147 Deli

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“There’s a new deli with amazing sandwiches on Parnell St,” said C to me one day.

“Parnell St? But when are we going to Parnell St.?”

“Well, if you’re ever in the area, I mean. It’s just good to know.”

My husband knows me well. I do like to know about the good sandwich joints around the city. As luck would have it, we have just rented a room to use as an office. It’s right above Parnell St. Coincidence? I made a trip to 147 Deli last week.

It’s hard to get into 147 Deli because of all the road works. This won’t last, obviously, and if you are in the area, it is worth the trouble. It’s certainly one of the best bets for lunch.

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When I walked in, I immediately liked the giant map of Dublin on the wall. I want one. The menu for coffee and sandwiches is on the facing wall over the sandwich bar. There were a few pre-made, pre-wrapped sambos piled under the menu ready to go for the lunch rush.

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C had the healthier wrap option and I went for the daily special of chicken, avocado, cheese, lettuce and tomato. They didn’t get it quite right and brought me the steak melt, which I have to say looked amazing. I did ask for my special, though, and returned the steak. My sandwich was hard to eat, but delicious. I would have preferred to have the thick-cut sourdough bread toasted. I’m sure I could have asked if I’d known it was so fresh and crumbly. C was very happy with his choice.

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I picked up a coffee on my way out. Standard. Not overly mind-blowing but a good, solid cappuccino. The prices are certainly right: nothing over a tenner and most things under 9. There is a lunch deal where you get a coffee and sandwich for 9.50. If you go for milky coffee creations this is a very good deal.

I wouldn’t make the trip across town for 147 Deli, but I am very glad it that is there for the days when I am in the “office”.

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147 Deli

The Toy Show

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I watched the annual RTE Toy Show last Friday night. It was my Toy Show maiden voyage. In all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve managed to avoid this Christmas tradition. I only avoided it because we don’t have a TV, really. When a friend invited us to watch her TV, there was no excuse.

For those of you non-Irish readers, the RTE Toy Show’s nearest American equivalent would be the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Most of the country’s houses will have it on while the cooking, organizing, table setting, etc is getting underway. Everyone knows what it is even if they have never actually watched the whole thing soup to nuts.

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Most people in Ireland, especially those under the age of 15, watch the Toy Show every year. Both the Thanksgiving Day Parade and The Toy Show are happy reminders that Christmas season is upon us and it is only about shopping.

The Toy Show is a TV event that introduces the nation to the best toys of the moment as well as to some lucky children from around the country. Like the Thanksgiving Day Parade there are big song and dance numbers, adorable children, and too many chaotic moving parts to ensure that things will run 100% smoothly. This is why it is worth watching.

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The Toy Show is hosted by the Late Late Show host, Ryan Tubridy. Everyone my age mourns the loss of Gay Byrne as host. As one of my more detail oriented friends pointed out Trubridy looks exactly like the Scarecrow and Byrne exactly like the Cowardly Lion. I don’t know where that metaphor is meant to go from here. It’s just a fact.

On Friday we cozied up on the couch with mulled wine to watch the whole thing. It is at once hilarious and embarrassing, sweet and offensive, in only the way a three-hour long broadcast with one man talking to at least 30 sugar-high racing children can be.

It was a bit of a surprise to have the show open with a stuffed animal that was “pregnant” (you could pull little ponies out of the big pony’s belly), and then move onto the “farm toys” and “kitchen toys”. There were little boy farmers and a little girl in the kitchen. Obviously.

Tubridy seemed to be running on fumes (and maybe something more potent) by the end of the show, having worn a total of four different Christmas jumpers as well as one full velvet Lumiére (from Beauty and the Beast, the theme of the evening, don’t ask anyone why no one knows) costume, complete with dancing flames.

I don’t think The Toy Show aims to put on a spectacle quite as grand as The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, the other American classic. I mean, a budget for camels, sheep, a mini ice rink, and a rake of Rockettes just isn’t in the budget at RTE and that is fine! Less poop to worry about.

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Rockett’s and Co-Stars

It’s still a huge event. Tubridy did well to get out alive. I think that Irish people watch it now mainly to say “Ah, Jeez, it was so much better when I was a kid.” But I bet they didn’t get to drink mulled wine while watching it.

The Toy Show

Clegg’s and Fitz for Fixes!

“It’s Elisabeth Childs.”

“Hi Nonnie! How are you?”

“I’m alive. Welcome home. Do you need me to darn any sweaters?”

“Actually, yeah! I think so!”

“Bring them over when you come. And bring me a gallon of milk. 2%.”

“Ok!”

Then I would take my wool and cashmere sweaters over to my grandmother, my Nonnie, at her house. With the milk. My grandmother would darn up my worn sweaters so that I didn’t have to throw them out or stop wearing them. She was a huge believer in recycling not only clothes but just about everything else you can imagine. Don’t WASTE IT. You don’t NEED anything NEW.

I still hear her voice in my head. Luckily for me, there are two wonderful shops in Dublin where over the past few weeks I have been systematically dropping off various articles of clothing to be shored up for the coming winter.

This spring I took two of my favorite cashmere sweaters (one was my mother’s! It’s done well to get so far!) to Fitz, on Drury Street, to have patches sewn on the warn elbows. They came back not only in better shape, but much sturdier! Not to mention I now have some pretty rad Liberty print patches that get comments when I wear the sweaters.

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Fitz has also altered two of Nonnie’s dresses for me, helped restore a dress that was my paternal great-grandmother’s to it’s original late-20s glory, and most recently assured that I would look perfectly fitted into a bridesmaid’s dress. Last week I dropped in my most favorite cashmere cardigan in for a quick elbow tuck that will keep the thing going until the next tug ‘n pull.

 

Up the road in Rathmines is the scene of my other big saving success. Cleaning out my closet I found three pairs of boots and one high heel that needed re-heeling. One of the pairs of boots I wasn’t sure could be fixed at all. They have been sitting in my closet for two years with heels that look like a bear cub had a go at them. Another one of the pairs needed new soles as well as heels.

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I dropped them all in, and the lovely gents in Clegg’s said that every pair (and the one high heel) could be saved. I collected them this week and now I have basically got four new pairs of shoes. All for the bargain price of 60 euro! That’s a savings that my very thrifty Nonnie could appreciate.

 

What I appreciate most about all this repair work is that one of the sweaters that got the new patches earlier this year still has Nonnie’s original “darning” all along the lower part in the front. It’s not noticeable to see, but I can feel it.

Clegg’s and Fitz for Fixes!

#WakingTheFeminists

#WAKINGTHEFEMINISTS

I realize that coupled with my last post I am getting off the “theme” of this blog a bit. Like my post before the 22 May Marriage Referendum, I want to use this platform to support a movement happening right now. #WakingTheFeminists has exploded onto social media and into newspapers around the world. As a female actor living in Ireland, it clearly affects me and those close to me.

When people in the States ask me why I moved to Dublin, one of the many reasons I list is that “I can work at what I love. I can do what I want.” Dublin is a much easier place to be an independent theatre maker and actor than New York or London. Sure, it’s a smaller pond, but this pond is very supportive and full of incredibly talented fish.

When I want to do something, be it audition for a role in a play or TV show, or even do my own one-woman show, I know that I can call or email someone who will respond to me. I can get seen for auditions. I know that with a little time and elbow grease I can make my own show happen. Once I make it happen I know that “people who matter” (ie casting directors, directors, producers) will come and see it if I invite them. It’s a small town. I know people. I know people who know people. Those people–all of them!–want me to succeed.

Yet I often have to make my own work, or think about new projects that I want to grease with both my elbows because often there just aren’t roles for me. There isn’t enough work for female actors in Dublin. But why aren’t female playwrights and directors getting more work?

Dublin is not alone in this. But Dublin is FULL of talented women actors, directors, artistic directors, casting directors, producers, playwrights and designers. There has been a massive outcry about the lack of representation for all of this female talent, specifically at The Abbey Theatre.

I am going to the Abbey on Thursday the 12th to lend my support to this movement and listen to all the points of view as to how we can move forward. “We” being women AND men of all artistic bents who are ready to focus on gender equality in the workplace.

I’m excited to be living in Dublin during a time of great cultural shift. Yes, of course “it’s about time!” but now is now and I’m grateful I can be a part of it.

Follow #wakingthefeminists and http://www.wakingthefeminists.wordpress.com for all the information about the forum tomorrow and the plan for the future.

#WakingTheFeminists

Aungier Danger!

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Lining up for food stuffs is something that New Yorkers do. Actually, paying someone to line up for you is something that New Yorkers do. New Yorkers are happy to line up for sweet confections particularly. This started with the Sex and the City Magnolia Bakery buzzness (there are still lines outside Magnolia on any given day), and reached a new zenith with the Cronut craze of 2012.  I’m not saying that these delicious delights did not warrant standing in line for, but when you tell someone who does NOT live in New York that you waited in line for a croissant/donut hybrid for twenty minutes they are going to give you the “um, I think I have somewhere else to be” face.

I stood in line for fifteen minutes for four donuts on Aungier Street last Friday. With a tip-off from C’s sister, I knew that this was the place to be. A donut shop worth waiting in line for. In Dublin. Far be it for me to miss a “food moment”.

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The queue (even if it is for food, it’s a queue in Dublin) was made up of mostly students from DIT across the street. Onlookers would try to get a peek into the tiny shop front to see what we were all queuing for. The street around the shop smells like fried dough in the most seductive way. Bikers craned their necks as they flew by: “why is there a queue on this stretch of road?” each helmeted head said as they sailed pass.

It became obvious that the queue wasn’t moving quickly because we were waiting for the special Halloween Donut to be fried, iced and sprinkled. I wasn’t walking away without the Halloween special. If I was in, I was IN.

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There were only five donuts (including the special) to choose from once I got up to the counter. To be honest, they all looked fairly intimidating; they looked more like mutant donuts for a five-year-old boy’s birthday party than something I should have queued for in an effort to arrive at a dinner party with “dessert”.

I skipped the bannoffee donut. I’m not a massive banana flavoring person and I was the one who queued, so I decide. It’s not like my dinner partners would know which I hadn’t chosen.

So I got the classic jam donut, the Boston eclair, The Halloween special (that was fully deep red with white frosting), and a Cherry Bomb. Whatever that means.

I walked up to my house trailing fresh donut smell with me as I went up the hill. Note to self: new perfume idea? I kind of wanted to eat the fresh donuts NOW NOW NOW, but I kept control of myself.

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It should be noted that I didn’t manage to take any photo of the donuts out of their box and served up (cut into fours) at the dinner party. They were set upon like fresh gazelle meat in the Serengeti.

They were delicious. They were worth the wait. At 3 euro a pop they weren’t cheap, but maybe I won’t share next time. 3 euro is a pretty decent  price for a “self treat”, I think.  If I’ve got time to wait in the queue, of course.

Aungier Danger!

Terra Madre

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One of the main reasons I love Dublin so much is that it is a small city. When something new comes along, be it a clothing shop, restaurant, or stall in the Temple Bar Market, I am pretty quick to know about it. Sometimes there are happy surprises when I discover (or am told about, in this case) a place that has been around for a while, but has remained a mystery to me. Terra Madre is my most recent example of such a delight.

We had dinner there last night with friends who raved about it. They were surprised C and I didn’t know about it as we love food and eating out, so we joined for a pilgrimage together.

Terra Madre is run and owned by Italians. Not the kind of Italians you find in Little Italy, NY (third or fourth generation) but Italians who were born and raised in Italy and want nothing more than to make you their grandmother and mother’s favorite recipes. Far be it for me to tell them not to.

Stepping down off of Bachelor’s Walk into the small low-ceilinged restaurant is like being in someone’s home. Especially if that someone is a first time home buyer and they have quickly furnished with random objects. The tables and chairs are mis-matched tag-sale finds and the place mats are well used. It’s homey. It’s not fancy, but it is CUTE.

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The menu is simple. It’s printed on a single A4 sheet of paper. Our waiter had to tell us that two of the items were not available but were replaced with just as delicious sounding options. Usually it’s down to what meat is available on any given day.

The show stopper last night was the special starter: fresh mozzarella creme wrapped in buffalo mozzarella, served with an anchovy, a piece of roast pumpkin, some pesto balls, a sundried tomato and a preserved slice of artichoke. It was decadent and delectable.

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C and I each had the same main, which was another special of the day: pappardelle with pork sausage and tomato sauce. It was obviously perfectly cooked. I ate the whole bowl. All the pasta came in miss-matched delft bowls. All the pasta is made fresh in the kitchen.

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The wine list is extensive and there are bottles displayed on counter tops around the room. So if, like me, you do like to choose your win by the label, you are able.

The prices are reasonable and the amount of food you get is almost reaching American standards, so you won’t go hungry. It’s good value.

I will certainly be back. It’s great to know there’s another classic, cozy spot to share with friends!

Terra Madre