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Archive for January, 2011

lilly7

Secret Supper Clubs have been all the rage in Los Angeles for the last few years, so when I heard about one being done in Dublin I jumped at the chance to enjoy a multi-course meal cooked and served in the comfort of a private home with complete strangers.

But unlike the one Supper Club experience I’d had in LA (which was a fun experience but food-wise was lackluster), this wasn’t about secret passwords and going to great lengths to secure a precious invite. The Loaves & Fishes Supper Club, organized and hosted by foodie and baker Lilly Higgins and her sisters, is all about delicious, homemade food created by people who truly love to cook for others.

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customer_service

Today I went into a big-box sports shop in town looking for a pair of running shoes. I saw a few pair I liked and stood near them, waiting patiently for one of the two sales clerks who loitered nearby to assist me. After a few minutes of being stared at, I did a little hand up gesture, the polite and non-verbal “oi” to let them know I needed help. No reaction. One of them, a young woman, walked over to me (or so I thought) but then passed and started arranging shoes on the very shelf I was standing next to. “Excuse me,” I said. She turned, pretended not to hear me (there was just no way she didn’t unless she was legally deaf) and walked away. She then strolled over to a boy, no more than 10-years-old who stood about 5 feet away from me and asked him, “You doin’ all right there?” She then turned again and started to walk toward me, and again I said, “Hi, excuse me…” but my words hung in the air like one of those cartoon bubbles of text as she passed me by, again ignoring me.

I’ve touched briefly on customer service (or the lack, thereof) in Ireland before, but I think it’s time for a full-blown rant. To be frank: I’m fed up. Even after over 10 months of living in Ireland, I’m still taken aback by the blatant disregard for customers around here. For a country in the depths of a dismal recession, I’m surprised that businesses are still ignoring the need for better customer service. The big-box stores are especially guilty of this. Almost every time I’m in the check-out line at Dunnes, I’m standing there, waiting while two register clerks exchange weekend gossip, completely ignoring the fact that there are numerous customers waiting to get on with their lives. Thankfully Tesco offers a self-checkout line, which I always use as I am over the slow and often rude service there.

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fish clare

I used to be afraid to say the words, “I don’t know.” One of my biggest fears was admitting I didn’t know something, whether it was how to scuba dive or where St. Charles was located or how to properly light barbeque charcoals. For a long time I got away with a confident nod and a smile, which would deceive people into thinking I knew what I was talking about when in fact, I had no idea.

There was a particular period in my life where this whole charade became utterly exhausting and more trouble than it was worth. It was shortly after I graduated from college and I was living with roommates in a very hip part of San Francisco called Hayes Valley. Within a few months of living there I befriended a number of people in the neighborhood and became good friends with a couple of guys who lived down the street. Both exuded this almost tangible sense of cool; one had a very exotic and odd Finnish name, even though neither he nor his parents (or grandparents, for that matter) were from Finland. The other was tall and lanky and played guitar and spun records on his Technics 1200s in his spare time. Together they were the hipster poster boys for our stylish little ‘hood: all vintage threads, Swedish minimalism and wispy indifference. All the hipster girls in the neighborhood vied for their attention.

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cor1_edited-1

There are some things so precious you want to keep them all to yourself, safely tucked away from prying eyes and inevitable opinions and questions. There’s safety in keeping something secret; it’s a preservation method, a way to keep something protected and allow space for growth without influence or distraction.

But this is a blog about my life here in Ireland, and it would be unfair to readers and downright untruthful to hold back on something as significant as this any longer. While I did slip in a little mention a couple of posts back, I have yet to elaborate. So here goes [*takes deep breath*]: I’m in love with an Irish man.

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Apologies for the lack of posts. I was away for nearly two weeks on Christmas holiday back to my hometown of Los Angeles and have been sick with a bad cold ever since returning. I promise a real post in the coming days but for now, enjoy some foodie pics from my LA trip!

z salmon  z sushi

*Sushi at Z’s: Straight from the airport to my sister’s for a shower and then right on to Z’s Sushi, my family’s favorite sushi spot in LA. Best salmon sushi I’ve ever had (the secret is the little slice of clear seaweed that tops each piece of salmon).

a rav final a ravi 3

*Dinner at my sister’s: My dad and sister worked together to make these delicious oxtail ravioli, which was served in a very simple sauce and topped with good parmesan. NOM!

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