It makes me cheerful to know that right now, the kitchens of San Mario are bustling with Nonnas making their Christmas pasta, cappelletti in brodo. Pasta is being hand rolled by expert hands, and being filled with a mix of beef, pork and chicken with some parmesan and nutmeg (and other family secret ingredients, of course), before being shaped into delicate cappelletti which will be served in a Christmas capon broth (a capon is a castrated cockerel and an incredibly flavourful bird). It is a gorgeous dish, rich and light and delicate all at once. I want it for Christmas lunch also.
When I think of Galicia, I think of grey skies rushing blue, clouds chasing the rain away fortified by the wind. More rain behind to soak the land again, bringing four seasons in one day. Galicia is not what you expect of Spain. Maybe it is the weather, looking more to the North than the South. I loved the laid back vibe there, and the people. Galicia had been on my bucket list for a while, and it proved to be a lovely place to visit.
Eat Like a Girl is delighted to welcome new writer, Ella Buchan. Ella is a travel writer based between London and Paso Robles, California. Ella road-tripped all the way down US Route 1 from Fort Kent, Maine to Key West, Florida. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Ella is sharing some of her food highlights from Washington DC and Alexandria with us today.
This post was sponsored by Capital Region USA. (Read more about sponsored content on Eat Like a Girl).
The Food Trucks of Washington DC
Washington DC isn’t all politics and fine dining restaurants. There are more than 200 food trucks dishing up fantastic varied food that reflects the diverse population, and this is where you will find the locals lining up to eat.
I have lived in London for 15 years, yet I have never been to Birmingham just a couple of hours away. Londoners are notorious for sticking just to London and it irked me that I was now doing the same (I am a Londoner, after all!). So, this year I decided that I would make the effort to explore places nearby and not just foreign shores. The UK is very diverse and holds lots of interest for me. (And I have been trying, see my post on A Sunny Weekend in Bournemouth & Lunch at the Pig on the Beach from earlier this year).
I travelled to Barcelona with Jet2CityBreaks who offer great hotel and flight city break packages. Jet2 fly to El Prat Airport in Barcelona which is a short hop from town and very handy for a city break. I wanted to explore Barcelona from all angles, traditional to modern and budget to blowout. Every recommendation is researched in advance and tried and tested by my demanding palate. You will love Barcelona, and all of the wonderful things that you can eat and drink there. First in this series: Barcelona Eating Guide: Traditional to Modern and Budget to Blowout. This is the second (and last).
Now that we know where to eat in Barcelona, let’s focus on where to drink. Barcelona has a terrific bar culture and it is a fun city. You will find plenty to satisfy, old school, contemporary and exciting. You will find a lot of gin. Spain is the biggest gin market in the EU and the third largest in the world (doffs cap to Spain!). They have lots of varieties and pour it freehand and generously in large glasses reminiscent of fish bowls. You must try some Spanish gin when you are there too, one of my favourites is the Nordes gin, fragrant of gentle sea breezes and crashing waves.
I travelled to Barcelona with Jet2CityBreaks who offer great hotel and flight city break packages. Jet2 fly to El Prat Airport in Barcelona which is a short hop from town and very handy for a city break. I wanted to explore Barcelona from all edible angles, traditional to modern and budget to blowout. Every recommendation is researched in advance and tried and tested by my demanding palate. I went on a food tour too. You will love Barcelona, and all of the wonderful things that you can eat there.
Everyone loves Barcelona, even contrarians like me. It seems like everyone has been, and if they haven’t, they want to go. An individual city, so much sets it apart from quirky Gaudi architecture to the beautiful engraved pavement tiles, the most famous of which is the Flor de Barcelona pictured below. Barcelona is a city that loves beauty and attracts artists, a bohemian place that is relaxed and fun and also very stylish. Barcelona has the calm of the sea and beaches as well as a busy city centre lined with restaurants and bars.
On a cold grey November day in London, let me whisk you to the sunny shores of Fremantle in Western Australia.
A city officially, but with the feeling of a laidback seaside town, Fremantle has retained many beautiful old wooden buildings and while this may give it a quaint air, it is very much a contemporary lively place packed with lots of cafes, bars and restaurants. There is a great market, open late, with lots of food options. Beer lovers will love the selection of brewpubs and microbreweries. There are many reasons that Fremantle should be your first stop in Western Australia, one important one is that Fremantle is a relaxed spot that is close to the airport but not close enough that you can hear it. It was a tonic for my jet lag having flown in from London.
Have you ever been to Perth? Or Margaret River? I have been to Australia a number of times, but never out west. A vast swathe of Australia, in parts scorched orange with iron ore sands and sunshine. What surprised me was how lush and green Western Australia became the more we travelled south. It was early spring and that will change, but I was reminded that travel is best when you leave your expectations at the airport and remain open to whatever may come.
We started at Fremantle, and I finished there too. A pretty town outside Perth and on the sea, it is slow paced and well preserved with a thriving food and drink culture. From Fremantle you can travel by boat to Rottnest Island, an island famous for pristine beaches and quokkas (small and relatively tame marsupials that densely populate the island). The name comes from rat nest in Dutch, as they mistook the quokkas for rats when they first found it.
On then to Toledo. A walled city surrounded by a rushing river. It looks very magical, and it is easy to imagine the rich history that Toledo has. There is much to see, Toledo is a rare place where historically Christians, Muslims and Jews lived in harmony alongside each other. There are ancient mosques, synagogues and an impressive gothic cathedral too.
Can you believe that summer is almost over? My garden is wild and enthusiastic, my small harvest looms, and my tomatoes are finally turning a glorious red. Autumn is almost here. The sun is bolstered with crisp air, and the evenings are drawing in. The leaves have started to fall off the trees in my garden.
Menorca is a small island with a big heart. Not just a big heart but a serious heritage. It is clearly Spanish but all a little different, from the stone house structures that look prehistoric and like the many UNESCO heritage sites scattered throughout the island. These are relatively modern and are used to house animals in farm fields. They add to Menorca’s sense of wildness and natural beauty. There is little modern here to interfere.
La Mancha will surprise you. Inland and south of Madrid, La Mancha is home to fields of bright saffron crocuses (and their gorgeous stamens, aka saffron), windmills atop hills surfing waves of wild rocket, each tender stem reaching for the stars and proud with rocket flowers. There are beautiful rural towns with ancient buildings and theatres. Country squares full of locals dancing, painting, enjoying local festivals. Don Quixote was set here and you can see it everywhere.
Galicia loves seafood. The scallop shell is an emblem of their pilgrim walk, the camino de Santiago. I saw a church covered entirely (and beautifully) in scallop shells and many pilgrims with a scallop shell painted with the camino emblem attached to their backpack or their wooden walking stick.
Razor clams are a favourite, as are clams, more pedestrian (but still fabulous) mussels and gnarly percebes, plucked from the cliffs before the waves crash in by expert brave fishermen. If you have been to Spain you will have noticed the percebes, it is hard to imagine that you can eat them that first time they take you by surprise. Black and pointed, looking like a velociraptor talon, not something tender, saline and delicious. Harvested in Galicia and popular in Spain, they are cooked by plunging them briefly in boiling salted water for just a couple of minutes. Pinching them to remove the outer leathery carcass reveals a delicate addictive interior, juicy and bright.
There is a tired and jaded notion that cooking over fire is the preserve of the male, and that women are neither interested in or inclined to BBQ, preferring instead to be at the stove indoors. This is nonsense, of course. There are people who love to cook, indoors and out, and it is in no way gender specific. Why are people so obsessed with gender when it comes to cooking, anyway? We all eat, it is the one thing that unites us, and so many of us love to cook too. Why be divisive?*
After my breakfast with Guy Savoy, I made my way to the 14th arrondissement to meet Didier Lavry at Le Petit Mitron, a baker who had just been awarded the second prize in le Meilleur Croissant au Beurre d’Isigny AOP. That would be the best croissant competition in France, Paris section, then. Don’t you just love France for that?
As I walked up the stairs of the Monnaie de Paris on a quiet Friday morning, I wondered what awaited me at the top. I was in France’s oldest institution, the national mint in the centre of Paris overlooking the tree lined Seine. It was early, and the staff at the door were surprised to see me arrive as they don’t open until lunchtime. I am here to have breakfast with Guy Savoy, I announced gently in clumsy French, with some trepidation.
If I had a beach hut I would paint it yellow. Somewhere between canary and primrose, cheerful, bright and full of promise. I would put it facing the sea, surrounded by heather, long grass and all sorts of sea vegetables. It would have a lovely little hob and lots of gorgeous pots and pans hanging from nails on the wall. There would be lots of enamel dishes. I might whistle as I walked there. If I could whistle. (I never could and I spent most of my childhood trying.)
The secret to living in London well is not encoded in the size of your pay packet or the size of your flat. It is in knowing when you need to get out and take a breath, so that you can rush back to go through it all again. I love London, deeply, but I love the sea also. I grew up by the ocean and I miss the clear salt air, the familiar smells, the sounds of the crashing waves, the slippery seaweed, creeping crabs and barnacles, hostile and pointing and telling you what is what.
I know that I am one of those Londoners guilty of not exploring the countryside surrounding. It could be that I don’t have a car, nor do I drive anyway, but that is a poor excuse with the extensive train network that we have here. Life is busy and I am often elsewhere. Last year I decided that I would dedicate more time to exploring the countryside around me, the nearby cities, towns and villages. I made little inroads and so I raised the task this year again.
Bournemouth is only 2 hours from Waterloo on the train. It has a mixed reputation. Some describe it as God’s Waiting Room, others simply describe it as dull. I went along with this for a while until friends told me that this was nonsense, with recent years seeing an influx of interesting places to eat and drink there. And then there is that big long beach and glorious fresh sea air.
Sold! I booked my train ticket and off I went. Being an excessive planner I researched painfully as I always do, and booked anywhere I needed to before I left, leaving enough time to idle or wander, an essential component of any weekend trip.
I stayed at the Hilton in Bournemouth, freshly pressed (not yet a year old) and well located just 5 minutes from the beach. Everywhere you turn you are greeted by a cheerful windmill pattern, on the walls, on the blankets, on the wallpaper, there are even some windmills in your room for you to play with. It is not overdone, though it may sound like it. It is all soothing and lovely. The bed is very comfortable and the sheets are crisp.
We had Executive Lounge access along with an Executive Room, which meant we could goto the lounge for snack and drinks throughout the day (including alcoholic drinks from 6-8pm). We started here before heading briefly to check out the view from The Sky Bar which has a bright white balcony stretching the length of it. From there we went to the restaurant downstairs, Schpoons & Forx, for dinner.
A little about the name, for I thought the same as you are now. WHAT? It is quite sweet really, the restaurant is names after Bertram Bell, a master cutler from the area in times past, who had a speech impediment, and was chosen to speak at the The Cutler’s Feast in 1733. He was nervous, but the audience embraced it, and so the term Schpoons & Forx was coined. Matt Tebutt is at the helm here, behind the stove but also behind the tandoor. They are doing very good things.
Hotel restaurants fail when they try to be all things to all people. A restaurant that knows its mind has a much stronger chance of success. That is the case here, the menu is divided between dishes for the table (snacks, really); starters; tandoor, clay oven and chargrill and sides. Desserts follow on their own page later. The sea has a strong presence, we order some fried cockles which were divine, I was so tempted to order a second portion (and I did when I returned the next day, I ordered 2!). Crisp and light with hardly a trace of grease, we had them with the buttery large nocellara olives and some smoked aubergine with flatbread.
For starters, I had the monkfish “scampi”, firm fresh nuggets of monkfish in a light batter, with some gorgeous fried slices of lemon. A fragrant aioli came on the side. My friend had a small portion of mussels, that came in a fragrant fresh bath of riesling, ginger, coriander and lime leaves. For mains we both had the 400g tandoor rib steak, served sliced in tarragon shallot and port butter with watercress and a sturdy pot duck fat chips. The steak was gorgeous, the tandoor delivering an intense crust, but it was tender and rare inside (as I had ordered it). The port butter added a layer of indulgence. I will by trying that at home in BBQ season (of course, now I want a tandoor!).
Lemon posset was large and tart, with raspberries on top. I was full but it served well to cut through everything that I had eaten before. I battled a little but I couldn’t manage a lot. To drink we had the Portillo Malbec from Salentein, a wine that I have not had since I visited Salentein in Argentina in 2011. Seek it out, it is very good, and well priced.
We were woken early by breakfast in bed (which I had ordered the night before). Poached eggs, sausages and hash browns. No bacon, as I have eaten SO much of it recently in the final (final!) round of Project Bacon testing. Then to the beach to hire some bicycles, we had a plan for lunch booked before we had ever boarded the train from London.
We cycled along the beach, hugged by beach huts on one side in varying degrees of gorgeousness. Some bright and cheerful, others concrete with pale enquiring faces made of windows. We boarded the ferry at the Sandbanks crossing, and 2 minutes later continued our journey through the National Nature Reserve that is Studland and Godlington Heath. Furze bushes, soggy marsh, proud rushes. One cow grazing announced by numerous signs.
After an 8 mile cycle in total, we arrived at the Pig on the Beach, a hotel and restaurant set in a rambling old house with a kitchen garden and garden wood oven. Deck chairs and tables are dotted throughout the garden, overlooking the white cliffs and the sea nearby. The day was absolutely gorgeous, so bright, so blue. We sat at a table outside on the terrace for our Sunday lunch.
The kitchen garden provides much of the vegetables and salad, the pigs nearby the meat and there are chickens also. Everything that isn’t sourced in house is sourced from within 25 miles. I can never resist crackling, even if I am going to order a pork roast for main course, and so we had that to start with apple sauce. Also house fish fingers which were pleasant, although I would have preferred them with a mayo based sauce.
The pork loin came in slices, which were nice and moist, the yorkshire was large and proud and the potatoes crisp from their roast in beef fat. Mustard sauce came in place of gravy, which worked quite well. House ice cream came for dessert, in 3 flavours (chocolate, mint & thyme) with a pig shaped cracker. We had some lovely Cote du Rhones white throughout. Service was charming and the day cheerful, we didn’t want to leave but we had to get back on our bikes.
We finished our short trip with drinks at The Library, above the Larderhouse in Southbourne. The Library is the last thing that you would expect in Bournemouth if you listened to those that rehash its old reputation. The Library, complete with taxidermy and quirk wouldn’t be amiss in London. Perhaps that shows the sometimes small mind of the Londoner, there IS life outside the capital after all (I jest but you know what I am saying). The menu is delivered in a bronze tube and is written over a map. We opt for the Peruvian and the Madagascan, both so lovely we immediately order 2 more, the Haiti and the New York. Salvatore was manning the bar, with white jacket and bow tie. I dragged myself from the table to get my train. And I had a couple of portions of fried cockles back at the Hilton when I collected my bag.
A lovely 28 hours, it felt longer, and just 2 hours from London! Gorgeous.
What You Need to Know
With thanks to the Hilton Bournemouth who hosted us for dinner and our room. We spent £90 on lunch at the Pig on the Beach with drinks and service. Cocktails at The Library were £10-12. We hired bicycles for £16 each from Front Bike Hire on the beach, and I paid £2 extra for a basket. Our train fare paid in advance was £56 return each.
Eating and Drinking Map of Bournemouth (for a weekend break)
Menorca in Spring is covered in flowers. Wild joyful ones, carefree and colourful with tall stems and bright petals. So many poppies lining old stone walls, gates made of wild olive wood and bristling against ancient UNESCO world heritage monuments, occasionally a donkey, some cows or some sheep. There are wild orchids too, tiny and discreet. Up to 25 types. I found one hiding on a walk to the seashore.
The Wild Flowers of Menorca
There are over 900 types of wild flowers recorded there. Menorca doesn’t have an Autumn, instead they call it Winter-Spring, in reference to the wild flowers that flourish at that time of year. So, it isn’t inaccurate so to call the honey produced in Menorca thousand flower honey. There are hives dotted throughout the island. Sebastià Pons has 350 dotted along 8 locations on the island. Sebastià is the producer of Miel S’eixam (along with all of those busy bees), a raw honey produced and sold in season.
Visiting Miel S’eixam hives
Down winding Menorcan country roads, through fields rich with flowers and past some curious cows we found some of Sebastià’s hives. It was an overcast day, which was a good thing, as his bees can become agitated in the heat. They are part African bee (he had some genetic analysis done), and they are aggravated by red and black, which were the colours that I was wearing that day. Bad planning but not to worry, I had a full beekeeper outfit, complete with hat, to protect me from any unwarranted bee attention. Although Sebastià was keen to stress that he allows himself to be stung on occasion as he believes it is good for him, citing back pain in particular (and there is scientific evidence that the immune reaction to bee stings can be beneficial for other situations).
I watched the bees fly in and out and could not help but think of those two terms busy bees and mind your own beeswax. I watched them return to their hives with the pollen attached to their legs as tiny perfect cylinders (pollen is bee protein, and is very good for us too). A separate hive had started to form in a nearby bush, which I walked to through wild flowers as tall as me (and that would be 5ft 3!). Sebastià had placed a box nearby for them.
The Benefits of Raw Honey
Raw honey is unpasteurised and so has not been subjected to the heat that can strip honey of its health benefits and breadth of flavour. Local raw honey helps with hay fever too, and it has to be local, as what you are doing when you are eating it, is inoculating yourself with local pollen, and getting your body used to it before the onslaught of the season. It is rich with antioxidants, and minerals like iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium. It is vitamin rich, containing B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. Raw honey also mops up free radicals and there is evidence that shows it enables significant suppression and prevention of cell damage. We focus too much on the fact that it is sweet and confuse it with processed white sugar. Honey has long been a valuable energy resource for us, and a health food.
Miel S’eixam was not yet available (it sells speedily when in season, and the season has yet to start this year), and raw honey is hard to come by at home but it is available if you look for producers in your area. I get excellent local raw honey at my farmers market in Balham, London of varying types depending on the location of the hives. I buy 3 types: forest, lime and borage (the borage is said to be particularly good for hay fever). They have pollen too, which is dried (and this removes a lot of the properties) but with notice they can get me some frozen pollen which is still very good.
If you are lucky enough to be in Menorca during honey season, make sure to get some. And have it with sobrassada as the locals do.
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I travelled to Menorca as part of a project between iAmbassador and Visit Menorca, who sponsored this project. As always, I have complete editorial control.
Some towns capture the heart and the imagination. Ciutadella is one. Previously the capital of Menorca (but not since 1722), it is the same size as current capital Mahon, both small cities with 30,000 people living in each. The remaining 30,000 Menorquins live in other small towns and rural Menorca. Ciutadella is a small city, cosy and friendly, but its architecture and large square lend it a feeling of a much larger place, and one that you want to get lost in.
The streets of Ciutadella are gorgeous, winding and narrow. Many shoot off the large impressive main square, the Placa d’es Born, which overlooks the harbour below. The narrow streets are lined with Moorish, Gothic and Medieval architecture. Window balconies jut out above, reminding me of sleepy Andalucia. It is all very lovely, and glorious on a sunny day.
Coffee in Bar Imperi, Ciutadella
We started our day in a lovely little cafe in the corner, Bar Imperi. I was meeting Antonio, secretary of the Fra Roger Gastronomy & Cultural Society (Fra Roger Gastronomia y Cultura) and a Ciutadella native. Fra Roger wrote the first Menorcan cookbook and is a very important figure in Menorcan gastronomy. He was a Francisan friar and likely learned to cook in the friary. He wrote down all he learned in his book Art de la Cuina (The Art of Cooking) which was published in the 18th century.
Bar Imperi is a local institution and it is clear from the first few minutes that Antonio knows everyone there. Here you can have local pastries and snacks, coffees and alcoholic drinks. There is an open courtyard to the back as is common in buildings like this in this area. Over coffee and sobrassada sandwiches we spoke of Fra Roger and his recipes. He wrote 200 including dishes like lobster meatballs and there are many references to the original mayonnaise, alioli. Menorquins claim mayonnaise as a Menorcan dish, discovered by the French during their occupation of Menorca (and called after its place of origin, Mahon).
Seafood lunch at S’Amarador overlooking Ciutadella harbour
Lunch had to be seafood, and we headed to one of the best restaurants in Ciutadella, S’Amarador. It was packed on a Monday lunchtime, on the terrace overlooking the harbour, in the courtyard where we sat, and throughout. We had a seafood platter to start with john dory (sublime!), grouper, cuttlefish red prawns and scorpion fish.
To follow we ordered the local speciality Caldereta (invented since Fra Roger’s time and in Menorcan cuisine for 100 years or so). A local spiny lobster soup, this version was rich and had a beautiful deep rust red lobster broth with lots of lobster in, and crisp thin toast to dip in and soak it all up. As good as last years was this was divine and I was full, but the magnetic broth kept pulling me back. For dessert I had to have the local ensaimada, a glorious snail shaped lard pastry dusted with icing sugar, and served with cinnamon ice cream this time.
Finish the day with a Pomada, Menorca’s favourite gin drink
My third recommendation is the same as my first, but you will thank me for it. Start your day at Bar Imperi with a coffee, and finish it there with a pomada. A pomada is the local drink, a gin cocktail made with Menorcan Xoriguer gin and lemonade (or lemon fanta). Sometimes, lemon, or homemade lemonade.
Here I learned a neat trick, maybe two. First, you can order small cocktails, just to start your evening, a perfect primer, and not so much that it will make you sleep. Second, as I witnessed the barman repeatedly smash a bottle of fanta off the side of the counter, I realised that they had frozen the whole thing, and then gave it a good beating to create crushed ice. My pomada was like a pomada slushie, and it was so good in the heat.
I will return to Ciutadella, I have a list of restaurants to check out and I loved the relaxed friendly vibe there. I think it will be a perfect place to chill out once my book is done (and it nearly is!).
What You Need to Know
Bar Imperi, Placa des Born 5,Ciutadella de Menorca
S’Amarador, Carrer de Pere Capllonch, Ciutadella de Menorca
Follow me on instagram! (@eatlikeagirl)
To see more recipes and to see them first come follow me on snapchat! I share video recipes from my kitchen, almost daily, along with my other London and travel based food adventures too. Add eatlikeagirl on snapchat using this link: http://www.snapchat.com/add/eatlikeagirl
I travelled to Menorca as part of a project between iAmbassador and Visit Menorca, who sponsored this project. As always, I have complete editorial control. With particular thanks to Antonio and the Fra Roger Gastronomic and Cultural Society and Menorca Guides for their help on this wonderful day in Ciutadella.
Whenever I travel I add places that I love to my Google Maps and places of interest, so that I can return and recommend them. I save the best places to eat, drink and stay, and anything else of interest in between. It is high time that I shared them with you! So, I am introducing Eat Like a Girl Food & Travel Maps to help you plan your next adventure.
Starting with Cork, home to my alma mater and also somewhere that I lived for 8 years, I go back often and know it very well. Details below but all included in the map also so that you can navigate on the hoof when you visit. All address information etc is in the map below.
> Where to Eat in Cork
Miyazaki – fantastic authentic handmade Japanese food. Ramen, udon, excellent sushi. A small takeaway, you can eat in at the counter. There is no drinks licence but you can BYO.
Greenes Restaurant – fine dining with the best of local ingredients. Excellent value pre theatre menu, available all night earlier in the week. A la carte and tasting menus with matched wines are also available. Check out their range of Irish craft spirits too.
Café Paradiso – One of the best vegetarian restaurants in the UK and Ireland. Chef Denis Cotter and team produce consistently exciting and very tasty food. Relaxed fine dining. Booking is essential as it is very popular.
Fenn’s Quay – tucked on the ground floor of an old tenement building in Cork, Fenn’s Quay is a local Irish bistro (at least that is what I would call it anyway). Kate Lawlor, head chef, has put together a lovely contemporary Irish menu. Space is limited, so again, best to book.
> Best Cork Cafés
Idaho Café – gorgeous small characterful café. All food is made on site and is contemporary traditional. The sausage sandwich or the waffles with bacon and maple syrup make an excellent breakfast. Open for lunch and in the afternoon too.
The Farmgate Café – A cafe and restaurant, the cafe makes up the largest bit. An essential stop serving the best of Irish produce in a traditional and contemporary fashion. The Irish stew is excellent. Fresh oysters from the market below are always good. Try the toasted sandwich and soup combination. Or anything! They have a great selection of Irish craft drinks too.
Triskel Arts Centre – café, bar, arts centre, it is hard to know how to categorise it. There is a terrace outside in summer and lots going on in the arts theatre too, including arthouse cinema.
Filter – great little contemporary café a little out of the way and on the river. Filter serves espresso based coffees but has a brew bar also. Cakes etc are also available.
Rocket Man – just outside the English Market, the Rocket Man serves excellent salads, fresh pressed juices and wholefoods. They serve good coffee too, and offer a selection of non-dairy milks (oat and almond when I visited).
Nash 19 – café and art gallery, Nash 19 veers more to being a restaurant. Excellent Irish food is served in lovely surroundings, the back of the restaurant is an art gallery. It is packed with locals, and is just down the road from the English Market.
> Best Cork Pubs
The Hi-B – a glorious little old school pub, always packed. There is an open fire in winter, as with most Irish pubs. Don’t order Guinness – a Dublin drink – Cork tipples Murphy’s or Beamish are on offer here. There is always someone who wants to chat too.
Mutton Lane Inn – Small dark and cosy, this gorgeous pub down a laneway from the English Market is a lovely place for a drink. It gets very busy in the evenings with the crowd spilling outside. Be sure to take a look at the stunning wall mural outside painted by local artist Anthony Ruby.
Meades Bar 126 – Meade’s is one of my favourites, a small cosy bar, like being in someones house, especially in the winter with a roaring fire. There is a nice wine selection here and tapas too.
Sin é – characterful with excellent traditional Irish music sessions on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, sometimes other nights too.
Arthur Mayne’s – in a converted old pharmacy, Arthur Payne’s retained all the old bottles and cabinets and added enomatics making it a great destination for wine lovers. Food and craft beers etc served also.
The Long Valley – famed locally for their doorstep sandwiches which you can get toasted, try the local spiced beef. I love the Long Valley for lunch but it is also great in the evening. There is a weekly poetry event upstairs every Monday.
Callanan’s Bar – a cosy lovely local with a great craft selection.
Tom Barry’s – a little out of the way, but perfect for a pint after Miyazaki’s nearby, or for a woodfired pizza in the large lovely beer garden outside.
Franciscan Well Brewery & Brewpub – Cork’s original brewpub and finest.
> Cork’s Markets
The English Market – A special place that defines Cork and is packed with producers from old school butchers selling Cork’s spiced beef (think corned or salt beef with spices), pickled pork and bacon, the local tripe and drisheen, and contemporary offerings like Frank Hederman’s wonderful smoked salmon and other products. Fresh seafood lines one side of the covered market, you can also find great chocolate, cheese, charcuterie etc.
Coal Quay Saturday Farmer’s Market – small lively selection of local producers every Saturday.
Shopping in Cork
Bradley’s Off Licence – far more than just an off licence, Bradley’s has a terrific selection of Irish and international craft beers and spirits and local foods too.
Brown Thomas – Cork’s poshest department store, should you need anything!
Iago’s – A gorgeous Italian deli, if you are staying in Cork self catering you need to shop here. Italian and Irish produce, cheese, fresh pasta, pizza dough, fresh chorizo and anything else you might require for a great dinner.
> Chips! (Yes – because they are good)
Jackie Lennox Chipper – I loved this chipper when I was in university. Proper chips, batter sausages and legendery cheese and onion pies (mashed potato with cheese and onion, battered and deep fried).
> Where to Stay in Cork
The River Lee Hotel – upmarket hotel with comfortable well decorated bright rooms 5 minutes walk from downtown. Very friendly with a large buffet breakfast. The Weir Bar lines the river and is a lovely place to relax over a drink.
Hotel Isaacs Cork – central hotel with rooms ranging from budget to higher end suites. Very well located and very friendly. Recommend staying here particularly if you plan to eat in their lovely restaurant, Greene’s. Have a drink outside by the natural small waterfall, and do try the local gins while there.
> Follow me!
Stay up to date with my restaurant and food adventures by following me on instagram (occasional pictures from restaurants and my kitchen) and snapchat (eatlikeagirl there, so much fun and lots of little cooking videos too). I am always on twitter and facebook also!