Vegetarian on Vacation: Republic of Ireland & N. Ireland
Time to talk about the most important part of my trip: the food!!!! I was expecting it to be a bit of a challenge to find vegetarian friendly food in Ireland, after all this is the land of meat and potatoes (and cabbage!) and I was oh so very wrong. Turns out that Ireland, both parts of the gorgeous green island, have firmly embraced the localvore lifestyle as well as the benefits of a veggie focused diet. From our first incredible brunch to our last dinner finding delicious vegetarian, and vegan, meals was easy.
Our first meal was at Queen of Tarts, a restaurant with two locations in the Temple Bar area that came highly recommended by the awesome Geraldine who is a girl after my own heart with a sweet tooth and the most perfect of birthdays. Even though their menu is chocked full of goodies the three of us decided to get the same thing – the lunch special featuring a summer corn chowder and a tomato Mozzarella tart. We also indulged in the Hot Blackberry & Apple crumble, after all what’s a vacation without dessert?!?!? Other vegetarian items on the menu included a spinach brie tart, a red onion potato tart, and a grilled vegetable sandwich. I would say the menu is easily 70% vegetarian, depending on the soup/sandwich of the day. A little bit harder when it comes to vegan options since this is primarily a tart shop who regularly highlights all sorts of delicious dairy treats, like goat cheese!
For dinner we headed to Bobo’s Gourmet Irish Burgers, and yes you read that right. This burger joint not only features local and organic meat burgers, they also have three (3!) vegetarian burger options. Gherkins, mushrooms, Bobo’s special sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, falafel – if it could possibly be on a burger Bobo has it. The special curry chips were also OUTSTANDING, just further proof that curry really does belong on everything.
Our next day was spent traveling north, from Dublin to Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway to Carrick-a-Rede Bridge back to Belfast and then home to Dublin. While breakfast consisted of yogurt in our flat, lunch was insanely delicious tomato basil soup with a grilled goat cheese and sundried tomato sandwich. No fancy restaurant this time, just a cute cafe outside of the Giant’s Causeway but it was perfect. Once we got back to Dublin we headed to Cornucopia, after being given an insider tip by a friend that this was THE vegetarian restaurant to visit. We got their late in the day so entree options were limited but there were tons of sides to select – so we each got two different sides in order to full explore our options. Our main entree (picture) was an insanely good potato dish filled with goat cheese and ricotta along with a roasted red pepper sauce all topped with a baked phyllo crust. For sides I went with the chickpeas and a vegan coleslaw while my traveling partner went with the butter beans and the bulgar grain salad. While I had to avoid the butter beans everything else was outstanding, which is why the potato dish is on my list of recipes to try.
The next morning we left for Wales, looking forward to Doctor Who and more delicious meals. However I was sad to say good bye to Ireland – so many more delicious restaurants to try and tarts to eat and seasonal vegetables to enjoy. Stay tuned for the next installation – first though my submission for r/52weeksofcooking will be up on Thursday.