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Perfect date venue

18 Apr

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Had a lovely impromptu date night at Ely in the IFSC tonight. I always thought the Grand Canal branch was my favourite, until we were led downstairs at the IFSC to this beautiful dining room.

Getting back on track…

14 Apr

I have been quite quiet recently, mainly due to feeling ill since February and just wanting to hibernate instead of going out to investigate new areas of Dublin. I don’t know about you but I’m a bit of a bad patient so I kept working and going out with friends and therefore prolonging my infection… not the brightest idea! I finally took some time off to recuperate at the beginning of March so I’m now feeling much brighter, and have resumed business as usual.

Here’s a break-down of some of the nice things I have managed to fit in since my recovery:

1) Going to see ‘The Full Monty’ at the Bord Gaís Energy Theatre. My friend Karen bought me tickets for Christmas, and neither of us could believe how quickly it came round! It was a fantastic night; the show was absolutely brilliant and when we left my hands were stinging from clapping so hard. I would definitely recommend seeing it if it comes to a town near you!

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Not your typical strippers…

2) Coming firmly last place at the Rainforest Adventure Golf in Dundrum. One of my friends Heather had seen half-price offer on one of the deal websites, so four of us went and had a ball showing off our “skills”. It’s normally €9 each for adults, but you get a lot for your money and can have pizza and wine whilst you wait so would make a great date night as well as being a fun group outing. Check out their website for more details.

3) Being taken for a lovely romantic evening out to The Tea Room Restaurant, which is Bono’s restaurant in the Clarence Hotel in Dublin city centre. I have always had a bit of a grudge against Bono after reading once that he chartered a plane from the UK to New York to carry his lucky hat, because he couldn’t go on stage without it. This is clearly the behaviour of a baffoon, but I did not let it ruin my enjoyment of his establishment! The food was lovely if not a little gourmet in terms of portion-size, but the restaurant was very empty and there wasn’t a lot of atmosphere. We followed it up with cocktails at my favourite bar, Lost Society, who you can follow  on Twitter @lostsocdublin. Don’t forget to follow me whilst you’re at it – @dublin_diaries 🙂

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Me and my beloved ❤

4) Enjoying the “sunshine” with Paddy. We’ve had a few reasonable weekends recently, so I’ve been a very dutiful owner and taken the pug for some nice walks near the canal and to the park in Merrion Square. He is never happier than when he’s outside causing mischief chasing other dogs and people’s children!

Paddy enjoying the beer garden at The Bath Pub in Ballsbridge.

a Paddy enjoying the beer garden at The Bath Pub in Ballsbridge.

5) Going to check out the Farmer’s Market in Dún Laoghaire. This morning I met my friend Laura in Dún Laoghaire for a wander around the weekly farmer’s market. I’ve been wanting to try this for a while as I’ve heard good things, and as previous readers of my blog may know, I LOVE Dún Laoghaire. With the sun shining and the stunning views over the bay, you feel like you’re on holiday and I wouldn’t mind making the move out there if I was ever to leave my current flat.

The bay in Dún Laoghaire - beautiful!

The bay in Dún Laoghaire – beautiful!

The farmer’s market is lovely, much better than the paltry Christmas market I visited at the IFSC in December which had a bit of a jumble sale feel to it. The Dún Laoghaire version mainly sells delicious food, such as fresh breads, olives, chutneys, relishes and cakes. There was almost too much choice, and in the end I opted for a tomato and mozerella pizza from Dave’s Wood-Fired Pizza Co., whilst Laura chose a falafel. Both of us were satisfied with our decisions!

Lovely fudge!

Lovely fudge!

Dave's Wood-fired Pizza

Dave’s Wood-fired Pizza

Yum!

Yum!

Lovely lavendar

Lovely lavendar – it smelled amazing!

The smells were amazing and it was lovely to peruse the different stalls, although I was tempted by far too many of them! In the end I settled for my pizza and a pair of lovely hand-made earrings from Trinket Box. I can’t wait to visit again when my sister comes to visit in May – I know she’ll love it just as much as I did!

My lovely new earrings from Trinket Box.

My lovely new earrings from Trinket Box.

So that’s me up-to-date – I’d love to hear from any of you if you have any suggestions of nice places to visit in or around Dublin. Leave a comment below or tweet me 🙂

DD xX

Bella Cuba date night!

20 Jan

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I have been a bit M-I-A so far in 2013 due to the fact that I was ill with a terrible cold that just would not leave me alone, and then by the time I finally recovered I had no money left after Christmas. So January has been a very quiet month so far!

For my first outing of 2013, my boyfriend took me to a Cuban restaurant in Ballsbridge which we’ve fancied going to since we moved here. It’s called Bella Cuba and is above Bellamy’s pub. You can check out their menu here.

Although I’m a big fan of Mexican and Spanish food, I’ve never tried Cuban food and wasn’t really sure what to expect. I chose Arroz Con Pollo Borracho (Drunk Chicken Rice), a Cuban delicacy which is chicken and rice cooked in beer. I’m not really sure why I chose this, as I don’t like the taste of beer and therefore I didn’t particularly enjoy the meal. We ordered papas bravas (mini roast potatoes with pan-friend chorizo) as a side, and they were delicious so I filled up on those instead and stole some of the Portugueezer’s main, which was so tasty it made me jealous. He opted for the Pollo Rolleno con Chorizo (chicken stuffed with chorizo), which came with mash and was mouth-watering.

The restaurant itself is very small (probably around the size of most people’s living rooms) and you are sat a little too close to comfort to the surrounding tables, but it has a distinctive charm with its red and white checkered table-cloths, low-lighting and lively Cuban music.

I really enjoyed the evening and will definitely be going back to sample the chicken and chorizo again! I would definitely recommend it to other Dubliners, and they also have a branch in Miami so if you ever find yourself in that area of the world, why not give it a go?

Bon apetit! x

 

Best hot chocolate ever!

12 Nov

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This is the best hot chocolate ever! You get a cup of hot milk and a chocolate lolly complete with marshmallows. Add the lolly to the milk and hey presto – perfect antidote to these wintery afternoons! This was from Herb Street in Grand Canal Dock.

La lucha de las tapas!

30 Oct

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Photo from Market Bar website.

As any of my friends who have come to visit me in Dublin can attest, one of my favourite places to eat in Dublin is Market Bar on Fade Street. As I lived in Spain for 6 months during my degree, tapas is always a firm favourite of mine because I like to pretend I’m back in Sevilla being footloose and fancy-free. I rarely find that tapas live up to the standard, but the food at Market Bar is of a really good quality and the portions are massive – for two people, you’d really only need to order 3 tapas or risk being overloaded. Therefore, the pair of you can come away stuffed and partially tipsy (thanks to their reasonably priced half-carafe of sangria) for around €40. Not too shabby!

Last night, the Portugueezer decided to mix things up a little and took me to a different tapas restaurant in Ranelagh, La Bodega Tapas Y Vino. This was a completely different feel – the majority of staff there are actually Spanish and the atmosphere is quiet and sophisticated as opposed to Market Bar’s slightly raucous air (due to the fact that it also serves as a cocktail bar). The menu at La Bodega is much more varied than at Market Bar, and we chose 5 tapas to share. Although I enjoyed the food and would recommend it, the price would put me off returning as for two of us (with wine) it came to around €80. The staff were very attentive and the dessert was delicious (I chose chocolate fondant, naturally!) but I can’t justify the difference in price as I actually think the food at Market Bar was slightly nicer.

If you fancy making up your own mind about which tapas would top your list, you can check out a review and the menu of La Bodega here, and the Market Bar website here.

¡Que aproveche!

Chocoholic!

4 Oct

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Delicious profiteroles at Harry’s Cafe on Dawson Street, Dublin.

Dublin date night

1 Oct

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On Saturday, the boyfriend and I went for a date-night at Ely in Grand Canal Dock. There are a few Elys dotted about the city – one over at IFSC and another near St. Stephen’s Green, but the Grand Canal Dock branch has got to be my favourite.

The décor is luxurious with dark wood and low-lighting, and the mix of comfy armchairs and chandeliers gives it a homely yet exclusive feel. This makes it a perfect date venue, as you can let your guard down, lounge back with a glass of wine and watch the world go by.

I ordered a mini onion and porter cheese quiche and a portion of hand-cut chips with alioli sauce. The quiche was actually delicious – I would even go as far as to say melt-in-the-mouth, and the chips were pretty good too! The boyfriend had rare breed organic pork banger and mash, and also left a clean plate.

Although it’s not a cheap night out (with a bottle of wine and dessert it came to over €70), I definitely enjoyed it and would keep it in mind for special occasions. The staff are also very helpful and accommodating, despite the fact that it is nearly always packed whenever I’ve visited.

For more information or to check out the menu, see their website or follow them on Twitter @elywinebars.

 

Culinary canal

20 Sep

Grand Canal on Mespil Road. Copyright Rebecca Ellis 2012.

Come rain or shine, every Thursday on my way to work I see various food stalls being erected beside the Grand Canal on Mespil Road. There are a variety of stalls, including Kerala Kitchen (Indian food), Mr. Noodle and Fish and Chips (both self-explanatory!).

If you fancy sampling the delights of outdoor-cooked food, the market can be found a few yards from where the floating restaurant La Peniche is moored.

Happy munching!

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