Sligo Food Trail goodies!

The Sligo Food Trail was officially launched on April 6th. I was delighted to work with Amanda McCloat, Head of Home Economic at St. Angela’s College in Sligo, and the Food Trail members in putting together the fantastic Goodie Bags that were distributed to key people on the launch night.

The producers and businesses showed typical generosity when it came to donations. The bags were packed full of delicious treats (both food & drink!), vouchers, books and, of course, copies of the Food Trail brochure:

The White Hag Brewing Company Ltd.
Café Fleur
Sweet Beat Cafè
WB’s Coffee House and Deli Bar
Shells Café and Little Shop
Beltra Country Market – Marguerite Quinlan
Fabio’s Homemade Italian Ice Cream
Prannie Rhatigan’s Irish Seaweed Kitchen
Clo’s Chocolate
Murson Farm
Seashore Veg
The Organic Centre
Aisling’s Home Cooked Food also to be found at the Grass Roof Café!
Bramble Lodge Foods
Eala Bhán / Trá Bán
Lyons Cafè
Pudding Row
Harrisons Gastro Bar & Restaurant
Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa

Some of these I’ve reviewed previously here on oonagheats.com or on the oonagheats.com Facebook fan page (Eala Bhan, Sweet Beat, Shells, Lyons Cafe, Radisson Blu, Aisling’s Home Cooked Food at the Grass Roof Café) but over the coming months, I plan to check them all out, painstakingly, one by one (poor me, LOL !) and give you the low down – watch this space!

The Draft House Gastro Pub opens in Strandhill using local suppliers

Its lovely when an invitation pops up in your InBox with an invitation to the opening night of a new Gastro Pub! So it was back on May 15th last when owner Daniel McGarrigle (he of 5th on Teeling fame) invited friends and neighbours to sample the craft beer and food of this new venue, The Draft House in Strandhill, Co.Sligo.

 Draft House logo

We were treated to a wide range and many samples of the foods and beers on the menu. While some of the branding might be a bit twee (a pig on a surfboard, really?) and some menu descriptions a little silly (Sand Witches – I know its by the beach in Strandhill, but still… Granny’s brown bread – who is Granny? Why not just say local or house…? Chicken Supreme, for bird lovers – hardly! and the Water was labelled as “Unicorn Tears”, give me a break) the food was undoubtedly very good.

The one quibble I had was that when I asked the F&B Manager if the bread was made on the premises, she answered “Yes! It was made fresh yesterday”. Yesterday. That explained why it was a little dry then. However, I have recently learned that a local baker (My Strandhill Bakery) will be supplying the bread imminently, and I know that will be great since the baker has recently returned from bakery training in Paris and spent 3 weeks at the Bakery Academy of Ireland in Dublin over the Summer…and I’ve tried it.

My Strandhill Bakery logo

Its far better to buy local, fresh every day, rather than serve day old bread made on the premises.

On foot of a very enjoyable launch night, I returned with the children a week later. The place was very busy, which is a good sign. However, everywhere we sat seemed to be right underneath a speaker which was playing music just a bit too loud for a family at lunch time. So we left.

Not to be put off, we all returned again a week later. The food was great, but the service really needed attention. Very uneven. Asked for glasses that came wet. Then came dirty. Then came with attitude. The salad special said “mixed baby leaves” – it was all spinach. Perhaps things will improve with time and I will try it again in the future, but not in a hurry. Good food is always a draw, but poor service puts me right off, especially when other nearby places can do both well.

Good Luck to Daniel and Team – its great to see new place opening with a real emphasis on food and atmosphere. The menu is really interesting and the decor certainly different (albeit a bit dark downstairs for daytime). Just be sure to train your staff really well and ensure standards are set, monitored and maintained. Next time I’ll have a go on the swing upstairs!

Recent Roundup

So many restaurants, just not enough time to report them all fully I’m afraid. I hope these photos give you a taste (!) to bring you up to date. It has been a very busy year so far working with more great food producers, visiting new restaurants and cafés, judging baking competitions….such activity in the food community, brilliant!

Finals of the Co. Leitrim Aldi / Foiróige baking competition – the cake won, so light, flavoursome, a great bake as they say – no soggy bottoms!

Lunch in The Oarsman, Carrick On Shannon – Atlantic Hake with a side of the best mashed potato I’ve had anywhere for ages. Thanks Conor Maher for the suggestion!

Duck starter and Sea Bass main course in The Cottage, Jamestown, Co.Leitrim

Beer Battered cod & chips in The Clubhouse Bar, Dromahair, Co.Leitrim – on my doorstep!
The Clubhouse cod & chips

If you haven’t been to the Sweet Beat Café yet in Sligo -why not?! Its just fantastic – tell Carolanne I sent you 😉
Sweet Beat IT feature

Wonderful marshmallow from Donegal, made by Artisan food producer Linda McClean of Mallow Mia! Brilliant for gifts or wedding favours.

KC Peaches, Dame St., Dublin – toasted brown bread with mashed avocado (very tasty even though it wasn’t actually mashed!). Food good though service was a little slow considering the only other person there was only having coffee!

Baba Ganousch in Luna Restaurant, Dromahair, Co.Leitrim – the village is growing its fab food status with Bernadette O’Shea’s incredible food.
Luna Baba Ganoush

Great to see new places opening on O’Connell St., Sligo – Knox is the place to try if you’re in town. Love the style and decor, food good too!
Knox coffee

Dromahair monthly(ish) Culinary Challenge Club – Mexican night!

There’s more to come – and I promise to post a lot more regularly from now on. If you’ve been anywhere great or awful, let me know and I’ll check it out!
Bye for now,
Oonagh

So Sligo Food Festival 2014 coming together nicely!


sosligo

News just in is that this year So Sligo will incorporate and promote Yeats Day and the Rosses Point Sea Shanty Festival alongside So Sligo Food festival 2014 – definitely a weekend to encourage visitors!  Yeats Day is on  Friday June 13th and will feature a Nobel Dinner on 12th in the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Some of the confirmed events for So Sligo include:

The now annual competitions for Professional and Student Chefs in St Angela’s College on Tuesday May 13th; plans are afoot to bring the Amateur Competition to town on Sat 14th June;

The So Sligo Food Trail will take place in Sligo Town every day from Wednesday 11th to Sunday 15th.  The Food Trail will be a trail of €5 tapas sized house specialities available at various times between Wednesday 11th and Sunday 15th.

There will be a Food Bloggers day on Wednesday 11th – inviting influential bloggers (hope I’m invited!!) to get a feel for the weekend events. The Bloggers will also follow the Food Trail on Wednesday evening;

A Two Day Wild Food Experience will take place on Sat 14 and Sunday 15th – Joerg Muller will bring participants to green areas around Sligo town to find, identify and taste wild foods which grown on our doorstep and Prannie Rhatigan will lead a seashore outing to experience all that is available there.

On Sat 14th there will be a Great Family Cook Off in the CTC in Cleveragh followed by workshops for children all day (My daughter and I’ll be bidding to retain our crown!);

A food village is also proposed on Saturday and Sunday. If you have any queries or want to be part of any of the events, then get in touch – sosligo14@gmail.com.

www.sosligo.ie

 

past_festivals

 

Lyons Cafe in Sligo is surely one of the best!

I had my lunch in Lyons’ Cafe in Sligo today, for the third time this week! It’s the place if you like home-made goodies. Everything, including cakes, pastries, bread and Lyons’ famous scones are made in the kitchens – not a packet to be seen! Raspberry bakewell, black cherry cake, pear tart, chocolate brownies, mixed berry and mango crumble are just some of the temptations available to hungry shoppers at any time of the day.

But…my body is a temple and all that, so today I had salad – but its not just any old salad, and none of that rubbish about picking any three- you can have some of everything, and I did – roasted beetroot, chickpeas and lentils, grated celeriac, shredded carrot, broccoli with satay sauce, fresh leaves, all gorgeous! Today I had freshly poached salmon but on Thursday I had Japanese seared Tuna – and only €9.50!  I phoned home and told them to have a slice of toast, that I was OK for lunch, thanks! The word on the street is that there is a cookbook in the pipeline from the man at the helm, Gary Stafford, so keep that in mind!

Photos courtesy of http://www.garystafford.com