National Avocado Day dinner at Cuffs Restaurant

This evening a group of us were treated to a private tour of the Gaol, a three course Avocado meal in Cuffs Grill Bar and live music by Michael Kerr. The event was hosted by i3 Digital. Adrian, the MD, was telling me that they employ 30 people and one of their clients is The California Avocado Commission, an organisation which has 5000 members. What a great way to pay homage to the avocado.

I’ve visited the Gaol a few times, last time was a few years ago and I must say there have been many good improvements. Firstly there’s a dedicated car park further up the road and easy access to reception.

Our guide was excellent and certainly knew his history. He showed us the tunnel, the circle, the 4 wings, some cells, the execution room and hanging ropes (17 men were executed here). Also he showed us roughly where the bodies were buried. He also explained that when first few men were executed it was in public and this was treated as a party and lots of drink was consumed. The next day after the hanging was over people suffered with a “hang-over”!! If your lucky you might see the ghost of Isobel or the warden!!!!

After our tour we were treated to a lovely 3 course avocado based meal to celebrate National Avocado Day!!

The restaurant itself was very intimate with low ceilings and there was a nice vibe about the place.

The menu was a set menu. The starter was a salad of smoked chicken, a fan of avocado with leaves and a raspberry dressing. The presentation was lovely and the sharpness and sweetness of the dressing worked well with the creamy avocado however I didn’t detect any smokiness in the chicken, which was moist and succulent.

The main course was poached salmon, broccoli, carrot, potato dauphinois served with avocado cream. Again presentation was good, all the components were piping hot, vegetables were crunchy, dauphinois was superb, salmon was nice and firm and the avocado cream really brought the dish to life. The portion size was perfect.

Instead of dessert we were served a California Avo Colado. This is a twist on the classic pina colada and consisted of pineapple, cream, avocado and rum. I chose the Mocktail (no rum). Again a refreshing, creamy and tasty drink.

The staff were fantastic and a credit to the restaurant. As an Avocado fan I loved the meal!!

Big thanks to Michelle for the invite.

@CrumlinRoadGaol

@Cuffsbelfast

@CaliforniaAvocados

@wearei3

Twilight Market at St Georges

The Twilight Market is here today and tomorrow and I spent a good hour taking in the sights, sounds and smells!!! The place was packed and there was a great vibe about the place.

I’m glad I ate before I went as the choice of food was spectacular-lots of meat dishes and sweet and savouries to choose from. Really loved the Parmesan stand-have to check it out!!

Lots of choice with soft and hard drinks (no under 18 after 9pm). There was live music and a live cookery demo as well as plenty of places to sit and eat, drink or just to chill. Nice play area for kids. If you can pay it a visit!! #twilightmarketbelfast

Amazing country pub and grub

I was coming back from the Sunflower festival after having packed all our stuff and just had to pop in for a bite!! My wife and I passed The Pheasant every day as we travelled home from the festival.

Today I got my chance to pop in…was I in for a treat. The interior decor is definitely period and works really well….check it out!!

It has a great location and there is ample car parking. Absolutely superbly decked out inside and staff excellent. I went for the calamari and Caesar salad. When it arrived it was huge and delicious-the Caesar must have been the best (tastiest and creamiest) I’ve ever had. Calamari cooked to perfection and in a lightly spiced batter (I was expecting more).

As a starter it was excellent value and big portion well presented. Will be back for more!!!!

Sunflowerfest 18

Hi all just wanted to let u all know that the @sunflower_fest is taking place Fri 27 thro Sun 29th just outside Lisburn. Gr8 music, food, entertainment and craic for all the family……Come get your Authentic henna tattoos and drink some Real Masala Chai..cu all there!!!! #SFF18

Incredible Irish Cheddar

Over the weekend I discovered a true gem in Irish Cheddar Cheese. We were at Dalriada Festival in the grounds of Glenarm Castle and one of the exhibitors was Jim from Old Irish Creamery. They are based just outside Limerick.

They have been producing cheddar for over a century and it has stood the test of time. The extra mature is divine and Jim was telling me that they have won many awards and have a great emphasis of flavoured cheddars.

I was fortunate to taste many different ones. The most innovative and tasty ones being strawberry, curry, walnut and stout as well as classic ones like chives and garlic, to name but a few. Jim gave me a selection to try out.

They are definitely worth hunting out!!!!

1,000,000th reader on Tripadvisor

Today I’ve become a millionaire!!! I’ve just been notified by the wonderful Tripadvisor App that I have just reached out to my 1,000,000 th reader for my 1327 reviews for Tripadvisor!!

A huge thank you to all you guys who have made it possible. Here’s to the next million!!

Dalriada Festival 2018

Make your way to Glenarm Castle for this years Dalriada Festival.

It’s on 14th, 15th July. There’s lots of fun, games, shopping, eating, drinking, music and loads more for all the family. Get some natural Henna and try some Chai Tea (tea masala/spices on sale) in the Craft Village…..

Some great tunes already and it’s only 10.15 am!!!!! Come on down and enjoy a fab, fun filled day with all the family.

#DALFEST18

Food Showcase at the Strand Hotel

The venue was the City View Suite on the 6th floor at The Limerick Strand Hôtel, the event was a food and drink showcase from the counties of Limerick, Clare and Tipperary and it was hosted by the Irish Quality and Food Awards.

I had a chance to try some amazing local produce. I had some lovely pork products and really enjoyed the black and white pudding from Lisduff Foods.

Next I tried some relishes from The Scullery. They were delicious and the cucumber relish was so refreshing.

Rigneys Farm was next on my list and I got to try home made granola bars. The owner runs the Bed and Breakfast and makes her own sausages!!

Parmesan cheese is a real favourite of mine but I don’t like the smell!!!! Enter Sean from Cratloe Hills Cheese. Sean makes sheeps cheese which is either mild or mature (14 months). It’s a hard cheese and as good as Parmesan-with no smell!!!! A real winner.

Meeres Pork products also had a stand and supplied pork for the canapés (later). John from JJS Craft Brewers supplied a range of drinks.

Functional foods and high energy bars are becoming very popular and were on display today. Near to Nature had functional bars in three flavours: hemp, turmeric and cocoa. Tried all three and found them full of flavour and chewy-need a cuppa with it. Hemp is topical right now and is related to cannabis But does not have psychoactive properties.

The other stand showcasing high energy bars was Tullybracky Foods. They had a great range of tasty bars.

Rapeseed oil is all the rage and Emerald Oils has a superb range of Rapeseed products including hummus and pesto made with the oil.

During the course of the evening we were spoilt with some delicious canapés. The producers provided the ingredients and head chef Tom Flavin put together some wonderful canapés.

This rounded off an excellent event showcasing some glorious produce from South West Ireland. This has put this region firmly on the Food Map of Ireland!! Big thanks to Helen from Metropolis for the kind invite, had a great time and met some super people!!

Dinner at The Chelsea

I have fond memories of The Chelsea ever since I moved to Belfast in 1989. A lot has happened since then…..I graduated then met the love of my life and had two daughters……and The Chelsea has been there every step of the way!

So, poignantly last night my wife and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary and my daughters 10th birthday by having a wonderful meal at The Chelsea.

My two girls kept asking us on the way were there sausages and chicken goujons (a kids life is oh so simple!!!). I said let’s wait and see. So when we arrived we were shown to our table by the window-a word of warning in this glorious summer weather it’s akin to sitting in a sauna!!!

After being presented with the A La Carte menus, the specials menu and the kids menus we ordered our drinks (3 lemonade and 1 sparkling water). The girls let out a shriek of joy when they saw the kids menu.

We ordered kids meals of sausages (2) and chunky chips and chicken goujons (4) and skinny fries.

I went for pork belly and scallops while my wife had a sharing starter platter as her main with salad and some chunky chips. We thoroughly loved our food and portion sizes were spot on for my wife and I and youngest daughter but alas daughter no 1 is getting bigger and I fear she will need an adult portion now! The presentation was absolutely stunning.

The goujons were tender and lovely, all the potatoes were superb, sausages well done and my pork belly was succulent and not too tough and scallops were melt in the mouth tender. My wife really enjoyed the range and flavours of her platter.

As a treat we received a trio of dessert being a mini Eton mess (with strawberry, white chocolate and meringue), rhubarb crumble and ice cream and white chocolate cheesecake with happy birthday and happy anniversary written in chocolate on our plates!!!!

The Chelsea is a great spot and always has been. It has a super menu with specials and caters for all. There is also live music. The staff are very attentive and helpful. Definitely worth finding and dining in. Big thanks to Michelle for her help.