Dublin: Doughnuts and Vertigo

Dublin is just one of those cities that has its own feel. Its always been a special place for me – just far enough away to feel slightly foreign, but close enough to feel homely. It’s the sort of place I’ll visit whenever I can.

On Saturday, Curt and I travelled 2 hours south to the city to see U2 in Croke Park. (Shameless self-promo incoming: but I reviewed the gig for Queen’s Radio if anyone would like to have a wee nosey). It was the band’s homecoming show on ‘The Joshua Tree’ world tour, where they were playing the album in full. Seeing U2, in Dublin, playing their best album to a 80,000 full Croke Park? One word: amazing.

Anyway, on with the rest of the day. We have a little bit of a tradition going regarding Dublin. We get off the bus or train, and walk across the Liffey right to the Temple Bar district.

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Trying not to pose outside Temple Bar

It’s definitely the place to go to get ripped off (tourist zone), but whatever, Dublin in general is pretty over-priced anyway. And it’s easy to forget about the extortionate prices when you’re in such a beautiful place. For those who haven’t been, Temple Bar is a district of central Dublin characterised by cobbled streets that’s teeming with bars and quirky little shops around every corner.

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There’s something special about cobblestone streets…

We go to a little bar below a hotel where we stayed on our last visit. We order chicken wings, and stuff our faces. Now, they’re not the most amazing wings in the universe, but after a long journey of being packed together like sardines on a bus, they’re pretty damn good.

Unfortunately, in my excitement I forgot to save a pic of the goods. For shame.

I did remember to save this though, our second favourite thing about Dublin: pints of this beast.

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Papa bless this sweet nectar of the gods

A cider we first stumbled upon a few years back and have loved ever since. Also, it’s slowly but surely starting to make its way to bars and off-licenses up North (at last). If you’ve never experienced the drink before, picture this: sweet, sweet apple juice that gets you drunk. It’s kinda like a lighter version of Angry Orchard (an equally amazing cider).

On from Temple Bar, we walked back in the direction of the city centre to go to the Northside for the gig at Croke Park. On our way, however, of course we found a doughnut shop. And how could we resist when the first glimpse we had of it was this?

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Doughnuts anyone?

As you can see from the picture, by the time we arrived we were spoiled for choice. The price was pretty decent as well, as each donut was going for €2.50. I decided upon the classic vanilla glaze donut while Curt went all out and got the maple bacon.

Doughnuts + cider = hyper sugar rush

These doughnuts were CRAZY GOOD. The dough itself was sourdough (I totally know the difference this makes for doughnut taste….) and the glaze itself, although sweet, wasn’t too sickly. It definitely provided the kick we needed to keep us going through the long night ahead.

I’ve gotta state here, this was the first time either of us had been to Croke Park, or had even been in a real stadium. And because of that, I don’t really feel like anything could have prepared us for the sheer SIZE of the place.

Don’t look down

Of course, as we are both afraid of heights, our seats were as far away from the stage and basically as high up as we could get. Naturally. This led to a lot of vertigo throughout the night…(bad U2 pun, am I a dad?).

All in all, a great day and night was had. Dublin’s a fabulous place that I’ll probably never get tired of, and somewhere I’d love to explore even further.

If anyone has any recommendations of places to go or things to see in Dublin, please let me know!

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Mexican, Not Mexican’t

To christen this page, it only seems right that my first review features a restaurant I’ve been waiting a long time to visit. After endlessly creeping the Instagram location tag for what feels like forever, on Saturday evening I finally found myself sitting in the cosy surroundings of La Taquería.

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Located on Castle Street in Belfast, is a modest restaurant you may not know is actually there unless you go out to seek it. It’s snuggled above a local newsagents, and is comfortingly small without coming across as claustrophobic.

La Taquería literally means “the taco shop” – and tacos are exactly what this place does best. It features an extensive list of tacos with all sorts of fillings, which pair well with the extensive list of Mexican tequilas and cocktails on offer.

For my first visit, I was completely conflicted on what to order as everything on the menu sounded unreal (also as I’m massively indecisive). To make things even harder on the decision front, they run a huge specials list featuring starters, mains and even drinks.

To begin, we ordered cocktails….when in Rome, and all that.

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I ordered the Mezcal Mule while my boyfriend settled for the Classic Margerita. The Mule was made up of mezcal (an agave based spirit), tequila, ginger, passionfruit and lime. It was garnished with a chunk of ginger, a sliced chilli, and a wedge of lime. For a drink, it was SO refreshing, but the more you drank, the spicier it seemed to get (not a bad thing!)

When ordering food, my inner-indecisive-demon pleaded for me to opt for what seemed to be the safest option on the menu. In an attempt to remedy this and live vicariously, I asked the waitress serving us some questions regarding the chorizo tacos I was interested in. Her great help led to me disregarding the safe option of pork tacos for the more exotic option.

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And aw man was I glad I swayed that way – the chorizo tacos were incredible. Ground pork flavoured with chipotle chilli and ancho chilli; the perfect combination of smokiness and spiciness. Our server suggested we opt for some sides to share, so we ordered the frijoles refritos (black bean mash) and papitas fritas (crispy potato cubes with chipotle mayo). Both were amazing, but the frijoles definitely stood out for me – nothing seems as satisfying as basting a tortilla chip with this stuff. Pro tip: try it inside a taco. You won’t regret it.

All in all, the tacos offered by La Taqueria aren’t the tacos Belfast deserves, but definitely the tacos it needs.