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Posts Tagged ‘irish recipes’

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I don’t drink much Guinness these days, which is a shame, but I have a deep, fond love for the stuff. It goes back to my college days when, tired of watered down $2 pitchers of Coors Light, my friends and I would save our pennies and splurge once in a while on Guinness pints or Black & Tan’s at our local Irish Pub. We’d eat bowls and bowls of free pretzels, play really bad games of darts and coerce Colin the bartender to do handstand push-ups on the bar. I loved that place far more than the cheaper pitcher joint packed with the pretty people. Quirky neighborhood joints with interesting clientele have always been more my thing.

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Around this time every year, I try to come up with a creative spin on Irish food for St. Patrick’s Day beyond the standard corned beef and cabbage or things tinted green or soaked with Bailey’s. I think the food of the Emerald Isle, like much of the UK, gets a bad rap. It’s the same situation everywhere: you get the good and you get the bad and I’ve had some phenomenal meals in Ireland. I’ve also had a few wretched ones. Whatever. In researching traditional Irish food, a few things come up repeatedly:  boxty, colcannon, soda bread. I had heard of someplace – in Southern California maybe? – that was doing boxty as a sort of potato pancake-crepe hybrid with various hearty fillings, and the thought stuck with me. Since I’ve had boxty exactly zero times, it’s been on my list to try for some time. But things are funny.  Sometimes what starts out as one thing, turns into something else as wonderful discoveries are made along the way.  And while this started out as an experiment in boxty, it was the filling that took me by surprise. Go figure.

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I have a real love and genuine appreciation for classic diners.  Nothing is more magnificent than watching a true hash slinger in their element during a breakfast (or late night) rush.  Poetry in motion, my friends.  I read somewhere that a famous chef once said he’d take a breakfast cook from a Waffle House over a new culinary grad any day and I believe it.  I would too – those guys know their $*@%.  When you’re in the weeds and the line is going down in flames, THAT is the guy you want to have your back, not some princess.  It makes me a little sad that there are fewer and fewer true diners anymore.  Trendy brunch places that serve dessert pancakes and sous vide eggs are on the uptick and that’s a shame.  There is nothing better than classic buttermilk pancakes cooked on a well-seasoned flat top, slicked with sausage grease and the stray green pepper from someone’s Denver omelette.   A happy sigh escapes at the mere thought.

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