Monday, November 23, 2015

Gone with the dead leaves

Autumn is so sadly ephemeral. Bare trees remind me of how subtly seasons change without time waiting for people to catch up with the weather forecast, temperature drop and festive spirit. Life is a fading metamorphosis and I've been spending it cocooning in bed like some sloth-otter hybrid, surrounded by cups of coffee, Calvin Klein candles and intensive Tumblr scrolling. My bed becomes a comfortable prison as I say farewell to my favourite season. It's so cold and dark outside, it almost makes me miss Portugal. Almost. There was a sneaky fox exploring my front yard a few nights ago and I wondered if he or she was okay with the Winterfell-esque nocturnal negative degrees. 

November has been hectic: my best friend Cláudia visited Dublin for the first time - she was staying at my place for one week and we ended up eating so much that we had to crawl back to bed in order to digest properly (she basically ate her weight in oysters; and don't even get me started on that colossal wild boar burger with fried apple that we shared after some potted crab and veggie scotch eggs and before this majestic white chocolate mousse with lemon curd and blackberry coulis...!). Money and time are never enough so I hope she comes back when the weather gets less hostile. After all, we managed to witness 2 storms (Abigail and Barney), both of them a bit overrated and not Biblical at all, in my humble opinion - I can't take a storm seriously if there's no sign of thunder.

The other day I went to IMMA for the first time and got lost in Dublin 8 (yes, I live in Dublin for 11 months and still get lost sometimes - how cool is that?), ended up in a real-deal-kinda-pub and got some strange looks as I convinced myself that The Angelus was just a Christmassy Guinness commercial - classic Nancy, the heathen mouthy foreigner.

My immune system has seen better days so I'm staying away from processed foods, nights out and so on for the next few days. Meanwhile, I spend my day off dancing to Missy Elliott (her lyrics = gospel), playing with a direwolf german shepherd by the fireplace while he fearlessly farts like there's no tomorrow (falafel farts, the ones that smell like chickpea fermentation, if there is such a thing), trying to decide what to cook for dinner, based on my current appetite for comfort food with a Mediterranean twist.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Open House Dublin: 12 Henrietta Street

Henrietta Street is Dublin's earliest Georgian Street and this house is Georgian Dublin's finest. A street full of surprises, I tell you. The entrance to King's Inn is spectacular and there is a picnic-worthy park right behind the cul-de-sac. Also, quite a few movies and TV shows were filmed there, such as Albert Nobbs and Penny Dreadful.

The moment I stepped into this majestic house, I immediately knew I was in for a treat. An architectural titan. A throwback to the 18th century. This quintessentially Georgian townhouse was built in 1731 and designed by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce. From wealthy aristocratic ballers to slummy tenement housing, this house has seen everything; no. 12 is the epitome of the glory and the misery of an era. Centuries of history with no witnesses left - just imagine the stories this house could tell. The whole place screams haunted - some creepy displays of taxidermy, an eerie garden in the backyard, creaky stairs... You could almost hear footsteps from the past.

Let's focus on the beautiful interiors. Ceilings so high it makes you feel as if there's no roof. A bit like Downton Abbey with a touch of Addams Family. Gems and relics like paintings, piano and antiques add some bygone opulent luxury to the decadent decor. Rich details like embellished stairways and plasterwork wonders are an absolute delight to the sight. I wonder how exactly did it look like before being converted to tenements.The property has this atmospheric allure that one can only experience when the house itself has a soul (in this case, plenty of souls, I reckon) and the mirrors harbour memories.

Open House Dublin, presented by the Irish Architecture Foundation, offered the visitors the opportunity to get an up close and personal sneak peek, inviting the people to explore the urban secret side of the city. It's not like this house (and many other venues) would be open to public on a regular basis. I was so impressed with this piece of heritage that I couldn't help daydreaming and thinking how it would be if that house was my home. What struck me the most was the timeless nostalgia around those spacious rooms, with candle-lit chandeliers and old furniture smell. I'll never look at a building the same way as I will always wonder what would I find behind those bricks, beneath those layers of fading wallpaper... Gosh, I would've been a great real estate agent, ah! Anyway, if you look at these photos and still think "It's just a feckin' old house", think twice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Smithfield & Stoneybatter Food Festival

Last weekend I embarked on a trip to Tastebud Town. Smithfield & Stoneybatter Food Festival took over the Northside of Dublin. It was like an urban picnic of food pop-ups and eatery experiences, scattered by the coolest cafés, restaurants, bakeries and pubs of Dublin 7 - a celebration of food and drink, simultaneously supporting the local businesses all over the neighbourhood. Much to my regret, I didn't make it to many of the drool-inducing events, missing the gelato samples in Third Space, a veggie banquet, several brunch special editions, tasting boards at Slice and oysters+sushi paired with stout in Dice Bar. In a nutshell, D7's finest with plenty of community spirit.

The snack-seeker in me made me drop by Lilliput Stores, where Viking tapas were being served along with really good wine, The atmosphere was great and I found myself overwhelmed with so many delicious delights around me. I had a meat & cheese board with olives (instead of an equally tempting barley risotto which still haunts me in dreams), caramelised onions, pickles and sourdough bread, paired with a rich, velvety Syrah and there was still room for dessert because, well, there is ALWAYS room for dessert. At least, in my stomach. Red wine makes my gluttony spree lose control so I grabbed not one, not two... but FIVE cakes. 5. My favourite was the dark chocolate and salted caramel triangle, followed by the lime curd and poppyseed cake, which looks sooo Marie Antoinette-esque. Fig and chocolate was also an interesting combo; not to mention the whiskey and cherry muffin (that frosting, praise the Lord!). Well fucking done, Wildflour Bakery, for fixing my sugar needs. Next stop: Drink Store.

Once in my beloved Drink Store, there were so many craft beers and ciders to try... However, the best part was the elderflower potato gin tasting. I didn't expect it to taste that good but it sure did. Kudos to St. Patrick's Distillery. Anyway, this little off licence is class - if you're looking for Portuguese wine, (legal) poitín or a neverending ale tale for all tastes, look no further.

I took my cake box to Walsh's, a personal favourite, where the feast continued, as my appetite knows no boundaries. Cheeseboards were being served with our beverages. Yes, free cheese in the pub! The thinly sliced smoked ham was melting in my mouth and I don't even like smoked ham. There was a pesto and olive spread that was to die for. It was like antipasto porn. Needless to say, I went home well fed and wishing the weekend would last for much longer. With food like that, not even a week would be enough.

Friday, October 9, 2015

10 Things Dublin Has Taught Me

1. Better hungover than heartbroken. The latter takes longer to heal. // 2. Do not look for love on Tinder. It's a romance-is-dead-app. Don't ask. // 3. The river is dirty. The canal is dirty. Irish Sea is dirty. Atlantic, by all means. If you insist on going for a swim, go West! // 4. White pudding tastes better fried in coconut oil. Just don't say it out loud because it sounds so fucking pretensious. // 5. Conor McGregor is what I call the lovechild of a knacker and a hipster, epitomizing a new concept of hybrid that can stereotype both sides of the Liffey. // 6. Tell me your favourite pub, and I'll tell you who you are. // 7. Guinness is the new black. Maybe it's lightyears from being your favourite drink, but there will always be that one perfect, fresh pint that would make you change your mind, even if temporarily. // 8. Smoked bacon > unsmoked bacon. Same goes for salmon if it's breakfast time. // 9. High heels and Temple Bar will never be friends. Ever. // 10. No matter what, ALWAYS carry cash! Either you're stuck in a taxi going from out of service atm to out of order atm or in a pub where cards are simply not accepted, don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Inspiration: Female Bass Players

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