I never cease to be surprised by the sheer volume of creative, entertaining and free events that take place in Dublin these days. I think the recession, while bad for our pockets, has really brought people's imagination to the forefront. I attended one such event recently at itsa...Bagel in Ranelagh. This event had been organised by Yelp.ie which is a website to help people find great local businesses like dentists, hair stylists and cafes. Apparently Yelp is very big in the States but it definitely seems to be catching on here. If you are a member, which only takes about two minutes to do, you can attend free events organised by them. Recently there was a cocktail making demonstration in Sweeney Mongrels and ale tasting in WJ Kavanaghs neither of which I could attend, much to my disappointment!!
The event in itsa Bagel was my first outing as a Yelper and it won't be my last. Being a coffee lover, I was in absolute heaven. We were shown the Brew Bar and told a little about the beans behind the coffee. We were also introduced to Erika who was a finalist in the World Barista Championships. She made her speciality chilli and vanilla coffee just for us. She explained that vanilla was infused into the milk and then we could increase the chilli strength by leaving the chilli in the coffee for longer. It was a great coffee and not as spicy as I thought it would be. Instead it had a slight afterkick which was a nice sensation.
|Erika - Finalist at the World Barista Championships|
Along with the coffee we were allowed choose whatever bagel we wanted in order to experience the food. I choose the October special "The Norwegian" which was made with a pumpernickle bagel, smoked salmon, low fat red onion cream cheese, cucumber pickle, oakleaf lettuce and honey dijon.
Claire choose the Caesar which was filled with roast chicken breast, caesar dressing (no anchovies!), parmesan, cos lettuce, butter and very kindly allowed me to take a picture of her food even though I had only known her for all of five minutes!
This was all followed by more coffee, this time from the Brew Bar, and a range of cakes including carrot cake muffins, gluten free brownies and a crumble type fruit square. I sampled them all purely for research purposes you understand! During all this stuffing of our faces, we were treated to a short talk from Josh, who told us a little about the business, its owners and the ethos behind it. Being a regular of itsa Bagel in Ranelagh, it was lovely to learn so much about the business and to meet the staff that make it such a nice place to go to.
The night was rounded up with a food quiz with some of the world's most difficult questions - Do you know what spice Cleopatra used to stay gorgeous because I didn't!! Myself and my teammate didn't fill out an awful lot of the questions as we were too busy chatting and having a laugh even though we had only met that night. This was a great event and Yelp seems to be a great way of meeting new, like minded people who are up for a laugh, want to learn something new and love living in Ireland. Oh and by the way Cleopatra used saffron in her baths in an attempt to stay beautiful!
As a side note Yelp are looking for a community manager so if organising events like the above and writing about them sounds right up your street get onto their website quick smart!! Sounds like it would be a fun job!