Reviewed by Christine and Aubrey
Aubrey, Mariann and I dined at Tallent a few weeks ago with our friend Stephanie. We were celebrating Mariann's awesome new internship and sending her off to Chicago. Restaurant Tallent, near the downtown square in Bloomington, is one of best places to eat in town. Part of the slow food movement, Tallent uses locally grown produce and locally raised meat whenever possible. Their seasonal menu is always full of creative and delicious combinations of ingredients. From that description you know it's going to be pretty pricey. The entrées range from $21 for the veggie, to $35 for local elk. Appetizers aren't cheap either, with only the soup under $10 (barely).
In April, Aubrey and I travelled to Ireland. In addition to seeing many wonderful sites like Blarney Castle and the Cliffs of Moher, we ate delicious food every day.
We stayed in B&Bs every day, which meant delicious home-cooked and traditional Irish Breakfasts. A traditional Irish breakfast includes black and white pudding (blood and liver sausage), Irish sausage, Irish bacon, fried eggs, and tomatoes. Pretty much everywhere we ate also provided a nice sideboard of fresh fruit, cereal, yogurts, and soda bread with jam.
Clare Inn : Our first breakfast was served at the Clare Inn. We incorrectly assumed it was buffet style, when in fact, it was actually a serving line. We were intimidated and only ended up trying sausage, fried eggs, bacon, and potatoes. There was also a cold buffet which included fruit, granola, and juices. The food was okay, but it definitely had a mass produced feel to it. (Aubrey: We had to get used to how different things tasted. Irish bacon is sort of like a cross between American Bacon and "Canadian Bacon". Also the eggs tasted funny, but maybe that was just cause they had been sitting around under a heat lamp.)
Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast : Our next stop was An Daingean, Dingle Town, where we stayed at a really nice B&B. There was a breakfast menu with several options. Aubrey chose the full Irish breakfast, while I selected smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. Salmon in Ireland is amazing. This was also our first sample of black and white pudding. While Aubrey could not get over the thought of congealed blood and liver, I was able to put it out of my mind and I thought it was delicious. (Aubrey: I ate half of each before passing them off to Christine. I thought they both tasted pretty good, I just couldn't make my brain NOT think about the ingredients. I think this was probably the nicest breakfast we had. It's also where I became addicted to Irish bread and butter, SO good).
Seagull house : The Seagull house is a quaint bed and breakfast in the middle of Kinsale. The owner, Mary, cooked us a nice, though standard, Irish breakfast. The meal felt the most home-cooked and personal. (Aubrey: No pics, I forgot!)
Fern Hill : Our host in Tramore, Mary, was most accommodating and served us a full Irish breakfast, which we enjoyed on the sun patio. Delicious and filling. Also included were an assortment of goat cheeses. (Aubrey: IMO not quite as good as some of the other breakfasts, yummy bread though.)
Cornerville : We stayed two nights at the Cornerville in Sutton, just outside of Dublin. Our host, Andy, was very hospitable, and even offered to cook us breakfast at 7 am the last day so that we could catch our flight back home. His breakfasts were delicious and included all the traditional options. Surprisingly, this was the only breakfast (besides the buffet style of the Clare Inn) that included potatoes. They were served in the form of a tasty hashbrown, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Andy also treated us to baked beans, which were to be eaten on top of toast. Simple, but surprisingly delicious. (Aubrey: these weren't the most photogenic breakfasts but they were probably the most satisfying. Especially after a night out at Temple Bar...)
Aubrey: Since we've been back I've definitely missed having a full breakfast every morning. I've tried to cook my own fried eggs, but so far haven't been particularly successful. Sure they're edible, but they don't even compare to what we were served in Ireland. Sigh.