Part III: Dublin, Ireland – FEED ME PLEASE

Know me – know this: I love to eat. I like good food. I’ll plot my days around a meal, fasting so I’m able to gorge myself even more when the time comes.

the thanksgiving fiasco of 1999 had its moments.

the thanksgiving fiasco of 1999 had its strange moments.

Also, it’s an ongoing fact in the family that if I don’t get fed, I’ll throw a rager pretty damn fast. Seriously, cue Sybil.

This is generally what I look like after I eat a meal. Really note the candy cigarette.

"ahhh, the digestion pains so good..."

“ahhh, the digestion pains so good…”

So it makes a lot of sense that the first hushed argument my husband and I had in Dublin revolved around food. We arrived on December 26th, St. Stephens Day, a holiday that pretty much shuts down the city. Starved, we ventured  around and around seeking the perfect meal. When we made it to the Temple Bar area my husband was shocked at the prices.

“$28 for fish and chips?” he had griped, dragging me to the next restaurant menu.

“We keep passing all these beautiful food places. I don’t want any more walking!” I had wailed in response.

We couldn’t decide. We stumbled along bitching at each other until we found THE Temple Bar.



Sweet success.

There at the Temple Bar I broke a sweat eating my first meal in Ireland. A corned beef sandwich with red onion and brie.

Enduring angry starvation for this sandwich was well worth it. Which brings me to my next point. I love food, but I’m a food snob. I want to eat meals that are worth the goddamn calories. Therefore, I scoured the city of Dublin for the best places to grab a bite and this is what I found…

The Winding Stair

I squealed with delight when I found this restaurant. Why, you ask? Because it’s a combo-restaurant AND bookstore. “Named after the Yeats poem, and in honour of its winding staircase…


The food is locally sourced and not typical Irish cuisine. What I so admired about Ireland is that any locally sourced product was noted on the menu and the farm name was given.  The Winding Stair was cozy, intimate and overlooked the quay. To start the meal, we ordered this appetizer: Burren smokery, Terry Butterly, Stephen Kavanagh and John Rogan’s smoked fish plate with our Dillisk bread, crème fraîche, pickled cucumbers and caper-berries.


For our entrees, I ordered venison (in typical Montana fashion) and my husband ordered duck and both were prepared perfectly. I highly recommend this quaint restaurant and great food. I cannot recommend the Instagram photos I took of our entrees and therefore no horrid photos are to follow.

And then the bookstore. It’s the oldest surviving independent bookshops in Dublin. Sigh. What can I say? I went back three times.



The Farm  

IMG_20121229_195034 IMG_20121229_195101 IMG_20121229_211940

This is a restaurant that prides itself on local and organic food and ingredients. On Dawson Street in Dublin, the atmosphere and décor of The Farm was adorable. We ordered from the prix-fixe menu, getting an appetizer, entrée and dessert for approx $50 per person.

Mama like.

Mama like.

The food was good. Not great. It was healthy and tasty but underwhelming for what I expected. However, the service was impeccable and the atmosphere worth it. There was even a buzzer on the table to call for service. THAT is superb.

Crackbird/ Jo Burger/Skinflint  

Yes to all of these.

The greatest find on my restaurant list was this boutique restaurant group that owned four concepts in Dublin. My husband and I dined at three of these.

Crackbird is one of the best names and logos I’ve ever seen in my life.


I like to imagine the bird’s name is Gary and he does crack.

Serving up delicious wings and sides were the main pros of this restaurant. The cons were the awful 1999-circa Madonna music piped through the place and the out-of-place Asian décor. That said, it was still delicious. I’d eat the face off their chicken any day.

I hunted everywhere for Jo Burger. Finally I found it on Grafton Street.


Their menu is fabulous.

You choose your meat, your bun and your toppings. The pairings are astounding. Caramelized chili banana, bacon & goats cheese? Uh, yes please. Or maybe you prefer Green Thai Curry Mayo, Coriander & Chilli?

Whatever you want, Jo Burger has it.

And it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.

IMG_20121230_153915 IMG_20121230_153907

My husband and I stumbled out in ecstasy.

Skinflint, sounding more like a skin tag condition than a restaurant, was located in a narrow alleyway.

IMG_20121231_152812 IMG_20121231_152449

Again, like Jo Burger, their menu served up delicious, thin-crust pizzas with insane toppings.

All the pizzas were named after women, making me feel slightly awkward as I ordered. “I’ll have the Dorothy. Ahem. Not like that. The pizza.”

The pizza, fools.

The pizza, fools.

And let me tell you, I ate the shit outta that pizza.

McDonald’s/Burger King

Shut up.

I know. I KNOW.

On O’Connell Street where our hotel was, there were two Burger Kings and two McDonald’s  Our first day in Dublin, my husband and I scoffed at all the silly fools eating at these American chains. But night soon fell. It got late. We were slightly tipsy. It was St Stephen’s Day and nothing was open.

We succumbed to McDonald’s. Slinking in, I made my husband order a Quarter Pounder. We ate fast and then bolted.

Another night, traipsing home from Temple Bar we made a Burger King pit stop.

The Husband does the walk of shame.

The Husband does the walk of shame.

And a few days later, getting back from bar hopping on New Year’s Eve, my first meal of 2013 was eating McDonalds on top of my hotel bed wearing nothing but my socks and underwear.


The lesson learned is that fast food overseas is convenient in a drunken pinch.

That’s it.

Shut up.

A few lessons learned on this dining extravaganza…

  • You don’t tip bartenders. You tip servers 8-10%.
  • Big security guards at Burger King make me nervous.
  • Irish coffee is so much more than Irish coffee.
Behold my beauty.

Behold my beauty.

And so, this concludes my Ireland Trilogy. I’ll always remember it. I’ll always taste that fresh Guinness in my mouth. And most importantly, I’ll always have a fond appreciation for bartenders warning me against Romanian gypsies.

Oh, the sweet smell of fear.

Oh, the sweet smell of fear. Or ether.

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  • Reply


    January 21, 2013 at 1:57 am


  • Reply


    January 21, 2013 at 4:23 am

    Okay, great, I want to go to (most) of these places, esp. the bookstore/restaurant combo and the place with the burgers. Thanks!

    • Reply


      January 23, 2013 at 3:28 am

      glad you liked Kathy! And yes, those two are the must-do’s.

  • Reply


    January 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    That burger looks like a man vs food contestant. i.e., wonderful.

  • Reply

    Michael Gillan Maxwell

    January 22, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Loved your Dublin trilogy Jules! Although I must admit, the spoiler alert about sweat pants at the end of the first installment set me up to expect ribald tales from an Irish Walmart in the next episode. Needless to say, I was crushed when that was not the case. However, total redemption with the third installment which totally tickled my gustatory bone. Absolutely puts The Lunch Lady Cookbook to shame!

    • Reply


      January 23, 2013 at 3:33 am

      I must make “Tales from the Wal-Mart” an upcoming blog post. You heard it here, MGM.

  • Reply


    January 22, 2013 at 12:50 am

    Julia I can’t stop laughing. But I also am a bit jealous as I would have loved to to to the winding stair. And to the resturants OMG what can I say but they sound awesome. Glad you both had a great time. You deserve it. Thank you for always taking us along for the ride through your words and pictures. I can actually experience it through you.

    • Reply


      January 23, 2013 at 3:31 am

      Tammie, we need to plan a trip one of these days. It would be so fun!!

  • Reply


    January 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Jules darling I JUST mailed your book.  I came down with shingles and everthing ground to a halt but feeling a little better on the meds.  xxxxxxxxxxxx


    • Reply


      January 23, 2013 at 3:31 am

      Aw, no worries, Susan! Thank you so much and feel better! XO.

  • Reply

    susan tepper

    January 23, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Jules I’ve just eaten a mediocre bowl of pea soup so your photos and commentary almost brought me to frustrated tears… but I managed to buck up. and will save this posting for when I go to Dublin, and don’t have to do the legwork, cause you’ve done it for me (us).. Cheers & Kudos to the woman who should replace Chelsea Lately.

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