A New Dublin

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I was well aware that my life would change dramatically when I had a baby. I was not prepared for how much my view of Dublin would change. Walking around the city with a buggy full of human flesh that could explode in a desire for food or a splash of yellow poo at any moment turns Dublin a new color. Not necessarily yellow poo color, but it’s a completely different city I have to navigate now.

The idea of popping into get a coffee at Clement and Pekoe is a thing of the past. There are five steep stone steps leading up to it. Deciding to go to lunch at the Pepper Pot caused my brain to do a Mission Impossible-style run down of entrance and exits points into Powers Court. Then I realized I didn’t even know where the lifts were in the building.

Lifts. I never would have concerned myself with them in any shop in Dublin. Now they are a number one necessity that decides whether or not I can enter a store.

Did you know Brown Thomas has an incredibly nice changing/breastfeeding room in the men’s swim suit and underwear section? Unclear if the designers of the store thought about what a nursing mother wants to see just before she breast feeds.

Arnotts is another store on the pro-mama, pro-babe, pro-breastfeeding train. Arnotts is not a store I would have frequented in my pre baby days, but I’ve been twice since my Seedling arrived. My mother was the one who pointed out that it’s perfect for mom’s: there are wide aisles for buggies, spacious lifts, easy street access with wide ramps, and always a good sale somewhere in the building. Not to mention a very nice breastfeeding area in the baby section by the café. It comes complete with rocking chairs, sheep skins, and a water dispenser.

I sat there the other day and fed the babe while my mother and her friend walked around and brought me items to look at and decide if I wanted to purchase. I just sat in my rocker and watched the Olympics on my phone.* This is the BEST way to shop. I will never go alone into a department store again.

Being out in a city with a new babe is challenging, but it’s fun to see this whole new side of Dublin uncovered. And my husband might be the recipient of a few new pairs of underwear because of it.

 

*Shout out to the RTE Olympics App which made this possible.

A New Dublin

Dublin Cookie Co.

I’ve been away from this blog for a while and here’s why: I had a baby. And here’s what I’ve discovered are the things I want most in my first month of motherhood: extra sleep, lots of lanolin, and comfort food. Extra sleep is a dream not to be realized any time soon, lanolin is a non-glamourous fact of my life now, but comfort food I can certainly have some fun with.

Another fact about new motherhood is the constant questions over how my newborn is doing. Is he thriving? Is he sleeping enough? Too much? Is he too hot or too cold? Is he eating enough? I don’t think these questions will cease to be a part of my life in the same way a good night’s sleep might not happen for a while. However, one way to ease the worry of some of these questions is to go once a week to the community health clinic to get the baby weighed, to meet other breastfeeding mothers, and to talk to a nurse about each little worry I have. This nurse looks at the mothers with a kind eye as she repeats to every single one of us: THIS IS NORMAL.

NORMAL is what you want to hear. And when I do hear it, I want to celebrate. With comfort food.

As well as having a baby, I have also just moved house. The classic combination. We’ve left Rathmines and are now happily set up in Dublin 8. This means my community health clinic is in a part of town I don’t know very well. The very good news is that it is right around the corner from the Dublin Cookie Company.

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I’ve been hearing about the Dublin Cookie Company for some time but never had the motivation to get to Thomas Street and see what it’s about. I also didn’t feel that I needed that kind of addiction while I was pregnant. Now that there is literally NO excuse not to go once a week, addiction will be hard to avoid. I’m feeding a child eight times a day, after all.

Dublin Cookie Co is a small shop front on Thomas Street. The smell of Guinness hops hangs heavy outside, but it’s all butter and sugar once you cross the threshold. It’s white and bright and a selection of cookies greets you in the case as you step in. There are plenty of flavours to choose from. You can buy them as single cookies or in boxes of 6 or 13. There are two types of Whoopie Pie cookies, an American classic I was eager to test drive here. I can report that DCC has #nailedit.

I’m a cookie fan to be sure. The sea salt caramel cookies were outstanding. However. My favourite fact about the DCC is the flavoured milks available to go with your cookie. What is a cookie without milk? There’s normal milk, chocolate milk, coffee milk and cookie milk. Coffee milk is a favourite of mine from WAY back. In fact, the last time I had coffee milk I was about twelve years younger. The combination of the coffee milk and the peanut butter and chocolate whoopie pie was, in the parlance of the over dramatic, To Die For.

No, I didn’t try the cookie milk, but the baby is getting weighed again this week and you’d better believe it will happen. Cookies will forever now be associated with my son’s first few weeks. I can’t think of a better start to life.

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Dublin Cookie Co.

Alan Hanna’s Bookshop and Bark Coffee

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In keeping with the theme of trying places I’ve walked past for years and never ventured into, here’s some good advice: a place doesn’t have to be new and hip and full of men in beards to warrant a visit. In fact, when a place has been there for a while (long enough for me to walk past it for years), I’ve found some little gems of Dublin. And this is another one!

Alan Hanna’s Bookshop is a Rathmines stalwart, located on Upper Rathmines Road. They opened a little coffee  shop in the back and had an A-frame out front advertising this fact. This had never drawn me inside until the A-frame read: Kimchi Cuban! Special Sandwich of the day!

I like a Cuban Sandwich and I love Kimchi so this seemed a sign made especially for me. I ducked into the bookshop and headed to the back where the coffee shop is. It is larger and busier than I thought it would be back there. There were plenty of people sitting at tables enjoying their lunch and coffees.

There are no windows which I think can be tricky in a café. It’s nice to look out, even on a rainy day and I called in on a gorgeous sunny day. They make up for it here by putting up huge posters of penguin books to keep you in the book-ish cocoon. I still wanted to escape back to the sunshine, though, so I ordered my Kimchi Cuban to go.

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The other sandwiches on the menu are less adventurous and what you would expect in a café/sandwich shop. They are all made to order, so I am certain there is some personalization that you can do if you wish.

There are brownies and some other cakes, scones, packets of crisps and popcorn and some candy bars on offer. It’s simple but there is something for everyone.

The Kimchi Cuban was delicious. It was warm and tasty. The kimchi was homemade and not too strong. I could certainly have done with stronger, but I appreciate the fact that new comers to kimchi-land may like a lighter introduction.

Check out the A-frame outside the bookshop on Upper Rathmines Road and see if they can entice you in for a book, a coffee or a hefty sammy.

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Alan Hanna’s Bookshop and Bark Coffee

Simon’s Café (Or That Place In George’s Arcade That Smells Like Cinnamon)

 

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One of the best things about walking up George’s Street Arcade from the direction of Drury Street is the blast of sweet warm cinnamon that emanates from Simon’s café. If you don’t immediately want a cinnamon roll, you should worry about your inferior sense of smell.

I have resisted turning left into Simon’s for pretty much most of the time I have lived here. The smell of cinnamon has been enough; the idea of a gooey cinnamon roll propels me forward with a smile on my face. The truth is that I am always frightened of being disappointed by the cinnamon roll. How sad would it be to be drawn into a café by the delicious smell only to find the actual bun lacking?

I’ve had some good cinnamon rolls in my lifetime. I wasn’t really willing to risk the illusion of perfect cinnamon goodness at Simon’s. And then? I did.

I had a meeting and the suggested location was Simon’s. I arrived early determined to order a tea only. But there they were: a stack of fresh, homemade cinnamon rolls right on the counter. I defy anyone to not ask for one in that situation, let alone a six months pregnant person who has been drawn to mostly bread-based products for the length of the pregnancy.

It’s research anyway, I said. I’ll have one, I said.

Simon’s is a throw-back kind of place. It has been there forever and it feels like it. There is nothing fancy or hipster about it. Sandwiches are pre-made and wrapped in plastic and kept in the chilled case. Baked goods line the counter and there is not a gluten free or paleo option in the lot. You can get instant coffee. There is a special “tea bag” dump right on the counter in front of the till so that you can dunk and remove your bag before you head to your tables.

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The tables are communal, wooden and basic. The crowd is like a crowd at a good, local pub. It’s mostly men over forty who don’t take off their jackets, carry tiny note books, wear caps and may or may not have facial hair. The smoking seats out in front are always full. Your tea comes in a mug. The walls are lined with posters for upcoming gigs. The lighting is bad. I get the sense that many of the patrons don’t even have to order, they just get “my usual.”

And the question you’ve all continued reading this post to have answered? The cinnamon roll is fantastic. It tastes homemade, it’s not too sweet. It’s a bit crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy once you get to the centre. I told myself I didn’t need to eat all of it. My brain said, “nope. You do. Eat all of it.”

I enjoyed it with a mug of tea. My meeting partner arrived and went to order a tea as well. Came back with a tea and cinnamon roll. “How does anyone resist?” he asked. “Do you need to?” I asked back.

NO. You don’t need to resist. If you get pulled in by the smell, be confident that you are about to have a delicious cinnamon roll in a classic dublin café.

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Simon’s Café (Or That Place In George’s Arcade That Smells Like Cinnamon)

Taco Taco

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As I am sitting and writing this post, I have a half eaten piece of sourdough toast with almond butter and jam to my right and a nice cup of coffee to my left. With these flavours dancing on my tongue it is hard to write about tacos. That is not an excuse and I shall accept the challenge. I just thought I should be honest with where I am coming from.

Taco Taco is in the space the used to be called Odessa. The Odessa Club still exists upstairs, but Taco Taco now occupies the lower two floors.

The name Taco Taco immediately makes me think of a food truck on Venice Beach in LA. That’s a good thing. LA beach tacos are some of the finest in America. I didn’t have quite as high expectations for the Dublin version.

One of the reasons I was hesitant to put my expectations above “we’ll see” is because the menu is massive. It’s not just tacos. In fact, it’s not even just Mexican food. The menu includes items such as Poutine, the famous Québecois hang over cure of fries smothered in cheese curd and gravy, and Fried Chicken and Waffles, a dish hailing from America’s Deep South.

I am a fan of both Poutine and Chicken and Waffles having had the good fortune to eat both in their native lands. Having them on this menu, however, seemed like something of a food nightmare. There are lots of Mexican food establishments in Dublin, so perhaps the owners/chefs wanted to stick a few unexpected items on their menu. Like an assortment of burgers. I’m just not sure that was the right way to go.

Needless to say, C and I did not order the Poutine or the Chicken and Waffles or a burger. We stuck to Tacos. Because if Taco Taco can’t do tacos right, what’s the point?

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Fish

I ordered the fish tacos (a perennial fav of mine) and C had the chicken. Both came with sweet potato fries. I am a sweet potato fries fan, and these were good, but with tacos? That was unexpected. And heavy. A bit too heavy. Dublin restaurants seem to throw sweet potato fries on menus almost as often as the avocado gets a starring role.

The tacos came as a threesome of corn tortillas (extra points! Tacos should always be on corn tortillas) heaped with veg and fish/chicken. There was coriander/cilantro, lime wedges, spicy sauce and the veg was befitting each of our individual protein choices. They were tasty, and the portion seemed fair.

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Chicken. I swear it’s in there. 

We ordered guacamole and chips because any Mexican restaurant can be and should be judged on it’s guac. This guac. was fine. It was nothing special. And there wasn’t a lot of it. But that’s a classic move and I won’t deduct points for that quantity.

C had a margarita and I was jealous. It was very tasty, and I the lime salted rim was a nice touch.

The room is dark and the music is thrumming. The staff is wearing skinny jeans and hoodies which can make them hard to distinguish from the customers. Food is served on plates that look like they’ve been rescued from a Chinese restaurant which is both amusing and totally disconcerting. It’s full of people in their late 20s to early 30s out with groups of friends or on dates. It’s not a family place, and it’s not really a place I’ll bring parents or family friends for a nice Dublin dinner. For my money, there are plenty of better options around town.

Yes, the food is good, the margarita is tasty, the guacamole is fine. But the bill came to just over forty euro per person which seems like too much for  what we got. Especially considering there was only one margarita between us and not quite enough guacamole to make us feel loved. If I am spending that kind of cash, I want to go to a place where it feels a bit more special, where the service is a bit more on point and the music isn’t quite so loud. And where the restaurant has a clearer idea of what exactly it is. Taco Taco is suffering a bit of personality failure. But if you’re feeling flush, want a classic ‘rita and some tacos, Taco Taco is your new City Centre joint.

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Taco Taco

Meet Me In The Morning! Or Afternoon!

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Meet Me in the Morning is a new café just off Camden Street. It is so new  that when I was there decaf coffee wasn’t an option. Neither was herbal tea. I was assured, however, that non-caffeine drinkers will have some options very soon. They’re still getting supplies in.

I was offered, in the most polite way possible, either of the two coffee bean options they do have, complete with a description about why they are distinct and delicious. I myself was too polite to interrupt this monologue knowing I would just order a tea.

The space is light and full of light wood and wild flowers. I loved the wood-topped tables. I want one for my own home. It’s comfortable and minimal. The food looks simple and delicious, and yes, don’t worry, there is avocado on this menu. Eggs too. We are still in Dublin, after all. Salads, soups, etc all make an appearance. All the food is local and prepared on the day.

MMITM is a very nice spot just off the main drag to sit and have a bite or sip some (caffeinated. For now) warm drinks. I’d say it will be worth popping in a few times to see how the menu changes throughout the summer. Not to mention trying all the different delicious coffee beans.

 

Meet Me In The Morning! Or Afternoon!

Repeal the 8th

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I was asked to do stand up at a gig over the weekend. Being pregnant for the past six months has forced me to look more closely at the Repeal the 8th debate raging in Ireland at the moment. So I wrote about it to perform some of my thoughts in an amusing way. But then I wrote about it to give my serious opinion. Here it is:

Now that my pregnant belly cannot be hidden, I am getting so much love and positive attention. Who knew getting fat could be this fun? Being obviously pregnant is like being newly engaged all over again: everyone wants to hug and rub me. It’s so lovely. It seems kind of crazy to get all this love for the simple fact that I chose to have unprotected sex. I’m being congratulated for having unprotected sex, and having biology work. Other events that occur as a result of unprotected sex are not as likely to get you this kind of positive attention.

Crabs, for example, would not get me the same reaction from the average person on the street. Crabs are funny, yes, and the story would lend itself to good self-deprecating comedy, sure, but having crabs isn’t really something that people get overly excited about if it happens to them.

Most other things—“events”—that are the result of unprotected sex are not positive. Unless you actually want to be pregnant, basically every “event” after unprotected sex is not a positive one. Pregnancy in particular, if it wasn’t the goal of unprotected sex, is a really bad thing. So bad, in fact, that in the country I choose to live in, a country I really love, I become a criminal. If I chose to act on the fact that I didn’t want to be pregnant, I become a pariah in my adopted country.

Mine was a planned pregnancy. Or as planned as any pregnancy can be. That’s a good thing for me because there is a fine line between being a much adored and cooed at pregnant person and a criminal.

That line is very fine. I’m on the right side only because I decided to put myself in this position. I chose this. If I hadn’t, or if I decided I didn’t want to or could not remain pregnant, life gets much more complicated for me.

This is a far less funny topic than crabs, right? There is a lot of energy going into debating this topic and both sides absolutely have a right to their opinions and beliefs.

To take a slightly different view, what if here in Ireland we had to treat wanting to get pregnant as seriously as we treat not wanting to stay pregnant? What if we made women who want a pregnancy jump through all the same hoops as a woman who doesn’t want a pregnancy? What would that look like? Let’s walk through that looking glass.

This is how it might pan out for someone like me who decides she wants to get pregnant in the near future. Once I decide I want to have a baby, I have to talk to a whole bunch of people, spend days getting advice and “thinking it through”. I say “me” like I’m the only one who can make these decisions about making a baby. Obviously, my husband and I talked a lot about the idea of making a human together. But in this scenario, in a situation when someone doesn’t want to make a baby, it becomes immediately the woman’s issue and problem to deal with. So for the point of this exercise let’s just say it’s all about me. The woman. And my body.

The first step would be that I have to go and talk to my Doctor. I have to hear from her about all the biological ramifications of getting knocked up.

“Well, now, it is about time, that clock is ticking, and you do realize that for 3-9 months you will be feeling a constant car sickness with possible vomiting and if you’re really lucky, possible projectile vomiting. Then you’ll start to get chubby around your mid section (and maybe elsewhere), while experiencing other joys such as swollen ankles, cramping calves and feet, odd discharge, sore boobs, unexpected or explained body hair growth, bloody gums, and constant fatigue. You might experience roller-coaster style mood swings, but that’s the joy of hormones. You won’t really be able to sleep through the night from here on out because you will have to pee. Often. At least once a night. In fact, you probably won’t be sleeping through the night again for a very long time. I have some pamphlets here if you’d like to read more, but take a few days to consider your options. You don’t have to do this.”

Because not wanting to be pregnant in this country is a political issue, wanting to be pregnant should be as important politically. So I would definitely have to talk to my local TD. I can’t vote here, but Ireland’s laws apply to me no matter my nationality or political views, so I head over to the local TD’s office. He will say things along the lines of, “this is great for Ireland. Our census numbers were down, and we are hoping to surpass Scotland this year with babies born. We need to focus on education and healthcare for children. I’ve been working very closely with the new children’s hospital in James’s so like you, I will be working for a better Ireland for our children. I’m excited you are joining me on this journey. I look forward to hearing from you again, and I am happy to represent you.”

Then, I have to go and talk to a priest. The Catholic Church believes very strongly that their opinion on termination should rule here in Ireland, so it follows that their opinion on all individuals getting knocked up should rule too. I am not Catholic myself, but again, rules is rules. Frankly I’ve always wondered what a priest or a nun could tell me about fornication and reproduction, so this meeting might be fun and informative for me. Or at the very least provide some good material.

Then I would have to travel to Britain. I know, that sounds crazy, right? But here’s the thing: if I didn’t want to be pregnant, I have to deal with the Brits at some stage, so it’s only fair that I have to deal with them when I do want to be pregnant. I have to fly over there at my own cost. I would get to some clinic in the north of England where I find a doctor and we would look at each other with confused faces, and they’d say, “I don’t really care if you want to have a baby.” And I’d say, “well, fair enough, but I live in Ireland now, and it seems the Irish still want you guys to be charge of their population, so here I am!”

Finally, once all of those people are on board, I need to post a notice in the Irish Times so that the whole country gets to have a say about whether or not I should be allowed to have a child. A woman who decides not to move forward with her pregnancy, and has the guts to speak up about it, gets to listen to the whole country tell her what they think of her. Surely I should get the same chance to hear what the country thinks of my reproductive abilities, right? It’s only fair.

It is an Alice in Wonderland situation and of course it’s not reality. It all seems ridiculous when viewed in that way. Well so is not letting women make their own choices about pregnancy.

Everyone is so happy for me that I get to be pregnant and grow this being and feel car sick all day every day, and hate the smell of coffee and red wine, and get leg cramps and be constipated, and all sorts of other delightful bodily issues. People are thrilled for me. I’m thrilled for me.

But if I didn’t want this? If I didn’t want to put myself and my body through this? What if I mentally and/or physically couldn’t? Well, it’s none of your business. It’s my business and maybe the business of my husband.

Or, what if I did want this and for some horrific reason it couldn’t happen? Women in Ireland deal with fetal abnormalities and fetal death on a daily basis. Often they are faced with the heartbreaking choice of having to carry the fatal pregnancy to term or traveling to the UK to have it taken care of.

Those women are carrying babies who are deeply wanted, and yet they are being sent away from home to be “taken care of”. It’s like something out of horror story!

In these debates, there seems to be some confusion about what a FACT is, what an OPINION is, and what a BELIEF is.

Let’s play this game: In my opinion, smoking is bad. I believe smoking is bad. I think it’s gross. Science backs me up on the fact that is bad for humans to smoke. When you smoke, you are likely killing yourself and possibly affecting those around you. Smoking is not a good thing! Yet I cannot, should not, do not have a right to walk up to a smoker and tell them they are a bad person for willfully killing themselves. It’s none of my business what those people choose to do with their bodies.

Some people believe that terminating a pregnancy isn’t about the woman at all, that it’s about the fetus, and it’s about that new life. But not everyone believes that. There is no scientific paper that exists that tells us conclusively that conscious life exists in a cluster of cells. It is completely fine and right to believe that life begins at conception, by the way, if you do. But that belief does not give you a right to judge someone who does not believe that. This issue is not about your personal belief system; it’s about another human’s body and they get to decide what happens to it.

You can decide to smoke, or jump from a plane, or get a Winnie the Pooh tattoo on your ankle, and I cannot comment on the possible lack of respect you may or may not have for your own physical or mental wellbeing. It is none of my business.

The world is an easier place to live in if you believe whole-heartedly that all of your beliefs are facts. But beliefs, yours or anyone else’s, are not necessarily facts. It is good and right that people in Ireland believe whatever they want. This is a free country. It does not mean that those individually held beliefs are facts. It certainly does not mean that those individually held beliefs should be imposed on anyone else.

It is scary to live in a world where mystery reigns and where we don’t have the answers to everything. It’s terrifying to admit that what we believe might not actually be the truth. It’s a nightmare! That’s why we employ people to do things like tell us what the weather will be like for the next few days and weeks. We need to know everything! In Ireland, that’s kind of a sick joke, right? It’s an insane job to predict the weather accurately and perfectly on this island.

Just like it’s insane to have to explain to people why they don’t have the right to make decisions about their own body and their own lives.

 

 

 

 

Repeal the 8th

Dolce Sicily

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This week is Italian Week! I did not set out to do that, it’s totally subconscious. I’m reading the Elena Ferrante Neapolitan books at the moment and obviously it’s having an effect.

Dolce Sicily occupies the location once inhabited by Staple Foods, before their move to Grattan Street. Specifically, you’ll find it in Crow Bar in Temple Bar, and much of the furniture and decor is the same as when it was Staple Foods.

The issue with this space is the fact that it smells a bit like a nightclub. It’s got that “nightclub in the daytime” stench that no amount of Italian food can hide. Staple Foods had the same issue.

The majority of the menu belongs to paninis and salads. Perfect quick lunch fair. The paninis are slightly outside of the “normal” parma ham and mozzarella and include items like smoked kippers and egg, or sun-dried tomato and anchovy pesto. There are a variety of breads to choose from in case you are anti-ciabatta. However, if you are really anti-ciabatta there are other non-Italian delis and cafés to visit in Dublin, so maybe try those first?

The cake list is impressive and many of the offerings sit proudly on the bar near the coffee maker. They also sit next to the beer taps. Again, the Pistachio Nutella cake might be more appetizing if you weren’t also forced to wonder if you might like a pint of Tiger beer.

The bar vibe did not stop many people from enjoying lunch, coffees and cakes. In fact, the majority of the clientele was, in fact, Italian. That is always a good sign. The staff is also all Italian. The food is tasty. I hope that all of those big pluses keep Dolce Sicily alive despite the stale beer smell.

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Dolce Sicily

Slice of Pizza Pie! At DeFontaine’s

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Both for Me. Get Your Own. 

In New York City getting a slice of pizza is as easy as hailing a cab: stick your arm out and it happens. In Dublin, buying pizza one cheesy slice at a time is not the norm.

DeFontaine’s, on the south side of Capel Street Bridge, is a New York-style pizza joint. It even smells authentic NYC in there. There are two giant ovens that bake the pies as well as heat up the slices as they are ordered. There are a variety of toppings to choose from: the classics, cheese and pepperoni, the new classics, Hawaiian and broccoli, and a few extras, extra cheese and peppers, onions and mushrooms, as well as spinach and ricotta.

I popped in on my way to a birthday party across the river–VERY hungry–a few weeks ago. I got two giant slices. I ate them both quite happily, thank you very much, and didn’t feel ill afterwards.

The cheese slice actually did taste exactly like a New York slice (when you walk into a pizza joint in NYC and order “a slice” it will always be a classic cheese unless you ask for different). It was warm and gooey and perfect. I also ordered the spinach and ricotta because, you know, eat your greens. This too was tasty. I kept the bottle of chili oil close at hand.

The clientele was mostly single dudes. I mean, I don’t know if they are “single”, I didn’t ask them out. They were just on their own. I was on my own too, the only lady in there for most of the time I ate. Only one other girl came in, ordered, and took her slice to go.

Though it smells and looks quite like a New York pizza joint, that doesn’t make a person want to sit around and enjoy a leisurely meal there. It’s a grab ‘n’ go kind of place. But hey, that’s proper authentic too. And, if your a single lady, who knows? Maybe all of those dudes are actually single.

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Slice of Pizza Pie! At DeFontaine’s

Fabulous Fia!

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A few of my hipper (not hipSter, hipper) friends had mentioned Fia to me weeks ago. One of them knows the chef/owner. The other of them just knows things. I was cycling back from an appointment the other morning and I realized I could go exactly in the direction of Fia on my way home.

Fia is not exactly in central Dublin striking distance. I like this. It sits in a no-man’s-land on Rathgar Road between Rathmines and Rathgar. When I lived in Dublin in 2001-02 as a Trinity student, there was a shop on the corner where Fia is now. I would swing into the shop on my way up to visit friends in Rathgar and stock up on peanut M&Ms. This corner has some happy food memories for me.

Instead of peanut M&Ms, though, I treated myself to a delicious flat white and some sour dough toast with butter and homemade marmalade. It was an “elevenses” meal, as I was far too early for lunch and had already eaten my breakfast. The lunches looked great, though, as they started to parade out while I got ready to leave.

It’s a simple, small menu, but they’ve picked items that work. The Peas on toast looked especially inviting for a spring afternoon. Good eggs, great cheese and free water packed with mint and lemons: what more does any sweet café need?

The space is simple and light. The bathroom (important for pregnant women of Dublin!) is clean and spacious, and the clientele is mostly middle-aged locals. The staff are upbeat and on it, the prices are fair, and the Peas on Toast will be my next order.

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Fabulous Fia!