Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20, 2014 Day 2 in Marrakech

April 20, 2014  Day 2 in Marrakech

Suzette and I got dressed round 7:30 a.m. and walked across and down the street to a grocer and bought butter, olive oil and a fresh baguette for 51 dirham (about $6.50, so quite expensive by U.S. standards, but it was about ½ pound or 200 grams of the type of French style butter and Moroccan olive oil we buy at Talin, so perhaps not all that expensive.

We sliced and sautéed the heavy brown corn and millet bread in a skillet with olive oil and I made tea and Suzette made coffee with heated milk and we poured orange juice and sliced a banana and some of the baguette and a few figs and we went to the roof to have breakfast.

At about 10:45 Naoiri came to guide us to the medina for more shopping.  Naoire took us to a great spice shop where the proprietor gave us a demonstration of the types of spices, incenses and teas.  We bought saffron, eucalyptus crystals, long black pepper we had never seen before, an ambur perfume, and blends for several mixes of spices for garam masala, chicken and fish ($100.00). We looked at a great shop owned by Naiore’s dad that sold fossils of Morocco.  There were lots of Mosasaur heads, ammonites and trilobites; really interesting stuff.  

Spice Shop and Willy

Spice shop and Willy and Suzette
Next we went to a bazaar where there were an assortment of items and were told that T.R. Lawrence used to trade a lot with this group of people.  We were looking for door latches but could not find any.  Finally Suzette called to me and when I went to her she said she had found something.  Neither of us knew what they were.  Can you guess what it is?

It is a tool used by the Berbers to tighten their weavings.
Can you guess what we will use them for?

We are going to mount them on the wall of our new mud room and use them for coat racks.

One of the owners showed us that the shop is mentioned as a good shopping place in several guidebooks.
The little cowrie shell pendant was given to me because we bought five of the weaving presses.  We did not have enough money to pay the entire $500.00 (4,000 Dirham), only 1,500 Dirham; so we decided to go to lunch and then an ATM and back to pay the rest of the money.

We ate lunch in the Toublak Restaurant at 59 Jemaa El Fna.  I wanted to eat a bowl of Moroccan soup.  We had two bowls of soup, 2 breads, two mixed salads (tomato, lettuce, potato, rice, cooked carrots, and cucumber) 
Mixed Salad ($.62)
and a Moroccan salad (marinated tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers, and a large bottle of water for 38 Dirham (about $4.50).  Can you guess what the most expensive item was?  It was the 1.5 liter bottle of water for 8 Dirham.   So you can eat well and cheaply.  I could not help thinking how upset it must make T.R. to have to pay $8.00 for a bowl of soup in Santa Fe, when a good bowl of soup with a piece of Arab bread costs $.50 in Marrakech.

Here are pictures of Easter Sunday at 2:00 p.m. on the Jamaa el Fna.  Notice how many people are wearing their Easter dresses.   Perhaps they did not get the memo that it is Easter.

The Jemaa, notice folks are steering clear of the snake charmers' tent in the center

Suzette and Naiore in front of the Mosque 
  After going to the ATM, we returned to the shop and paid the other 2,500 Dirham and had a cup of tea with Hassan, one of the owners.

We were tired and asked Naoire to lead us back home.  He took us to the last turn in the medina and said goodbye. 

At 6:30 p.m. we decided to go eat in the medina again.  We \wanted to sit up on a terrace.  We walked to  the Place Jemaa el Fna without difficulty but decided to eat in the smaller place next to it but with a view into it.  We climbed the stairs to the third floor terrace and took a table with a view of both the small place and into the larger Place.   

We ordered a beef Couscous and Vegetable couscous and a chicken tagine.  the portions were small but satisfactory, although not as good as last night's meal.  With water the meal totaled 130 Dirham.  After dinner we walked across the square to Restaurant Tagine that has a terrace that looks into the Place Jemaa el Fna and seems to have great food, if the girl making crepes is any indication.  Perhaps we will eat there some night.  We walked around the Place Jemaa el Fna abit but got bummed by the wind and so many people.  We saw folks watching dances and other entertainments.  We bought a container of yogurt and walked back to the apartment and opened our bottle of Douro red wine and enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine and a bit of dark chocolate.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, April 19, 2014

April 18, 2014 Restful Day in Oporto

April 18, 2014 Restful Day in Oporto
                We stayed in the apartment this morning, except around 9:30 Suzette and I walked up to the little café near our apartment for a coffee and then we wailed up to the Mercado where we bought 6 eggs.   When we walked back to the apartment we stopped at the little pastry shop and bought two chocolate croissants.  When we returned to the apartment, Suzette read and I tried to load pictures into the blog.
Around 11:30 Suzette started brunch using the fish, octopus and seasoned potatoes in oil left from our three meals of the last two days,
She cut up the fish and potatoes and poured the excess olive into a small pan and added 2 eggs per skillet full of fish and potatoes.

After lunch we decided to walk down to the river to take the six bridge boat tour.  On the way down the hill to the river we saw a small grocery store with lots of wine.   We enjoyed the boat ride past the six bridges crossing the Douro The cruise went all the way out to the ocean and about five miles upriver to the sixth bridge.  When we returned to the dock, Suzette wanted to shop so we walked along the quay to view the stalls with goods.  I was not hopeful but in a few minutes Suzette found a table where a man was selling crocheted handbags made by his wife and found one she wanted for 20 Euros.

Then we decided to walk back to the apartment by way of the little grocery, so we could buy wine for Morocco.  When we entered the side street where the shop was located we soon came upon a lovely wine and spirits shop that has a small sitting area so we decided to have a drink before tackling the larger part of the hill.  Suzette had a ruby port, Willy had a red wine and I had a sparkling white wine named Santa Christiana.
Then we went to the wine store and bought four bottles of wine.  Two whites, a Madeira and a red.   Suzette also bought a bottle of Portuguese olive oil by a fabricator dating back to 1267.
The store owner boxed the bottles in a six bottle carton and wrapped all the wine and olive oil in the box in string and Willy was kind enough to carry it up the hill back to the apartment. 
We left the apartment again at 6:40 to walk to the Artunes Restaurant that had been recommended.  When we got to it was closed and it suddenly dawned on us that the day was Good Friday.  We had been told that Friday was a celebration and many stores would be closed and I noticed that the U.S. stock market had not opened but finally when the restaurant was closed we realized that it was Good Friday. 
I need to mention that Oporto is not only a large city at the side of the ocean and along both sides of the Douro, but there are also a series of valleys, so it is a lot like San Francisco.  Lots of up and down to get around, especially if you do not know the subway and bus systems. 

We walked back down the hill to the Regalia Restaurant across the street from our apartment that Manuel suggested as a good typically Portuguese restaurant.  The specialty of the restaurant is a sandwich made with two slices of white bread and layered with s thin slice of pork and a sausage sliced in half and a spicy cream sauce, called a Franchesinhe.   Willy ordered it and liked it.  Suzette wanted meat and ordered lamb chops, but something got lost in translation and she received roasted cabrito (goat), which she thought was a skimpy portion but she said it tasted good.  Perhaps to make up for the lack of meat the cabrrito was served with dirty rice, rice risotto combining giblets.  I ordered bacalau, which is salt cod that is reconstituted in water and then grilled and served with potatoes.   I loved it.


After dinner we returned to the apartment and packed and made sandwiches for the trip tomorrow and Suzette cut up our fruit and made a fruit salad for breakfast.

We went to bed at 10:00 because we had to get up at 4:00 to get to the 6:30 flight to Madrid to connect to Marrakech.

Bon Appétit

April 19, 2014 Oporto to Marrakech dinner in Place Jemaa El Fna Booth #22

April 19, 2014  Oporto to Marrakech dinner in Place Jemaa El Fna Booth #22

After a rough night’s sleep we got up at 4:00 am to get a taxi to the airport and catch a plane to Madrid to make our connection to Marrakech.  We arrived in Marrakech at around 3:00 and it took an hour to get through passport control.  We called Naoire and found that he was waiting for us in the airport lobby. In Marrakech they still use the old system to identify clients; drivers and guides hold up placards with the name of the client in the airport lobby beyond passport control, just like in the 1960’s.

Thank god Naoire is a modern man who uses telephone and email.  Suzette called him and he was standing near her and he found her ikmmediately and we met and he drove us to the Lawrence’s apartment in the Old City.  As it turns out the apartment is beside the palace and one of the entrances to the medina.   We said good bye to Naoire and took showers and rested for a couple of hours.

Naoire came back for us at around 6:30 p.m. and we walked into the Medina.  He guided us through the Medina, stopping at a few stores he thought we would like to see.  He seemed to know lots of folks.  He showed us his business which is making boots out of leather.  We also went to a high end antique store and a wonderful Moroccan Caftan store.  Finally, we arrived at Place Jemaa el Fna, which is at the center of the Medina and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; number three for the trip, after the Giant’s Causeway and NewGrange.  I cannot tell you how kinetic and active the Place Jamaa el Fna is.  It reminds me of 1968 exactly, with lots of activity with hawkers and people milling about looking for food.  It was great but challenging and we were happy to have a reliable guide.   The Medina is challenging at best as motor bike and motor cycle come whizzing through the narrow streets and push carts and people are moving about everywhere.  There is still a very pronounced mix of the Medieval and the modern in Marrakech.

Here is a picture Willy took in the medina near the apartment:

We walked around Jamaa el Fna for a few minutes looking for a place to eat.  We stopped at booth 22 which specialized in shish kebabs and took seats on one of the long tables of clients.  We were brought loaves of Arab bread and olives and harissa and a red sauce.  The waiter then took our orders. We had mixed shish kebabs and couscous for about $30.00.  After dinner we walked back toward the apartment stopping in an open area in a side alley to shop for groceries.  We bought figs, apricot jam, bread, coffee and tea for 95 Dirham (about $13.00).

A block or two later Willy stopped us at a shop exhibiting hookahs. We haggled with a vendor for a few minutes and Willy bought a hookah from a shop for about $30.00.  We then stopped at another store near the entrance to the medina and bought milk, water and tobacco for Willy’s hookah and went home and said goodnight to Naiore.

When I checked the freezer of the fridge to see if the Raposiera Sparkling Brut had frozen, I was pleased to see it had not but that it was very cold, just the perfect drinking temperature.  Willy made a hookah and a pot of green tea and Suzette and I split the bottle of sparkling wine on the patio of the apartment above the living quarters, for a lovely ending to a hectic day.

Bon Appétit  

Friday, April 18, 2014

April 16, 2014 Touring Oporto and Lunch at Lusitania Fish Restaurant

April 16, 2014 Touring Oporto and Lunch at Lusitania Fish Restaurant

We woke up and walked up the hill to the Mercado that was just opening at around 9:00 a.m. We bought rolls for 8 cents each and some fruit.  Then we walked across the street to the Super mini and bought serrano ham, mayonnaise, lettuce, cheese for sandwiches. 

Then we walked home.  Since Wily was still sleeping, we walked to a tourist information office and bought two day bus passes to tour Oporto on the orange and purple line which included about fifty stops of interest and a guided tour in about 12 languages by tape.  We spoke to the lady at the tourist information office about a tour of vineyards and she said she would check with Living Tours to see if there was a tour for the next day or Friday.  As we walked back to the apartment to get Willy we were texted that she had found us a tour for 95 Euros each for Thursday that included three Wineries and lunch.  So we got Willy and went back to the tourist information office to buy our tickets for the wine tour and then we jumped on the bus to see the sights.  There are two different routes that overlap and cross each other so we first went out to the seafood processing area by switching from one line to the other at a castle.  When we arrived at stop 18 in the Matosinhos District the harbor side of the street was filled with fishing businesses and markets and fishing boats and the other side of the street was filled with fish restaurants and open air braziers where fish and seafood was being grilled.  Since it was about 1:30 we started looking for a place to eat.  Finally I saw a couple at an outdoor table who seem to know what was good food and they recommended the restaurant where they were eating.  I looked inside and saw a wide array of seafood, including cuttlefish, calamari, red mullet, sea bream, salmon, dorado, sea bass (robalo), plaice and flounder.  Since Suzette likes sea bass, we decided to share one large sea bass for 40 Euros.  We ordered a salad and the owner/waitress suggested a bottle of the house wine, which was a vinho verde rosé also named Lusitania.  The grilled sea bass was served with a plate of boiled baby potatoes.  We loved the meal and the sharing of a communal fish was great although the fish was so large we could only eat about ¾ of it and asked the restaurant to pack the remaining amount which they did very expertly in an aluminum pan with a tight fitting lid held in place by crimped aluminum.  We got back on walked down the beach along the sandy beach that was beautiful white sand to a monument and sculpture of mourning women and caught the bus to the other side of the river to taste port.

The bus went along the beach and then along the river until it crossed the river on a large bridge and got off the bus in front of the port warehouses.  We decided to start at Kopke because it was one we had not heard of and the sign said it was the oldest house.  Every house charges for each bottle or taste of wine.  Some house makes still wines and most houses make both white and red port of all kinds.  Suzette suggested that if we were going to pay that we should get the best we could find, so we could taste the best ports.  We ordered a 10 year old aged white port and rosé port, which I had never seen and Willy plain red wine.  I had never had tasted rosé port.  It was an intermediate wine with both red and white port in it to make a rosé.  I did not like it as well as the straight white and the red.  The other interesting thing was that the port houses make regular wines also.  In fact they make all kinds of things.  The same grapes go into lots of different types of wines and most fields are not varietals or differentiated by grape.  There are up to 77 different types of grapes grown in the Douro region and they are mixed when crushed.

After Kopke we went to several other wineries.  We had a particularly nice tasting of five different wines at Ramos for 7.5 Euros.

We then took the bus back to the apartment and rested from our day’s touring because we were still stuffed from our big lunch.

Bon Appétit

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April 17, 2014 Tour of the Wine County of Northern Portugal

April 17, 2014 Tour of the Wine County of Northern Portugal

            Yesterday we signed up for an all day tour of the wine country.  At 8:15 our guide, Suzanna, arrived and drove us to pick up the other six persons in a MB van that sat 8 persons.  The other couple, who we could talk to from Columbus, Ohio, were Kathleen and Adam.  There was a couple from Madeira and the other couple was a Swiss man and Belgium woman.  The Swiss man seemed to be the most knowledgeable about wine.  We first drove about 1 ½ hours to the east to the Raposeira Vineyards in Lamego.  Raposeira is known for its sparkling wines.  The vineyard was founded by a French champagne winemaker in 1898.  We toured the entire facility from the area where the grapes are delivered from about 300 growers, through the presses and the fermentation steel tanks, to the caves (storage areas), which seemed to run for miles.   Christiana, the lady who was our guide, said that the constant temperature and humidity in the cave will enhance the wine for years and Raposeira produces three grades of wine reserve, old reserve, and super reserve corresponding to a minimum of 2 years, 4 years and 6 years of aging.  In addition, Raposeira produces a gourmet line of varietals and special wines. 

The first fermentation is relatively short.  Then the wines are bottled with some yeast and sugar and then topped with metal cap that will hold the pressure as the wine generates bubbles.  Christina said the wine will produce 7 bars of pressure.  I am not sure how much that is but it is enough to shoot the plug of sediment out of the bottle when the top of the bottle of wine is frozen and then opened when it is ready for consumption (sale). 
When the plug of sediment is removed from the bottle of wine, there is some nectar, which is sugar and wine, that is added to wine bottle to top off the wine and add sugar if the wine is to be sweet.  No sugar is added to Brut, which has little or no sugary flavor.  Then the bottle is corked and capped with wire to hold the cork in place.
After the tour, we walked across the drive to the tasting room and tasted a brut, which was lovely, then a Blanc de Blanc and finally we requested to taste a Rosé Brut.  No surprise, we loved the Rosé the best, although all the wines were vibrant and bubbly.  We bought 2 bottles of Brut Rosé for 5.50 Euros each.  The wines are made with the traditional local grapes.  The main grape is Malaviha? Fina but there are many others.  Traditionally in Portugal the vineyards were planted with a variety of local grapes and that is what you get most of the time in all the wines.  The next winery in the Douro area described it as vineyard selection.  In other words as grape vines are replaced there is a selection made in the type of grapes to re-plant in the field to create the mixture of grapes that the vineyard thinks will produce the best mixture for their wines.
    Then we drove up the valley further into the Alto Douro which is the farthest of the three Douro areas to a vineyard named Quinta de Tedo located high above the junction of the Douro and the Tedo rivers.

We were given a tour of the aging area by a wonderful guide who knew his wine and the processing of it.  He explained the difference between the three kinds of port: tawny, ruby and vintage.  Generally, tawny is aged in smaller barrels than the ruby port after the initial fermentation.  When the tawny and ruby are bottled they will generally not age much more and should be drunk within about ten to fifteen years.  Alternatively, the vintage ports are ruby ports that have been designated as good years and they are bottled after two years and will age in the bottle for forty or fifty years, getting better and better each year.  The small barrels that tawny is aged in give it a mellow flavor and a lighter brown color and a nutty flavor.  The ruby ports are fruity and very fruity and sweet.

Tedo does not make any white port.  We tasted several different ports: a vintage port from 2011 that was exquisite, a ten year old tawny that was very good, a ruby and a late bottled tawny, plus a very nice red wine.  We then asked about olive oil and the guide’s eyes lit up and he invited us to step around the bar to the olive oil area and removed a cloth from the top of a bowl of olive oil and spoons.  We took a spoon and dipped it into the olive oil and tasted it.  It has a little floral taste but no rancidity.  Our guide described how he is the person at the vineyard who drives the olives to the press and must wait to make sure that the press gives back only Tedo’s olive oil and no one else’s.  He was very proud of Tedo’s olive oil and it tasted great to us.  It was bottled in 750 ml. bottles like wine and we bought 2 bottles for 10 euros.

            Here is a blog by the wife of the couple who own Quinto de Tedo with a recipe for a chocolate cake that is almost identical to the one I make that she recommends eating with a ruby port. 

A perfect Easter pairing: our Ruby Port and the best ever chocolate cake

March 31, 2014
April Fool’s Day!
Easter is a time for celebration with family and friends, and I can proudly share with you my “irresistible chocolate cake”, a melt-in-your-mouth, dense and simply delicious bittersweet chocolate cake that pairs beautifully with our Ruby Port. The recipe is from Maison Lameloise, Burgundy’s 3-star Michelin restaurant in Chagny, where we have proudly held a tasting dinner for Quinta do Tedo.
Why a Ruby and not another Port? This fresh and fruity port, a blend of 3 harvests and aged for 3.5 to 4 years in wood (a short time compared to other port types), is less rich in tannins and thus pairs perfectly with an intensely-flavored and dense chocolate cake. As husband Vincent says, imagine the Ruby as  ”fortified” red fruit – slightly chilled, fresh and full in the mouth and the cake as a delicious bittersweet truffle.
Serve with fresh red berries – raspberries, strawberries, currants – tossed in a light orange-peel infused syrup and a dollop of whipped cream.  Oh la la!
Melt-in-your-mouth Chocolate Cake
For 8 px
500 g bittersweet chocolate, cut in small pieces
500 g butter
400 g sugar
8 eggs
50 g flour

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler until almost melted; remove from double boiler and let cool, it will finish melting.  Mix sugar and flour, add to chocolate/butter mixture.  Beat the eggs and add to the above mixture. Transfer to a buttered pan. Cook at 170 C/350F for 1 1/2 hours. Let cool and serve with red fruit berries, ideally a mix of strawberries, raspberries, currants – in a orange peel-infused syrup, with whipped cream or creme anglaise.

Cheers~ Kay

            Then we drove back down the Douro to Régua and stopped at the Douro Inn for lunch.  The restaurant is elegant and Michelin recommended, so the food was first rate.  We started with a potato and leek and asparagus potage, then we were served a glass of wine and our choice of red or white wine.  Suzette and I switched on everything.  She ordered the pasta with veal ragout and I ordered grilled Dorado with smashed baked baby potatoes. My dish was better than Suzette’s.  I have not had a bad grilled fish in Portugal.   We enjoyed getting to know the other tour members and I gave out several cards for my blog.   

            After the entrees we were offered dessert of either fresh melon or orange cake with chocolate sauce.  Four of us selected each one.  Again Suzette and I split our desserts. The melon was fantastic, but the orange cake was also very good flavored with orange citrine and lemon and made with finely chopped almonds and almond milk.  The chocolate sauce was creamy and very light, but also very chocolaty.  After lunch Suzanna drove us up and up out of the Douro Valley.  Every turn was another more dramatic view until we could no longer see the river and were up near the top of the hillside, an ascent of several thousand feet.

  After leaving the Douro Valley we drove back toward Oporto to Aveleda Winery.  Aveleda is one of the largest Vinho verde producers, bottling approximately 15,000,000 bottles each year.  It is state of the art and yet it has a 300 year old history and a beautiful setting with an old house and the most beautiful gardens we have seen on the trip. The wine is called vinho verde because it is bottled before it it fully fermented and ferments a bit in the bottle which gives it a fresh fruit flavor and some bubbles.  It is a light drinking wine , but on the veranda overlooking the vineyards on the warm afternoon that we had today it was lovely.  Not one we chose to buy, but very refreshing.  We then headed back to Oporto     


View from Tedo toward Neiport

crushing bins at Tedo

View from Tedo toward Neiport

Douro Valley

grilled dorado

         When we arrived at the apartment Willy was waiting for us and we walked down to the river to see the sunset,  after sunset we looked for Chez Lapin and found it by way of the back alley that led to it rather from the river front.  This led  me to a strategic error.  Since I did not see the tables on the river front I agreed to be seated at a table next to the kitchen which was busier and hotter and lacked the lovely view of the river and the port warehouses across the river.  Of course I loved the hustle in the kitchen and watching the crew push to food out to the tables, but Suzette did not like it.  Also because we had all eaten a big lunch, we could not fully appreciate the dinner and took a lot of it home.  Willy ordered the tourist dinner for 19.00 Euros, which included a cream of vegetable soup, a plate with a large grilled salmon steak, a baked potato, salad, a half bottle of wine and a dessert that was mango mousse. Suzette shared with me and I ordered a fish soup that was not very good, a wonderful mussel soup and grilled octopus with baked potatoes and an onion and bell pepper sauce that was delicious.  Willy's wine was a vinho verde and I ordered a white Douro named platero that was great.

After dinner we walked east along the Douro until we came to the funicular and for 2 euros each we rode it up the hill to a point above the railroad station and within about four blocks of the railroad station.  We walked through the railroad station and looked at the amazing painted tiles on our way home.  The apartment is about two blocks from the railroad station. 

Another big day.

Bon Appetit


Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014 Northwest Coast of Ireland and Lunch at Mitchell’s in Clifden

April 14, 2014 Northwest Coast of Ireland and Lunch at Mitchell’s in Clifden

This morning we woke up a bit late at ate French toast and ham for breakfast at the St. Anthony B and B at 8:45 and left about 9:30 for our drive south and back to Dublin along the coast.

We were delayed due to an engaging conversation with Roger, the owner of a wool duvet cover company in England, who was kind enough to give me a book on British history going back 500,000 years to the earliest habitation by Homo Heidelburgensus folk.  In about an hour I read about 490,000 years of history in 35 pages this afternoon and evening.

We drove south and west from Westport out to the coast and then through a series of loughs or lakes created by receding glaciers in the last Ice Age about 11,000 years ago.

We drove along a road walked by folks seeking food during the Irish potato famine in 18949 and saw several monuments set up to commemorate their deaths by the unreasoning British overlords who made them walk along miles of Killough Lough to Delphia Lodge to get food.  Many died on the way on a cold winter day.  Apparently it was one of the worst events during the potato famine.

Killough Lough (lake)

Willy skipping stones

Kylecore Castle

The scenery was breathtaking.  Valley after valley filled with upland lakes carved by glaciation.
We made our way around a curve and came upon Kylecore Abbey, one of the modern wonders of Ireland.  It is a large house built on 15,000 acres by a wealthy Englishman.  It also has the largest walled Victorian garden in Ireland.  We enjoyed seeing it and the Abbey.  Some of the tulips and fusias and daffodils are blooming and the camellias and rhododendrons were just starting to bloom.  A very lovely garden and very formal.

We finally arrived in Clifden around 1:30 and drove the Upper Skye road out to the coast and from a look out saw miles the western coast of Ireland with its many islands and inlets.  As we drove back to town we saw oyster cages set in the inlet and decided to look for a seafood restaurant that might have oysters.  When we arrived in town we parked and aI asked a local lady where she would recommend we eat and she said Mitchell’s.  Luckily it was one block ahead of us.  We sat down and ordered a seafood platter for 23.50 Euros and Willy ordered Fish and chips when he heard that the fish was hake.  Our Seafood Platter contained 2 fresh oysters in their half shell, a piece of poached salmon, a three or four slices of smoked salmon, a bowl of about two dozen steamed mussels in butter sauce, some salad and a pile of fresh white meat crab.  Everything seemed exceedingly fresh and was delicious.  It was served with what is called a Rose Marie sauce, which seems to be a tartar sauce with ketchup.  We loved the oysters and crab and the salmon was really great also.
Willy’s hake was delicious also.  Very tender and flaky and moist served with tartar sauce.

After lunch we drove about four hours directly to Dublin by way of Galway and arrived at around 7:00 p.m.  The rural roads in Ireland are windy and bumpy and it takes longer to drive them than in the U.S.  Only the large M designated roads are limited access four lane highways.  The reason we continued down the west coast of Ireland to Galway was to pick up the M-6 from Galway to Dublin.

We were given a better room this time at Ashling Hotel with a balcony on the 6th floor, but there is some vibrating sound in the hotel that is quite disturbing.  We decided to forgo dinner.

Bon Appétit



April 13, 2014 Portrush to Westport, Lunch at Mullghmore Hotel Pub and Dinner at Everest Restaurant

April 13, 2014 Portrush to Westport, Lunch at Mullghmore Hotel Pub and Dinner at Everest Restaurant
We had a full Irish breakfast, two link sausages, a piece of ham, Boston beans, eggs and toast at the Mandalay B and B.  I don’t know how these folks eat this diet.

We drove toward Westport, stopping at Donegal to see the Castle and have a cup of tea.
Between Donegal and Sligo, we saw that there was a Neolithic grave site called the Creevykeel Cairns and we stopped there.  It was a raised stone burial site with a passage, but in this case there was no roof, just the bottom part of the site.  It was smaller than the other sites but had a lovely view of the ocean and, since it was nearly 1:00 we decided to go out to the coast to see if we could find a pub with a TV and a good kitchen so we could watch the Liverpool Manchester City soccer game and eat lunch.  We went across the road toward the coast to Mullghmore and found that it had a wonderful sweeping three mile long beach on the bay side.  We walked on the beach and picked up some sea shells.  We then drove to the Hotel and found that it had a lovely stone faced pub and a large TV.   We planted ourselves in front of the TV around 1:15 and did not move until around 3:30.   I had a Bulmer’s cider and Willy and Suzette had Bass ales.  Willy had the most interesting dish; smoked haddock that had been poached and then fried.   I ordered the Venison casserole with peppercorns and juniper berries, but it turned out to be indistinguishable from the usual Irish beef stew with a thick brown gravy.  What is it about brown gravy that is so exciting?

The Pub at Mullaghmore 

lashis at Everest restaurant 

Poppadom at Everest Restaurant 

The game was exciting.  Liverpool went ahead 2 to 0 and then Manchester pulled even at 2 to 2.  Finally with about seven minutes left Liverpool scored the winning goal when a defenseman for Manchester City did not clear the ball properly from the penalty area.

We then drove on to Westport and found the St. Anthony B & B quickly.  It was almost dark when we put our grips in the room.  While Willy rested Suzette and I walked around the downtown area which was pleasant with a river running through it.  Willy came out about ½ hour later as we returned to the B and B and we drove to the coast and watched the last light sink into the ocean.  We then drove back to the B and B and looked for a restaurant.  It was after 9:00 p.m. and the only thing open that looked good was a Nepalese and Indian restaurant named “Everest”.  Again, Willy ordered the best dish; a Nepalese chicken curry with a fresh made cheese sauce. I got a crazy dish called steamed chicken dumplings that looked and tasted every bit like Ling Ling dumplings that we buy at Costco, although they were served with a wonderful spicy sauce. 

We went to bed after dinner and slept for eight hours of blissful rejuvenating sleep in the cool sea air of Westport.

Bon Appétit