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Irish pub food gets a bad rap. Always has. Pub grub, fried, frozen, bar food – and, I am here to tell you that the American food vernacular will never include, “I’m in the mood for Irish tonight”.
That said, what many Americans AND Irish-Americans may not realize though is that Ireland actually has a rich and long food history of making dishes that are prepared simply and with fresh, local ingredients. While the “grass fed beef” and “farm to table” movement explodes here in the USA, our friends back in Ireland find it all a bit perplexing. That response comes from their own culinary and agricultural traditions. Food has always been Farm to Table. Cows in Ireland don’t eat corn. They eat grass. Always have.
Dublin Has a Food Scene
A week ago we took all of our managers (the ladies and gents who run our pubs) to Dublin. It was a very special week marked with trips to iconic Dublin locales where we experienced the best food, drink and hospitality that the city had to offer. Trust me, we ate well. Very well.
(we recorded it in photos on our Instagram account if you’re curious)
During one special dinner, Chef and owner Kevin Arundel of The Chop House (best Pub 2012, 2014 & Dublin’s only Michelin recommended pub) talked us through his beef standards with a passion as extraordinary as his flavorful dishes. He spoke a lot about his philosophy of buying local, fresh veggies and meats with a focus on preparing simple but delicious dishes …and we found these food themes were consistent across the city. The whiskey was pretty good too.
Ireland is an island about the size of Indiana, so serving local, fresh food is an easier endeavor than what restaurants are faced with in the US in terms of ensuring quality, costs and consistency. Farm to Table just doesn’t work well when the farm is in Michigan and the table is in Florida. Regardless of the logistical challenges, a profound change is happening within our industry in the US around this new food philosophy in a sustainable way. We’re happy the industry is coming around to our way of thinking.
“I didn’t realize you guys had such good food”
At Tigín, we aren’t radicalizing our menu. We are ringing the dinner bell and offering a friendly, delicious alternative when you want to eat really well when you are out. We want you to think fresh, seasonal, local, house-made and zero trans fats oils. Our cod is wild caught. Our soups and Guinness and cheddar bread are made in-house, daily. Our corned beef is cut to our own specifications and our Irish sausage is our own recipe prepared by our own butcher. The lamb in our lamb sliders is actually braised and slow cooked for at least 4 hours before we even start thinking about prepping for dinner.
As for pub grub? Hell yeah! Our own Harp lager cheese covered chips and corned beef sandwich should be celebrated! We make a darn good burger too, incorporating grass-fed beef – a testament to our passion for preparing simple, fresh and really good food. That’s what “Irish” really means.
We think it’s time to reconsider your perception of Irish food. Luckily for you, we already have.
Go on and share your Irish food experiences with us online. We always appreciate the feedback!
Check out this great video showcasing the Ireland food scene today!
The transfer window has shut. What are you waiting for America?
There’s a moment in every sports fan’s life when you can pin-point when / why / how you picked “your team”. If you can’t, it means that you didn’t have a choice …because your Dad or your Dad’s Dad likely chose for you. Like my Washington Redskins, I had no choice. Whatsoever.
Finding a team to support in the EPL is a bit different though. The sport, as a part of our culture, has only just arrived. This means our Dad’s Dad hasn’t a clue about Tottenham Hotspur, Aguero or Hazard. But over the past few years Americans, clearly besotted with the EPL, are starting to choose their own Premiership teams to support. We see it in our Pubs every weekend. Thing is, American sports fans are choosing their EPL teams for reasons completely foreign to how they selected (i.e. were told to love) their beloved Cowboys, Browns or Blackhawks back when they were kids.
The way I see it, how you choose your team boils down to access and social circles. There have been a few notable moments leading up to America’s mass consumption and love of EPL (wrote it about it last season) but, simply put, we have NBC to thank. Americans have more access right now to live Premier AND Championship Leagues matches on the television than soccer fans in England do. And viewership is only growing.
Another factor in selecting your team depends on your crew and your local, which, if you’re lucky, is a soccer bar. Since brunch is the new black, a quality soccer bar offers the total package for sleepy, hungry footy fans who have to convince their friends that they should gather at an Irish pub as opposed to some hipster brunch-y place on a Saturday morning.
But still, how DO you pick your team? There are 20 teams in the EPL. Who are ya?
#1 Manchester United F.C. ~ Won the most Premier League title trophies ever. Probably the most recognized sports team on the planet. Definitely the team everyone loves to hate. They also just signed Bastian Schweinsteiger and he has a LOT of trophies too. Hopefully his newly hired physio will help him get fit. United are the Yankees of English football.
#2 Chelsea F.C. - Won the league last year -their 5th title. Sold Petr Čech (still a very good keeper). Starting squad includes Thibaut Courtois (a very, very good keeper) and Eden Hazard (Player of the Year, 2014). Like the 49ers? Chelsea might be your team.
#3 - Arsenal F.C. - Now own Čech and the defense is pretty tidy. Goal scoring may be a problem though. Now go read Fever Pitch and better understand the life of a Gooner and what might be in store for you this season.
#4 Everton F.C. - Step off the top tier reservation and go under-dog as a true American and then prepare to suffer like a legit EPL fan. Everton is a district located in Liverpool in Merseyside County and one half of one of the greatest rivalries in the EPL. If nothing else, Timmy Howard is on the squad. Google Toffee.
#5 Liverpool F.C. - Still chasing Man United for Premier League titles but the Reds have more hardware in their cabinet than any other EPL team. Unfortunately you might just be a decade behind the dream that eluded Stevie G, who has up and followed Beckham’s footsteps to the MLS and LA.
Still….. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
#6 Manchester City F.C. - Mo’ money, mo’ problems? N/A. City have arguably two of the best strikers in the world and a second string that could compete with a lot of EPL teams. Money is not a problem and neither are their chances of another league title. Got love for the Seattle Seahawks? Support Citeh and prepare to REALLY hate Man United.
#7 Tottenham Hotspur F.C. - Harry Kane, the wonder kid who couldn’t stop scoring last year, can’t seem to get started this year ….its early doors though. And hey -USMNT star DeAndre Yedlin is trying to break into their first team. Also, back in the mid-90s, USMNT coach Jürgen Klinsmann made his mark as a Hotspur too, so there’s that.
The apparent randomness that we find new soccer fans selecting their team is all over the place and we applaud it! The World Cup has certainly played its role. The English Premier League is home to more foreign players than homegrown (a contentious debate in England to be sure but that’s another topic altogether). The upside? Americans can zero in on world class players and follow their teams.
Supporters Clubs in the U.S. also play a massive role here. These clubs are organized socially and bring strangers together over their love for one thing – their team. I once heard a great line after a devastating loss, “watching the Boro play is always a great day out spoilt by 90 minutes of football”. It’s funny because it’s true. Misery loves company. If your team is losing, humor, a few pints and good company is the best distraction.
And there is nothing that compares to the banter, laughs and good times on game day. Time to pick your team America. You’re missing out.
Of course, if you still can’t decide you’ve always got a buzzfeed quiz to tip you over the fence.
All photos grabbed off our Instagram account from customers gracious enough to tag us on game day and during special events. Give us a follow @tiginirishpub and share your photos with us during the season!