Sunday, July 29, 2018

Howth You Lived?

Howth Summit is a gorgeous peak on the East Coast of Ireland on the outskirts of Dublin.  Directly across the Irish Sea is my family home of Liverpool.  They say Liverpool is Ireland's second capital.  My mum's side of the family all came from Ireland.  My grandmother was born in Ireland.  Don't know why it took me so long to get here, but this island has just cast a spell on me.  I am enchanted with its people, its landscape and of course its food.

It's always a challenge when you have to form a plan for the day with three other distinct voices.  My daughter had a friend that visited Howth and according to my daughter it was a must visit.  I asked why?  She said it would be a great Instagram picture! Social media strikes again! I quickly did some research and found it to be a beautiful place with something to interest me as well, great seafood!

Finding the summit was no easy task. I think we circled the peninsula twice before we found a Pub named the Howth Summit Pub.  We figured it was nearby and soon found it.  There were miles of walking trails from the top of the summit to the base where with cold Irish sea lapped along the jagged rocks. 18 months ago I would have died trying to walk this, but with new lease on life, a new mechanical mitral valve, pacemaker and by the grace of God I was able to meander the hills, keeping up with the rest of the family.  The air was crisp, but the sun kept it from being uncomfortable.  It was a magnificent day.  We built up quite an appetite after the climb back up.  We scurried down the narrow roads, always remembering to stay left, back to the town center and the port.  Something had caught my eye on the way up to the Howth summit and I knew I had to take the family there.

Beschoff Bros. is a local legend in Dublin.  It has several locations now on the eastern seaboard of Ireland.  It's history goes back a hundred years when Ivan Beschoff, a maritime sailor for the Tsar of Russia after serving as a deckhand on the Battleship Potemkin emigrated to Ireland.  More here It's a great family story that keeps growing year by year as the next generation Beschoff's carry on Ivan's legacy.  They have their own fleet of fishing boats that catch their fresh fish for their stores right the port of Howth.  They had several types of white fish to choose from, haddock, cod, plaice, hake.  I chose the haddock, which is a bit oilier and probably the stronger flavored of the others.  My wife and kids stuck with mild moist cod.  Let me tell you something it was everything and more than what you could have hoped for, no let down.  It was crispy and light. The fish was sweet and tasted as fresh as the sea.  The chips were also great especially with some Malt vinegar, a condiment that is required for this Irish delight.  Because of today's stiffer health regulations, you can't serve fish and chips in newspaper, but nevertheless we enjoyed the experience with no silverware and ate at a quaint park bench overlooking the port.

Howth is a great spot and well worth a day trip if you visit Ireland.  We took the scenic way back to the K Club in Kildare and stopped at the Cliff at Lyons.  It was only a quick stop, but as was told by a local a must stop. It was a beautiful place in Kildare on the canal.  Small bungalows and cottages, beautiful manicured gardens and ponds with flowering lillies lined the property. Let me tell you it was stunning.  It was the private residence of Ryannair Founder, who turned it into a lovely boutique hotel.  I would like to stay a night there on our next trip to Ireland and recommend you do as well.

The fresh sea air and jet leg had wiped us out.  We retired back to the hotel and a nap.  We had decided we didn't want to go back out and wanted to just stay in, but didn't want to have a real fancy dinner again.  We decided to eat at the club house which is for members of the K Club gold course.  It was a nice casual restaurant with a great view of the golf course.  It was also perfect timing to watch the world cup as well!

Below is a picture of the small menu.

I really don't know what is more exciting eating a meal that you think will be excellent and is or eating a dish that you think will be okay and you find out is utterly fantastic and unexpected.  I think the latter for me.  Let me first off state, I am stealing this dish for my catering menu.  Pan Fried Hake with Grilled Leaks, Curried Raisins & Cauliflower with Noisette Butter.  Not only is it a real looker the flavor combinations that on the surface seemed unconvincing was mind blowing.  This was unexpected.  As you can tell from the menu, this was a menu designed not for the foodaphile, but for the everyday man.  But I think the boss allowed for the chef to show his true worth with one dish.  Thank God he did because it was one of my all time favorites!  Well done Chef!