Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Travel + Food: Northern Ireland

I feel really special as this trip over was my third time on the Emerald Isle. This trip, though, was a lot less of all over the place and much more settling in and getting to see stuff I had missed the first two trips and stuff I had never even heard of.

Corey and her now fiancé (yay!) live in Enniskillen, which is an about 2 hour bus ride south of Belfast. We flew in, took a bus from the airport into Belfast proper, and then the bus to Enniskillen - all after flying all night. We were very, very tired. After all that, though, we got to spend an incredible 8 days with Corey and Brian, making food, eating food, drinking deliciousness, and seeing weird food items at ASDA.

Making Food

Aaron making cheesy baked ziti with locally made Irish herb sausages and Irish cheddar. We had it with g-bread (as Corey and Brian got it) and broccoli. And then we went and saw Thor.

Corey making margarita chicken. Corey has a file folder on her computer dedicated to recipes I've posted. She said that she and Brian are Julie/Julia-ing me. I feel so special! We used the chicken in burritos while watching Celebrity Juice (which is ridiculous and if you can watch it, do).

Corey and I made mint lavender shortbread cookies with lemon frosting. That's Corey mixing everything by hand. I do not miss those days! These were very tasty, but a little too herb-y, almost savory in flavor. When Corey made the frosting, it returned to the dessert realm. They'd be worth another shot with less lavender or working them into the recipe in a different way.

They are best enjoyed with a Guinness.
A breakfast galette, modified because I couldn't find cornmeal, with bacon, Irish cheddar, more delicious Irish cheddar and an egg on top. Crunchy and a wonderful way to start a rainy Irish day on Devenish Island.

Eating Food/Drinking Deliciousness
 Jack and Ginger in a can. And it's actually a really well made cocktail. Go figure.
I'm not a huge fan of Stella, but after recommendations from Corey and Brian, I went for it and it is also surprisingly good.
Aaron, Corey, and I went on a bus tour of the North Coast and one of the stops was at Bushmills. I tried the Black Bush (right), Corey had the tiniest hot toddy I have ever seen (center and below) and Aaron tried out the 10 year. It's weird ordering whisky in a cafeteria, but we rolled with it.
Aaron hadn't had Irish stew yet, so when we got to Giant's Causeway, he had to get it. Warmed him up for a cold walk around.
Magners Cider - actually tastes like apples! We drank a lot of this on our trip.
Best Jameson and ginger I have ever had. Seriously. Super spicy ginger is what Jameson craves. I drank it in our little cubby at the Crown Bar, which is across the street from the Europa Hotel, formerly the world's most bombed hotel.

Historical Food 

All of these were at Enniskillen Castle, which has two awesome museums. That poem cracked me up - "whatever it was of destroyed me". And in case you were wondering, yes, in medieval times even babies drank beer.

Northern Ireland Has Weird Food (and some awesomeness too) 
This part is my favorite. We saw so much strange, awesome, crazy, and interesting food related things that I felt the need to post all of them.

At ASDA there are many things - like pork scratchings, whatever those are. And strange puddings. And punny crisps. Also - REALLLLLLY cheap Cadbury eggs. That's a 6 pack for about $1.30. And they are available year round. Yeah.
 These are gummies. They were at the Marble Arch Caves. I don't get it.
This was in the case before we ordered our Bushmills whisky.  Can you tell what it's not?
It's a strange world when Guinness, which is delicious, is the same price as Coors, which is clearly not delicious. And don't say that's because Coors is an import to Northern Ireland - Guinness is expensive in Dublin, the city where it's made, in bars less than 20 blocks from the factory. And Coors is just gross.
I totally ate some. It was just chocolate. Aaron and I bought this to spend our last pence at the airport. Totally worth it.

I hope to visit the Isle again someday and see some more sites and funny signs and drink Magners and the best Jameson and ginger in the world.

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