About a week ago we arrived at our first destination, Galway, Ireland. I've never been to Ireland and have always dreamed of it. Galway is a small seaside, fisherman's city. It's filled with quaint, warming pubs where everything is made out of wood, Guinness flows like rivers, and Jameson Whiskey bottles decorate a good proportion of bar-side liquor shelves. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate any gluten free beer, but their local hard cider, Bulmers, was just fine by me, and was absolutely everywhere.
At the very first meal we had, within our hotel "The House", the waiter knew everything about celiac disease, and could easily identify what was safe for me on the menu. I went for a plate of sliced meats, olives, artichoke, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and a spicy wasabi mayo. The bread served with it - warmed and gluten free! That set the tone for what would be the easiest and most enjoyable gluten free eating adventure I've ever been on overseas.
It felt sooo comforting to know that 9 times out of 10, any place you went to eat at, would either have gluten free options on the menu, or they would know exactly what celiac was about, including cross-contamination issues.
At a dinner-meeting with a woman from the National University of Galway, I happily ordered the lamb chops with mint glaze and potato wedges. It was cooked medium, a bit pink in the middle, and melt-in your-mouth delicious. The eatery we were at, The Cook House, was three floors of winding wooden bannisters and railings, decorated to the T with everything from antique paintings, bronzes, to vintage Halloween decorations and mood lighting. Awesome place!!
Other notable meals included a salmon and caper sandwich at our hotel restaurant, and a totally amazing traditional Irish stew at one of the coolest pubs I've ever been to: The Quay. It was a lamb stew, with huge chunks of soft, slow-cooked lamb, potatoes, cabbage, spices, and tomatoes. It included sides of mashed potatoes, cabbage and a julienne of onions, red and green peppers. The Quay was, like most restaurants and pubs in the area, woody, tortuous, and soul warming. Unlike many, The Quay even had a glowing fire-place right next to the upstairs bar. That was my last and best meal in Ireland.
I loved Galway. I loved the feeling I got as I was walking around the cobblestone streets, or along the sea-side paths. First time in Ireland... but absolutely won't be the last:)