Archive for May, 2011


My friends Janet, Veronica and Giselle at Bottega Louie – one of our favorite restaurants in LA – sharing a pizza and some starters for dinner.

I’ll always remember the first time I went to a tapas restaurant in Ireland with my new-found Irish friends. It was a little place in Drogheda (which is sadly now out of business) and as soon as I opened the menu and saw favorites like garlic mushrooms, chili prawns and spicy potatoes I knew I was in for a treat.

Or so I thought.

“I’m getting the prawns and the salad,” said one friend. “What are you going to get?”

What do you mean what am I going to get? Tapas is all about sharing, I told her. It’s the Spanish culinary tradition of snacks or little bites served on small plates, and the idea is to get a bunch of dishes to share with friends.

clare plate

“OK, well you can have a bite of my prawns. So what are you going to order?” she deadpanned.

Through further explanation of the beauty of tapas (That way we can all try a lot of dishes on the menu, I reasoned), my friends seemed to grasp the concept and we each chose two dishes on the menu to order. But when the plates were set on the table, each friend quickly grabbed her two orders and tucked right in and offered me a bite of her food before promptly finishing off the rest.



When I told friends a few months back that I would be attending the wedding of Mountaineering Man’s sister, they all asked me the same question.

Have you ever been to an Irish wedding?

As soon as I’d informed them that I had not, the warnings came fast and furious.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

Drink loads of water throughout the day and pace yourself with the drinking!

Grab a sandwich between the church and the reception!

Take a few breaks up in your hotel room if you can!

Apparently Irish weddings can go on for hours and some even go for days. And while the wedding of Nessa and Cathal was perhaps quite mild by Irish standards, it certainly didn’t disappoint by any standard. The church service began at 1 p.m. and MM and I left the reception at about 2:45 a.m. – a total of nearly 14 hours. I heard a handful of guests partied until 5:30 a.m., so suffice it to say it was a proper Irish wedding!


home organics broadbean bread 2 Nearly two weeks into being a Dublin resident, I’m still trying to get the hang of things around here. I remember going through a similar adjustment when I moved from Los Angeles to Drogheda in 2010, though back then I was utterly clueless about anything Irish whereas now I’m just trying to learn my way around a new city.

Queen Dublin

Of course I happened to move here right in the thick of the craziest week Dublin has ever seen. There’s Queen Elizabeth’s visit, her first EVER to Ireland, which is currently going on. Tonight is the UEFA final (football) and Saturday is the Leinster Cup final (rugby), and both are huge sporting events (so I’m told) and both in Dublin. On Monday, President Obama comes to visit for two days. All these events have Dublin on major lock-down: streets are closed off, public transportation is limited and there are literally 10,000 cops patrolling the streets.


Dublin Church When I moved to Drogheda from Los Angeles just over 14 months ago, I was looking for a break from big-city life. I spent the first part of my childhood in Tokyo, my formative years in Los Angeles and my college days in San Francisco so living in a small town (well, small for me) was something out of my comfort zone.

It was an adjustment but that year in Drogheda was a good one. I learned to navigate narrow country roads with ease; I got used to seeing people I knew around town; I found ways to deal with the lack of variety when it came to restaurants and food shops. But even though I’m now back in a big city, it’s still a world away from where I originally came. 


Irish boys small town Though Drogheda showed some last-minute ingenuity to get me to stay, I am now an official resident of Dublin. Let me explain.

For my last night in The Drog, I booked Mountaineering Man and myself a room at the d Hotel. I’d spent the better part of the week packing, hauling and cleaning and I wanted MM and I to have a relaxing last evening in town. We went to Eastern Seaboard with my Collon friends (Sinead, Aoife, Earnan and Grainne) and retreated to our lovely room at the hotel, delighted at the knowledge that there were only a few more boxes and items left in my perfectly-clean apartment to take the Dublin the next day.

eastern 2

We slept in, MM went for his usual 10k run (this time in the hotel’s gym instead of outdoors) and we had a sumptuous breakfast at the d’s restaurant before heading out to get the last of my things. I found the perfect loading zone space right near the entrance to my apartment and we made a few trips up and down the lift, filling my tiny car to near capacity. It was on our second-to-last trip to the car – I had a few small bags and MM had my big television set – that I realized I’d locked my keys in the apartment. Just when I thought I was out it pulls me back in! After ringing the building manager several times with no answer, we had no other choice but to call a locksmith and pay up (though in fairness the guy was very fast and only charged me 40 Euro, not bad at all). Drama resolved and crisis averted, I said goodbye to Drogheda and we headed off into the sunset. Well, it was the M1 but it actually was sunny…so there.



Remember a while back when I introduced Mountaineering Man on the blog? It’s hard to believe it’s been almost eight months since we started dating but it has, and now we’re taking the next step: cohabitation!

So yes, I’m moving in with MM. Though we were initially going to look for a two-bedroom place we’ve decided to move into his one-bed until that gets sorted. A lot of couples have their starter apartment and this will be ours, complete with a major lack of closet space and one, small bathroom.

Despite the tight quarters, I’m really looking forward to it. While it’ll certainly be more convenient (I’ve been living out of a suitcase half the week for the last several months, commuting between my Drogheda digs and his Dublin apartment), that’s just one small benefit. I’m excited about taking the next step with someone I not only love but really like; I genuinely enjoy spending time with him. Whether we’re lounging around and reading the paper or hiking up in Wicklow, it just feels…easy.