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Archive for April, 2011

apt view When I first moved to Ireland, I chose Drogheda for a couple of reasons: One was because I have friends in the area and the other because I wanted to try something different from the big cities I was so used to. For the last year and one month, it’s been home to me, but the time has come for me to move on.

In about two weeks’ time, I will be moving south…to Dublin. I suppose in some ways it was inevitable; I was born in Tokyo, grew up in Los Angeles and went to college in San Francisco and I’ve always thrived on the culture and variety that cities offer. But in all honesty when I moved to Drogheda I had no agenda or plan to move anywhere else. I settled in and the only real decision I made was to go with the flow and really just let life happen.

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 croissant ricotta I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I live in a small town. Not small by Irish standards, but small by my Los Angelino standards for sure.

While there are many benefits to living in such a place (people are friendly, there’s little traffic, it’s easier to get to know your neighbors, etc.) there are a few drawbacks as well, one of which is finding certain ingredients at the grocery shops in town. For example, it’s impossible to find chocolate chips here. For that, I’d have to go to Dublin.

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dinner apps better

I’m always up for a challenge, especially when it comes to cooking a meal. But when I received all my guests’ dietary likes/dislikes before a recent dinner party, even I found it a bit daunting.

Sinead and Aoife don’t like shellfish; Sinead also dislikes anything with too many spices and has a relatively severe dislike of mushrooms; Aoife also doesn’t like “fishy fish” and lamb; Ciara has a “thing” with chicken and happens to be pregnant, so no unpasteurized cheese or rare anything. Grainne, on the other hand, will eat anything but considering all the other girls’ fickle palates it was neither here nor there.

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donal treats Funnily enough, strange but common side effects of fame can and often include a sudden loss of memory (like forgetting who your real friends are), a severe case of elitist behaviour and the onset of frequent temper tantrums. I’m from Los Angeles and believe me, this “disease” is practically an epidemic out there!

donal sofie

So it’s refreshing (and rare!) to see people who manage to find success and yet remain humble and kind, and Ireland’s own Donal Skehan is one such person. I first met him at the inaugural gathering of food bloggers in Ireland last year, and though he was one of the hosts and the author of a very popular blog and a new cookbook, he was incredibly down-to-earth and friendly. Well last week Donal released his second cookbook, Kitchen Hero (this time by a major publisher in the UK) and his new cooking show debuts on television in a few weeks – reasons enough to justify a marked change in attitude, if you go by LA standards.

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mexi salsa

While some people find cooking to be the most stressful chore in the world, I find it relaxing and therapeutic. It’s something that sets me at ease and reenergizes my spirit, at the risk of sounding melodramatic! To me, there are few things in life more enjoyable than dabbling in the kitchen with some piano music in the background (Dustin O’Halloran is a new favorite, thanks to my friend Aoife for the recommendation!) with a glass of wine in one hand and a spatula in the other.

Life has been quite hectic for Mountaineering Man and me lately; it seems every weekend is booked with long-standing plans or some sort of obligation so it was a much-welcome relief when we found ourselves with no plans last Sunday. We went to Chapters Bookstore for a bit of browsing and then stopped into a cafe for coffee. For dinner we thought we’d hit one of the Mexican places in town, but found all four of them to be closed! So we did one better and hit the supermarket where we gathered some avocados, tortillas, tomatoes and a few other bits and headed home to cook.

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IMG00188-20100911-1303 For the most part, I really enjoy living in Ireland and I think I make that relatively clear in this blog. But there are days – and today is one of those days – where I really hate certain things about living here. Yes, I used the “h” word.

Since I try to be honest about my experience here I feel I should share the reasons why. This morning Mountaineering Man and I awoke to find a window had been smashed in his apartment building; apparently some jerkface kids in the neighborhood think it’s funny to throw rocks at windows until they shatter into a million pieces all over the sidewalk below. The window wasn’t MM’s, but rather one that looks out from the inside stairwell. There are several apartment blocks in his area that have numerous smashed communal windows, likely by the same culprits.

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la roots

Twinkling lights of downtown Los Angeles

I’ve been a bit MIA for a while, and for that I apologize. Things have been crazy busy around here lately, and though I’m not ready to reveal everything just yet I can say that big changes are afoot!

One of the changes that I can talk about is the launch of my new website, The Hollywood Craic. It’s basically an entertainment news and gossip blog that brings the best of Hollywood news to the Emerald Isle. I decided to branch back into entertainment journalism simply because it’s been very difficult selling food and travel-related stories here in Ireland, so I needed to expand my repertoire.

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