All posts filed under: Travelling

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A Day in Ciutadella, Menorca: Where & What to Eat (& the Best Caldereta)

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 …

Cork-featured

NEW! A Map for Where to Eat, Drink & Stay in Cork

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 …

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A Food Lovers Road Trip in Nova Scotia: Halifax to Pictou

This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Coming soon: road tripping in Cape Breton with all the lobster! The photo above is from the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. If it were possible to unravel the coastline of Nova Scotia, it is said that it would stretch across Canada. This can’t be true when you look at the map but it is indicative of the length of coastline that there is to explore of the Eastern Canadian province and it makes for a terrific road trip. Almost an island, but not quite, the coast line of Nova Scotia clinging on to the side of Canada, almost like a hinge.  I love Nova Scotia, I have been several times to see friends. I love the easy charm of the place, the friendly people, the vibrant local wines (particularly the sparkling and white wines) and the produce. It reminds me so much of home, yet it is different. The accent is similar yet different. The seafood is so good. Lobster and scallops are in abundance …

Lunch at Harry's Shack, Northern Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway & Lunch at Harry’s Shack in Northern Ireland

Half my family come from Northern Ireland. My Grandmother and Grandfather were both raised there before they moved South to Waterford where I would eventually be born. I have a deep affection for all things from there, and I have always felt a strong tie. Despite that I have not been there since I was a child, which makes no sense. Except of course it was a very long drive – 8 hours – with restless children piled in the back seat asking relentlessly if they were there yet. I remember it clearly. I remember drawing piles of turf that I saw from the car window, and a factory with smoke billowing out of the chimney.  I had never been to the Giant’s Causeway in Co Antrim. I seemed alone in this. I was almost ashamed to admit it. I finally went late last year on a wild day during Storm Clodagh where winds gusted up to 70mph. It is a stunning vista of approximately 40,000 interlocking basalt columns hugging the coastline, the result of an …

Hotel du Petit Moulin Paris

A Luxurious Baking Mini Break in Paris at Hotel du Petit Moulin

Lets go to Paris shall we? Just for a little while, and just in our heads. Lovely Paris, broad boulevards, gorgeous architecture, the small winding streets of Le Marais and the pep and the quirk abounding. A quick jaunt to Paris is one of my favourite London things to do. It is such a joy to hop on the Eurostar in central London, and just over 2 hours later arrive in central Paris. A whole new world greets you off the train.  Le Marais is one of my favourite places to stay when I visit. Previously the Jewish Quarter (and it still is to a large extent), Le Marais is very central and has many lovely restaurants, bars and cafes. Many designers have moved in, and yes, the chains are moving in now, but Le Marais still retains a charm and a gorgeousness that reels you in. I spent a night at Hotel du Petit Moulin, a 17 room boutique hotel. In a 17th century building (and former boulangerie where Victor Hugo would buy his bread), I …

Inchydoney Beach, Cork, Ireland

A Weekend at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Ireland

I meet so many people who tell me with a bare blush that they have never been to Ireland. And that they really want to go. I mean it is just over there, right? An hour and a half by plane and an hour later you can be in West Cork overlooking a pristine beautiful beach that feels a world away from anywhere. I love Inchydoney and nearby Clonakilty. Many moons ago I gathered my friends there for my 28th birthday. We rented three houses and promptly removed every cup, plate, fork, spoon and chair into one house where we would all hang out, cook and eat. It was a terrific weekend, and one we still talk about whenever we get together. This time was a little different, I was to stay at a luxury hotel right on the beach, the four star Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa. A favourite of surfers (there is a surf school on the beach), the blue flag beach is also a great place to get lost in your own …

Petritegi Basque Cider House

Basque Cider House Rules: Cod Omelette, Steak, Hake & Joy

Tart Basque cider is a must when in San Sebastian, poured high, as with Txacoli. Sour more than sweet, and flavoured intensely with the nectar of a jumble of heritage apples when I tried it at Petritegi at Astigarraga near San Sebastian, a traditional Basque Cider House, not far from San Sebastian.  Even if you don’t like cider – or think you don’t, I promise you that this is different to the commercial fare that we are more familiar with – you must go for the food and the experience. A large wooden room greeted lined with tables with nothing on them bar plates, cutlery, napkins and a large stick of bread. The room was lined with large barrels of cider. Huge wooden vats. We proceeded to the tasting room down a hallway lined on each side with more barrels, into a large room, where one of the family waited manning the tap, waiting for me catch my cider. Yes! You catch your cider. I don’t know how else you describe this. The tap is flipped, the cider …

Sunset over Loreto Apruntino in Abruzzo

Making Pasta in Abruzzo, the First Harvest and the Pupe

Pasta is one of the great joys of life. My life certainly, and lots of Italians. And you too, right? I love to make it from scratch but I also love cooking best quality dried pasta, which is so misunderstood. You can read more about why we should eat pasta, and why we certainly shouldn’t view it as anything near a guilty pleasure on another post that I wrote – Blasting Pasta Myths – Reasons Why You Should Eat Pasta. Pasta Production in Italy Pasta is made all over Italy with many regional variations extending to the flour used, whether just water or water and eggs are used, or just eggs. Shapes differ, how they serve it differs widely too. In general, the North makes more fresh pasta, and the South has more dried. This is fiercely protected in terms of the dried pasta that you purchase from Italy. There are laws governing it: dried pasta must be made using durum wheat semolina flour, and egg pasta can only be made with durum wheat semolina flour and a …

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Island Hopping Over Frozen Sea on the Turku Archipelago, Finland

Have you been to Finland? I have been twice before. Once, 19 years ago, at the very start of my travels, I went to visit some fond friends, my Finnish university flatmates who were from Tampere. Last year, I went to Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland and spent 3 days on a reindeer farm. This year, I returned to explore the Southern part of Finland, Turku and the Archipelago Sea and Helsinki. Finland has 50,000 islands, and 20,000 of them are on the South Western tip near the city Turku in the Archipelago Sea. 150 are inhabited, and there are 16 ferries, 9 of which are commuter ferries, considered an extension of the road. Foot passengers travel for free on them. We hopped between islands before settling on Korppoo where we would spend the night, and the next morning we went on a sculpture walk in the gorgeous and slippery snow.  Some of the islands are tiny. En route, we stopped at Stentorp, a sheep farm spread over three islands. They also ice fish, as do many Finns, …

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48 Hours in Yangon, Myanmar [In Photos]

Yangon. Golden temples, busy streets and a giant reclining buddha (the Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha which is 66 metres long). The capital of Myanmar rushes and bustles like most others, but it has a laid back charm. When I visited last year it felt like a trip back in time even though it has already changed very much compared to 10 years ago. The first KFC opened just after I left but there is no real imprint of the west otherwise, which is so very rare. So much is done by hand, from making gold leaf to coat the buddha by hammer and with sheer strength and endurance, to silversmithing ornate detailed bowls. The clack of the weavers loom is a familiar sound through open windows as they weave the longyi and htamein, traditional Burmese clothing, essentially skirts formed when a woven sheet approximately two metres long is wrapped around the lower body, the first for men and the second for women. Both are still commonly worn all across Myanmar. It is also common to …

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The Bloodshot Supper Club at The Dairy, London

London food is on fire. We have great markets, lots of street food, some of the worlds best fine dining, terrific mid range restaurants, ace cheap eats and superb international food, especially Asian. So many restaurants are opening, on a scale that compares with New York in recent years. I travel a lot, and I love it, but I always love to come home. Travel makes it better, and makes me appreciate London even more. I spoke about London recently with Rick Bayless on The Feed Podcast, and was delighted to share my views on what makes the London food scene so brilliant at the moment, with reference to our vibrant markets (the episode of The Feed podcast that I spoke on is here). The Dairy A very good example of the new energy in London is Robin and Sarah Gill. The effect that they have had on the London food scene in less than 3 years is remarkable. Last year, two of their restaurants were in the Good Food Guide Top 50, and Robin …

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Where to Eat in Madrid: Roast Suckling Pig at Botín

We all avoid tourist spots when we travel, mainly because they are mostly dreadful. But some cities are serious about food, and even their tourist places can be excellent. Like Madrid. It is unfair to label Botín a tourist spot though. True, it is mainly tourists that eat there now. Lots of writers have feasted on suckling pig over the years here too, including Graham Greene & Hemingway. Goya was a waiter there. Hemingway is quoted as saying “We lunched upstairs at Botin’s. It is one of the best restaurants in the world. We had roast young suckling pig and drank rioja alta. Brett did not eat much. She never ate much. I ate a very big meal and drank three bottles of rioja alta.” I always liked Hemingway. Botín has been open since 1725, and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest restaurant in the world. Suckling pig is roasted here in the wood fired oven (which dates from 1725 also) in the Castillian way. The restaurant is quaint and …

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Christmas in Nova Scotia, A Quick Stop in Montreal & Hello 2016!

Good morning, everyone! And Happy New Year. I hope you had a very good break, if you managed to take one.  I am so excited about 2016. I will finally publish my next tome, Project Bacon. It has been a forever friend and sometimes frenemy. As you know, I made the decision to self publish it and kickstart it. I don’t regret that, but life intervened and there have been several (at times, crushing) delays. But now, after an intense end to 2015, I feel I am almost at the top of the hill. And I can’t wait for you to see it. Project Bacon Recipe Photo Previews :)  My Kickstarter backers have had lots of recipe previews, and design and photography previews too. I will share some here with you soon, and there will be a limited amount available to buy when they go to press. So, keep an eye out for those. Now that the book is almost done, I will have lots more time here, and lots more freedom for other projects. …

Dublin!

Dublin Revisited: Where to Eat Now and for New Year

Dublin is on form. There is an energy and excitement on the street and in restaurants, and a palpable renewed optimism and confidence after a tough few years of hard recession. As Dublin gears up for its New Year Festival, a 3 day event from the 30th December to the 1st January rich with music, stories, a procession of light and light projections and fun, it is only fair that you have a fresh list for eating to refer to. Have a great time! EATING The Greenhouse I had one of my favourite lunches this year at The Greenhouse. I returned for the tasting menu and found it sublime. There were many highlights including a suckling pigs head croqeutte (made from 3 week old Spanish pigs) served with a Korean pepper emulsion, divine jamon with a decadent dusting of truffle, an excellent sika deer tartare with a covering of beetroot, douglas fir roasted monkfish and that famous dessert of theirs, the passion fruit soufflé with white chocolate sauce. The 5 course tasting menu is €90 and there …

Cork! English Market, Farmgate Café and Ballymaloe Gardens

Where to Eat, Drink and Stay in Cork City (Boy!)

There is a more recent post on Eat Like a Girl on Eating and Drinking in Cork, and it has a map t00! Cork Eating & Drinking Map.  When you are not from where you live, people often ask how often you get home. Perhaps they are making conversation (likely) or maybe they are checking the calibre of my moral compass. Regardless, I tell them that I try to get home often, I aim for four times a year but I would like to go more. I didn’t grow up in Cork, I grew up in Waterford next door, but it is where my mother is from, where I went to university, and where I lived for 7 years on and off. I know it very well and I have a huge affection for this bright patch of Ireland, that feeling of home and of belonging are keen here. Many people I meet who have been to Ireland have only been to Dublin. This makes sense. It is the capital, and it is the biggest city. But …

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7 Gorgeous Christmas Markets in North West Germany

If you love Christmas, you will love the German Christmas Markets. Joyful and embracing of all things festive, German Christmas markets are also historic, starting in the late middle ages with the first recorded at Munich in 1310. We always try to recreate them here, but they are never as good in my experience. You need kitsch, and you need no barriers. You have to throw yourself in.  The Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmarkts) start with advent all over Germany, most quite traditional and some niche (some focussed on crafts, some are medieval with no electricity). Some cities have more than one, Cologne has 7, one of which is a gay and lesbian Christmas market. They are a perfect spot for Christmas shopping or just throwing yourself into Christmas with abandon and a glass of glühwein. Most markets have gorgeous wood fired bread ovens, terrific German sausages, spätzle (a Bavarian homemade noodle made fresh and served many ways, my favourite is with speck and cheese), lots of pork (I saw a few roasting hogs), and wild meats like goose and …

The satay trolley on Malaysia Airlines

A Surprise Birthday Party at 30,000 Feet and a Satay Trolley (Travelling Business Class with Malaysia Airlines)

One of my laments this year was that I never celebrated my birthday. It was a big one and I had planned to. I was excited to! I delayed it because of work, and then again, and then again. It never happened and now it is gone. But! I did have a surprise birthday party at 30,000 feet and it was a gorgeous one. I flew to Borneo earlier this year with Malaysia Airlines to explore. The trip itself was a joy, lovely people, fabulous food, and lots of laksa. I got to visit Sarawak and Kuala Lumpur for the first time. I cooked local food, I visited local food markets, I brought home lots of pepper (Sarawak pepper is said to be one of the best), bright green pepper candy (which I am yet to try!) and some laksa paste so that I could enjoy laksa at home, and work out a recipe. I saw more wonderful orangutans, many of them. I flew to Kuala Lumpur from London business class, a treat in itself. Turning …

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A Menorcan Food & Wine Producers Trail (Wine, Gin, Sobrasada & Mahón Cheese)

Head to Menorca and fill your boots with cheese, wine, sobrasada & GIN! A gorgeous, chilled out and very under rated island, Menorca was one of my favourite places to visit this year. Here is your guide for the best of the artisan products. There are also links here to my Menorca Eating & Drinking Guide and the best Sunday lunch on the island (lobster soup, as you are asking!). Menorcans claim mayonnaise. The French don’t agree, but Menorcans say that mayonnaise originated in Mahón and was taken to France where it was popularised after the French victory over the British in Menorca in 1756. The sauce was salsa mayonesa in Spanish, later becoming mayonnaise when the French embraced it.  Who could blame each side for declaring they are responsible for the origin? I adore the gorgeous emulsion of egg yolk and oil. A bold claim from a small island like Menorca and an insight to their proud culinary heritage. Menorca is still steeped in salsa mayonesa, which they make fresh and serve with many dishes. There is …

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Setting Sail on the Norwegian Escape

I would imagine that your thoughts on cruises are very much like mine were. I never thought that I would enjoy one. I love water, and I love a ship, but cruises themselves always seem so old fashioned and dated. Right? I worried about them being predictive. I worried about feeling like I would have to do the same thing every night. I worried generally about a lack of freedom, I dreaded not having my space. I felt I might be trapped on a big boat out at sea. I worried that maybe the food wouldn’t be very good, or not to my taste. I had never actually been on a cruise though, this was all based on what I thought a cruise might be. I decided I should give one a go, and tried a particularly food-centric one last year. And, whaddya know, I quite like a cruise. A cruise is a lovely break for a water baby like myself. They are more private than I imagined and they are especially good for someone …

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48 Hours in Dublin (And Where to Eat & Drink)

This post was sponsored by Avios who challenged me to Do More and spend 40,000 Avios getting to and in a location of my choice. I could have comfortably gone anywhere in Europe, but I chose Dublin, because I love any opportunity to go home, and reconnect. 48 hours in Dublin is a treat. So close to London, just over an hour on a flight, and for me an opportunity to reconnect and plug in to my culture. Ireland is very different to the UK, and people often don’t understand that. Sure, there is a common language, but the cultures diverge. Everything you have heard about us being oh-so-very-friendly is true, even in a major city like Dublin you will find that most will chat to you for no reason other than being curious about who you are and what you do. Ireland is also a haven for creatives. Many artists, musicians and writers call Ireland home, as do many tech geeks (Dublin is home to the European headquarters of Google, Twitter & Facebook). For food …