Saturday, 30 June 2012

Rainbow Over Dublin

My Awesomer Half and I were in town this afternoon--just doing our normal thing--when suddenly, a wild Pride Parade appears!  We were just shopping on O'Connell Street around 2 o'clock when we saw flashing lights up the street and heard whistles.  We were like, "Oh cool, let's check that out!"  We walked across the street and stood by the Spire.  There was a police escort and things started up just as we got there.

It was cool to watch the parade go by.  The thing that struck me most about the whole experience was how happy people were.  This is going to sound corny, but I was really touched by how proud people were.  I mean, yeah, of course... that's why they call it a Pride march, but it was really a feel-good experience.  You could see it in peoples' faces.  They were proud of who they were, and excited about being able to show it.  I thought that was really nice:  People celebrating the art of being people.  That rocks.  So without further ado, les photographies:

Geez, what a bunch of flags...

 There was a pretty good turnout

"OMG this is totally going on Facebook!"

  Typical Irish Male:  "Damn feminists, outa my way... old man coming through!" 
(Seriously, this old guy made the parade stop so he could cross the street!)  lol

 Please tell me that's where she keeps the keys to the invisible jet-plane...?

My Best Guess:  1950 Morris Oxford

 "Beep beep!"

 My awesomer half took this portrait.  It pretty much sums up the event.  Isn't this a great photo?

 I have to say this was still the gayest thing I saw all day.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

By Gosh, I'm Posh!

Hi y'all!  Remember the store on Grafton Street that had the rats hanging in the window?  Yeah that one.  I'm starting to like this store.  No not because of the rats silly, those were just bizarre.  I have no idea what drugs they were taking when they thought that was a good idea.  Seriously, I've met Timothy Leary and I still don't know what they were on.  Anyway I like this store because of the SALE.  Can you say 70% off?  Oh yeah.  (Mom, I got your shopping gene.)  Check this out... they even put it in a cool suit bag:

"What's in the bag," you ask?  Allow my lovely assistant to demonstrate...

I scored a Barbour waxed cotton coat for 70-percent off.  Even the sales clerk said, "Yeah, Barbour never goes on sale, this is amazing!"  I figured that after living in Ireland for a year it was time to finally buy a rain coat.  Check this out, it even has dogs on it!

It's not really clear what he's holding.  A newspaper perhaps?  Packet of bacon?  Lookie there is even a duck on it...

Camouflage dogs and ducks, what's not to like?  Apparently Barbour is very posh.  The salesman pointed out that it has three Royal Seals on the label.  Getting one royal endorsement is common enough, (Heinz 57 ketchup has that) but getting three is really crème de la crème.

I think the first one says, "By appointment to King Dumbledore of Hogwarts."  The second one is, "H.R.H. Prince Potter of Understairs," and the third is by appointment to, "Lady Quidditch of Rowling."  Anyway, we've been having some rain recently so who knows, I might be able to wear it tomorrow!  Our roses love all the rain they've been getting.

This is my awesome Jacques Amyot rose from Fabien Ducher in France.  Well, thanks for looking!  Have a great day everyone.  Wishing you sunny skies, happy dogs, and fragrant roses.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Wine Aisle at the Grocery Store

We took a nice walk through the park to Superquinn this evening.  That's our local grocery store.  As a Californian expat, it always amuses me to check out the wine aisle at Irish grocery stores.  I'm such a snob, I love to snicker at bottles of wine that would be $2.99 bottom-shelf-fodder in California.  Over here they're going for outrageous prices and promoted at eye-level.  It makes me say, "OMG, do people actually think this is the good stuff?"  Sorry, but I was altered at an early age.  If you grow up knowing what Ridge Zinfandel is at age 6, it kind of changes your outlook for life.  So anyway... this is what they have going in the Dublin suburbs.

So this is what makes top shelf in Ireland.  Napa Cellars.  It says "made in Saint Helena, Napa County, California" but it says nothing about where the grapes were actually sourced from.  I'm guessing these were the better looking raisin grapes from Lodi.  (ooh, did I just say that?)  Hey, I heard they got 82 points once in Wine Spectator.  And Ralph Steadman is no longer doing acid...

Isn't this a cool label?  I love the woodblock-print.  You can just hear the wolf going, Awoooo...!

Holy crap!  What is this deviltry?

Sorry for the blurry photo, but I thought this label was pretty cool.  It's like, all spacey and stuff.  Far out, man!

This is middle-shelf stuff in Ireland.  Last time I was at Trader Joe's this was selling for $4.99.  Sure, when I was a college student this might have been my Friday night treat, but at 9 euro?  Dude, I can't believe the prices here.

By the way does this mushroom look like a butt?

So yeah, over here they call it coriander.  I still call it cilantro.

We had fajitas for diner.

And gin & tonics.  Yum-o!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Sunday Shopping

Regularly my awesomer half and I make a trip into town (Baile Átha Cliath) on weekends to do a little shopping.  We did well today!  I must get the shopping gene from my mom. 
First stop, Nourish, a health food store.

Ok it's a happy hippy health food store.  Dude, hemp.  Right on.

Next stop, Boots the pharmacist.  They don't sell boots there.  I have yet to find "Drugs, the shoe store"...

Boots always has a 3 for 2 sale on vitamins n stuff.  Garlic is supposed to be good for your cholesterol, by the way.  It's a new thing I'm trying.

Marks & Spencer's has both a department store and a grocery store.  We call it "Marks & Sparks"

Fish!  They have good quality fish there.  We like cod, and plaice (a flat halibut-like creature) with a nice salad of fresh rocket (arugula)

Couldn't resist these.  Anyone who watched Doctor Who in the 80's will know why.

After grocery shopping we wandered into Arnott's.  They sell a soap there that I like.

We discovered Rituals soap at a hotel in Amsterdam.  I started out buying the Cedar & Orange, and now I kinda dig this one:  Bamboo & Cedar.

It's hard to resist the music store.  They have good 2 for12 sales.

I was a big fan of The Cure back in erm... junior high?  Wow.  Long time ago.  The employees at hmv were rocking out to this Chemical Brothers album when we walked in, so I picked it up.  Pretty groovy.

My awesomer half bought this for me.  This store rocks.

After the music store we strolled down O'Connell street to the book store.

We each picked up a couple Moleskine journals.  Eason's has some old stock left from when Moleskine was made in Italy.
 Sadly now they are made in China.  I've found the paper quality is not the same.  You can tell the old Italy-made journals from the new ones because they only have a bar code on the back.  To tell the difference:  The China-made journals have that new QR Code (the pixelated bar code) on the back.  The old ones don't.

Last stop, Brown Thomas.  Remember my blog post a couple weeks ago where they had the gold spray-painted rats in the window?  Yeah, that place.

Hmm.  Looks like fancy wrapping.  What did I get there?

Underwear!  Haha this is actually the FIRST item of Ermenegildo Zegna clothing that I have ever purchased.  Hey, you got to start somewhere!

And that was it for shopping.  Like I said, we did pretty well today.  Dublin has quite an array of stores and I think they do pretty well as far as fashion & big brands go.  We also looked at Tiffany rings and Panerai watches in Brown Thomas today.  Ahhh... some day she'll have that Legacy ring, and I'll have my Zegna suit.  :)

I have my Dad to thank for taking me on all those vacations to Palm Desert.  That must be where I get my good taste.  Thanks Dad!

Happy Fathers' Day everybody

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Tardis in Dublin

My awesomer half and I had dinner at Eddie Rocket's in town tonight.  We went there last night too!  We must really enjoy that place.  I always have a Classic burger with a Coke, (hey that's just the kind of guy I am,) and she gets a Sweet Chilli Chicken Wrap and a root beer.  After dinner, we walked down a little alley called Bachelors Way, down by the Quay.  Lo and behold!  To my surprise we found The Tardis.

To those who are not familiar with the TV show Doctor Who, the Tardis is his time-travelling craft.  The name stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space, which only makes sense to Time Lords and Sci Fi geeks.  We crossed the Liffey and walked into Temple Bar, an area famous for tourists... er, I mean pubs and cobblestone streets.  We walked down Anglesea Street and Lo and Behold!  Is that the Tardis materialized into the side of a building?

As it turned out, it was only a beautifully painted bay window in an historic building from 1899.  Still, that would be a funny episode of Doctor Who... how come he never materialises halfway up a building?  Anyway, we took the Dublin Bus home and I walked upstairs to my Macintosh.

Isn't that a cool desktop background?  It comes from David Hoffrichter on the  Deviant Art web page.  You can see I'm a huge Doctor Who geek.  Well, not as huge as some; I don't go around wearing a 10 foot long Tom Baker scarf, but I've thought about it!  Oh, check this out:  My Mom gave me a Tardis USB hub for my birthday.  It lights up and makes noise and everything.
Thanks Mom!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Monday Dinner

Tonight's traditional non-traditional Irish dinner is:
  • baked mackerel with baby button mushrooms
  • rocket salad topped with striped green tomato
  • for dessert we have Irish soda bread with cracked anise
It's traditional because well... we make this stuff all the time.  Our répertoire des repas, shall we say?  (Don't mind me, I don't speak a word of French.)  It's non-traditional because the Irish are not really known for their salads.  Yeah sure it's the land of a thousand greens, but I don't think they were talking about salad greens.  n'est–ce pas?

My awesomer half made her brilliant soda bread.  She makes it a little more rich than I do; she likes to add a couple eggs and butter.  My recipe is more the simplicity-is-elegance version.  There are only 4 ingredients when I make it, (flour, buttermilk, salt and baking soda.)  Sometimes I add a magic fifth element which is anise seed.  Perhaps my amazing culinary prowess is rubbing off on her, because she added a bit of cracked anise too.

The anise gives it a lovely herbal quality, a bit like liquorice and a bit like Ouzo if you're into Greek food.  So anyway, we like mackerel.  The meat can be a bit oily and the smell is a bit strong, but the flesh is quite lovely and it de-bones easily.  The fish themselves are beautiful.  They have sort of a blue tiger-stripe going on, like they came from that movie Avatar.

Speaking of stripey things, check out these amazing tomatoes!  We have a guilty pleasure in town.  It's called Fallon & Byrne.  That's kind of like the Irish version of Dean & Deluca, an upscale grocery store.  Check it out, don't these rock?

The mackerel was dusted generously with Fox Point Seasoning, a superior blend of salt and dried shallots (plus some other goodies) from Penzeys.  Wait, what?  You haven't heard of Penzeys?  They are purveyors of herbs and spices from Wisconsin.  They are serious about quality and honest with their prices.  It's a good store.

I can't end this blog post in good conscience without mentioning the good folks at The Spice Tin in Murphys, California.  Their shop is SO MUCH FUN.  We bought the anise seed and a ton of other stuff there, the last time we were in California. They also do blends like Penzen's but they specialize in jerks and rubs for meat.  I get the feeling their owner is one of these guys who treats BBQ-ing like a martial art.  Seriously, their spice kung fu is righteous.  Our favorites are Murphys Rub and One Trick Pony.