Thu 2 May 2013
Gulp. It was a direct message to my Twitter account from Ross Lewis, exec chef and co-owner of Chapter One. I’d tweeted a few very positive messages about my recent (and first ever) dining experience at his renowned restaurant, plus one tweet expressing [slight] disappointment with my steak. Could he really be upset about an honest tweet regarding sinew?
Far from it. Ross was upset about my disappointment, not that I tweeted about it. He told me the particular cut of steak on the menu that night is a “heartbreak” for him because while it’s the most flavourful cut it has potential to have sinew hidden deep inside the meat. Upon delivery he can cut the meat to check for sinew and see nothing; but later a steak sliced from that bigger cut could have a bit of the stringy white tissue that’s not visible on the surface but reveals itself only when the diner cuts into it. So the majority of people who order it will get the most savoury, beautiful steak they’ve ever had but a few might get a bit of tough sinew in their meat.
I could hear his genuine frustration that I ended up being one of those few; for the next 20 minutes we talked candidly about food and cooking like two people who spend breakfast talking about lunch and who eat lunch whilst talking about what to cook for dinner (read: obsessed!). It was a proper chat between two food enthusiasts and for that 20 minutes I forgot I was talking to a Michelin-starred chef. He was down-to-earth and sincere, and his passion and dedication to his craft was obvious. This is one chef who doesn’t rest on his laurels.
Though I really enjoy a beautiful steak or burger once in a while, I tend to eat mostly vegetarian and even vegan during the week. So I was thrilled when I won a hamper through an Irish Food Bloggers competition from Mash Direct, a company that makes farm-fresh potato & vegetable mash.
Mash Direct was founded by Martin and Tracy Hamilton, who own and run a veg farm in County Down. Tired of the preservative-filled mash that featured on most store shelves, they decided to create lovely and healthy mashes from their own potatoes. They now make a variety of mash, like champ and colcannon, as well as potato cakes, roasted potatoes, croquettes and vegetable sides. My favourite is their Red Cabbage & Beetroot, which I could eat just on its own. Mountaineering Man raved about the champ and the Chilli Baby Bakes, which are baby potatoes with a proper spicy sauce.
It was a bit embarrassing how quickly we ate through the 9 mashes/veg in our hamper, but we’re not the only ones obsessed with the products. I went to Superquinn to restock and found the store had only one of the Red Cabbage & Beet Root left and only two mashes! Needless to say, I cleaned them out!
When I lived in San Francisco several years ago I fell in love with the French 75, an old-school cocktail made with gin and champagne. It was served to me for the first time at Absinthe, a bar & grill down the street from my house in the Hayes Valley district, and they served it in a tall, chilled glass and topped it off with a spear of three, brandied cherries.
I was recently transported back to that time when I had a French 75 at the newly revamped Odeon in Dublin. The cocktail was just as I remember; the clean bite of gin, the effervescent hit of bubbles and a hint of sour lemon – so good. The drinks menu features several old-school cocktails like a proper Mojito, Mint Julep and an Old Fashioned among others. Combined with the rich décor, muted lighting and big, luxurious booths, it was the perfect mid-week escape with a couple of friends.
The restaurant offers a great tapas menu, perfect for snacking between fab cocktails and wine. Or make a meal out of it; the Odeon offers a wonderful weekday special: 3 tasting plates and a bottle of wine for €35. The place turns out a more clubby vibe on weekends and that’s great for some. For me, it’s really the ideal after-work venue for catching up with girlfriends and having a few bites and great drinks. I also think the Odeon would make the perfect venue for an urban, evening wedding, which I hear they can do.
Tasty Morsels is a round-up of product reviews, restaurant news and foodie bits & bobs that I’ll feature here on the blog at least once every month. If you’d like something featured, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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