Sunday, December 29, 2013

[Feature] 2013 in Review: Most Read Posts

As 2013 draws to a close, or more accurately, is blown across the Irish sea by hurricane force winds, it's time to get retrospective. Stitch and Bear have downloaded the blog viewing numbers from Google Analytics and have very scientifically determined the most viewed posts (ably assisted by a few cocktails). Please note that this is limited to content produced only in 2013 and is weighted by the age of the post.

I think this is an interesting snapshot of Dublin's eating and dining interests. It's a blend of value and fine dining, but the overall message is that Dubliners are interested in food trends, while still seeking quality food. Read on...

Topping the list of popular posts is Stitch and Bear's roundup of the Top 10 Dublin Early Birds and Set Menus. I dislike Early Bird menus that are more restricted than a corseted Victorian lady and as a result, I assembled a list of offers that I felt stood out from the rest. And clearly, my readers like a good deal as much as I do.

Cocktails are way cool right now and The Liquor Rooms is a great new venue for sipping. Located underneath the Clarence Hotel, it's a veritable warren of dimly-lit rooms, perfect for dalliances. The cocktails are well made, but there's also a good selection of craft beers and finger foods available.
Cocktails at the Liquor Rooms
The dirty burger came to Dublin with the opening of Bunsen Burger and you guys went flipping bonkers for it, even with burger juices running all over your hands. Cooked American style, these burgers are simply excellent.
The Bunsen burger
As a result of Bunsen opening, and my trips to the US, I got to pondering why Irish burgers are so bad overall. I therefore asked you to nominate the best burger in Dublin. And you responded with enthusiasm. I picked a shortlist and got to work, eating my way through some of the best on offer in the city. In the end, when I announced my burger manifesto, Bunsen reigned supreme, although very honorable mentions went to the Morrison Grill, BoBo's and Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

You might ask yourself what happens when one Southern Pride smoker makes it all the way from Texas to Dublin. The result is Bison Bar & BBQ down on Wellington Quay. Fresh batches of smoked brisket, ribs, sausages and more roll out of the smoker daily, but once they're gone, you'll have to wait until the next day for more. Bison BBQ is as good, if not better, than meals I've enjoyed in the US of A, but it's here, in Dublin. Life is good.
Brisket and ribs at Bison Bar & BBQ
Our Celtic Tiger heydays might be behind us, but some recent venue openings have had me wondering if that truly is the case. Long-standing night venues The Village on Wexford Street and Kobra on Leeson Street have been transformed into Opium and House respectively. Both nightspots are luxe and very easy on the eye, and often full of easy on the eye people. Both have good cocktail menus, but while Opium is serving very good Asian food, House easily captured the award for worst burger.
Figello cocktail at House
Wexford Street continues its rejuvenation with the opening of Las Tapas de Lola, Opium, Frite Haus and the wallet-friendly Zakura Sushi and Noodles. It seems that there is no end to the Irish demand for sushi.

Dubliners are clearly interested in the opening of high quality restaurants as my posts on The Hot Stove and Cleaver East drew much interest. Chef Joy Beattie is quietly going about producing superb food up on Parnell Square in the basement Hot Stove Restaurant, while Oliver Dunne and Rory Carville got noisily embroiled in a tiff with the Independent's Lucinda O'Sullivan. Either way, both are great new additions to eating out in Dublin.
A tasting plate of beetroot and butternut squash at Hot Stove
St Tola goats cheese parfait at Cleaver East
Stay tuned for the next 2013 roundup post where Stitch and Bear will present our best picks of a year's eating.

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