomatoes and a gentle sweet sauce. It was delicious. It was time to discuss gins and more importantly to taste some. 


What a cool label, and it tasted equally as good. Fever tree tonic perfect match. 

Next up was our main course. I love fish and chips but more often than not I find there is more batter than fish and the batter over cooked, but this wasn’t the case. I can honestly say the best fish and chips Iv ever tasted. Beer battered cod and proper chips. The batter was so soft. The peas were seasoned perfectly. Top class dish. 


To finish I tryed out this amazing gin, gun powder Irish gin. Again a great recommendation from Tom. 


Thanks guys for looking after me so well and what’s so great is that your not a million miles away. See you soon.