Posts Tagged With: Restaurants

Moany Mon On A Monday

My Saturday – Sunday – Monday…

dinner

To…

us

To…

drunk

To…

bed

To…

monday

Finish…

scone

Moral of this story? Never say “I’m actually not drinking much tonight” to an Irish friend.

http://www.labodega.ie/

https://twitter.com/TaphouseDublin

Categories: Humour, Loves, Life & Thoughts, Restaurants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Prague-tically There

A different blog this time.

Less about food. Something about travel.

I was in Prague for work last week. When I say I was “in Prague”, I mean I saw the outdoors from indoors within various restaurants, my hotel bedroom, conference rooms, a hotel lobby and random company coach rides that transported our 500+ army of selected European employees. We RULED the indoors of multiple Czech establishments.

We were the business cockroaches of the city. And the window was our friend.

I hate staying in a country and barely seeing it. You can never really say you were actually there. Even though you were there. But you weren’t. But you were. But you weren’t… Yes, this can go on for a while.

I did manage to get some time to myself though and venture out of our massive, towering hotel for an hour. I’m pretty sure I was approached by a spy as I was sitting on a bench by the river and actively throwing loaves of bread at ducks.

Spy Dude: “It is nice weather we are having, no? But not as nice as Is-ra-ale”.*

*Deliberate misspelling of Israel to sound like a Russian accent. It’s hard to type accents.

Me: <blink>

Spy Dude: <stares>

Me: <blink>

Awkward silence ensues…

Spy Dude: <stares>

Me: <blink>

Spy Dude: <stares>

Me: <blink>

He walks away. I sigh a relief.

I then ponder, “Was that tall, raincoat clad, briefcase wielding dude a spy? Hang on… Wait… Am I A SPY”??? I wonder if I am an agent of the shield and perhaps I blinked the wrong way which portrayed my amateur status and I have to be reprogrammed or destroyed.

I then realise I’ve allowed my thoughts to wonder into the random again… Back to the Hilton Prague.

Ugh. A “Hilton”. I wonder how many more dresses, cars, houses and private jets our company just contributed to the Paris Hilton brand. I shudder to think.

Despite barely seeing Prague, what I did see through the windows from indoors, I enjoyed and it was fun work-wise. I travel a good bit for work but this was intense. The 4 days were a marathon of rushing from meetings to more meetings to quick hotel room changes to bars to coaches to restaurants to more bars to more meetings and so on. I barely remember sleeping. Did I sleep? I remember a room, a bed, a floor… but did I sleep?

Ah sleep is for the weak!

Despite being part of the drab* Hilton brand, the hotel was nice.

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*(Views and opinions of hotel brands, Heinz versus Hellman’s, twerking, Madonna’s British accent, why Canadian’s say ‘aboot’ etc, are of my own and do not reflect the opinion of my company, my butcher, the barista who served me my soy milk cappuccino in Starbucks this morning, my hairdresser or the ducks I threw bread loaves at). 

At the top of our hotel was the sky bar, otherwise known as the “Cloud 9 Bar”. It was a fun maze to get to between catching an elevator to a random floor, following the hidden, ambient advertising signs that lead to a service corridor suspiciously resembling the one from a scene in “American Psycho”, then catching an additional lift that brings you to another floor. The elevator doors suddenly part and present a long corridor whose decor resembles the love child of Studio 54 and Hugh Hefner’s bedroom.

It made me want to crimp my hair and don a bikini.

But it did give us a great view over Prague.

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More indoor to outdoor viewing. More windows.

 At the end of this corridor, we reached the Cloud 9 Bar… “(or the Bar of Opposite Personalities)”.

This was the place where the flamboyant cocktails loosened the work ties and suddenly our very formal, corporate and powerful business colleagues were transformed into loud, vivacious, shot drinking hillbillies where business talk was supported by various slurs and “WE ROCK” high fives.

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Thankfully, no one decided to strap their tie to their head, á la Rambo style. But it was close.

Talk about upstairs/downstairs.

On our final night we had the Gala Ball in a conference centre somewhere in Prague.  I took in whatever view I could from our coach ride to the venue. This exercise was futile.

This time, the window was not my friend.

The centre was excessive and hired out for our company which basically gave us more room to carry out the usual nonsense, frivolity and networking. Except this time, woman wore cocktail dresses and the men wore… well exactly the same; suits. The food was formal (trout, veal and a selection of desserts), the waiters were EXCEPTIONALLY friendly and the wine tasted like a hangover in a glass.

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On the large main stage, the Czech performances (which were designed to inject us with some local culture) went largely unnoticed… The necessary “What do you do for our company in your country?”, type questions and sizing-up chatter was abundant… But with alcohol, it’s called “Business banter, darling”!

Meal over, Czech performances generally unappreciated, a few of us ventured upstairs where we plonked into massive bean bags that overlooked the river and bridge. We drank champagne and drunkenly expressed our happiness to see Prague while we soaked in the views… More indoor to outdoor viewing. The window was my friend again.

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 It was pretty darn nice though and I was in Prague.

Well, not really, Kind of. Sort of. Well, I was practically there.

 

That dude was so a spy.

 

 

OBLIGATORY SHOUT OUT MOMENT: Photos taken by a colleague named Matt. He’s also a DJ “SLASH” Producer, the London based kind. He can be found on Instagram as MattRich91. Stalk him there.

Categories: Loves, Life & Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deal or No Deal

Everyone I know loves a good deal, including me. I have signed up to every bargain deal website this Emerald Isle has to offer and currently have 5 active sign-ups which I check on a daily basis. From livingsocial.com to dealrush.ie, I love to sample what our fine country has to suggest in the way of activities, products, hotel breaks and of course, restaurants!

I have purchased over 27 deals and counting. Romantic hotel breaks, holiday breaks, Swarovski earrings, high-end make-up, dry cleaning deals, hair treatments, walking tours, massage and aromatherapy beauty treatments, wine and champagne deals… nothing is safe from the wrath of my credit card and my hunt for a new product or experience. But my all time favourite discounted offers are those directed at restaurants. What better way to sample a restaurant without having to spend about €90 per person just on a curiosity of the establishment? Two glasses of wine, two starters, two mains and two teas/coffees for only €35 all in you say??? Sign me up!

Indian, French, Italian, European, Turkish, Spanish, Cuban; I have sampled you all on this wonderful inexpensive arrangement. But I always leave the restaurant asking the same question; would I actually return and pay the full price? The answer, out of all the many meal haunts I have frequented on this low-cost offer is ‘No. I wouldn’t’.

Why is that? I love food. I love going out for a meal with friends. I love being waited on and not worry about the clean up. I love the whole dine-out experience package. So why would I not return to the establishment that allowed me have a fun time and a nice meal at, what is primarily, their expense?

We all know companies, hotels and restaurants put themselves on these deal sites in order to promote their enterprise and entice prospective new clients to sample what they have to offer. They want to ‘wow’ these potential repeat customers in the hope they return and spread positive word of mouth, increasing the traffic to their place of business and in turn, boosting profits. But does this actually work when you are essentially monetarily devaluing your product in the hope that your prospective customer will return and want to throw more money at a creation that had a decreased worth in the first place?

Is this why I and so many other diners have not returned to the restaurants that provided us with this low-cost experience? I am still not sure on the answer, but I do think the discount decreased the restaurant’s worth and so, I don’t want to return and put twice the amount of money on a product that I feel no longer holds a value of significance. Is that bad?

I also think it is because I never wholly enjoy the experience. I always have this impression that when you receive a good deal from an establishment, be it free drinks at a bar or a grossly discounted meal at a restaurant, you feel the proprietors will stiff you in some way to reduce their loss; lower quality of meat and dishes not fully prepared and presented in their original, full valued state. Or the free ‘champagne’ you receive is actually some €4 bargain basement sparkling wine that tastes like concentrated Ribena. And so the ‘wow’ factor the restaurant was hoping to attain with our first encounter ended up being just a ‘meh’ experience with alright food and drink that was only worth the exact reduced rate we paid in the first place. No way am I returning to pay double even if I am under the impression that I will receive the good meat, good service and good presentation that is reserved for the full paying customers. You snooze, you lose restaurant. You should have wowed me when you had your one chance to do it.

So me and my lady pal Suzy, will be utilising another LivingSocial deal on Saturday, this time at an Asian/Japanese restaurant called Yo Thai in Mount Merrion, Co. Dublin www.yothai.ie . I love Japanese food and I especially adore experiencing teppan’yaki. It’s so much fun watching the talented chefs be the entertainers and comedians for our evening!!

For €29 we receive Two Miso Soups, Two Teppan’yaki Mains and Two Teas/Coffees. A bottle or two of wine on top of this and we are sorted. (We don’t mind dusting the cobwebs off our wallets for this liquid gold).  http://www.livingsocial.com/cities/1739/deals/407234-teppanyaki-with-miso-soup-and-hot-drinks-for-two

Will we be wowed enough to return and pay the full whack? It has the teppan’yaki element on its side, however the location is rather in suburbia and it’s a slight distance from any social activities post meal. So we’ll have to see!

Irish Deal Sites:

Categories: Loves, Life & Thoughts, Restaurants | Tags: | Leave a comment

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