The Year of Eating Dangerously

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May 26th, breakfast. A proper English breakfast at the O'Callaghan's hotel, except that I don't truck with that tomato/mushroom/baked bean/black pudding crap. But Irish bacon is truly wonderful.

May 26, lunch. Brought-in sandwiches at the office. Of below average quality, but acceptable for sandwiches. I think that we've done great things in the US with sandwiches, and the Irish could learn something there.

May 26, snack. Biscuits. Nice.

Oldest fish-and-chips shop in Ireland. Fish was OK, but the chips were really good.

May 26, dinner. Fish and Chips from Burdock's in Dublin.

May 26, dessert. A Guinness.

May 27, breakfast. English breakfast, with a scone. Not a great scone, but great bacon. At O'Callaghan's St. Stephen's Green, Dublin.

May 27, office snack. A pastry. Dublin, office.

May 27, lunch. Sandwich. Tuna salad is good, possibly the best of the bunch. Dublin.

May 27, dinner. First Guinness of the day. A pint.

May 27, dinner. Second Guinness of the day. A half-pint. Dublin airport, heading to London.

May 28, dinner. Caesar salad, Radisson Portman Square, London. Very expensive. Not bad, but the funny poached egg instead of a raw one was just a little too healthy and robbed the salad of some of its rich flavor. Yet the quality of the Parmesan was outstanding.

May 28, breakfast. Radisson Portman Square. Tried a fish-only breakfast with smoked fishes. The smoked halibut was OK, but the smoked salmon was very good. All with cream cheese (I think a French version, not like Kraft's Philadelphia, which is smoother and less grainy) on a fresh roll.

May 28, lunch. At La Porte des Indes in London, near Marble Arch. With Mark Bayne. This little amuse bouche was a jacket potato with a tamarind sauce that had been hardened and grated. Looked like cheese, tasted like tamarind. Very imaginative.

May 28, lunch. At La Porte des Indes, Marble Arch, London. Rice. Excellent choice of a restaurant. Very imaginative menu. The Indian is supposed to be good throughout London, but this was an exceptionally good choice.

May 28, lunch. Vindaloo from La Porte des Indes in Marble Arch, London.

May 28, snack. A little baby scone with some pastry cream inside. Not bad for a hotel snack. Better than most.

May 28, dinner. With Christine Burns at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, London. Starting with bread, the adventure begins...

May 28, dinner. Sea Bass Carpaccio. Sea bass with an almost sweet sauce (perhaps from preserved fruit), speckled with fresh herbs, red thyme, small flowers. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, London.

May 28, dinner. Le bar et le saumon fumè en tartar au citron jaune et basilic (Tartar of sea bass and smoked salmon, flavored with lemon and basil). Chopped, served on a bit of toast, with a wonderful briny taste of the sea. Truly outstanding. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, London.

May 28, dinner. Le foie gras chaud aux pommes et abricots moelleux (Hot foie gras with tender apples and apricots, rosemary chicory and Sichuan pepper). The combination was outstanding. The baby apple not so interesting, but the sauce on the foie gras was just wow! L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, London.

May 28, dinner. L'asperge blanche poêlée au beurre persillé, fins copeaux de jambon et noisette blonde. (Sauteed white asparagus, served with ham shavings and toasted nuts). A nice combination. I am not overly fond of white asparagus; I prefer the stronger flavor of green. But I liked the combination and freshly hand-sliced Serrano ham was a great complement. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, London.

May 28, dinner. Le pied de cochon sur une tartine gratinée au parmesan (Pig trotter served on parmesan toast). Not just ON parmesan, but with shavings of parmesan and white truffle on top. The natural affinity of pigs for truffles turned on its head here. Served warm with some arugula. Very deeply tasty and satisfying. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, London.

May 28, dinner. Le calamar et les artichauts violets à la plancha au piment d'Espelette (Sautéed squid, baby artichoke, chorizo, and tomato water). Possibly the most amazing flavor combination, more for its restraint. The artichoke was sliced thin and sublime. The chorizo was balanced so perfectly that I can not imagine the restraint of the person putting this dish together. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, London.

May 28, dinner. Le veau de lait de Correzeen paillard, tomate confite riquette et parmesan (Thin escalope of Correze milk fed veal with confit tomato, rocket, and parmesan). I think that by this time we were actually beginning to be stunned by the tastes. Perhaps veal is so foreign to me that I can't appreciate it, but it didn't have the sublime beauty of the squid, for example. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, London.

May 28, dinner. Mashed potatoes, served with the veal. Actually, this was butter, cream, and some potato added in.

May 28, dessert. Cheese plate. Some perfectly matched and served cheeses. The Comte was strong and nutty. The Camembert is as camembert SHOULD be, with true flavor and not dull. The blue cheese (Blue D'Auvergne) was not very strong, which was nice. And the Samur at the end, a goat's milk cheese, was just incredible with a firm center and this sloppy goopy edge right under the mold. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, London.

May 28, dessert. A glass of Clos Dady Sauternes. Kind of like P. Diddy only way way way better. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, London.

May 29, Breakfast. Fish, bacon, eggs, prosciutto. Radisson Portman Square, London. OK. It's a buffet, after all. But better than many.

May 29, snack. Crown Room, Gatwick.