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Thanks be to Cod.

June 19, 2009

After we travel, A. and I go into a sort of cultural withdraw. After our trip to the Yucatan, we sought out tacos and guacamole. Not only do we go to restaurants, but I make many attempts at mimicking our favorites, such as the best brunch ever. After France, we used tablecloths and listened to Edith Piaf, while I perused my Julia Child and Ina Garten books to find the best French recipes. When we travel, we take our time to enjoy the culture, and don’t check things off our list. We feel really lucky to even be there and to take in the moment. Often, our long meals are what we remember best. The bliss of a conversation over a meal cultivates our passion for the food of different cultures. When we returned from Ireland, this of course occurred again.

Growing up in Alexandria, I was one of a few people with immediate Irish heritage, and certainly, I was the only dual citizen that I knew. There were the people who said they were Irish, ugh, loudly broadcasting their greenness on St. Patricks Day– ironically, the day my grandmother loathed. In a town of Anglo-Saxon and Scot descendants, I grew up around the Scottish Games and the oldest Episcopalian church in the country. Alexandria was decidedly Protestant. With wild curly hair, big cheeks, and a Gaelic profile, I just didn’t look or feel like my peers. In fact, after our last trip, I remarked to my mother how walking around Ireland I realized how much I looked like everyone. I fit in there. However, in the past ten years, the Irish finally arrived. Up and down King St, Irish chefs litter the various establishments. Upon returning from Ireland in April, we rushed to Eamonn’s, named after the chef’s son, and not the revolutionary. The best fish and chips this side of the Atlantic, we decided it rivaled most in Ireland. But, A. didn’t stop there. For my 30th birthday, he took me to Restaurant Eve. Considered one of the best restaurants in the city, he went all out, and I still can’t get over it. Dining with the likes of Denis Leary, we enjoyed a perfect meal. The food was fresh in such a way that reminds you that most food is not. I could not get over the dinner, or Denis Leary- that petite man, and it probably explained why we were pretty silent eating. No reflections about eating in Dingle at this meal. Upon leaving, they gave us a packet to make homemade scones in the morning. We jumped over to Daniel O’Connell’s, this time named after the revolutionary, and shared pints in the most authentic pub in the city. I love the place, it reflects a modern Dublin pub– because Ireland evolves, like the rest of the world. So much better then Fado’s, Murphy’s, or the 4 P’s. Reflecting now, I can’t get over how odd I felt growing up being Irish Catholic in D.C, but how hip it is now.

As if I need another reason to love Eamonn’s and Restaurant Eve, yesterday the chef, Cathal Armstrong, was on NPR talking about sustainable eating, and all sorts of wonderfulness, take a moment to listen. Thank you NPR, the conversation brought me back to thoughts of Ireland again…

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