Making A Meal Of It
Two nights out in the space of one week. As jam packed a social life as I’ve had in a long time. But I dined out last Friday and am already planning what I’ll order when I’m taken out for dinner this evening.
Eating out is one of life’s great pleasures. A wide range of fine dishes to choose from, starter, main course and dessert aren’t greedy but good manners and, most enjoyable of all, someone else does the cooking and the washing up. So imagine my delight at being served up good food twice in the space of just a few days.
But my two culinary jaunts couldn’t be more different. The first involved putting on a very warm jumper, travelling a mile down the road to the local village and ordering fish and chips from The Hot Stop, a new take-away van that turned up just a couple of weeks ago.
The second night out, to Campagne (one of my favourite restaurants), will involve make-up, a clean and presentable outfit and, almost certainly, some very fine food. The other major difference between night one and night two is that I paid for the first, someone else is treating me tonight.
We’re lucky here in Kilkenny. We’ve labelled ourselves a foodie destination and there’s certainly no shortage of restaurants both in the city and beyond. Some of them are very, very good. Unfortunately, many of them also happen to be very, very expensive. Eating out, while enjoyable, is definitely an occasional experience. Mainly because you occasionally spend more than you would on the week’s shopping.
Unless, of course, you’ve discovered the joys of the early bird. In this instance the worm you catch when you’re out good and early is a fantastic three course meal for less than €30. The only catch being you have to wolf it all down before 8 o’clock. Not a problem here: It’s amazing the speed at which I can eat when I know there’s a risk my main course will double in price.
But becoming a foodie destination is about more than just the food. We have to consider the fun bit too. It’s well and good sitting down to some fantastic fare, but if you’re not actually enjoying yourself at the same time, then it’s all a bit of a waste. That’s why tonight’s meal has a lot to live up to. I don’t doubt that I’ll be enjoying one of the nicest meals Kilkenny has to offer. I just hope I have as much fun as I did last Friday.
Sitting outside the local pub in Johnswell on a warm Spring evening. Sipping a cold beer while dipping my deep fried cod into a little tub of mayonnaise. And watching a small group of children run around the green like wild things; all fired up on cidona and vinegary chips. For dessert, a couple of Wispas from the sweet counter.
It was the most enjoyable meal I’ve had in ages, despite the fact that a cheeky collie stole stole my daughter’s sausages. It was about simple, old fashioned pleasures: Treating yourself to an evening out with friends, having a good laugh and feeding your family without breaking the bank. Our own little food trail took us just one mile down the road but it was worth it. And we weren’t the only ones who thought so. The van is doing a roaring trade, so much so that it sold out of chips on its very first night.
The arrival of this new food outlet has turned our tiny village into Kilkenny’s latest dining destination. We even managed to coax some people out from town.
Needless to say we won’t be going every weekend, I’m not sure my cholesterol levels could survive it. But occasionaly, when I feel like letting someone else do the cooking so that I can sit back and enjoy myself with friends, I know where I’ll be going.