Herb Street Café

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Here’s a little secret for you non-Dubliners: autumn in Dublin is magical. The weather tends to be better than in the summer, the sun is still warm the air is brisk. We had a practically perfect October day over the weekend and I walked all the way down the Grand Canal to Grand Canal Dock for brunch with friends.

I didn’t know that Herb Street existed. It turns out I might be only one of a handful of Dubliners in my demographic who was not informed of it’s presence next to Ely HQ on the north side of GCD. My walk along the canal was peaceful; a few runners, some dogs and their humans, and pockets of activity at Grove Road and again at Baggot Street. But all in all it was a sleepy Saturday morning. Until I hit GCD and Herb Street. “Here are the people.”

We waited for twenty minutes for a table, but waiting in the sunshine is easier. We were seated inside, but the glass wall of the restaurant folds up on nice days which allowed for the buggy to sit outside and our happy party to feel like we were outside without being in direct sunlight.

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There was a dog bowl next to the table and hot sauce on the table. I didn’t even need to taste the food, I already liked this place. I don’t know if it’s Beyoncé’s (hot sauce) influence, but I’m ok with it. Swag. Etc.

The menu was full of classic brunch options. Most dishes are egg based if they’re not pancakes. There is the Dublin special “mexican eggs” which on this menu were “eggos mexicanos.” I am fairly certain that is a slightly racist way to pretend you don’t have Juevos Rancheros like everyone else.  I ended up ordering them–without saying “eggos mexicanos”–because they had the addition of slow cooked pork which tugged at my appetite more than Florentine’s hollandaise did.

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I was almost fully derailed in my ordering by the vision of a beautiful stack of pancakes placed on a table near us. I knew I could not do without tasting the fluffy, American-style tall stack. I hid my total Hungry Larry pancake freakout by suggesting that the table might all share a stack of pancakes? Wouldn’t that be FUN? My dining colleagues agreed without even questioning my motivation. #success.

The food arrived quickly. Mexican style eggs plus pulled pork for the ladies, and Full Irishes for the lads. I don’t know why most restaurants insist on re-naming the Full Irish other things like The House Grill, or The Big Breakfast. Call it what it is. Herb Street’s House Grill (Full Irish) arrived with a hockey puck sized black pudding. Extra points. It also had a plateau of corned beef hash. Double those extra points.

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My egg dish was very tasty and I was able to eat it with one hand while my kid ate his second breakfast of the day on me. The pancakes tasted fine but looked fantastic. They could have been tastier, and as usual the maple syrup wasn’t quite enough to satisfy my maple lovin’ buds. However, it IS pure maple syrup they are serving and the consistency of the pancakes was perfection. I would get blueberry on my next visit. I’m sure a side of bacon with those bad boys would make even the loneliest bruncher smile. Warning: if you are one person you do not need a tall stack, the small stack will be sufficient. In my opinion, sharing is caring and the tall stack is more fun.

All in all Herb Street is as good as any brunch venue closer to the centre of town. But on these golden autumnal days it might be just the thing you need to get you down to the water to enjoy the sunshine, the fresh air and some good old fashioned pancakes. ‘

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Herb Street Café

TEELINGS

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Dublin 8 has a new café that is also a distillery and is also a tourist trap.If it’s walkable and out of my house, what care I for packs of Americans in chinos and sensible walking shoes? Teelings would probably like it if I mentioned that it’s a distillery first a foremost, but it’s the café and clean baby changing facilities that has me excited.

A café that has three different sausage rolls on the menu also tickles my fancy. Sure, there are soups and three sandwich options as well as a hot pot that changes daily. There is coffee and tea and some fun soft drink options. Yes, there is whisky, but again, I was not there for that.

I will say that Teeling’s whisky is tasty. I am no whisky aficianado, so if you are, you’ll have to come and see for yourself.

I went for a sausage roll on my recent visit/esacpe from an unexpected rain shower.  (I still refer to any rain shower in Ireland as “unexpected” is simply a turn of phrase.) The space is open and modern. There was a mix of tourists and folks who work in offices locally. It was busy if not packed. There was ample room for buggy maneuvering.

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The sausage roll lacked heft, but then I’m hungrier than normal at this time in my life. In six-nine months the size of the Teeling’s sausage roll might be just right. It was, however, tasty.

Perhaps one day I will have a reason to take the Teeling’s distillery tour and form a more perfect opinion on the whisky. For now, it’s a great place to take refuge from Irish weather, change a diaper, have a coffee and check out all the different maps of Dublin tourists seem to carry these days.

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TEELINGS

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