Thursday, July 30, 2015

Safe Travels in Ireland - Dwarf Jar, Beshoff's Restaurant, and Suso Gelateria

(Link goes to their Tripadvisor page. If a website surfaces, let us know and we can update the link!)

Kayleigh here. We stopped in here for a quick breakfast/lunch/afternoon snack (long story) upon seeing a sign in the window advertising gluten free muffins and cakes. At 2:00 in the afternoon, they still had two chocolate muffins that were gluten free, along with a decent selection of cake slices and energy bars. The muffins were sweet and moist, and while we did not try the desserts, they looked fantastic. And the location was great for sipping a coffee and watching all the people walk by on their way downtown.

Jason here. This was a pleasant find for us on our walk in downtown Dublin. When I learned Ireland had the highest rate of celiac disease in the world, I figured there would be plenty of places we could spontaneously stop in at. The reality is, I found no more or less than back home. I ordered a pretty simple chocolate chocolate chip muffin that were separately packaged and looked almost store bought. However, there were other fresh looking gluten free items available that I opted not to get. The chocolate muffin was simply too enticing to pass up after skipping breakfast.

Beshoff Restaurant

Kayleigh here. While I was looking forward to sampling all sorts of fresh fish and chips during our stay, Jason was hardly expecting to have the opportunity. We came across this place after a full day of walking through Dublin with feet sore and minds weary, so we opted to look up a place near the city center instead of poking into pubs and quizzing wait staff.

When we arrived, Beshoff's informed us that any of the fish could be fried with gluten free batter, and would be placed in the chips-only fried to avoid cross contamination. Despite being a fast food joint, they took efforts to keep his food separate during preparation, which was nice to see. Gluten free fried haddock and chips- who would have expected that?

Jason here. Beshoff’s may be my favorite restaurant we visited while in Ireland. They have an impeccable gluten free menu, and take great care not to cross contaminate anything. I seriously never expected to find any gluten free fried foods by this point in the trip. Kayleigh had been raving about fish and chips since way before we visited Ireland, so this was finally my chance to see what all the fuss was about. I ordered the haddock fish and chips after asking Kayleigh for a recommendation.

The French fries were pretty good, but I actually really enjoyed the deep fried fish. It was thickly battered, and I love that deep fried batter taste. I wish I could find this back home.

Suso Gelateria

Kayleigh here. Once we finished up our meal at Beshoff's, we decided to pop into the Gelateria next door and ask about their selections. They pointed out which flavors had cookies or other gluten-containing items in them, and told us we would be safe to order any other flavors in a cup. Make sure they do not add the wafer garnish to the cup at the end, though.

Jason here. Suso had plenty of options to choose from, although I admit I found it a bit daunting trying to figure out which ones were gluten free. Staff was plenty friendly, so if you’re not sure about anything feel free to ask.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Safe Travels in Ireland - McGann's Pub and Bobo's Gourmet Irish Burgers

McGann's Pub

Kayleigh here. On our third night of pub hopping around Doolin, we headed to this busy and bustling pub in search of good music and, hopefully, good gluten free chowder. Like O'Connors pub, we had to put in our food and drink orders with the bartenders, and they relayed our menu questions to the chef. He assured us that the chowder itself was gluten free, but they did not have gluten free bread to serve it with.

Our meals were served not minutes after we had ordered, and Jason was given a small basket of regular brown bread with his soup- It was in a separate plate, so it was not a danger, but it seemed like the kitchen went too fast to make special orders happen.

The chowder was delicious, and the drink selection was extensive, but we did not check to find out if any other menu items were gluten free- I would recommend making sure the whole dish is safe, and avoid making substitutions. The pub gets very busy from 5:00 onwards, partly due to being one of the few pubs that accepts reservations, and the kitchen works like a well oiled machine, pumping out food orders like nobody's business. Even if you only come for drinks and the evening's live music, McGann's is worth dropping by. They have speakers throughout the building, so you can still hear the band play if you're not seated in the right room.

Jason here. I was excited to go out this night and enjoy some live music, after my previous night of drowsiness. By this point I had learned seafood chowder was my favorite Irish meal. I was secretly getting my hopes up that McGann’s would have some gluten free chowder available, so I was ecstatic to discover they did. Naturally, I ordered two bowls before last meal call. Since it may be a bit of wait for music depending on when you arrive, be sure to spread out your meal order and take your time to enjoy the food and atmoshpere.

As Kayleigh mentioned, the chowder was delicious. Just behind Wilton’s this was my second favorite chowder in Ireland. Like everywhere else it was filled with large chunks of seafood.

Bobo's Gourmet Irish Burgers

Kayleigh here. We found this place after leaving the Guinness Storehouse at closing and getting very, very lost on the way back to Kilmainham. The sign out front promised that they could work with any allergens or restrictions, and the menu itself stated 'Ask server for gluten-free options'. As we found out, the chips were fried in the same fried as the battered foods, so they were out, but most of the beef burger were safe as-is if served on lettuce instead of a bun (I'm sure you could bring your own gluten free bun in with you). And since the kitchen was right out in the open, we could see that the bread and breaded items had their own sections on the grilltop, so cross contamination was minimized.

Bobo's is a great option for fast, convenient food, although you may need to order a couple of burgers to get a full dinner. The burger menu is huge, though, and they were very open to customizing and building your own if none of them catch your fancy. Beware, though, that they get quite busy during mealtimes and there are not that many tables, so there may be a wait until one clears up.

Jason here. We wandered around for quite a while before finding a place that mentioned gluten free food. As Kayleigh mentioned the burger menu was quite extensive. However, that’s just about all your find here. It was delicious, although a bit messy as all lettuce wrapped burgers tend to be. I ordered my usual bacon cheeseburger, and enjoyed every bite. It was properly cooked, and had plenty of toppings and sauce which I enjoyed.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Safe Travels in Ireland - Gus O'Connor's Pub and Fitz's Pub and Eatery

Gus O'Connor's Pub

Kayleigh here. This pub was recommended to us as our number one spot by our B&B hostess, as it had lively music every night and gluten free labels right on the menu. We were also advised that the place fills up quickly in the evenings, so plan on arriving at least two hours before the music if you want to get a good seat.

There were signs all around telling us how ordering worked- find a seat, then tell your order and table number to the bartender, who rings you out right there. It can get pretty crazy during the busy hours, so make sure to leave something in your seat as you stand in line at the bar. We walked in at 7:30 and the only available table was in a corner room, so we had to move to standing at the bar later in the evening to hear the music.

The menu had a few options for the gluten free diner, although we did notice the Guinness beef stew was labeled gluten free...we opted not to question that. As a nice surprise, the specials board had gluten free labels as well. The food looked safe when it arrived at our table, so I would say to just double check things with the bartender when you decide on your order.

Jason here. Definitely remember to check the special’s menu, as I got both the crab claws and some gluten free chocolate and peanut butter pie. The crab claws, while delicious, were a bit messy and still left me hungry so I ordered a salad special as well. The chocolate and peanut butter pie made for a nice final bite to eat as we settled in for our first live music experience of the night. As Kayleigh mentioned, be sure to get there very early if you want a seat anywhere close to the live music. This was true for all the bars and pubs we went to.

Fitz's Pub and Eatery

Kayleigh here. Fitz's Pub (also known as Fitzpatrick's Traditional Bar) was the second stop on our pub tour across Doolin, by virtue of being the second closest to our B&B. We arrived at 7:00, and despite a fair crowd we were still able to get seats next to the live music area. Not only that, but we found out that there was a guitarist playing at 7:30, on top of the scheduled act at 9:00. And the musicians here were fantastic- I am kicking myself for having only one of their names written down (Tara Howley on the Uilleann Pipes).

Sorry, that did not have much to do with being gluten free, did it? The menu had no labels here, but the waitress went back and asked the chef what entrees were safe so she could tell Jason what his options were. The menu was mostly up scaled versions of bar and comfort food, but even so the majority of the entrees were gluten free without any alterations. The atmosphere was slightly more upscale than the average pub, too, but still managed to be friendly and comfortable to spend a few hours in.

Jason here. I was suffering some drowsy side effects of the sea sickness medication I took earlier that day before going on the ferry. The music was my favorite out of all the nights, but I still remember very little of it. As Kayleigh mentioned we managed a booth right next to the musicians, but also still secluded somewhat from the crowd. My meal was a fairly standard affair of beef with potatoes, some squash and greens.