Thursday, 12 April 2012

The crème brûlée

Last Monday was a bank holiday for us.  I guess a bank holiday is what they call it when your regular holiday falls on a weekend and they make up for it by declaring Monday a freebie.  We do the same thing in America, but we have more rules about when it's officially observed (you get Friday off for a Saturday holiday and Monday off for a Sunday holiday.)  In Ireland they just simplified the rule; Monday is the holiday, end of story.

We visited Café en-Seine for lunch again.  The restaurant is on my favorite street in Dublin, Dawson Street, over by Nassau Street and the south side of Trinity.  I like it better than Grafton Street, which is always crowded and full of street musicians with their guitar amps turned up too loud.

We like to order the soup of the day and coffee.  One of my favorite soups there was a squash soup with chili.  Wow, that was delicious and had a nice kick to it!  This time it was a brilliant cream of parsnip soup.  It's always served with brown soda bread.

The decor at Café en-Seine is amusing.  Have you ever watched Dr. Who?  It's kind of like a couple rooms in the Tardis that the first doctor (William Hartnell) forgot about.  It's got sort of an Art Nouveau flair with 18th century antiques left from your crazy rich aunt.

I wonder what this building used to be?  I'm told that it used to be two separate buildings and one of them may have been a bank.  The other one must have been either a Freemason's Lodge or a Knights Templar treasure warehouse.  Seriously, I have no clue.

They are fond of statues of nekkid ladies in this joint.  Well, I can't complain.  Having a Y chromosome and the usual sexual orientation, such things find a way of charming me, even though they tend to be gaudy.  For example, check out these Cabaret babes in bronze:

They're kind of cute in a weird way.  I guess this is what posh people and Mafia dons buy when they want something for the mantle.  The place where I draw the line is pretentious art from Carmel galleries.  Imagine my surprise when I--a Monterey boy--found they have these Todd White paintings hanging in the hallway to the restrooms.  White has a gimmick:  He paints highly stylized people with skinny bodies and angular heads.  In this painting, some Pebble Beach fops sip vodka with spider-like hands and wear Ushanka fur hats, you know, because they're Russian.  Todd White is just one step up from Rodrigue the blue dog guy.  Puh-leeeze.  Todd, if you're reading this:  You're not the next Andy Warhol like your web site says.

Despite the cheesy art this place has great crème brûlée.  Bank holiday Monday brings us bourbon vanilla crème brûlée.  Nicely done chef!  They did a fantastic job on caramelising the sugar on top; it was thick and hardened evenly.  My only criticism--and this is mild--was that the crème brûlée could have spent a couple more hours in the refrigerator setting up.  It was mildly pudding-y and not mousse-y as one expects.  However the bourbon vanilla was quality stuff and they obviously used real vanilla beans.  Our dessert was full of luxurious little black seeds which add an explosion of flavor.  Mmmmm.


  1. Ah, one of my old haunts. I hope one day you will achieve a working fireplace to which you may return after all these gala excursions of yours.

    1. Thanks, yeah we try to get over here every weekend. We go into town and have a bowl of soup and a latte' for lunch. It's a nice place.

      As for fireplaces, we plan on getting a Jøtul wood stove when we build our house in Connemara. That's a few years off yet. :)