Thursday, 27 March 2014

Las Iguanas, Glasgow

Blondie always seems to know when a new restaurant in town is going to open (probably before the owners do themselves) so when she mentioned a new South American style restaurant would be opening we knew the lassies had to have a much needed get together and go.

When we arrived at Las Iguanas it was fairly quiet but I am sure on a busy night it would have a great atmosphere. With the interior you can tell it is part of a franchise but I still really liked it. 

Las Iguanas Mexican Restaurant Glasgow

Wee Lorz and I ordered the Cana Royale which is Magnifica cachaça, raspberry liqueur & elderflower, topped with Cava. The waitress warned us on two occasions the drinks were quite strong and suggesting that for this reason we might not enjoy them. This was met with a confused look from myself and wee Lorz and I'm sure it comes as no surprise to most that we could have happily had a second.

Champagne Cocktails Glasgow

I definitely can't fault the staff on their friendliness as well as their willingness to help Blondie with her coriander allergy. However the time to take orders was a little too long and no one wants to be sitting across from wee Lorz when she's hungry... "I'm going to eat the table!"

We finally got to order our food and Blondie decided on the cayenne chicken and avocado torta. Myself and wee Lorz went for the cayenne coated fried chicken flatbread served with salad or fries.. I nearly made the mistake of ordering chips until I realised you could get curly fries (!). Luckily we didn't have to wait too much longer for all of this to arrive on our table.

Mexican Food Glasgow

The chicken had a lovely crispy coating with a nice kick from the cumin and mustard that it is tossed in and the creamy cayenne mayonnaise in the flatbread was a delight; so much so we ordered more to dip our curly fries into. We definitely made light work of the curly fries as well since you can't really go wrong with them.

There was a of eating in this meal, we were told the lunch portions are the same size as the a la carte, but I still felt it was on the pricey side. Especially when so many places in town offer good lunchtime deals. I would always rather have a cheaper, lighter option that doesn't make me want to put my head on my desk and have a quick, sneaky snooze. Most of the cocktails are reduced to £5 on the lunch menu but again I don't feel is that much of a steal since I expect to pay roughly that amount regardless of the time. 

I'm not sure if this restaurant is the first place that would spring to my mind for South American food, right now that place is still held for Viva Brazil on Bothwell Street and Las Iguanas stood out to me as more of a Mexican cuisine.  However you know you've been given a decent meal when the smallest of the three lassies literally wipes her plate clean and the remnants of mine...

Clean Plate Club

Las Iguanas

16-20 West Nile Street
Glasgow G1 2PW

Opening Hours:
Monday- Thursday 12.00 - 23.00 Friday & Saturday 12.00-23.30 Sunday 12.00 - 22.30

Friday, 7 March 2014

Eating Out in Dublin

I was a very lucky girl and one of my Christmas presents was a weekend away in Dublin with my husband. I'd never been to Ireland before and I was super excited to go; it has always been on my list of places to visit especially as I have Irish heritage on my paternal side.

We set off on a Friday afternoon and while it was a wet, cold and blustery weekend we really enjoyed our trip. Since this is a food blog here where we ate in Dublin and our suggestions on what to eat on a weekend trip to Dublin!

Hop House Kim Chi Restaurant

This is one of the strangest but best places I've been in a long time. It is half  Korean/Japanese restaurant and other half is a traditional Irish pub. Stay with me here--I know it sounds like a recipe for disaster but it is not.

Our airBNB hosts had recommended it and there are tons of awards on the front door. When we walked in there were no tables available unless you had reservations (good sign!) but were told we could eat on the bar side which we were happy to do.

The bar side did play the randomest old school playlist and mix your standard pub decorations with Asian language posters but it wasn't off putting to have your dinner there.  We ordered Salmon and Avocado Maki, Tempura Shrimp Udon and Jeyuk.

Our sushi came out first and it was really good. I'm picky with my sushi because I love it so much and this stood up to my high standards.  Next came my Udon and my husbands Jeyuk.  My noodles were great but I wish the tempura shrimp had been served on the side rather than on top of the soup as the batter went a bit soggy.  My husband liked his Korean chilli pork but wished he'd maybe gone for beef as the pork was an odd cut.

It was definitely an experience and I'd recommend it if you are in the Chinatown area (Parnell Street just off top of O'Connell street) of Dublin.

irish pancake

The Lovinspoon

The Lovinspoon is a quirky coffee house/cafe nestled in the north side of Dublin. Appearance wise it is totally a hipster joint with old sewing machine tables and an Infant of Prague wearing sunglasses but the customers all seemed like locals from old guys to young people. Not a hipster in sight!

I had the small plate with a pancake instead of toast and it was still more than enough for me and my husband cleaned his big breakfast plate. Everything was cooked fresh and the staff were very friendly. The also randomly had root beer which made me happy! 

If you are staying around Mountjoy or Parnell square I'd definitely recommend popping in for breakfast! Just note they are cash only.

Eddie Rockets

eddie rockets cheese fries
As an American this place cracks me up because we have an almost identical chain called Johnny Rockets--50's diner vibe with juke boxes and the lot.

We popped in for a late lunch/snack and it was packed but we got sat at the bar right away. I opted for cheese fries and a reese cup milkshake and my husband had a chilli cheese dog.  The milkshake was AMAZING and they bring you the extra shake in blending cup- yum! The cheese fries are with cheese sauce--I know some people don't like that but for me it was PERFECTION! I love cheese sauce on cheese fries.

The chilli dog was a huge foot long and my husband ate it all. Our server was really nice and brought me a side of pickles on the house, too!

Quirky but quaint, although I think it's quite a big chain, I'd definitely recommend popping in if you are a fellow expat looking for a little bit of home or if you are just hungry for some American nostalgia! I know a lot of people are keen on visiting chains but personally I like to support small local places but I can't fault a well run chain either!

best brunch dublin

I really wanted to go for a good brunch while we were in Dublin and read a lot of reviews and articles looking for the perfect place. Odessa seems to be "the" place than brought brunch to Dublin and the reviews were great as well.

We arrived right at opening on Sunday it is good we did as just about every other table than the one we got was reserved and the place was shortly packed. I loved the funky mosaic on the walls and the townhouse feel. I expected it to have Russian influences with a name like Odessa but the brunch menu was a hybrid of Anglo and American favourites from Huevos Ranchero, Full Breakfast and French Toast.

My husband is a sucker for black pudding and went for the Odessa Breakfast and I had the French toast, bacon (instead of ham), maple syrup with a side of home fries.  My French toast was lovely but I wish my bacon had been crispier. The side of home fries was HUGE as was our main portions. We really like our breakfast and if I was back in Dublin I'd come back again.

I will say that everyone around us seemed a "ladies who lunch" type of crowd but maybe that's who's just awake first thing Sunday morning in Dublin :)

So those are my recommendations for eating in Dublin; probably not your traditional Irish fare but it is what I enjoyed while I was there. Have you been to Dublin? What are your favourite places to eat?