Brunch @ Brother Hubbard

My plans for today fell apart at around 3.30 this morning and in the end, I wound up in the Capel Street area having discovered that Evans Art Supplies sell Copic markers while actually spending money on other stuff. This is a good, if potentially extremely expensive discovery for the future.

Anyway, this trip took me past Brother Hubbard and having heard great things about it, I decided to see if brunch could be procured. People who are awake making decisions at 3.30 in the morning usually welcome other people doing the cooking. I am aware they are popular so I was surprised when they said yes, but in their premises next door which I think is known as Brother Hubbard’s Little Brother.

Foodwise, I wanted something more substantial than granola so I went for one of their cooked breakfasts – they have a lot of great looking options and menu wise, it’s probably the best brunch menu I have seen in Dublin – and made the choice with some difficulty. Eventually, I went for Breakfast of Champignons, I think it was called, which was basically 2 poached eggs, three large field mushrooms on sourdough bread with I think, onion marmalade. Along with that, I ordered Irish breakfast tea and some orange juice.

The orange juice was freshly squeezed (hardly surprising given the reputation of the establishment) and probably the nicest freshly squeezed orange juice I have had. I don’t know who their orange supplier is, but they chose well on the orange front. Not a hint of bitterness that ever was.

The main event, the breakfast for champions, as the waiter said he took it, was excellent. Everything was cooked to perfection – I might have given the poached eggs a moment longer but that’s the subject of the wider debate on boiled eggs – runny or hard – either way, beautiful. And the bread was gorgeous.

They provide pepper in a beautiful grinder which doesn’t look unlike a mini Turkish coffee grinder, and the salt is in flake format. I liked that, in particular the grinder.

The tea was meh. I’m not sure what tea provider they use and arguably I could have drunk it a bit sooner, but I’d argue it was one of the weaker elements of the universe. It absolutely wouldn’t put me off going there again – the food was excellent – but I wouldn’t necessarily have tea the next time. Would, perhaps, experiment with their hot chocolate.

The one thing that would put me off going back is I didn’t find the table/chair/seating arrangement very comfortable in the little Brother premises. To be blunt, it felt very squished in – I was seated beside the glass wall between the tables and falling down the chairs and this left my arm shoved into my body with nowhere to go. The tables were small and put me in mind of school desks, and if I’m honest, they were probably smaller than that again. It is not a place you would feel tempted to linger, which, I suppose makes good business sense if you’re aiming for fast food level volumes. I don’t think they are. So, if I were going back there, I would prefer to try the main premises before making a final call on it.

On the other hand, their wait staff were unfailingly polite and friendly – I somehow managed to deal with at least four of them during the course of my business there – and the service was unobtrusive and relatively quick. I bought one chocolate pastry as I was leaving just to taste as I hadn’t ordered any with my breakfast. It was gorgeous.

I’d strongly recommend the place for the food. As somewhere to relax, where I ate today really isn’t an option.

Assumption

Ireland is a country of assumptions and judgements, sometimes it seems, and one of the most irritating assumptions I know is the assumption that everyone drinks.

It’s not that I don’t drink alcohol, it’s that I so rarely drink it that the unit count is rarely more than 2 units a year. But it seems that the only reason people in this country would not drink is because they are compelled not to. So I get a metric tonne of sympathy for not drinking because I’m driving.

Questions I don’t like: “Would you not just have the one?” It hasn’t gone away. Or looks of disappointment on my behalf from waitresses because I’m driving. In truth, I’m driving, but I’m also lying. I don’t need that sympathy. I wouldn’t be drinking anyway.

Most people, when you say “well I’m driving” assume that if you had a choice, you wouldn’t be driving, and then you’d have a drink. I’d love to get a taxi some evening and not drink and say “I’m not drinking”. I’ve tried that before and the answer is generally “But sure you’re not driving”.

The assumption seems to always been that people would want to be drinking and it’s only the demon car keeps them from having that 10 euro cocktail, pint or whatever. It’s rarely accepted straight off that someone might not want to drink alcohol.

People choose not to drink for various reasons. It would be nice if no one made any comments about it and just accepted other people’s choices. I just don’t want a drink shouldn’t be a defensive response.

But in Ireland, the assumption, the default position is that sure everyone wants a drink.

Looking for….Finnish media stuff

Hi.

I’m back learning Finnish (again) and this timeĀ I’m making more headway. The tools available now are much better than they were last time out.

I’ve got a bunch of online resources here, but I’m looking for the following items:

  1. interesting podcasts
  2. interesting twitter feeds
  3. interesting FaceBook feeds.
  4. Finnish media in general.

I have some of the obvious stuff like YLE, the news in Easy Finnish from YLE, Helsingin Sanomat and a few things like that. I don’t mind that it will be way over my head for the time being – I want to look and get a feel for what I’m learning. I know from past experience that being able to see things I know in the context of stuff I don’t know helps a lot in learning. I’ve had some breakthroughs with YLE’s easy Finnish stuff since I went on a vocabulary bender. (seriously, if you see me with my face stuck in my phone, I’ll be drilling Finnish vocab rather than playing Candy Crush). But drilling the vocab in isolation isn’t going to help unless I am also seeing it in context.

I like the morning news program on Puhu Radio YLE or whatever it’s actual name is, but because Finland is 2 hours ahead of Ireland, I actually get that at 6am. I need some pleasant bus listening. I have TuneIn.com to get the radio stuff.

Comments can be left here or on the Facebook page that you may have gotten to this. I’d really appreciate some recommendations.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Boxed Lives

I have an ongoing struggle to organise stuff in my life. I own a lot of stuff. I own a lot of CDs, a lot of notebooks, a lot of books. And I’m limited in how I can organise things to keep them under control. In my wardrobe, there’s a box of yarn, and a box of tapestries. Yesterday, I emptied some boxes of stuff.

Over breakfast, I was thinking about this. All this stuff I have, arguably, some of it isn’t necessary. But some of it, I don’t quite want to let go and, if I am honest, deep down, I don’t like having it in boxes. For example, I have 10 years worth of personal journals. Now people have different views of diaries/journals/whatever term you’d like to apply. In past lives – of which I’ve had a few at this stage of my existence – they weren’t kept in boxes. They were kept on shelves. They were a living testament to me, the things I did, the things that made me happy; the things that made me sad. This is not a eulogy of my life, more a feeling that when I box up my memories, I box up me.

One of the dangers with putting things in boxes is that they slowly become irrelevant to your day to day living. One of the boxes I emptied yesterday was a box of tins.

Pretty tins. Some of them came with tea inside, some of them were picked up on travels. Two of them I know I bought in Belgium which means I definitely had them at least 16 years, and possibly closer to 18. I won’t say I wasn’t slightly sentimentally attached to them. But…they had been in a box for at least a year; I have no where to store them and, more importantly, I wasn’t using them. I had two boxes of tins. I now have less than one box of tins. I won’t be adding to the collection beyond the tins which are in circulation in my kitchen until I can actually use the tins.

Boxes are handy for storage. We go to IKEA, we buy boxes and temporarily put stuff away. Sometimes, temporarily…becomes long…

I want to limit the existence of boxes in my life. I don’t know how to fix it all immediately, but I’m not really in a hurry to box up all my books and CDs, my bottles of ink for some indiscriminate time in the future when it will all be grand. The things we keep in boxes slowly migrate from our lives and when that happens, we’ve already lost them.