Where everybody knew my name…

A few posts back, I reviewed a lovely little cafe in my neighborhood called Door 51.  I went on and on about how much I enjoyed this restaurant, how it was the first place I felt at home in my new neighborhood, how the owner and waitstaff already knew me by name. Even after starting work, I made a point of going in there at least once a week. I loved the food. I loved the people.  I loved Door 51.

But as of this past Tuesday, Door 51 is now NoodleMee – an asian fusion restaurant and take-away.  Imagine Norm going to Cheers and finding a sushi restaurant in its place. That’s how I felt.  I literally started crying when I saw that Door 51 was no more.

At first, I was worried that the owner had been forced out of business.  Luckily, that isn’t the case.  NoodleMee has the same owner and waitstaff, so no one lost their job.  But I lost my neighborhood hangout.

I wandered into Door 51 during my first week as an expat.  I was very lonely and very worried that I’d made a huge mistake.  The welcome I got there made me feel better, made me feel like maybe I was going to be okay, and that made Door 51 a very special place to me.  And now it’s gone.

I’m learning that, as an expat, places like Door 51 are important.  They help make me feel more at home in this new city, they keep me connected to my community, they give me a place to go if I’m feeling lonely.

So, I’m actively seeking a new place to call my own – preferably one that serves american-style bacon..


Dining Out In Dublin – Tribeca

My neighborhood of Ranelagh has no shortage of really lovely restaurants, ranging from cozy cafes and sandwich shops to high-end steak joints. But there is one particular restaurant in Ranelagh that is somewhat of a Dublin institution: Tribeca.

Tribeca is tremendously popular.  So popular that we even had a bit of a hard time getting a reservation for a Sunday afternoon.  They are known in particular for one specialty: chicken wings!  That’s right, the girl from Buffalo lives right down the street from the most popular wing place in Dublin.

But how would the Tribeca chicken wing hold up when tasted by the wing connoisseur that is myself?  We shall see.

The place was packed when we walked in, and it smelled like chicken wings.  You Buffalo peeps know what I’m talking about – that combination of fried chicken and hot sauce that invades your nostrils and clears your sinuses.  Ah, the smells of home!

I was surprised when I ordered the wings that I wasn’t asked how spicy I wanted them, but I decided to just go with it and try the wings exactly as Tribeca makes them.  A bit later, a heaping basket of wings was placed in front of me.  Seriously, the order is huge.  And, happy happy joy joy, they came with a side of bleu cheese (no ranch, no honey mustard, no other heathen dipping sauces) and two large celery stalks (not the celery sticks a purist like me prefers but better than nothing or, gasp, carrot sticks).

And the wings were good.  Quite good, actually.  I’ve noticed that Frank’s Red Hot Sauce is available in grocery stores here so I think Tribeca is the real deal when it comes to the hot sauce recipe they use.  The wings weren’t as big as what you’d get from Duff’s or Big Daddy’s or any other pizza joint in the greater Buffalo area, but honestly, those mutant wings worry me sometimes.  Can you imagine the size of the chickens with those wings? Genetic engineering at it’s finest.

So, while they were smaller, they tasted really, really good.  For me, I would have wanted them quite a bit hotter and the next time I go, I will ask for extra, extra hot.  But in fairness, you are talking to a gal who wants her eyes to water when she eats her wings and I don’t think Dubliners are there yet.

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that I can get a little taste of home just down the road.  Now, if they only delivered…

Tribeca, the famous Ranelagh wing spot.

Tribeca, the famous Ranelagh wing spot.


Christmas in Ranelagh

When it became clear that I would be moving to Dublin, I knew that choosing the neighborhood I would live in was going to be one of the most important decisions of the entire move.

I chose the village of Ranelagh for many reasons – it came highly recommended by people who know Dublin, I only have to go three stops on the Luas (tram) and I’m at St. Stephen’s Green (Dublin’s centre), it has everything I could need within walking distance, and frankly, it’s just adorable.  Ranelagh is the type of neighborhood in which I have always wanted to live but could never afford.  Here in Dublin, the perfect neighborhood is attainable for someone like me.

Last night was Ranelagh’s Christmas Tree lighting.  Normally, I would stay away from anything involving a crowd, but this sounded like fun – Christmas-y, village-y, fun.  And it was.  This wasn’t some Disney-esque tree lighting ceremony with a laser light show choreographed to Mannheim Steamroller.  It wasn’t even as elaborate as some of the Griswold-worthy house decorations one can find on any given neighborhood in the Greater Los Angeles area.

There were 200 people there, tops.  There was free mulled wine for the adults and hot cocoa for the kids, as well as mince pies.  I’m not sure what a mince pie is, but they must be delicious because by the time I got there, they were all gone.

There was a children’s chorus that sang just slightly off-key, the Ranelagh Singers who were really quite good, and of course, good old Santa Claus.  We counted down from 10, the lights came on the tree and that was that.

I loved it.

    Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas!


Dining Out In Dublin

I was talking to my dad last night and he said I should do some “Dining Out In Dublin” blog posts and I really liked the idea.  Some of you may know that I’ve done a wee bit of food writing for some online publications so this isn’t entirely new to me.  Besides, it’s my blog, I can write whatever I want, right?!

I’m not going to post any bad reviews.  If I go someplace and don’t like it, I’m just not going to write about it.  There’s enough negativity out there without me adding more.  But if I go to a place that I do like, I will let you know all about it.  I’m not sure if anyone who actually lives in Dublin is reading this blog, but maybe they will find a new place to try for dinner or brunch.  And when any of you come to visit me (hint, hint) you’ll have an idea of what you’d like to try.

So without further adieu, I present to you, my dear readers,

“Dining Out In Dublin: Door 51 Cafe”

Door 51 Cafe is one of the first restaurants I tried in my new neighborhood of Ranelagh. The fact that I’ve only lived in this neighborhood for two weeks and already have enough stamps on my frequent diner card to get a free sandwich and coffee is a clear indication of how much I love this place.

Door 51 is the neighborhood cafe I have always wanted to have on my doorstep.  It’s welcoming and homey, with only about 12 tables.  I’m already on a first name basis with the owner and wait staff and, perhaps most importantly, the food is great.

They serve breakfast all day and the menu is pretty extensive for such a small place.  The traditional Irish breakfast is offered of course, but also pancakes, french toast and omelets. And most joyous of all, they serve “crispy bacon” which is the American style bacon I covet so badly over here.

I’ve been working my way through the lunch menu which consists of sandwiches, soups, salads and the like.  Thus far I’ve had the burger, chicken club and BLT – all featuring crispy bacon, and all delicious.  And just yesterday, on a blustery Dublin afternoon, I tried the traditional Irish comfort food – bangers and mash with onion gravy.  In a word, yum!

Right now, Door 51 is only open for breakfast and lunch, but I’ve been told that they are soon going to be open in the evenings as a wine bar and I cannot wait.  What a lovely place to go for a glass of wine and a bite after a long day at work.  So, if you are ever in Ranelagh, check this place out.  Chances are I’ll already be there at my usual table.

Door 51 Cafe, where everybody knows my name. 🙂