September 29, 2013

Pitt Bros BBQ

Restaurants seem to be a bit like buses to me. You wait and wait and wait and then suddenly two turn up together! Take burritos for example, Dublin was devoid of food fare like this for ages, then one place opened up, followed by another until you can't walk down a Dublin street without coming across a burrito joint. Another example is BBQ food. We have never had a BBQ restaurant in Dublin as far as I can remember but now we have two! The first being the always amazing Bison Bar & BBQ on Wellington quay. Now we also have Pitt Bros BBQ on George's Street. 

You can't miss Pitt Bros BBQ on George's Street with the cute little piggie symbol above the door. The interior is in the same vein as a lot of Dublin restaurant these days - all pallet ceilings, lights made out of barrels and hung with meat hooks. It is a quite a bright restaurant though thanks to the big window at the front and which makes it perfect for some people watching too.


If you have been to Bison you will be well used to what is on the menu as it is fairly similar. There is pulled pork, brisket, ribs, sausage and chicken and they all come with two sides for €12.95. I really really wanted some brisket and himself wanted some ribs but they had run out due to the lunchtime rush!! So we went for the sausage and pulled pork instead. These were accompanied by onion rings, slaw, fries and bone marrow mash.

The sausage was lovely with a nice smokey flavour off it while the pulled pork was melt in the mouth though on this occasion was not as warm as it could have been. I think that was to do with the metal trays it arrives on as they are cold so the meat cools down on them quite quickly.


The fries still had their skins and were wonderfully crispy as were the onion rings while the bone marrow mash was something I could have eaten a vat of. Yes it may not have been totally lump free but it was delicious. The boyfriend scoffed down the coleslaw though I have to admit I did miss a bowl of potato salad as a side. The sauces were good though the BBQ sauce was a little runny for me. I preferred the Carolina sauce which had a good bang of garlic off it and the boyfriend took a fancy to the hot sauce which wasn't too hot at all.


This was all washed down with a shared BrewDog 5am Saint picked from a very quirky old sink.

One thing Pitt Bros. does not offer is a combo meal where you can have two meats of your choice which is something the boyfriend and all the men I know would order without hesitation. The boyfriend was still a little hungry on leaving though the icecream was a nice touch. It was the proper good stuff too all creamy, milky deliciousness.

Ok so it worth going to? Yes if you like BBQ and you like meat you will love it. If you have vegetarian friends they will disown you for life if you bring them here!! The boyfriend also went back the next day without me (I know!!) and had the combo bun meal which he said was great. Yes you will notice a lot of similarities between here and Bison right on down to the paper towels on the table. You may also feel like you have seen the icecream thing before (Neon) but as they say isn't imitation the sincerest form of flattery. It seems that Dubliners can't get enough of BBQ and I would say, like me, are very happy to see that this trend is taking off here too. For good, tasty food at a great price BBQ seems to be the way to go.

Find them on Facebook here and Twitter here.

September 24, 2013

It's Nice to Sweet You Too!

Hello, Ola, Bonjour, Buongiorno. A simple Hello can open a world of opportunity and now Swiss Chocolatier, Lindt, has launched its new range, HELLO, Nice to Sweet You. Us Irish love our chocolate and we eat more of it than practically every country in the world after Switzerland! This new HELLO range will make chocolate even harder to resist with four deliciously tempting flavours  - Cookies and Cream, Strawberry Cheesecake, Caramel Brownie and Crunchy Nougat.

I got to sample both the Strawberry Cheesecake and Crunchy Nougat and seeing as it was all about sharing the love I brought the rest into work. They went down a treat! 

As part of the launch of the new Lindt HELLO range, Lindt chocolate Ireland want to get people saying ‘Hello’. And, what better way to do just that than at a dating event! Lindt has teamed up with The MatchMaker to sponsor one of their events which will take place in Tonic Bar (Blackrock Co. Dublin) on Thursday 26th September at 8.30pm – for more details go to Here, The MatchMaker guests will get to say ‘Hello’ to new people whilst enjoying a selection of Lindt HELLO goodies from the newly launched range.

Chocolate and dating, it sounds like a match made in heaven to me!!

Disclosure: I was sent a few Lindt Hello goodies but was not asked for this review. I just think it sounds like a fun, novel way to meet people if you are single. Everything is made better by chocolate!

September 17, 2013

Ambleside & Grasmere: Our Summer Holiday, Part 2

Well I am finally getting around to posting the next part of my holiday blog. Our trip to the Lake District seems like a distant memory now that the warm summer days are gone and autumn has arrived with cold intent. It is nice to relive the memories though so here goes!

For our two week holiday we stayed in a beautiful cottage in Ambleside. It was an old gate lodge which used to be part of Rydal Estate and was at the beginning of a beautiful walk up to the old house.  

Park Gates Lodge, a Victorian gate keepers cottage, adj the footpath to Fairfield & Rydal Hall

Park Gates Lodge, a Victorian gate keepers cottage, adj the footpath to Fairfield & Rydal Hall on Holiday Lettings.

The only thing missing from the cottage was wifi so we would find ourselves every few days at the Apple Pie Cafe and Bakery. I was in love the moment I saw the name!!

This family owned  restaurant is set in the heart of Ambleside and does a roaring trade in pies, pasties, cakes, and sandwiches. If you weren't early enough there was no chance of getting your hands on their lovely doughnuts or bath buns!

Bath Buns
There was also an extensive lunch menu with a wide range of options such as the chicken tikka roll and a brie toastie pictured below. All the food here is freshly made and everything we ate was really filling and full of flavour. 

Chicken Tikka Roll

Brie and Veggie Toastie
On one of the evenings we walked from our lodge up past the old Rydal Hall and into the outskirts of Ambleside. Here we decided to have dinner in the Badger Bar.

Now I just thought that the restaurant had a quirky name like so many other places in England but I was delighted when the owners came over to tell us that they had thrown out the evening's veggies for the local badgers. Turns out that visiting badgers gave the place its name!! Don't think I have ever been that close to them.

Besides the badger novelty the bar did great English style food - pork scratchings, Cumberland sausage with mash and game stew.

Pork Scratchings
The main reason we travelled to the Lake District this year was for a friend's wedding. She and her fiance got married in a beautiful old church in Grasmere which dated back to the 14th century. While we were only there for a short time that day the village was definitely worth a trip back. The village is the final resting place for William Wordsworth and you can wander through the garden and visit his grave. You can also see how much you remember from the poem 'Daffodil'. I could only remember the first two lines unlike my friend who remembered the whole thing!!


Grasmere is also home to the world famous Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread. The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is tucked away at the corner of the churchyard of St. Oswald’s Church and you may have to queue to get in! It's a tiny little store and walking over the threshold is like taking a step back in time. The gingerbread itself was quite unlike any gingerbread I have had before. It was thin and crunchy but had a lovely gingery topping. 

 Grasmere Gingerbread Shop
We also ate lunch one afternoon in the nearby Swan Hotel which sits at the edge of the village. This was after the boyfriend had decided we were going to climb a mountain but then picked the most vertical climb I have ever had to do! Safe to say we were starving by the time we got back.

Himself went for the venison suet pudding while I decided on the John Ross Junior smoked salmon sandwich. You would definitely know that they cater for hungry hikers as my sandwich was more a sandwich and a half. It was a great sandwich but I think the winning dish of the two was definitely the pudding. We had never come across food like that in Ireland where we tend to have more pies but this was delicious. It was rich and gamey but the casing it was in was spongy and light and helped soak up all the juices. The meal here cost us £20 so it was perhaps a little on the more expensive side for lunch but it kept us going for the whole day.

Smoked Salmon Sandwich
Venison Suet Pudding, veggies and the obligatory glass of ale
Both Ambleside and Grasmere are well worth a visit. They are both beautiful villages with lots of history and plenty of things to see, eat and do. Most places in the villages, as you would expect, are well used to muddy hikers, children, dogs and buggies so there is no excuse to get out and about and then reward yourself with a lovely meal!

Ambleside at sunset

Check out
Conwy, Wales - Our Summer Holiday, Part 1 here.
Nolita Cantina - A day trip to Liverpool here

September 12, 2013

Yelp's Backyard Bizarre - Free Food, Drink & Entertainment!

The Backyard Bizarre is a free afternoon party on Sunday 22 from 1pm - 3pm in The Bernard Shaw with free food, drink and entertainment for anyone in attendance. Yelp is hosting this event all just to highlight what there is out there in terms of new and independent businesses in this ridiculously inventive and original city of ours. 

There will be six local independent food businesses giving out free food to get the blood sugar up - from salad boxes by Staple Foods, to pies by The Pieman Cafe, burritos by Tolteca, sushi by J2 Grill & Sushi, pizza by the Big Blue Bus and ice cream from Murphy's Ice Cream

They will also have tea tasting by Oolong Flower Power Tea Shop and coffee by Coffee Together. Booze will be supplied by the 5 Lamps Brewery, Zaconey, Smithwick's and Becks.

There will be plenty of bizarre and off-kilter entertainment for the afternoon too. The event is free in for anyone who wants to attend - you just need to register with Yelp and RSVP on the event page:

Yelp throws these events with the sole purpose of helping people seek out and support all the amazing indie businesses that are opening up in town. There are also smaller events that take place every month - also free to any Yelper. I have been to a good few and it is a great way to discover new places, get interesting 'behind the scenes' insights into local businesses and chat to lots of new likeminded people. Check out one that I blogged about before here.

September 09, 2013

Bunsen - Serving Straight up Burgers

If asked to choose somewhere for dinner in town the boyfriend will always, unsurprisingly, pick somewhere that offers a lot of meat. Bear, Bison BBQ and Zaytoon feature prominently on his list of choices. So when I told him about a new burger restaurant called Bunsen, that just did straight up burgers without any fuss, it didn't take much convincing to get him there!

Bunsen is located on Wexford Street and can be found by the glowing neon B sign that sits above its door. The interior is minimalist with wooden tables along the walls and exposed copper lighting throughout the room. The menu is short to say the least and it all fits on a business card. There are four burger choices: hamburger, cheeseburger, double hamburger and double cheeseburger. Then there are three choices for the chips: shoestring, handcut and sweet potato. It's short and sweet but it does exactly what it says on the card - straight up burgers.


On our most recent visit we both went for double cheeseburgers served medium rare. Everything about these burgers was just right. The Amish roll that soaked up the juices, the Black Angus Aberdeen beef which was moist and full of flavour, the great quality lettuce, tomatoes and onion, the cheese which had melted into a wonderful goo and the umami pickle together formed the perfect burger. That might sound like a big statement but it's just true. The boyfriend proclaimed it a 'savage burger' and he is well qualified to make this statement having eaten in a lot of Dublin's burger joints!
Double Cheeseburger

We also tried out the three varieties of chips with the hand cut and sweet potato ones being deemed the favourites. The shoestring ones were just a little too reminiscent of a certain fast food joint for us but I know other people will love them.

Sweet Potato Chips
Handcut Chips
Shoestring Chips

On our first visit we got two hamburgers and some sweet potato chips and were still a little hungry when we left. Next time we got two double cheeseburgers and shoestring and handcut chips. This was too much for us. Next time I think it will be a double cheeseburger for him, a cheeseburger for me and two handcut chips. We will eventually work out the perfect amount of food for us there but it's definitely fun trying! Two double cheeseburgers, and two fries cost us €24.80 which we thought was very reasonable for the amount of food we got.

Bunsen offer simple tasty burgers and if you want yours topped with fried eggs, onion rings or marinated artichokes then this is not the place to go. If though you want to try what is probably Dublin's best burger then you know where to go now.

Have you been to Bunsen yet? Let me know what you think I'd love to know.

Find them on Facebook here and Twitter here

Bunsen Burgers on Urbanspoon

September 05, 2013

Summer may be over but the festival season is in full swing!

Summer has drawn to a close. The kids have been suited and booted and packed off to school. The farmers are out in force harvesting and the family holidays are over for another year. Yet just because everyone is returning to their normal routines doesn’t mean that the festival season is winding down – it’s anything but! Throughout September and October there are a huge amount of food festivals and events taking place.

Many of these events are part of The Gathering, which if you don’t know already, is an Irish initiative to entice overseas visitors to visit our Emerald Isle and to reconnect with their roots. From Dublin to Drogheda, Waterford to Westport, hundreds of events are taking place and there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy. So what’s happening in the world of food festivals? Well first off in September there are the big well known food festivals such as the Waterford Harvest Festival,  a Taste of West Cork,  and the Galway Oyster and Seafood Festival. These festivals have loads of events, demonstrations and activities happening and this year they also have an added element for the Gathering. The Grow It Yourself Gathering will be held during the Waterford Harvest Festival while the Galway festival will have a Tribal Oyster Feast Off to see who can eat the most oysters!

Then there are the smaller festivals such as the Drogheda Food Festival, the Offaly Harvest Festival and the Dublin Harvest Festival. These offer a smaller range of food fairs and activities but will no doubt still be lively events. For a more vintage day out you could check out the Enniskerry Victorian Field Day and be transported back to the early days of steam threshing.

October is headlined by the ever impressive Savour Kilkenny Food Festival which always has a very creative line up including cheese making, a craft beer carnival and a clergy cook off! Such a great event doesn’t mean though that you should overlook what else is happening during the month. You could visit an island in Galway for A Taste of Inishbofin or travel to the edge of Ireland for the Dingle Food Festival. For something a bit more unique, check out the International Mushroom Festival where it’s all about the fungi!

For beer and cider lovers September and October are your months. In Tipperary the Slow Food Apple and Craft Cider Festival is celebrating all things appley while a few weeks later Cloughtoberfest  will be bringing music and craft beer to the masses.  Then it’s on to Oktoberfest in Dublin, a full two weeks of entertainment, music and beer in George’s Dock. For a few smaller beer orientated festivals why not check out the Newry Oktoberfest, the Harvest Fleadh Oktoberfest  in Kildare, the  Salmon and Whiskey Festival in Co. Antrim or Oktoberfest Beag in Cork.

So there is plenty happening to keep you occupied as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. Though I know none of us will mind that happening as we will all be too busy out enjoying all the wonderful events that are on offer! Also if you plan on experiencing a few of these Gatherings and want to see more of Ireland why not have a look at Enterprise Rent – a – Car. Make sure you book in advance for the very best rates and don’t forget to check out their great weekend offers too. Let Enterprise Rent-a-Car help you to make the most of Ireland and your time off. 

To check out a full list of events taking place throughout the country see the Irish Food Festivals and Events page here. 

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Enterprise Rent - a - Car. The content has been written by me and all opinions are my own. 

N.B The Drogheda Food Festival has been cancelled.