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Dublin: Hot Tea, Crab Toasties and Recovery From Heartbreak

Love, love, love that removed me from all the loss at Fade Street Social In Dublin

The middle of winter in Dublin is full of rain, endless squalls of wind, and more than a little bit of cloud.
(Photo: Matthias Schmidt Photography)

(Photo: Matthias Schmidt Photography)

I love that town. The people are friendly, the beer never stops pouring, and mix of Gaelic, soft Irish brogue, and comfort makes even the most weary traveler feel like they have found a warm hearth and a home.

The first time I went to Dublin I was recovering from heartbreak and not quite sure what I would find at the end of the runway, but I got on the plane anyway because I had nothing else to do and nowhere else to go. I landed at five in the morning, well before my eleven AM check-in, and hailed a taxi because what else was I to do?

My hotel let me in at six in the morning and sent me up a cup of tea. It was a good start.
(Photo: Deff0)

(Photo: Deff0)

Hours later, I wandered around this adolescent city, still in recovery from the 2008 recession that swept the world, and a population laboring underneath the reduction of the dole, with young people who still had the fire that exists in a young nation. The museums were free; the streets were clean; and everything setback against the cloudy gray and the crispness in the air.

I had booked nothing in advance except a seat at Fade Street Social, a restaurant south of the River Liffey, in the notorious Temple Bar area and just blocks away from historic Trinity College. Dining alone in New York City is always iffy at best, what would it be in a town where I look like no one else and know no one else?

I walked in and the first thing I was hit with was the warmth. A wall of that smelled like cider and cinnamon, with edges of cardamom and curry, spicy and inviting and homey.
(Photo: notey.com)

(Photo: notey.com)

Each step in, from first the gentle hosts who confirmed my reservation and led me not to a solitary table, but to the center of the bar with eyes directly into the open kitchen, and then to take my coat and a soft touch to my shoulder…each step stripped away every concern, every worry, every anxious thought that had been jogging through my brain from the moment I sat down on that seat on that Aer Lingus flight.

My waiter came over, smiled at me, and said: “Miss, we’re going to have a lovely evening.”

And a lovely evening was had. The kitchen sent out bite after bite, taste after taste, suffusing my senses and taking me away from myself for hours I need never retrieve. Soft, Iberican pork; duck l’orange grilled with shallots and pickled kumquats; crab toasties; Irish pork bellies and delicate quail.

Spiced quail legs with mango radish lychee soya caramel and crème fraiche (Photo: Fade Social)

Spiced quail legs with mango radish lychee soya caramel and crème fraiche (Photo: Fade Street Social)

Pork slices (Photo: Fade Social)

Pork slices (Photo: Fade Street Social)

It was love, love, love that removed me from all the loss. (And perhaps a not insubstantial amount of well-curated red wines). Yet, for a few short hours, I forgot everything but that ever-present sense of sit here, settle yourself, be at peace, everything is at rest, everything is safe, be warm.

I left that night with hope. Hope that the world was not nearly as cold as I had thought, that one could travel halfway across the globe and still feel at home, that there were still good things to be had.
(Photo: Sonia Adam)

(Photo: Sonia Adam)

Fade Street Social gave me my soul back. And winter in Dublin? Winter in Dublin will always be the beginning of an eternal spring.


Fade Street Social
Fade Street Social, Fade St, Dublin 2

This is Cassandra John’s first Waddle story.

Lover of food + scotch + Scrabble. Recovering troublemaker. Homegrown New Yorker. Insta: @captsinjun

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Cassandra John • October 22, 2016

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