Monday, June 14, 2010

Taste of Dublin 2010 - The Highs and Lows

On Saturday afternoon, myself and the Hubs began our journey to Taste of Dublin... car to parents house, walk to DART, DART into town, walk some more and we arrived at the Iveagh Gardens all set for an evening of great food and wonderful drink.

So... I had already voiced my concerns at the prices being charged at Taste of Dublin for food.  I hate that "R" word with a passion, but somebody organising the event needs to catch onto themselves and bring the prices down - 7 florins is a ridiculous sum of money...yes, it's €7, no matter how you dress it up for a single table-tennis ball sized Shrimp & Smoked Haddock Croquette from Chapter One.  The Hubs took one look at it and asked if they were taking the piss!  We spent a substantial amount of our money on the demon drink and goodies to bring home, so only four dishes were sampled.

Rolys - Crispy Duck Wonton
This was a good sized potion absolutely stuffed to the brim with shreds of very succulent and moist duck.  The cucumber & spring onion salad was very fresh but the dish was very salty.

The Cellar - Lamb Kofta Skewers
A huge portion which split neatly into two thanks to some deft forkwork by me.  This was gorgeous, as was the Tzaziki which accompanied it, but again very very salty (can you see a pattern here?)

Venu - Dublin Bay Prawn Scampi with Preserved Lemon Salt
Plenty of juicy crisp scampi in this portion with a beautiful tartare sauce but ruined by far too much salt - we were gasping for something to drink after this... perhaps this was the intention!

I cannot even begin to tell you how peed off I still am about this.  We ordered the last two burgers they had and decided to find somewhere comfy to sit down and eat/drink.  Only one of the burgers actually had any meat in it.  To paraphrase Nan from Catherine Tate "what a fackin' liberty".  Erik & Michelle - where's the beef?

Oi, where's the beef?

So... what was good?

Plenty of stuff actually, despite my moans above.

Beer & potential dinner for The Hubs...

I signed up for the Ballymaloe Cookery School lesson with the lovely Rachel Allen, then raced off to ensure The Hubs was well supplied with beer before I donned my blue apron.  I had been told that they were cooking Portobello Mushrooms which suited me perfectly as I had already done the Chicken Paillard dish 2 years ago.  Whoops... it was the chicken again.  The lovely Emma & Pam very kindly gave me the recipe so I can try it out at home.  We were joined by Derry Clarke who claimed to be publicising his new Master Butcher venture with Michael Bermingham but was actually in need of a refresher course!!  The redoubtable Pamela soon put him in his place & taught him how to make Aioli.  The cheeky sod handed her his mess to clean up... typical man.

Emma & Rachel in action

We made a pitstop at the Superquinn Pavillion where we had a white wine tasting session - we both preferred the French wines, funny that!  The SQ Florentines are yum & we snagged a few boxes to bring home.

After that, I detoured to the Taste of Thailand area where I had a very intensive Thai Massage... that certainly beat away the knots in my neck and we may have had some Chang beer - thirsty work, all this walking.

We eventually wandered down to the main area where I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Catherine Fulvio from Ballyknocken again.  I did one of Catherine's Summer Entertaining courses with Freak a while back and I'm surprised she didn't kick us out with all the giggling we did.  Luckily she doesn't hold a grudge and was ultra-charming.  We also met the other C. Fulvio - her husband Claudio, who was rocking a Panama hat in a most stylish manner, and chatted to him for ages.  He made us promise to visit Sicily sooner rather than later, and we will, we promise!

We also ran into Emer from CraftButchers on the Green Farm Foods stand - our Dads are very good friends so we swapped tales for a while... before moving onto the Tropicana stand, where we feasted on mini smoothies, smoked salmon bagels and blinis.

Then we found the Cocoa Atelier stand - this was just heavenly, with the most divine chocolate creations laid out for sampling.  We came home with a 15 piece box of their chocolates which I'll write about in a separate post as they deserve special treatment!

I had a few Florins burning a hole in my pocket so I hightailed it to the Donnybrook Fair stand where I knew Sheridans Cheesemongers had a counter.  The lovely Elizabeth let me taste a variety of cheeses and we came home with a huge wedge of Milleens which has barely survived 48 hours in our house...

And all too soon, it was chucking-out time so we wandered back to the DART station for the trip home.  We may have been sidetracked into a pub on the way for a mojito and a daiquiri.  Based on my tender head the next morning, I should have kept walking!

So in conclusion... Taste of Dublin needs to sharpen up its act especially on pricing and food quality.  I'm not alone in this opinion, as Robert and Not Junk Food have already written their pieces on Taste of Dublin and we all seem to come to the same end result.

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