T and B Do Belfast: The Food

So the food we ate on this trip wasn’t as exciting as say, Italy – and we didn’t eat a whole lot, all things considered … – but I did want to mention some of the stuff we did.

Wednesday, November 21:
Breakfast: egg and oj at the house, coffee and a pastry from either Caribou (B) or Lavazza (me).
Lunch: I’m pretty sure this was at Le Grand Comptoir in JFK Terminal 4. B had … a turkey and brie sandwich, I think? … and I had a lobster roll. Because of course.

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Not the best, not the worst.

Snack: random stuff at the Sky Club.
Dinner: Something on the airplane. I think it was chicken with risotto and green beans, but don’t quote me on that.

Thursday, November 22:
Breakfast: like two bites of my Noosa yoghurt that was in the breakfast snack box thingy we were given.
Lunch: yeah, kind of skipped this.
Dinner: food at the Belfast Christmas market.

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Nothing will ever be as good as Italy, but we try.

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Dutch pancakes with butter and cinnamon. Was meaning to go back and try other flavors, but it never happened.

Friday, November 23:
Breakfast: delicious hotel noms (eggs, bacon, croissants, oatmeal) at the Hilton Belfast and then cappuccinos at Caffe Nero.

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Also not as good as Italy, but fooooooam!

Lunch: Simply Fish and Chips (located in the same building as St. George’s Market).

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Fish was good. Chips … not as much.

Snack: random bites at the BU alumni pregame reception – cocktail weenies, (crappy) nachos, cheese, muffins.
Snack #2: loaded fries at the hotel bar just for calories.

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They did the job.

Saturday, November 24:
Breakfast: more hotel noms followed by crappy European Starbucks.
Lunch: random sandwiches from a cafe in the bottom of a bookstore.
Snack: same random bites at the BU alumni pregame reception.
Dinner: pizza and caprese salad from Pizza Punks Belfast.

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The large whiter blobs are too much mozzarella. Good otherwise though.

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Touch too much basil. Otherwise delicious.

Sunday, November 25:
Breakfast: same delicious bites at the hotel.
Snack: coffee (for B) and donuts/Timbits at Tim Horton’s.

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Because I have to keep up my streak of buying doughnuts while we’re overseas together.

Lunch: I actually don’t think was a thing.
Dinner: burgers and fries at the bar at the Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport.

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I had to dismantle this in order to eat it by taking off a patty. And, once again with the crappy fries.

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Plus we got some (mediocre) apple thing for dessert.

Monday, November 26:
Breakfast: eggs, bacon, and croissants at the Holiday Inn Express Dublin Airport.
Lunch: more breakfast foods from some stand in the Dublin airport once we realized we were stuck for another day.
Dinner: at Little Venice, an Italian place down the street from the hotel.

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Cheesy garlic bread for an appetizer.

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Tagliatelle Pollo Funghi which I had. Good except the chicken was a bit dry.

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B’s Ravioli Beef.

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B’s dessert – Chocolate Fudge Brownie.

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If there are Profiteroles on a menu, I will order them. These were definitely not the best I’ve had, however.

Tuesday, November 27:
Breakfast: same as the previous day at our hotel.
Snack: cappuccinos from Butler’s Chocolate Cafe in the Dublin airport.
Lunch and subsequent snacks: Pod life.

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“Lemongrass Ginger Prawns with fennel salad, roasted cashews, pomegranate seeds and wasabi mayonnaise” and “Little Gem Caesar Salad with shaved parmesan cheese, pretzel croutons and caesar dressing.” Neither were good; nor were they bad.

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“Grilled Beef Tenderloins topped with fresh herbs and demi-glace served with haricots verts and roasted cauliflower.” Beef? was fine. Green beans were better in the back of the plane on the way over and I choked down the cauliflower. Highly disappointing, tbh.

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Mmm, sundae. Not enough chocolate sauce though.

I grabbed a bag of chips out of the snack basket when it came around and we were also given chocolate chip cookies at one point.

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“Cuban Pork Sandwich pork loin, smoked ham, swiss cheese and dill pickles served on a baguette and offered with mixed green salad.” The sandwich was REALLY good … but unfortunately my salad was frozen so I couldn’t really eat it. Boo.

Beyond: very few snacks at the Sky Club because we were so stuffed from the flight over. I did buy a can of Pringles (as well as ate some peanuts) on our flight back to DEN … and I think we just grabbed Chick-fil-a on the way home, but I also don’t quite remember.

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Root Down DIA

Back in July for my birthday, Brandon surprised me with a quick jaunt to Vegas. I was totally cool with this … if we got to the airport early enough so we could head over to Concourse C and get breakfast at Root Down.

If you recall, we tried their main Denver location back in March (blogged about it in April). So, since I had heard decent things about their breakfast, we decided to take the time and do it.

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Entrance.

As it should be, the decor/design of the DIA location is very similar to the Denver location in that it’s all been repurposed from something else – most of it with an airport vibe.

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Globes hanging from the ceiling. Totally cool.

A menu doesn’t really exist online for the DIA location, but I took pictures of our food anyway.

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Brandon’s meal. Simple scrambled eggs, bacon, croissant and roasted potatoes. Including purple potatoes – so awesome.

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My meal. This was very similar to the breakfast sandwich off their brunch menu, which is:
Fried Egg Sandwich: Croissant, Romesco sauce, Grilled scallions, Iberico Cheese, Avocado and Tomato

Mine didn’t have the scallions and it came with bacon. I also asked for none of the sauce, because according to the waiter’s description, it was spicy, and I don’t do spicy. It was absolutely delicious and TOTALLY better than Brandon’s breakfast. I highly recommend this sandwich.

DIA has breakfast options. There’s Pour La France!, Einstein’s, McDonald’s, Jimmy’s, Caribou, Timberline Grill … and most of them aren’t terrible. But if you’re going to choose to sit down at a place anyway, get to the airport a bit early and head to Root Down. It’s about the same, price-wise, as Timberline Grill or any of the other sit down places, but you know you’ll be getting high quality food that’s insanely delicious.

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Restaurant logo on the water jug.

Root Down Denver

A few weeks back, Brandon and I met our friends Nic and Leanne for dinner at Root Down, a restaurant in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver. The restaurant, located at 33rd and Osage, resides in a former garage.

Root Down has become known in the Denver dining scene for their cuisine which, according to their own words, follows a “field to fork” mentality, trying to stay as organic, natural and local as possible. The menu itself has a list of all of the local farms/distributors on it. As a result, the menu also changes seasonally, so very few things are constant on the menu. We figured this out while reading Yelp reviews of the place waiting for our friends to show – people were recommending dishes that weren’t on the menu currently.

We’re pretty basic when it comes to food – we don’t experiment too crazily and a lot of “exotic” foods make us a bit nervous, but we decided to take the plunge and finally accept Nic’s invite to Root Down (she’d been insisting we go for months) … and were glad we did.

Since we were early for dinner, we sat and waited … and I commented to Brandon that the chairs we were sitting in seemed familiar. I mentioned the possibility that they came from the old Stapleton Airport – Brandon thinks that’s exactly where they came from. Just like Root Down tries to go local with their food, they did the same with their building materials – the floor was an old gym floor, repurposed. It makes for a funky, eclectic, slightly hipster, but very cool, vibe.

Nic and Leanne came and we had some wine (well, the girls; Brandon had to work that night). I don’t remember the red I had – I’m still very much a wine newbie – but it was actually fairly tolerable. Nursed one glass all night, but eh.

We shared two appetizers:

Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad
Tender Belly bacon, quicos, pecorino, compressed apple, fried sweet potatoes, and roasted garlic vin; and

Edamame Hummus
Sesame seeds, medjool dates, olives, radish, chili oil and flatbread (we got gluten-free flatbread for Nic’s celiac)

The Brussels sprouts and kale salad was a lot going on at once, but it all worked at the same time (how, I don’t know). I had quite a bit of it. The hummus was definitely different from other types of hummus I’ve had, but at the same time, it was quite tasty. I had it with cucumber, the surprisingly tasty gluten-free flatbread and watermelon radishes, which I regret not getting a photo of because they are cool looking.

For the meal, Brandon and Nic ended up getting the same thing and Leanne and I did as well. Nic and Brandon had the following:

Colorado Lamb Sliders
Ground lamb, aged white cheddar, harissa aioli, arugula, sweet potato fries and mint-garlic (and curry-lime) yogurt

Nic had hers with gluten-free buns, of course. Speaking of which, the menu is clearly labeled in regard to vegan and/or gluten-free items and has specific cooking areas on their grills as to accommodate as many people as possible. To quote their Web site – “At Root Down we pride ourselves on striving to solve the ‘Omnivore’s Dilemma’. We have created a dining spot where all dietary needs will be accommodated, including vegetarian, vegan, raw and gluten free; also allergies or intolerances are always handled professionally by the kitchen team. Our menu has icons reflecting this philosophy, though we always request you notify your server of specific needs.”

I tried the sliders; something on them – probably the aioli – was way too spicy for my tastes, but I probably ate more of Brandon’s sweet potato fries than he did. Oops.

In reading the reviews, a lot of people said to try the seasonal gnocchi, so that’s exactly what I (and Leanne) did:

Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi
Roasted Hazel Dell mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, red kuri squash, poached egg, piquillo-almond pesto and bacon vin

It. was. fantastic. I inhaled it. It was a decent-sized portion and I devoured it. Definitely try the seasonal gnocchi if you go.

While we were all fairly full, we still decided we needed dessert … so we split one:

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Chocolate Truffle
Coconut chia sorbet, carrot-honey coulis, port wine raisins and candied almonds

While it looks fantastic, this was actually my least favorite part of the meal. I’m glad we split this between the four of us because I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to eat this all by myself.

Dinner was a bit pricey for the four of us, but it was well worth the good food, good friends and good conversation.

If you’re in Denver – or even the airport! Root Down has an outpost on Concourse C at Denver International Airport – and are looking for locally-sourced cuisine and/or have special dietary needs, give Root Down a try. We’re glad we did.