Travel Review: Everything I ate in Ireland

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

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I was in Ireland in June, here is everything I ate. Seriously.

Day 1: Dublin
Irish breakfast
1 sausage, bacon, black and white pudding beans and an egg

Wuff was a fancyish restaurant, so the Irish breakfast was not the nitty and gritty oil fest I had imagined. The sausuage was very tasty and the beans had a strong rosemary flavor but was otherwise underwhelming.

Beshoff Bros Fish & Chips
Smoked haddock and chips

I love chowder, so this was the first of many. It was raining so we just went to a nearby franchisey place. The chowder was nice and thick and the smoked haddock had a really amazing flavor to it since it was smoked. The portions were rather large and I didn’t finish.

Day 2: Dublin/Galway
Irish breakfast

Yet another Irish breakfast, this one was a bit more basic and the restaurant had a nice cafe feel to it. Nothing special and it was mostly just too salty for my taste. The coffee was good though.


Loam is a Michellin star restaurant in Galway and served us some fancy ass shit. It was easily my favorite meal of the trip. The food at Loam is all local and some of it is foraged. The place is so precious it gave me a copy of the menu. Here is what we ate

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and here is what it looked like:

A post shared by Ricky Lam (@panicmanual) on

The squid soup was ridiculous, and I honestly had the best carrots of my life here. It was carrots of three types, roasted, dehydrated and one more. The sauce it came with was reduced carrot juice and buttermilk. It was awesome. I also had this flower pedal which was super tasty as well. Maybe I’ll go forage now.

Filet o fish & fries

Curry fries

Drunk Ricky had two meals at 3 am. Filet-o-fish, which is the best thing you can get at McDonalds and also Curry Fries from Supermacs, which is like Irish version of McDonalds. A great way to follow a 130 euro meal just a few hours later.

Day 3: Galway

Chicken pie with salad

You gotta have pies in this neck of the world. Mine was a classic chicken and leek pie that had the comfort I needed after a long night. Surprisingly, the highlight was actually the salad which had intensely flavored beetroots.

Sunday roast – lamb leg

The Sunday roast is a great tradition. The lamb was good but there was a severe lack of gravy for me to eat the potatoes with. The steamed veggies provided looked pretty sad and uninspired, which was a downer. Vegetables, as we would learn, are not a priority in this country.

Pizza – Spinach and stuff

I wasn’t even hungry but the pizza place smelt so good I had to get a slice and it was DELICIOUS. Thin crusted with lovely cheesiness to it, this pizza was as good as any slice I’ve had in a walk in restaurant.

Day 4: Galway/Aran Island


You do what you do

Crab dip
Seafood platter

It was a long day, going to Aran Islands so we were starved by the time we got back. I had the most amazing white fish chowder here, and then we followed it up with a feast of the sea. The seafood platter’s portions were quite small given what we paid but it was still good. The chowder was the star though. Creamy, meaty and flavorful.


So good we had to go back again to get it.

Day 5 Galway

This is just fuel for my body

Tea Room at Kylemore Abbey
Salmon quiche

Tourist spot, not too many options but this quiche had a lot of salmon which I like. Fun fact: They catch salmon in the lakes of Ireland. Who knew?

Morans cottage
Crab legs

One of the most famous restaurants in the west of Ireland, Moran’s had plenty of seafood. The oysters were okay, but I’ve had better. The chowder was fantastic – a lighter none creamy version that was more like an elevated seafood broth. The lightness was a good change as I was fearing that I was having too many chowders. The crab legs came recommended and were tasty, but I think that this place, while good, was maybe overrated.

Day 7 Limerick/Bruff

Story Cafe
Irish breakfast – 2 sausage, pudding, bacon

Limerick is not a glamorous town, and this was the perfect meal for the working man town. This was the cheapest Irish breakfast and was actually pretty good. I wish I had tried the 5 egg omelet, which seems very excessive.

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Fish n chips

In the town of Doolin, our tour stopped here for lunch. A very average fish and chip, I actually wish I had ordered the chowder.

Bake house (Bruff)

My friends wanted to stop in a random town, and we picked one called Bruff. It’s off the beaten path, they say. Anyway, I saw a lot of cows on the countryside so I figure they would have good local beef, but my steak was cooked a tad more then I wanted, which dampened my experience.

Day 8 Killarney/Cork
Spaghetti Bolognese

Killarney is a complete tourist trap and I really like spaghetti bolognese. Fun fact: I only started liking this two years ago in Africa, when our tour guide would make it for us for dinner once in awhile. It was super tasty and now I got the liking for the bolognese. This version was very average, unfortunately. It lacked umami, as they like to say.

Market Lane
French onion soup
Lamb Dish

I love soup, as evident by my ordering so far this trip. Market Lane is a very popular restaurant in Cork and it was nice to have a change. The French Onion soup hit the spot after a long day of hiking. I would have preferred more cheese, but honestly, that will always be the case because cheese is amazing.

Day 8 Cork

English Market
Irish lamb stew

English Market is like a smaller version of St. Lawrence market. There’s a restaurant in there that is rather popular, and I decided on the traditional Irish stew. Irish stews are actually a lot lighter then the stews you are used to, which is a good change. The lamb was tender and non-gamey, so score one for the big boys.

Son of a Bun
SOB Burger

We originally wanted to eat at a nice Irish place, but Irish restaurants close VERY early and we had to get the nearest thing that was open, which was a hipster burger spot. I did not enjoy my burger (you know I’m picky about that shit), but the fries were good. Probably the least favorite dinner the whole trip.

I had this at 3 am to soak up the alcohol. Probably wasn’t good.

Day 9 Cork/Dublin
Breakfast – Smoked Salmon

I had the hotel breakfast at Cork, and there was smoked salmon there, which was impressive, but it’s hotel breakfast so wasn’t overly special.

Dinner – Some Pub
Chicken and leek pie

After the super disappointing Guiness tour, we went to a pub and I had chowder once again, and then another pie. I did not come close to finishing the pie, but it was standard fare. The chowder was good but probably the last favorite chowder I had this trip.

Day 9 Dublin
Irish fry

Airport meals are never good unless you are in Chicago.

The Slow, Painful Death of NXNE

Posted on by Brent in Everything, North By Northeast | Leave a comment


Let’s face it, NXNE is dead. Or at least the brake lines have been cut and Lake Ontario is straight ahead. This year seemed to be more of the same as it was quite lonely throughout the club shows, especially Wednesday night at both The Garrison and down the street at the Baby G. A rough survey of the crowds saw about 25-30 of us scattered about at either venue. With more than ten listed as ‘media’ on each guestlist and likely a few of the artists’ friends in tow, that leaves the bartenders and a sound guy.

Dead like dinner.

Before their last song the lead singer of New Love (who’s a doppelganger for Phil Kessel by the way) said with all sincerity to the faint few: “Thank you to NXNE. I feel like we didn’t deserve it.” The sad thing is these guys from Hamilton seemed like good old boys decent enough to have their songs played on 102.1 or be on the Indie stage at a summer festival. Herein lies the problem with NXNE for the last two years – bands like these that are scheduled to play shows at club venues deserve better support and promotion from NXNE. Otherwise the festival needs to just focus on the big-name headliner weekend shows and make it a proper summer festival. Most of the Club Land shows, that were curated by other local artists like Brendan Canning, Shad, and Moe Berg to name a few, were poorly attended and took a distant second place to what was going on down at the inconveniently located Port Lands which, oddly enough, was also poorly attended.

Michael Hollett needs to figure out what the end goal for NXNE is. Does the festival exist to promote independent music at various venues throughout the city for a week while continuing to have three days of headlining acts at an outdoor stage or do one of those need to be re-jigged or scrapped altogether? Either way, Panic Manual has been writing reviews for this festival for ten years (seriously, here’s Ricky’s brief review from 2008) and it’s something we mostly look forward to every June. This is the first year that I’m doing shows by myself and feel little motivation to go out another night.

Sadly, the mismanagement and poor financial support has sunk this festival over the last two years and maybe it needs to take a year off and seriously reconsider what the end goal is.

Download Festival Review: Linkin Park, Gojira, Lizzies, Touche Amore, House Of Pain, June 22, Caja Magica, Madrid

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment

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Midway through their set at Madrid’s Download Festival, Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier told the crowd that we were all here to forget about the bullshit and be in the moment together. In saying this he essentially articulated what festivals can be at their best. Its about community, about coming together and enjoying yourselves in a weird little shared made up world that lasts for a weekend or so. And as weird little made up worlds go, the first day of the Madrid edition of the Download Festival had a few things going for it despite taking place in a city currently in a bit of a stifling heat wave.

Aside from Gojira’s high energy, passionate set of tech-metal, other highlights of the day included LA post-hardcore crew Touché Amoré and some ’90s nostalgia in the form of Irish hip hop dudes House of Pain, who brought out special guest Sick Jack to do his thing on several of their numbers and to add a bit of Spanish stage banter while also hyping up his new project Warporn, which may or may not involve someone from Cypress Hill, I’m not sure. I don’t speak Spanish. The best thing I saw all day though were locals Lizzies, who added a much needed touch of estrogen to the male-heavy lineup while also putting on an impressive performance of their ’80s-style heavy metal/rock n’ roll tunes, even making time for a revved up cover of “House Of The Rising Sun.” With a dynamic frontwoman and a visual aesthetic that brought to mind the Runaways and Girlschool, they put on an engaging performance.


Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington made some waves a little while back when he said that fans who were griping about the bands new sound needed to “move the fuck on” from their debut album Hybrid Theory. I’ve got to say I agree with him 100% – I moved on from the album almost immediately after it was released and in fact I’m fairly certain that I’ve never even heard the whole thing all the way through. No, I’m not a fan, though I’ve been known to join in whenever someone picks “In The End” at the karaoke bar, and for the record, I think new single “Heavy” is fine as those things go, but the band’s not really my cup of tea. That said, I happened to be in Madrid, the band happened to be headlining a night at the festival and since I was there anyways, I figured why not give them a shot? As it turns out, my tolerance for Linkin Park is pretty low as I lasted about one and a half songs before ultimately deciding that, nope, I have no desire to hear any more, nor did I have the stamina to stick around any longer to hear later sets from Dark Tranquillity (OK band, terrible spellers), Monster Magnet, and, for some reason, an AC/DC cover band, so I made it an early night and headed back to some much needed air conditioning.

Concert Review: Mary Timony, June 12, Horseshoe Tavern

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | 1 Comment


If there was a doubt left in anyone’s mind that Mary Timony is a bona fide badass rock n’ roll guitar hero, surely they were put to rest after seeing her performance at The Horseshoe on Monday night. After already impressing  with a full set of classic numbers from her days in the band Helium, Timony then invited Rebecca Cole, her former bandmate from Wild Flag, to come out and join her on lead vocal in an encore performance of Yes’ “Long Distance Runaround.” My nerdy, prog rock loving heart grew three sizes upon hearing Timony and her top notch band’s rendition of the old prog chestnut.

But while I’d probably pay good money to see a Mary Timony Plays Yes tour, that song was just the icing on the cake after seeing Timony revisit the songs that she last played with Helium some twenty-ish years ago – songs like “XXX,” “Pat’s Trick,” “Honeycomb,” and “Superball” to name a few. Though I was never a huge Helium fan back in the day, I always appreciated their stuff and followed Timony’s career through her solo work and her time with Wild Flag and Ex Hex. After seeing Mary Timony play Helium on Monday night, I would now definitely count myself as a big fan.

Here’s a video of Timony and band doing “Long Distance Runaround” with guest Joan Wasser at New York’s Mercury Lounge on June 9: