There is nothing like a building filled with food, catering and restaurant inspiration to make waking up early a joy. Tuesday, I joined Kate on a day trip up to Dublin for Catex 2013 so such a treat awaited us!
The day started early so we could take the train up and I needed to start extra early since LB was joining us. I wore my favorite new striped knit dress and cosy fleece-lined tights and trusty old Rockport boots for optimum comfort with a healthy dash of style.
The train trip was uneventful. We caffeinated ourselves and entertained LB. There is something so beautiful about watching the morning break on a train journey, especially the frosty greens and blues of an Irish winter’s landscape.
There was SO much to see at Catex and we only visited a fraction of the exhibitor booths, but one of the first we saw on our way to the Euro-Toques section was the Irish Barista Championships. Since I’m married to a Seattle guy, I notice that kind of thing.
Of course, many booths offered free samples. LB managed to try out many different foods which kept any moodiness at bay. My favorite taste test of food was at the Keogh’s booth where they had Shamrock & Sour Cream Crisps! AMAZING!
We also enjoyed samples of omelet, toasties, Crust and Crumb pizza, and when LB dropped his pizza while staring at the Bewley’s booth, the lovely folks there replaced it with a Bewley’s caramel waffle biscuit. Here is a photo of us together with the big waffle cookie.
Here’s Sinead minding the taps.
Of course, the beer itself was lovely! Don’t mind the price, that’s a wholesale unit cost.
The beer was served in plastic cups for ease but this is what it looks like when it’s served up in restaurants and bars.
And Sinead again.
Also in the Pallas palace was just about any other food you could imagine. It was like a food hall in some gourmet department store in London, except it was exhibiting the options for catering and restaurant companies in Ireland. Oh yes, all this could be yours.
Seriously, the place had everything, including heart-shaped ravioli.
Here’s a photo of Kate talking with her Pallas rep, Gavin. I think they are waxing eloquent about cuts of meat.
LB’s favorite booth was by far the Keelings fruit and vegetable stand. It was filled artistically with every earthen bounty. He was determined to grab a lychee but we eventually compromised with a grape.
The pineapples were impressive.
The tomatoes were a rainbow.
The main event of our day was lunch with Pat O’Leary of Wok N Roll in the pop-up Fallon & Byrne restaurant. Peter Crowley stopped by too and Adrian Cummins visited with us as well. And we enjoyed talking with Brian Fallon. I tried to not be starstruck.
The entire time, LB was a proper gentleman.
He shared my three courses while enjoying his own bottle and snacks and mash as well. The first course was goats cheese tortellini with artichokes, grape or cherry tomatoes, delicate greens and beets. It was the taste of summer itself!
I enjoyed plaice in a parcel with veg for my main.
The dessert was a chocolate tart slice with a lace biscuit. The highlight of that was definitely the candied orange slivers.
Then the day was winding down and we needed to take three trains to get back to Cork so we made our way through the booths and the Big Smoke. Many ideas returned with though!