On Perspective…Embracing the Power in Powerlessness

Your 2016 is within your power.

Today I witnessed an Asian lady purposely buy a tin of a now-familiar brand of instant-coffee that was sold by the mugful in cafés across Vietnam and Cambodia when I was there, instead of a regular cup of what we’d consider “normal” coffee. It was the very brand that only a few weeks ago I myself spent many trips into foreign supermarkets attempting to avoid, searching in vain for a familiar jar of Nescafé to mask the flavour and intensity of this special unique Vietnamese coffee that I just could not get used to. I could just imagine this woman’s face on discovering how different the coffee tastes over here, and I empathized wholeheartedly with the sense of loss and desperation that such a simple comfort as a cup of coffee not being easily attained when one strays so far away from home can bring.
I came home and poured myself a cup of my favourite coffee, or at least, what I’ve become accustomed to; an Italian blend of instant that may not be as good as the real thing, but which has become a staple part of my day and a relief after some of the frantic coffee-searches and disappointments in SouthEast Asia. I thanked my parents subconsciously for sticking with the same old, predictable and reliable brands, something I had recently become extremely frustrated with at having returned to a house that has remained relatively unchanged since I left.

Perspective is a funny thing, as it allows us not only to see others in a different light, but to see ourselves in ways we never thought we could imagine or be comfortable observing. Things that we may once have been afraid to try, or seemed impossible for us to embody purely because we said they must be so are all of a sudden as accessible for us as a cup of tea or coffee in the morning (this is provided you’re currently staying somewhere with a kitchen facilities of some sort!).
As we get older and look back on things we may have done or said in years gone by, it becomes easier to let them go, and to let go of the worry they may have induced at the time and anxiety they may have brought about since then. Letting go and embracing where we are right now becomes so much easier when you realise how powerless you are to change any previous actions; You can apologise. You can regret. You can remind and berate yourself again and again, over and over until you are consumed and defined by the very fact of this one occurance or circumstance. Or you can choose to accept it, and let go of the fact that it happened, that it was – for you cannot change it anymore. Only in the heat of the moment was it in any way changeable, and it was that very heat and urge to act which made it happen in the first place.

An effective exercise I have used to help myself rationalise things in the past can really aid in ascertaining your perspective on particular aspects of or current issues in your life which may be bothering you. It sounds simple (and it is), but even just taking the time it takes to complete it to be with yourself and acknowledge your thoughts and emotions can be of enormous help to someone struggling to escape a muddle of thoughts knotted up like Christmas tree lights after a year of being ignored in the attic.

 If we take a simple circle; the circumference of a cup of coffee, for example. Beside it, make a list of every important thing which affects your life or has significance to you right now, be it work; family; boyfriend; girlfriend; house; car; money; a certain aspect of each of these which may be suffering or proving particularly difficult at the moment, or elements of your own internal struggles which may not be obvious on the outside. Simply write them down; in bullet points, sentences, picture sequences – whatever suits you best. Make a list, and then inside the circle, place all of the things from this list that are within your control to change, help, fix, or solve in any way. Outside of the circle, list the things that are outside of your control. Be honest with yourself, and with the things themselves. Make a note of how it feels to place each thing in it’s position within or outside of the circle, and adjust yourself to accept that they have been placed there.

Above all what I realised from completing this task is that the things I was anxious about and spent most of my time concerned with solving or changing were just that; things. There were things that no amount of anxiety or worry was ever going to get rid of or solve, things seperate to my mind and body, and outside of any kind of emotional or physical control I could ever assert over them. Why on earth was I expending so much energy in thinking about them??
This made the things within the circle seem so much more managable and simple in comparison, and it meant I was able to direct a more intent and full attention toward improving them or ensuring their continued success. The things outside of the circle I was forced to accept my ignorance of and inability to change, and this in turn allowed me a sense of relief and power over my own life that I never could have imagined possible. They may have posed as issues in my life or things that I wasn’t particularly happy about, but they were not mine (and still are not) to change. I was powerless to change them, and so I began to let them go one by one each time I was faced with things, thoughts or people that called them into question. From this acceptance of powerlessness stemmed an almost ironic sense of actual power, that I now had the ability to let things go, to ignore that which does not serve me, and that which I am powerless to influence.

The availability of my favourite coffee in Asia is just a minor example of something which I had to place outside of the radius of my own influence, and adopt the perspective I’ve attempted to outline above. Once you stop forcing yourself and expecting too much of yourself, (in this sense, expecting and pressurizing myself anxiously to go and find the coffee somewhere, anywhere), it’s a relief to just sit back and relax, and let these things pass you by. They’re not going to disappear completely – far from it- but even just the ability to observe them as seperate things and thoughts instead of getting yourself wrapped up in solving them is an extremely empowering sensation. I’d recommend taking the time to do the circle exercise – it doesn’t take long. At the very least paint a mental picture of it and slot your various anxieties and issues into it accordingly, and who knows? You may surprise yourself with how much you’ve been hoarding in a worry-bank that doesn’t actually cater for some of the things you’ve forced inside it!!

Happy 2016!

12 Breakfast Bowls of Bali

12 Breakfast Bowls of Bali

Leagan Gaeilge anseo/Irish version here

Although there would be more than enough public houses and restaurants with bars around the main areas of Bali to allow for a kind of makeshift ’12 pubs’ and drunken fulfillment of the Irish reputation for being fond of alcohol, this year my gaze has been less-hazily drawn towards the woolly-jumper clad throngs of merry-makers congregated expectantly outside the various pubs that no longer let them in, but towards something else entirely. It’s the one part of any day in Bali that gets massively overlooked and deserves a whole lot more attention, purely because the breadth of possibilities and flavours it encapsulates is so vast I get excited just thinking about the options and places I’ve yet to try and discover.

I’m an early-riser anyway, and it’s no secret how fond I am of my porridge, but the expanse of healthy and delicious breakfast-food options available in Bali has taken things to another level entirely.

Aside from the fact that I’ve never actually successfully completed a real 12 pubs let alone attempted explaining the concept of it to a Balinese locaility where a Bintang with dinner is considered a luxury, I’ve decided this year to take my proximity to all of these delicious menus to my advantage. The sheer amount of health-food cafés and restaurants along almost every street boasting organic and fresh ingredients and original recipies with bowls of fruity, nutty, and tasty goodness have led me to compile this list of 12 of the most impressive and delicious “Breakfast Bowls” I’ve encountered thus far – ‘Breakfast Bowl’ in this sense being used to describe the coconut-bowl-servings available in nearly all of these establishments of varying mixes of fresh fruits, granola, nuts, berries, seeds, muesli, oats, yoghurt, nut butters, chia and acai blends, coconut milk, water and juice mixes and spinach infused with yet more fresh fruit on top….the list of deliciousness goes on.

 While I’m aware I’ve probably only barely touched the tip of the mint and lime-infused iceberg of breakfast bliss, and that there are still (hopefully) many many mornings I’ve yet to wake up to these bowls of happiness, my festive countdown this year has come in the form of these brightly coloured and elaborately decorated bowls of fruit and health foods, as follows (in no particular order)…

**

12. Nagu Bomb – Betelnut Café, Canggu

-Dragon fruit, mixed berries, coconut milk, granola, strawberries, banana, grated coconut

You only have to glance at the menu in Betelnut Café, Canggu to understand the hype and reputation it has built up for itself among tourists and locals alike!

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11. Shelter Super Crumble with Organic Chia Seeds –Shelter Café, Seminyak

-coconut, chia seeds, banana, oats, strawberries, granola, nuts, vanilla yoghurt, stewed apple, and almond butter

Shelter Café is a hidden gem situated on a rooftop above the Seminyak branch of Nalu Bowls, looking out over a local football pitch and catering to every kind of palate imaginable when it comes to breakfast!

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10. The ‘Teahupp’O’ –Nalu Bowls,Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu

-spinach, green apple, granola, chia seeds, ginger, orange, pineapple, mango, banana, mixed berries, almonds, coconut water, coconut milk

The first stop on the list of Nalu Bowls, and my favourite until now! Nalu Bowls currently have 3 locations around Bali and again it’s worth the searching for this small, bright counter – everything healthy, organic, and put together right in front of your face!

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                              9. Raw Vegan Grain-free Porridge Bowl- Atman’s Kafe, Ubud

-coconut, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, pumkin seeds, dried fruits, raisins, bananas, palm sugar, coconut water

Easily my favourite bowl on the list! I returned to Atman’s Kafe a few days in a row but wasn’t able to make myself order anything else! Perfect hearty fuel to get you through a power yoga class at the Yogabarn!

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8. ‘The Breakfast Bomb’-Crate Café, Canggu

– Banana, almond milk, muesli, cashew nuts, strawberries, extra banana and dragon fruit on top!

You will feel cool and like part of the gang just sitting at this café. Trust me. Endless breakfast options, all written on the wall in permanent marker because, yknow, that’s hip and stuff…

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7. ‘The Hulk’- Eden Café, Canggu

-spinach, cashew milk, banana, avocado, green apple, bee pollen, granola, strawberries

Easily the most affordable option on this list, Eden Café is an extremely friendly and health-orientated little place, every option packed to the brim with nutrients and hidden healthy boosters. (I added in a scoop of my own peanut butter, but shhhh).

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                                     6. Chia and Mixed Berry Bowl –Avocado Café, Canggu

– chia seeds, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, banana, cashew milk, strawberries, muesli, coconut, coconut milk

Another to add to the list of amazing Canggu cafés is Avocado Café. I especially liked the decor in this place and it was really usefully situated right at the top of my road!

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5. ‘Super Tropical Bowl’- Garden Kafé,The Yogabarn, Ubud

– seasonal fresh fruit with lime, raw muesli and live probiotic yoghurt

The Yogabarn’s very own café is an amazing place to refuel after a tough Power or Bikram yoga session, and with wholesome, organic and freshly prepared juices, you’ve no excuse not to pack the fruit and veg along with your yoga mat.

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                                 4. ‘Uluwatu’ – Nalu Bowls, Canggu/Seminyak/Uluwatu

 dragon fruit, banana, papaya, coconut milk or apple juice, strawberries, coconut, raspberries, granola

Back to Nalu bowls again for this one, the ‘Uluwatu’! You can’t see it in this picture underneath all the extra granola but the smoothie blend is a deep beautiful shade of purple from the dragon fruit…unbelievable!

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3. Vanilla Almond Quinoa Porridge – Shelter Café, Seminyak

– Organic quinoa, vanilla, coconut milk, cinnamon, banana, berries, mixed nuts, almond butter, fresh almond milk

This was just as delicious as it sounds. Absolutely every ingredient alone is mouth-wateringly tasty and so combined it made for pure porridge heaven. I’d absolutely love if the Builín Blásta started doing dishes like this….

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                                              2. ‘Tropical Bowl’- Betelnut Café, Canggu

-dragon fruit, cashew milk, pineapple, watermelon, mango, grated coconut, chia seeds, granola, cashew butter, coconut water

Betelnut delivers yet again with another bowl of deliciousness, the addition of cashew milk to this one and a heap more fruit on top making it almost preferable to the famous Nagu Bomb Betelnut has become famous for. Almost.

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                  1. ‘Maverick’s’ – Nalu Bowls, Canggu/Seminyak/Uluwatu

-acai blend, mixed berries, mango, banana, almond milk, chia seeds, strawberries, coconut water, shredded coconut meat, granola

Our last stop is back in Nalu Bowls again, for a taste of their own special secret acai blend. I’m still not entirely sure what exactly it contains but it’s purple, super tasty and incredibly healthy!

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12 Babhla Bricfeásta na mBeatha i mBali – The 12 Breakfast Bowls of Bali

*LEAGAN BÉARLA FAOI – ENGLISH VERSION BENEATH*

 

12 Babhlá Bricfeásta na mBeatha i mBali

 

Cé go mbeadh a ndotháin tithe tábháirne agus bialanna thart timpeall na n-áiteanna is mó i mBali le ’12 Tithe Tábháirne na Nollag’ a chríochniú go héasca agus cáil speisialta na nÉireannach a bheith ‘in ann ól’ a comhlíonadh go héifeachtach, i mbliana is i dtreo eile agus níos soiléire uilig atá mo shúile caite seachas ag dreamanna i ngeansaithe bailithe taobh amuigh na tithe tábháirne nach ligeann isteach iad a thuilleadh. Is cuid ríthábhachtach don lá i mBali é an bricfeasta, ar a ndéantar an iomarca neamhaird agus a chuireann sceitimíní orm fiú ag smaoineamh ar an oiread féidireachtaí, roghanna, agus áiteanna atá fós ann le thriail agam.
Is maith liom fhéin ag éirí go moch ar aon chaoi, leite agus torthaí úir an lae caite ar bun, ach níor smaoinigh mé riamh go mbeadh an méid seo féidirtheachtaí bricféasta timpeall orm anois, ag tógáil an béile is fearr go céim níos airde ná mar a bhí sé ariamh.

Cé nach bhfuil ’12 pubs’ críocnaithe agam i gceart riamh, ná coincheap an rud é féin mínithe go cuí go daoine áitiúla anseo nach bhfuil an dearcadh céanna acu nuair a thagann sé don alcóil in aon chor, tá beartaithe agam i mbliana an dúshlán seo a ghlacadh agus turas a dhéanamh timpeall ar na háiteanna is fearr Babhla Bricféasta a fháil i mBali, seachas pionta Bintang.

Is ag breathnú ar an méid caifé, bialanna agus áiteanna sláintiúla agus orgánacha ar fud na háite atá an cinne déanta agam an liosta seo a chuir le chéile de roghanna torthaí, cnónna, agus cómhabhair úra eile atá feicthe agam go dtí seo. ‘Séard is ‘Babhla Bhricféasta’ ann sa chás seo ná babhla déanta de cnónna cócó agus líonta le meascáin éagsúla de thorthaí, cnónna, sú, granola, coirce, íogurt nádúrtha, síolta, bainne agus im almóinne, spionáiste, rísín, meascanna sú ….leanann an liosta ar aghaidh.

Cé go dtuigim nach bhfuil agam anseo ach tús agus go bhfuil fós neart babhlaí Bali agus roghanna eile le triail agam go fóill (tá súil agam!), i mbliana tháinig mo chomháireamh síos don Nollaig fhéin i bhfoirm na babhlaí galánta, sláintiúla seo a leanas….(gan aon ord áirithe).

 

 

 12. ‘Nagu Bomb’ – Betelnut Café, Canggu

-Dragon fruit, meascaithe, granola orgánach, sú talúin, banana, cnónna cócó gratáilte

Tá cáil faoi leith bainte amach ag Betelnut Café i Canggu le turasóirí agus daoine aitiúla maraon, agus níl ort ach an biachlár a fheiceáil le tuiscint go bhfuil sé tuillte go maith acu!

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11. ‘Shelter Super Crumble le Síolta Orgánacha Chia’ – Shelter Café, Seminyak

-Cnónna cócó, síolta chia, banana, coirce, sú talúin, granola, cnónna, úll stobhta, agus íogurt vanilla, im almóinne
Os cionn Nalu Bowls ar Jayan Drupadi, is seodín rúnda ar an díon é Shelter Café in Seminyak, ag breathnú amach ar pháirc peile agus ag freastal ar gach saghas charball nuair a thagann sé don bhricféasta.

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10. An ‘Teahuppo’, Nalu Bowls – Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu.

-spionáiste, banana, bainne cnó cócó, úlla glasa, almóinne, síolta, uisce cnó cócó, granola, agus sméara meascaithe.
An chéad stad ar an liosta de ‘Nalu Bowls‘, agus an ceann ab ansa liom go dtí seo! Tá 3 suíomh ag Nalu Bowls i mBali faoi láthair agus arís is fiú an cuardach a dhéanamh le teacht ar an gcuntar beag gealgáireach – gach rud sláintiúil, orgánach, agus déanta os comhair d’aghaidh!

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9. Leite Amh Cnó Cócó (Vegan Raw Grain-Free Porridge) –Atman’s Kafé, Ubud

-cnó cócó, síolta flax, almóinne, síolta chia, gallchnó, banana, rísín, síolta puimcín, siúcra palm, torthaí tirim, agus uisce cnó cócó
Go héasca an babhla is ansa liom ar an liosta, d’fhill mé ar Atman’s Kafé  don bhricfeasta cúpla lá ina dhiaidh a chéile ach ní raibh mé in ann aon rud eile a ordú! Breosla teolaí sláintiúil roimh rang íoga láidir sa Yogabarn!

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8. ‘The Breakfast Bomb’- Crate Café, Canggu

-banana, bainne almóinne,  museli, sú talúin, torthaí an dragúin 
Mothóidh tú mar cheann de na ‘cool kids’ cearta is tú ach ag suí sa chaifé seo. Liosta le háireamh de roghanna bhricfeasta, iad uilig scríofa le marker ar an mballa, mar, yknow, sin an chaoi a dhéanann siad inniu é…

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7. ‘The Hulk’- Eden Café, Canggu

– spionáiste, avocado, úll glas, bainne cashew, granola, sú talúin, banana, pailin beacha
Go héasca an rogha is saoire ar an liosta, is áit beag, cairdiúil agus dírithe ar an sláinte í Eden Café, chuile rogha ar an mbiachlár líonta le cothathaigh agus vitamín rúnda.

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Suíomh/Facebook/TripAdvisor

 

6.  Chia agus Sméara Meascaithe –Avocado Café, Canggu

– síolta chia, smeara dubha, sméara dearga, bainne cashew, bainne cnó cócó, cnó cócó, cnónna cashew, banana, sú talúin, muesli
Ceann eile ar liosta mór fada na caiféanna in Canggu, thaitin Avocado Café liom go háirithe mar gheall ar na maisiúcháin taobh istigh agus an suíomh breá congarach don bhóthar…

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5. ‘Super Tropical Bowl’- Garden Kafé, The Yogabarn, Ubud

– torthaí séasúrach le lime, muesli úr agus íogurt nádúrtha beo
Is áit foirfe í an Garden Kafé ag an Yogabarn athbhreosla a dhéanamh tar éis rang crua Power nó Bikram Yoga. Chuile rogha pacáilte le torthaí agus ábhar nádúrtha eile, níl leithscéal ar bith agat ach do chuid torthaí is glasraí a thabhairt in éineacht le do mata íoga!

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4. ‘Uluwatu’- Nalu Bowls, Canggu/Seminyak/Uluwatu

-torthaí dragúin, bainne cnó cócó, banana, papaya, cnó cócó, granola, sú talúin, súanna craobha

Ar ais go Nalu Bowls arís don cheann seo, an ‘Uluwatu’. Níl tú in ann aon rud a fheiceáil faoin granola breise ar bun sa phic seo, ach is dath corcra láidir atá ann ón dragon fruit…dochreidte!

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Site/Facebook/Tripadvisor

3. Leite Almóinne Quinoa agus Vanilla – Shelter Café, Seminyak

– quinoa orgánach, almóinn, bainne almóinne, vanilla, cinnamon, banana, sméara meascaithe, cnónna meascaithe, im almóinne, síolta
Bhí sé seo comh blásta is a bhfuaimníonn sé. Bheadh chuile ábhar leis féin dochreidte blásta, agus mar sin iad uilig curtha le chéile bhí cóisir i mo bhéal an maidin áirithe seo…ba bhreá liom dá dtosódh an Builín Blásta plátaí mar seo a dhéanamh…

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Suíomh/Facebook/TripAdvisor

2. ‘Babhla Thrópaiceach’- Betelnut Café, Canggu

-torthaí dragúin, bainne cashew, granola, cnó cócó, uisce cnó cócó, anann, mealbhacán, banana, cnónna, papaya, síolta chia, im cashew
Tagann Betelnut chun tosaigh arís le babhla blásta eile, an uair seo le bainne cashew agus tuilleadh torthaí ar bhun, atá beagnach níos fearr uilig ná an ‘Nagu Bomb’ cáiliúil atá ag Betelnut anois. Beagnach.

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1. ‘Maverick’s’- Nalu Bowls, Canggu/ Seminyak/Uluwatu

– acai blend, sméara meascaithe, mango, banana, almóinn, sú talúin, granola, bainne almóinne, uisce cnó cócó, cnó cócó
An stad deirineach atá againn ná Nalu Bowls arís agus an blend acai rúnda agus speisialta atá acu. Nílim cinnte fós go díreach céard atá istigh ann, ach tá sé corca, dochreidte blásta agus íocsláinteach!

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Suíomh/Facebook/TripAdvisor

Nollaig Shona daoibh!!!

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-BÉARLA – ENGLISH –

12 Breakfast Bowls of Bali

 

Although there would be more than enough public houses and restaurants with bars around the main areas of Bali to allow for a kind of makeshift ’12 pubs’ and drunken fulfillment of the Irish reputation for being fond of alcohol, this year my gaze has been less-hazily drawn towards the woolly-jumper clad throngs of merry-makers congregated expectantly outside the various pubs that no longer let them in, but towards something else entirely. It’s the one part of any day in Bali that gets massively overlooked and deserves a whole lot more attention, purely because the breadth of possibilities and flavours it encapsulates is so vast I get excited just thinking about the options and places I’ve yet to try and discover.

I’m an early-riser anyway, and it’s no secret how fond I am of my porridge, but the expanse of healthy and delicious breakfast-food options available in Bali has taken things to another level entirely.

Aside from the fact that I’ve never actually successfully completed a real 12 pubs let alone attempted explaining the concept of it to a Balinese locaility where a Bintang with dinner is considered a luxury, I’ve decided this year to take my proximity to all of these delicious menus to my advantage. The sheer amount of health-food cafés and restaurants along almost every street boasting organic and fresh ingredients and original recipies with bowls of fruity, nutty, and tasty goodness have led me to compile this list of 12 of the most impressive and delicious “Breakfast Bowls” I’ve encountered thus far – ‘Breakfast Bowl’ in this sense being used to describe the coconut-bowl-servings available in nearly all of these establishments of varying mixes of fresh fruits, granola, nuts, berries, seeds, muesli, oats, yoghurt, nut butters, chia and acai blends, coconut milk, water and juice mixes and spinach infused with yet more fresh fruit on top….the list of deliciousness goes on.

 While I’m aware I’ve probably only barely touched the tip of the mint and lime-infused iceberg of breakfast bliss, and that there are still (hopefully) many many mornings I’ve yet to wake up to these bowls of happiness, my festive countdown this year has come in the form of these brightly coloured and elaborately decorated bowls of fruit and health foods, as follows (in no particular order)…

  12. Nagu Bomb – Betelnut Café, Canggu

Dragon fruit, mixed berries, coconut milk, granola, strawberries, banana, grated coconut
You only have to glance at the menu in Betelnut Café, Canggu to understand the hype and reputation it has built up for itself among tourists and locals alike!

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Facebook/TripAdvisor

11. Shelter Super Crumble with Organic Chia Seeds – Shelter Café, Seminyak

-coconut, chia seeds, banana, oats, strawberries, granola, nuts, vanilla yoghurt, stewed apple, and almond butter
Shelter Café is a hidden gem situated on a rooftop above the Seminyak branch of Nalu Bowls, looking out over a local football pitch and catering to every kind of palate imaginable when it comes to breakfast!

12395415_10153241866548483_1987958094_nWebsite/Facebook/TripAdvisor

 

11. The ‘Teahupp’O’ – Nalu Bowls, Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu

-spinach, green apple, granola, chia seeds, ginger, orange, pineapple, mango, banana, mixed berries, almonds, coconut water, coconut milk
The first stop on the list of Nalu Bowls, and my favourite until now! Nalu Bowls currently have 3 locations around Bali and again it’s worth the searching for this small, bright counter – everything healthy, organic, and put together right in front of your face!
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Site/Facebook/TripAdvisor

9. Raw Vegan Grain-free Porridge Bowl- Atman’s Kafe, Ubud

-coconut, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, pumkin seeds, dried fruits, raisins, bananas, palm sugar, coconut water
Easily my favourite bowl on the list! I returned to Atman’s Kafe a few days in a row but wasn’t able to make myself order anything else! Perfect hearty fuel to get you through a power yoga class at the Yogabarn!

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Facebook/TripAdvisor

 

8. ‘The Breakfast Bomb’- Crate Café, Canggu

– Banana, almond milk, muesli, cashew nuts, strawberries, extra banana and dragon fruit on top!
You will feel cool and like part of the gang just sitting at this café. Trust me. Endless breakfast options, all written on the wall in permanent marker because, yknow, that’s hip and stuff…

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Facebook/ TripAdvisor

 

7. ‘The Hulk’- Eden Café, Canggu

– spinach, cashew milk, banana, avocado, green apple, bee pollen, granola, strawberries
Easily the most affordable option on this list, Eden Café is an extremely friendly and health-orientated little place, every option packed to the brim with nutrients and hidden healthy boosters.

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6. Chia and Mixed Berry Bowl – Avocado Café, Canggu

– chia seeds, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, banana, cashew milk, strawberries, muesli, coconut, coconut milk
Another to add to the list of amazing Canggu cafés is Avocado Café. I especially liked the decor in this place and it was really usefully situated right at the top of my road!

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Facebook/TripAdvisor

5. ‘Super Tropical Bowl’- Garden Kafé,  The Yogabarn, Ubud

– seasonal fresh fruit with lime, raw muesli and live probiotic yoghurt
The Yogabarn’s very own café is an amazing place to refuel after a tough Power or Bikram yoga session, and with wholesome, organic and freshly prepared juices, you’ve no excuse not to pack the fruit and veg along with your yoga mat.1931892_10153243943753483_1150289886_n

 

 

4. ‘Uluwatu’ – Nalu Bowls, Canggu/Seminyak/Uluwatu

dragon fruit, banana, papaya, coconut milk or apple juice, strawberries, coconut, raspberries, granola
Back to Nalu bowls again for this one, the ‘Uluwatu’! You can’t see it in this picture underneath all the extra granola but the smoothie blend is a deep beautiful shade of purple from the dragon fruit…unbelievable!

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Site/Facebook/TripAdvisor

 

 

3. Vanilla Almond Quinoa Porridge – Shelter Café, Seminyak

– Organic quinoa, vanilla, coconut milk, cinnamon, banana, berries, mixed nuts, almond butter, fresh almond milk
This was just as delicious as it sounds. Absolutely every ingredient alone is mouth-wateringly tasty and so combined it made for pure porridge heaven. I’d absolutely love if the Builín Blásta started doing dishes like this….

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2. ‘Tropical Bowl’- Betelnut Café, Canggu

-dragon fruit, cashew milk, pineapple, watermelon, mango, grated coconut, chia seeds, granola, cashew butter, coconut water
Betelnut delivers yet again with another bowl of deliciousness, the addition of cashew milk to this one and a heap more fruit on top making it almost preferable to the famous Nagu Bomb Betelnut has become famous for. Almost.

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1. ‘Maverick’s’ – Nalu Bowls, Canggu/Seminyak/Uluwatu

-acai blend, mixed berries, mango, banana, almond milk, chia seeds, strawberries, coconut water, shredded coconut meat, granola
Our last stop is back in Nalu Bowls again, for a taste of their own special secret acai blend. I’m still not entirely sure what exactly it contains but it’s purple, super tasty and incredibly healthy!

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Site/Facebook/TripAdvisor

 

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Vietnamasté – A Guide to a Travelling Practice

Vietnamasté – A Guide to a Travelling Practice

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Scenes from Mui Ne fishing village, South Vietnam

A clear head and a stretched out body makes for a clean and positive start to the day. Cheesy, but true. I’ve made a pact with myself and a new goal to ensure I attend at least one yoga class in each new country I visit. Backpacking with my mat has been both a conversation starter and a cause for funny looks, as the original mat that has travelled with me from home has now gathered an unholy amount of dirt and probably smells like the underside of some of the buses and interestingly covered surfaces I’ve now used it on.

I’ve already ticked off Hungary, Bratislava, Cambodia, and Vietnam, along with various other European countries, and in two weeks with a little luck I’ll travel to Indonesia to spend some time in one of the ‘yoga capitals of the world’ – Bali, something which I’m both excited and apprehensive about – surely the hype can’t be all that? With typical Irish cynicism I am dubious already, but this destination has been a dream of mine for so long now that I’m willing to risk it all for the potential anticlimactic flump of a mediocre experience.

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Balancing on Bokor Mountain

I’m not sure why I’ve suddenly placed all my energy into practicing yoga and the consistency of my practice whilst travelling, but it sure as hell beats having all that energy wasted on worrying and being anxious what I look like, how much and when I eat and what certain people think of me or how wrong/right the choices I’m making are. It’s as if all the energy that went into the massive effort of striving for ‘perfection’ (lol,jk, there’s no such thing!), is now being put to better use and helping me to balance upon my own two feet and move my body along instead of hindering it. The energy is being diffused physically instead of mentally, a terrible habit I’d fallen into which merely exhausted me and meant I had less cognitive capacity to deal with and process actual problems when they did occur.

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Trying too hard at Angkor Wat (again)

It really does benefit you to pay attention to your own expenditure, be it money, energy, emotions, or anything else. Travelling has really opened my eyes to this, in more ways than one. It may seem like something fairly obvious, but the very fact that I am now aware of the new spectrum of potential for me, and where I want to lead my life means that I know whenever I find myself slipping backwards into the old ways of worrying about what people think and about how I am percieved by those around me, that I have wasted valuable energy that could have potentially been used to strengthen my body or to creatively express myself and generate something new. This contribution to the world by adding my original stamp to things is something that simply will not happen if I fail to balance my body and mentality on a regular basis. I have dreams of writing songs, novels, articles, poems and stories that will make a difference, that will change and help people, and also some that may not impact or alter anyone whatsoever. To be able to focus my attention on these things, I will need energy and the ability to control where I direct it. Finding balance through my yoga practice and maintaining it by staying aware of myself won’t singularly ensure that all of this gets carried out successfully, but at the very least it will provide a firm foundation on which I can build and mould these plans and ideas.

4f2585a0-2d57-44d3-b67b-118d7e047c15As I travel I am putting energy into moving along in an alternative way, trying to make the right moves and go in a direction that will take me where I want to go; like a board game where rolling sixes and being let win by parents who only want to see you succeed is no longer an option. Many ideas float past regularly, and I find it difficult to pinpoint exact and definite concepts, instead casting short bursts of energy into writing them down to ensure I don’t forget them. It’s a totally different kind of energy expenditure which took several weeks of getting used to, and one which I’m still forcing myself to combine with as regular a yoga practice as possible.

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Recieving a blessing from a Buddhist monk

Because of the nature of a ‘backpackers’ budget’, yoga classes while on the road are considered somewhat of a luxury, even if the going rate in many Asian countries is less than half of what you’d pay at home. For this reason, over the past few weeks I’ve found myself practicing on various deserted rooftops, balconies, and most interestingly secluded bathroom and poolside areas when I’ve found them available in places we’ve been staying. Generally this is in the morning before most of normal society has awoken, or else during nights interrupted by loud music and noisy fellow-dormers returning from drunken nights out. Don’t get me wrong here, I’ve also been on the other end of this situation, and I’m not condemning it in any way – I’m just a particularly light sleeper and prefer not to lie in a state of semi-consciousness while people prolong their party around me.

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Balcony yoga studio in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Self-practice whilst travelling is something an awful lot easier said than done however, even though the addition of the yogamat to any backpack surely suggests otherwise, creating the image that’s it’s bearer is a highly dedicated and strict tree-hugging practitioner.

This couldn’t be further from my reasoning for carrying my mat with me. While I do practice at any available opportunity and location I find myself presented with, it’s more of a ‘recharging’ ritual for me. The stress of moving about and carrying your life on your back is certainly something which requires regular recharging and reassessing of both self and belongings, and it simply makes sense for me to practice whenever I can if I intend to maintain any kind of balance and help myself to move from place to place without getting too worked up or anxious.

Yoga has changed the way I see things, not necessarily life in general or the way I live my life, but it’s changed how and where I stand when it comes to expanding and living through certain things and has helped me improve my outlook on many aspects of the world. The fact that I have chosen to travel with my practice and maintain some of the balance I’ve achieved getting myself here has made me view this progress as a kind of animated road that’s extending out before me, but that is created only about a foot ahead at a time as I take one precariously balanced step and place one foot in front of the other day by day. One slip up or failure is not going to knock me off completely, but it will mean that the next few steps will be more wobbly than those before, as I strive to find the inner balance again.

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Ancient Abandoned Library at Angkor Wat

Even though the general and accepted attitude to adopt whilst travelling is one of apathy when it comes to external appearances, I really feel like I’ll be able to continue this lessened sensitivity to things on my return home, and continue to channel this energy into my practice and bettering myself instead of worrying that I’m not enough. Because I am enough. I will always be enough. Yoga shows me that I am. Moving with my disagreeable body and mind shows me that I am. It’s imperfect, but it still takes me places. It still supports me through waves that sweep sunglasses from your head and up steep hill climbs with backpacks twice as wide as any grown man’s shoulders. It supports me through each flow, each movement, each difficult leg or section of my journey that has left me unsure of where I am and what on earth I’m doing this for. Yoga just brings me back to my body, and back to the realisation that it is actually okay for me to occupy this space, and to enjoy being here.

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I’ve included some pictures from the beach resort of Mui Ne down the South coast of Vietnam where we’ve been chilling for the past few days. A sunrise trip to the sand dunes, fishing village and fairy stream trek were highlights, and were all organised through our (very affordable and clean!) accomodation Mui Ne Hills Budget Backpackers. Motorbike rental is available also aswell as windsurfing lessons, but our budget didn’t quite stretch that far and also I was so drained after Ho Chi Minh that a few days chilling by the pool with intermittent yoga practice/classes was exactly what was needed. The nightlife in the town was fairly non-existant but the poolside bar and restaurant were great. A lot of older couples holidaying and (strangely enough) Russian tourists everywhere. Would advise eating at some of the smaller family-run kitchens along the street as the prices were often half of what they were charging in the hotel and given the sheer amount of tourists around the menus were mostly actually catered to Western pickyness and cases of ‘oh no I don’t like that, thanks’.

#onlypositivevibes

Next stop Hoi An…

Useful Links:
Mui Ne Hills Backpackers / Trip Advisor 

The Secret of 61 – Dublin’s Stop on the Subway

Foodswings Reviews

Platform 61 – South William Street

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Barely a subway stop away from St. Stephen’s Green, your ticket to Platform 61 is finally here as the newly-opened underground kitchen cooks up some of the tastiest grub South of the city, providing a service worthy of the VIPs catered for at the elusive ‘Platform 61’ on the New York subway for which it is named. They don’t take Leap Cards, but you’re sure to be warmly welcomed on arrival!

Reserved for presidents and art-enthusiasts lucky enough to be on the guestlist for one of Andy Warhol’s famous ‘underground parties’, the story of the secret platform beneath New York’s  Waldorf Astoria Hotel is a treat in itself to listen to, the various Warhol quotes around the walls and abstract banana signposts in the bathroom reminding you at regular intervals that there is more to this restaurant than meets the eye.

 As you enter through golden doors reminiscent of 1960s New York elevators and decor Don Draper (Mad Men) would be proud of, you can’t help but feel slightly disorientated as the black marble walls mirror one another, making great use of a small space yet still succeeding in coming across extremely classy.

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Only in it’s third week of business here in Dublin, there was no sign of any maintenance work or staff ‘only learning’ the ropes, and the service ran smooth and punctual from one course to the next. A mixture of options on the menu caught my eye as we debated over what direction to take, eventually settling on the ‘Italian Mozzarella and Tomato’ dish and the ‘Shrimp Gambas’ to start. I’m a fan of small menus as it minimalises decisions, but to be fair everything looked very good and we weren’t disappointed, each dish being served promptly and proving realistic portion-sizes, unlike many of the new food-stops that have sprung up recently around Dublin.

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 The steak was sampled, as was the Superfood Salad with added chicken, and although prices slightly outreached that of the average commuter dinner it was made up for in taste and quality, the sweet potato fries on the side adding a delicious kick and nice reminder that eating out doesn’t always have to mean greasy, unhealthy & unnecessary indulgence.

 Our munching on the shrimp and subsequent pomegranate seeds in my Superfood Salad was accompanied by an absolutely killer playlist in the background, the likes of Alt-J and Foals providing the icing on top of the dessert that we were too full to order, though in hindsight I would have liked to try the Flourless Nut Brownie.

The lunch and brunch menus also looked incredible, the ‘Stun Bun’ in particular catching my eye, a ‘grilled chicken fillet on a brioche bun with guacamole, tomato, onion, baby gem and homemade tomato relish served with spicy potato wedges’. Due to it being still in the early stages of the restaurant opening, however, the waiter informed me that they had yet to start serving this menu, instead focusing for now on the dinner options. I will definitely be back to sample a Stun Bun when they do!!

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A glass or two of Chilean White wine and a house speciality beer cocktail later (a delicious concoction of Luxembourg-brewed beer, lime and apple juice) the whole experience was over too soon as we had to leave to catch the next train home.

Navigating our way out to the world back above ground it was easy to see how Platform 61 would go unnotticed, a haven glowing golden down below one of the busiest streets for bars and restaurants in the city.

Overall we were extremely pleased with the experience, and will definitely be recommending the service for anyone wishing to be transported back in time as they chow down on great food, the journey from starters right through to a final farewell complimentary glass of wine proving comfortable and enjoyable, in a stimulating and artistic environment.

 ‘Mind the Gap’ and be wary of the steep steps on the way out of the platform – especially if you’ve sampled some of the beer cocktails!!

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Useful links:

Platform 61 on Facebook
Platform 61 on Twitter (@Platform61)
Platform 61 website

The Good Food Store!

Foodswings Reviews – The Good Food Store

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 This is actually not my first trip to The Good Food Store, but it’s the first time I’ve sat in, which I feel gives me a lot more credibility to write about the place accurately.

I got free cake with a coffee I bought last week, which I’m only seeing now that I’ve started following them on social media was being given out because it was the ‘2 year anniversary’ of their first store in Ballsbridge opening. Sweet.
This branch itself on South Great George’s Street still has the woodshavings and empty-box feel of a place that is just coming to terms with the fact that it’s long narrow interior has been bustling with activity since a rather- rushed opening – the place is extremely busy!
With their homemade selection of delicious organic salads, soups, hot pots and sandwiches, for anyone working in or around the area The Good Food Store is an absolute must-try for a quick steal of a lunch. The salads come in 2 sizes, and prices are based on weight, but really the taste of the sweet potato, spinach and cashew nut, and also the roasted veg mix concoctions will have you willing to throw your hard-earned fiver at the friendly and helpful staff behind the counter. Alternatively you can choose to fill a sandwich, roll, wrap or bap with whatever you fancy, a small hot-meat counter ensuring the freshest of cuts and marinated chicken breasts. A great selection of homemade cakes and bread also draw the eye as you debate over what goodness to indulge in, the deliciously soft chocolate fudge cake I tasted last week glistening enticingly at me as I glanced over them.

 If yelling at the friendly cashier to ‘take my money!!’ doesn’t do the trick, you can busy yourself while you queue by studying the amazing selection of organic health foods and fresh produce stocked along the walls that they also supply. Nut butters, vitamins, fresh fruit and veg, and not to mention a great selection of vegetarian and vegan products, The Good Food Store is really exactly what it says on the tin – and more, because a great deal of the brands on sale are Irish.

Being my nosy self I commented as I sat at the makeshift table area down at the back, only 3 chairs facing the deli in a bar-like setting – ‘This place would do brilliantly as a café!”
The waitress who heard me turned and smiled, saying there are definitely plans in the pipeline to expand, and that where I was currently sat was merely a provisional layout while things took off.

This knowledge delighted me, not only the fact that I was now privy to it, but the thought of coming here for a lunchdate and actually sitting in a more open-plan, chill interior surrounded by such freshness, feel-good people and products made me extremely excited, and I made sure to take a glance over the menu options again as I left to plan ahead for my next visit.
The Ariosa coffee blend used also proved delicious, another homegrown brand, and I left feeling altogether more balanced; a happy tummy filled with ‘Good Food’ proving the key to a less stressful and more productive afternoon.

Literally my only qualm being the fact that there are only a few bar-stool seats offered as a ‘sit-in’ option having been debunked and deemed a temporary issue, I couldn’t recommend a trip to The Good Food Store more highly.
Prices range from the small salad box right up to the larger filled-sandwich options, but really if you come to a place like this it’s quality you’re after, and the delivery of that quality is more satisfying than anything!

Useful links:

The Good Food Store on Facebook
The Good Food Store on Twitter
The Good Food Store 

Making Banana Matoke in Uganda

Matoke, or ‘banana-mush’ as I christened it during our short trip there in October 2013, is one of Uganda’s staple dishes. The consistency of mashed potato with a distinct flavour of banana, this complex carbohydrate serves as the main source of sustenance for many poverty-stricken families in Kayunga, Uganda, and is regularly eaten straight from the leaves in which it is cooked.
As we carried the newly chopped branch of banana-tree back through the shanty village of rusting huts and makeshift washing lines sporting colorful arrays of materials, a gathering a of local semi-naked children gathered pied-piper like behind us. Jumping and hollering and swatting one another out of the way to allow themselves a better view to stand briefly in front of the giant metal contraption they somehow knew was recording them, the din of their excitement and swarm-like congestion around us almost caused me to drop the 2-metre long waxy leaves of the banana tree I had been entrusted with. My charge, a 17-year-old girl named Jan, looked back over her shoulder and laughed heartily at my struggle, as she had only minutes earlier when I had failed to muster the strength required to chop through the 2-foot width of trunk, even after repeated hacking and several grumbles of frustration. She had simply taken the machet from my hand, tipped the spot on the tree where she planned to chop, and in one large swooping motion far more powerful than any of us could have anticipated from her, amputated the thick branch from it’s bark.
“Like that!” she proclaimed proudly.
The brief respite from shame which followed my failure was broken as I tried to move the large bunch of bananas that had fallen with the branch. A sensation akin to taking that extra step in the dark at the top of the stairs when there is none, I found I had severely underestimated the weight of the cluster of 30 or 40 bananas. It wouldn’t budge.
Again Jan chuckled happily to herself and, having fashioned a circular crown-like base for herself out of the thick leaves on the ground, hoisted the bunch of almost-yellow fruit atop her head, and proceeded to walk steadily back through the trees the way we’d come. I was left, cheeks burning, to wrap several long waxy leaves in strips and bind them securely together, following my guide like a lost puppy as I struggled with the substantially lighter option of the leaves of the tree upon my head.
Once we’d made it back through the herd of local children, we set to work on the front porch of the shed-sized dwelling where Jan lived and supported her widowed mother, and 5 younger siblings. Skinning each banana, and placing it inside a pot-shaped weave formed from several of the branch-leaves, the process itself was fairly straightforward, yet it was the pace at which Jan worked which shocked me. I had barely finished skinning my third banana, and she had already moved on to her second bunch.
When all had been successfully added to the pot, I was put on clean-up duty while Jan skillfully lit a small fire inside the doorway of the homestead, and placed the ball of leaves containing the raw bananas upon it. Straightening herself up and casting a pitying glance as I scrambled to collect all the stray banana-skins, she announced with a sigh;
‘And now we wait’.

Seaweed and Martinis

Foodswings Reviews – The Meeting House

Burmese Cuisine in the heart of Temple Bar!

This place has been on my ‘must-try-sometime’ list of restaurants and bars in Dublin that I walk past regularly for a while now, although for no particular reason– it just looks very cool from the outside. Graffitied exterior and prime location off Meeting House Square in Temple Bar (hence the name) aside, as soon as you walk into The Meeting House it’s clear the place means business with it’s colourfully decorated and well-lit walls scattered with Marilyn Monroe-meets-The Joker quotes and pictures that are guaranteed to get even the most awkward of Tinder-dates talking.
That’s not all there would be to discuss, as every single option on the menu contained something we found very difficult to pronounce, and we mused for a good fifteen minutes over all the exotic looking choices. As there were 3 of us, we decided eventually to go with the menu option of 6 dishes for €36 (it was a Monday), as opposed to the 3 for €21 that would have suited just two. We were chuffed to discover that all prices were €3 cheaper on Sundays and Mondays, a fact which greatly influenced our decisions and indulgent sides!
I must point out here that all the portions themselves were quite small – think 3 tapas between 2 people, 6 between three – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it was dinnertime!
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My choice, which was also to share (when it comes to tapas, I find things generally don’t get too heated so long as everyone is on mutual terms about the whole ‘sharing’ thing!) was a Fillet of Sea Bass with Stem Broccoli in a fish broth infused with Lemongrass, and the Crab Salad with strips of Mango and Peanuts. This was extremely tasty, however slightly small, and definitely would not have served as a full dinner.

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As we had all agreed we would try each others’ dishes, I also succeeded in tasting the Tuna Sashimi on a bed of seaweed, Prawn Tempura, and the Organic Chicken Coconut Curry, all of which were delicious – the chicken curry was probably the only dish big enough to be considered a satisfying full meal in itself, but we enjoyed picking and tasting, also ordering a side of Sweet Potato Fries because let’s be honest, who doesn’t order Sweet Potato Fries when they’re on the menu?!
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Although initially being refused entry as we had arrived ten minutes prior to opening at 5.30pm (talk about eager eaters!!), the service proved itself both speedy and cheerful, with our drinks order arriving promptly before the food, and being checked back consistently every 10-15 minutes to ensure our continued satisfaction.
A good selection of craft beers such as Brew Dog and Five Lamps Lager kept us chirpy throughout the meal, and instead of asking for a dessert menu we decided to indulge in some of the extremely attractive-looking cocktails following the 6 empty plates’ hasty departure from the table in the arms of the attractive waiter. The ‘Pornstar Martini’ came complete with half a passion fruit floating on the top, while the decision to sample a classic ‘Old-Fashioned’ really allowed us to channel our inner Don Draper from Mad Men, with a curled orange-rind and crystallized glass only partially masking the strength of the whiskey.
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Overall, our group thoroughly enjoyed the visit to The Meeting House, and our decision to move elsewhere for a final drink was only made because we felt another ‘Old-Fashioned’ would have sent us too far over the edge! The fact that it was a Monday and everything was a whole 3 euro cheaper (€6.66 for all dishes and drinks on Sundays and Mondays!!) really added to our cheerfulness as we bid farewell to the establishment, accidentally spilling some candlewax on the counter as we tried to read some of the other quotes written on the walls inside.

While we were lucky that our choice of day was in accordance to the cheaper menu prices, Tuesday-Saturday prices would still warrant a visit, with all dishes and drinks standing at €9.99. If you’re seeking a bigger feed however, you’d be better off ordering the 3 or 6 dishes deal, depending on the size of your company – Burmese Tapas would be a better description of the single menu options, but for light and exotic bites The Meeting House succeeds in every way. Overall atmosphere was extremely pleasant and welcoming, despite the rain outside, and the playlist was great. Will surely be returning soon – if only for the generous cocktail sizes!

Useful Links:
The Meeting House on Facebook 
The Meeting House Website

Cakes on the Corner of Camden

Leagan Gaeilge(Irish Version)
Foodswings Reviews – Cakes on the Corner of Camden 
I have a new favourite café in Dublin!
I’m not going to lie – I haven’t much of a notion how to go about this whole ‘food critic/restaurant review’ craic, but I sure as hell felt I had to say something about this place!
I get the impression that The Cake Café, just off Pleasant’s Place (even the name of the STREET is inviting) and also accessible through Daintree’s craft shop on Camden Street, is probably not such a well-kept secret as it would have been a short while ago before it’s inclusion on Dublin’s ‘Fab Food Trail’, and generally widespread word-of-mouth praise it’s gotten from everyone I know who recognises it.

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I arrived shortly before lunchtime and even then its’ cosy interior was bursting with life and the aroma of fresh Irish produce, homemade goods and an exciting freshly blended coffee that was leaving home in takeaway cups with the delightfully punny message ‘Cupán Will Ya??’ printed on them (I’d be lying if I said I’m not a fan of ‘The ol’ bitta’ Gwaeilga’”). Brian Dobson was sat in one corner sipping a coffee and looking slightly out of place while a few other well-to-do looking clientele in suits and blazers clustered around some of the rickety seats outdoors, & I noticed some wine glasses and attractive looking craft beers nestled amongst the freshly squeezed glasses of juice and mugs of tea.
My kinda’ place, I thought.
I trudged in with my yoga mat slung over one shoulder and a laptop in my bag, navigating my way through the tightly packed and populated little tables, looking for somewhere new to do a bit of work and hoping against hope I’d fit in with some of the other ‘foodies’ and lunchtime coffee-lovers who began arriving as the dainty little china-clock on the wall ticked closer to 1pm.
 When I say this place does everything, and does it well, I mean it. Divided into a ‘Breakfast’ and ‘Savoury’ section, with options of sides and of course the all-important ‘Cakes’ at the end, the menu itself as a whole is not extensive. As I sat and downed my coffee however, I couldn’t help but notice how mouth-wateringly tasty and also most importantly healthy everything that was being served to many clearly very regular customers looked.
The staff bustled around cheerfully, acknowledging some by name and others simply with a warm smile and gesture of the hand to an empty table. I gave in and asked for a menu, eventually deciding on the ‘Chorizo and Goats’ Cheese Salad with Homemade Brown Bread’, substituting the chorizo for chicken, and biting my tongue hoping I wouldn’t end up with food envy as the little girl beside me was served granola with natural yoghurt topped with peanut butter and banana. (The staff get bonus points for being so sound about this minor adjustment to my order).
While the child’s bowl of yoghurt and peanut-buttery goodness had me already pre-planning my breakfast for the following morning, the arrival of my meal sufficiently distracted me from thinking ahead so much, and I was forced back to the moment to devour this fantastic concoction of flavours, nourishment and colour which also scores triple bonus points for being super super healthy and satisfying.
I usually despise dates, but these ones were warm and gooey and complimented the rest of the ingredients incredibly well – I thought I was hilarious messaging a friend a picture of it and organising a ‘date’ there again next week.
unnamed-2Chicken, goats’ cheese, dates & beetroot salad with homemade brown bread’
Before I get too excited about the (fabulously yummy) Lunch and Breakfast menus, I must mention the cakes. It is, afterall, in the nature of a ‘Cake Café’ to serve cake. ‘The Cake Shop’ people (because what else would we call them) pride themselves on ‘making and delivering cakes to order within 24 hours’, and surely enough I witnessed a steady flow of orders and cake-for-money transactions over the counter taking place while I munched on my beautifully served lunch. Not only pre-ordered and entire cakes, of course, but slices, buns and tarts too. While the variety looked fabulous, and certainly everyone around me seemed extremely satisfied with their choice of tartlets, I actually didn’t taste any of the cakes that first day. I couldn’t decide, and after my decadent (and very satisfying) lunch, I simply didn’t feel the need to indulge. If the other food is anything to go by though, I thought, it’s definitely something I need to try soon.
Price was something I had been concerned about, given the seeming exclusivity of this oasis of nourishment, yet the quality of the food and the atmosphere of the place in general really sent any qualms I’d had flying with the iced butterflies which decorated some of the cupcakes. I lingered awhile after finishing my meal, observing mostly, but also succeeding in getting some work done – one thing I noted was that the eggs and also the roasted vegetables seemed to be very popular choices.
The fact that they serve wine, prosecco, and a selection of beers and cocktails really just put the icing on the cake (wouldn’t be a cake shop review without that sentence!) for this place, and I made a mental note to come back some evening for a tipple and some cake before heading out on Camden Street.

Returning the following day to grab a coffee and takeaway piece of lemon yoghurt cake (devine in it’s own right), I may have emitted a momentary ‘fangirl’ squeal of delight as I spotted Bressie on the opposite side of the café. Yep. Bressie. Fairly sure he caught me looking, too. Bressie likes cake. Therefore, I like cake. Don’t we all?!

If that’s not enough to persuade you to come to The Cake Café soon, I don’t know what is.
Yum!
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Useful Links:
 Dublin’s Fab Food Trails
@The Cake Café on Twitter
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The Cake Café Online

LEAGAN GAEILGE

Cácaí ar Chúinne Camden

Leagan Béarla
Tá caifé nua aimsithe agam i mBaile Átha Cliath!!
 An fhírinne glan – níl tuairim dá laghad agam maidir leis an gcraic seo i dtaobh ‘léirmheas caifé/criticeoir bialann’ a dhéanamh, ach d’airigh mé go raibh orm rud eicínt a rá faoin áit seo!
Díreach as Pleasant’s Place (meallann fiú ainm na sráide mé!) agus insroichte freisin tríd siopa Daintree’s ar shráid Camden, glacaim le seachmall nach rún eisiach a thuilleadh é ‘The Cake Café’, comh mór is a bhíodh tamaill ó shin sular cuireadh san áireamh é ar Dublin’s Fab Food Trail, a chuidigh go mór le cogar na sráide a scaipeadh ar fud na háite faoi.
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Is mé ag teacht isteach seal beag roimh am lóin, bhí an áit beag teolaí ag pléascadh le beatha, boladh thairgeadh úr na hÉireann, tairgí bhaile, agus pónairí caifé úra ag fágail bhaile i gcupáin brandáilte leis an bhfrása iontach ‘Cupán Will Ya?’! (Admhaím go mbím thar a bheith sásta an Ghaeilge a fheiceáil in úsáid nuair nach bhfuil mé ag súil léi!).
Ina shuí sa chúinne ag ól braoinín caifé agus ag breathnú beagáinín as áit bhí Brian Dobson, fad is a bhailigh cúpla culaith eile thart timpeall ar na boird beaga a bhí taobh amuigh. Thug mé cúpla gloine fíona agus beoir ceirde faoi dheireadh i measc an sú úr agus muigíní tae ina measc.
Mo chineál áite’, a smaoingh mé dom fhéin.
Shiúil mé isteach go hamhrasach le mata íoga thar ghulainn amháin, agus laptop sa lámh eile, ag lúbadh mo bhealach isteach tríd na boird a bhí dingthe agus daonraithe le hoibrithe oifige ó na comhlachtaí móra timpeall na háite. Ní raibh cúis imní agam le fada, dar ndóigh, de réir is a tháinig na ‘foodies’ eile isteach, ag líonadh na háite faoin am ar shroich an clog beag caoindéanta le 1 i.n.
Nuair a deirim go bhfreastalaítear ar chuile thaobh san áit seo, agus go bhfreastalaítear go maith ar, deirim go láidir é. Scartha i rannóga ‘Bricfeásta’ agus ‘Lón’, le rudaí breise le fáil ar thaobh agus dar ndóigh na ‘Cácaí’ ríthábhachtacha ag deireadh, níl an biachlár é fhéin roleathan. Is mé ag glugadh siar mo chuid caifé, áfach, ba léir dom go raibh na rogha uilig ar an mbiachlár dochreidte agus níos tábhachtaí arís – thar a bheith sláintiúil, is mé ag faire amach orthu ar a n-aistear ón gcistin don bhord.
D’imigh na mná óga ag obair ann thart i bhfuadar an chaifé ag freastal ar roinnt custaiméirí le hainmneacha ar eolas acu, agus roinnt eile le mangáire agus comhartha i dtreo na boird a bhí fós folamh.
Ghéill mé faoi dheireadh, agus d’iarr mé biachlár uathu, mo chinneadh tar éis roinnt éiginnteacht ag dul leis an ‘Chorizo and Goats’ Cheese Salad with Homemade Brown Bread’, ag iarraidh sicín in ionad an chorizo, agus ag súil go mór nach dtiocfadh ‘food envy’ orm is an cailín óg in aice liom ag fáil granola le íogurt nádúrtha, peanut butter, agus banana. (Pointí sa mbreis ag dul go na freastalaí álainne as a bheith comh deas faoin athrú beag seo i m’ordú).
Is an babhla granola in aice liom do mo chur amú agus ag pleanáil bhricfeásta don lá amárach cheana féin, stop mé ag smaoineamh comh fada chun tosaigh nuair a tháinig mo bhéile fhéin. Cuireadh díreach ar ais so nóiméad mé le blaiseadh a thógáil den mheascán speisialta seo de cháis, trátaí, sicín, dates, beetroot, agus roinnt dathanna agus glasraí úir eile! Faigheann an saléid seo pointí chun tosaigh arís as a bheith thar a bheith sláintiúil agus taitneamhach, agus freisin as caighdeán an arán donn a tháinig in éineacht leis.
De gnáth ní thaitníonn dátaí liom (dates), ach bhí na cinn seo te agus bog agus chuir siad go mór leis na blais eile a bhí ar an bpláta – cheap mé go raibh feith an ghrinn liom ag seoladh pictúir dóibh go cara liom ag eagrú ‘dáta’ eile ann ansin an tseachtain seo chugainn.
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Saléid de goats’ cheese, sícín, beetroot, dátaí agus arán bhaile
Sular n-éirím ró-sceitimíneach faoi na biachláir (thar a bheith blásta!) i gcomhair lóin agus bricfeásta, caithfear trácht a dhéanamh ar na cácaí. Is ‘Cake Café’, atá ann, ar deireadh. Cúis bróid atá ann do mhuintir na gcácaí (mar céard eile a gcuirfeá orthu!?) cácaí a dhéanamh is a sheoladh amach le hordú taobh istigh de 24 uair a chloig. Cinnte, is mé ag suí ann liom fhéin ar mo sháimhín só le mo lón chonaic mé neart idirbheart cáca-d’airgid ag tarlúint thar an gcuntar. Ní hamháin cácaí réamhordaithe nó fiú cácaí ina iomláin, ach slisíní, bocainí, agus tartaí ildáite comh maith!
Cé gur bhreathnaigh na rogha uilig dochreidthe, agus ba chosúil go raibh súp á bhaint astu ag na daoine thart timpeall orm a roghnaigh ó liosta na gcácaí, níor thriáil mé aon cheann acu an chéad lá sin. Ní raibh mé in ann cinneadh a dhéanamh, agus tar éis mo bhéile (thar a bheith sóúil) fhéin, níor theastaigh uaim a thuilleadh bia saibhir an lá sin. Rinne mé cinneadh liom fhéin áfach go bhfillfinn ar ais go luath le ceann a bhlaiseadh.
Ba chúis imní dom an praghas a shamhlú is mé ar an eolas faoin eisiachas atá ag baint leis an áit seo, ach sheol caighdeán an bhia agus an tseirbhís aon amhras a bhí agam ag eitilt glan as mo chloigeann leis na bhféileacháin ildáite ag maisiú na gcacáí. D’fhán mé ar feadh tréimhse ina dhiaidh mo bhéile a chríochniú, ag faire amach timpeall orm, agus thug mé le fios gur rogha coitianta a bhí sna huibheacha agus sna glasraí rósta ar arán donn.
Ba shilín ar an gcíste é (ní léirmheas ‘Cake Café’ a bheadh ann gan an frása sin a úsáid!) go bhfuil fíon, prosecco, agus rogha deas beoir agus manglaim (cocktails) á ndíol acu comh maith, agus cinneadh eile á dhéanamh agam liom fhéin teacht ar ais oíche eicínt le deoch agus píosa cáca roimh dul amach ar shráid Camden.
Ag filleadh ar ais an lá dar gcion le cupán caifé a fháil agus píosa cáca (go hálainn, ní bhéinn ag súil le níos lú!), scaoileadh sceamh beag ‘fangirly’ ó mo bhéal nuair a chonaic mé Bressie ag suí ar thaobh eile an chaifé. Sea. Bressie. Beagnach cinnte gur thuig sé mé ag stánadh air, freisin. Taitníonn cáca le Bressie. Mar sin, taitníonn cáca liom. Nach hea sin a dheireann siad??
Mura dtugann sé seo cúis duit cuairt a thabhairt ar an ‘Cake Café’ go luath, níl a fhios agam céard eile ar féidir liom a rá.
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Íum!

Nascanna úsáideacha:

 Dublin’s Fab Food Trails
@The Cake Café ar Twitter
The Cake Café ar Facebook
The Cake Café Online