Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fado's Irish Breakfast - Happy St. Patty's Day!

Tom told me I was missing out, but it didn't look like it from where I was sitting. In a little restaurant just off the main drag of the Temple Bar district in Dublin, I watched his hangover woes disappear from across the table. He braced himself for the joyous meal and began prodding the tray of oddities laid out in front of him. Meanwhile, the old Irish man serving us brought me my meatless breakfast, little more than eggs and toast. Tom looked up momentarily and, with a mouth full of what appeared to be both black and white pudding, let out a cackle that pierced my whiskey smashed ears. I weakly lashed out by telling him that his breakfast looked like eight different kinds of animal shit laid out on a lunch tray. As always, he returned with a quip that left me stutter-laughing, and continued devouring the least appetizing pork dish I've ever seen.

If you remember from earlier posts, this is the same Tom that I was with in Rome, the one that fed me that first sinful bite. In the summer of 2007, we clobbered our way through five European cities, beginning and ending in Dublin. He influenced my pork eating with a two pronged attack; inflating my temptation, and ridiculing my falterings. Needless to say, it worked and Tom hasn't made any statements of encouragement since, at least in regards to my eating pork. That is, until two days ago when he reminded me of the upcoming Irish holiday and the breakfast that complements it.

I'm not sure where to go for Irish food. Edibles hardly seem to be the focus of most Irish establishments in the city. I decided on Fado downtown for its proximity to Brian's house. We both got the same thing; a full Irish breakfast; two eggs, two bangers, black and white pudding, ham, mushrooms, fried tomatoes, toast, and a triangular piece of drywall I was told was a potato pancake of some kind. And of course, no breakfast is complete without alcohol. We ordered pints of Guinness to wash it all down.

I went at the puddings first. Tom had mentioned that these were his favorite components, and I was curious to feel out something called 'pudding' that appeared completely solid. I started with the black, tinted enough by the pig's blood in it to make it a little intimidation. The texture, and even the flavor to some degree, reminded me of falafel: a crispy outer layer concealing a soft interior, each layer as grainy as the preparation allows them to be. The white was about same, only with a touch less of the hard textures in the black.

I moved on to the bangers. Brian said that these were cooked just how he liked them. They were nearly burnt to a crisp on the outside, the insides remaining positively gooey. Though it was salty and good, the consistency of the inside was a bit too reminiscent of the various types of meat-waste used to make it.

The ham was ham and didn't make an impression on me on its way down. Perhaps I've reached a point with iconic pork meats such as ham in which consumption doesn't phase me. I recognized that this particular part of the Irish breakfast was to me and would hold no surprises, making it easy to eat without much thought.

Though I was never enticed by the Irish breakfast, it's something that I can now cross off the list. It had to be done for this day, a day celebrating a Haram that so many Muslim's my age breach without hesitance. Interestingly, I won't be doing any drinking today. Lately, alcohol has been making me tired, and it's the middle of the week for Pete's sake! Other Haram's will continue as usual.

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