A Birthday in Dublin

dublinoverview.jpgWhat was supposed to be nothing more than meeting my good friend Robert – who is like a brother to me – in Dublin, Ireland to celebrate our birthdays in December, turned out to be something of an excellent extravaganza. Robert is the CEO of Clive Christian, "the world's most beautiful kitchens" according to their monthly ad in Architectural Digest. He had a meeting in Dublin that happened to fall on my birthday 2 days after his. He appears to be a stuffy, British guy with his finely tailored 3-piece suits with Hermes ties who speaks the proper "Queen's English", but his biggest claim to fame is that he was a 'roadie' for ABBA back in the 80's. Depeche Mode, another rock band from that decade was playing in Dublin at the time, so that's what we decided to do for our birthdays. 

Word got out and next thing I knew, six of my closest girlfriends signed up to come along. It is no easy feat to organize a trip with six women, traveling across the big pond. However, I had some things working in my favor. Being a 'stewardess' for 20 years, I have a bit of seniority and get 8 buddy passes per year to give to whomever I want. Don't get excited as they are not free and you have to fly standby. Thanks to a fancy computer program I have to see the bookings and the fact that few people travel to Ireland in December, the odds were stacked in my favor. It was amazing that we all managed to get Business Class seats coming and going.

I had the week meticulously planned. Arrive in Dublin, nap for 4 hours, meet at a pub for lunch. I had every restaurant and day planned with free time in the afternoon. Things like a night at St. Patrick's Cathedral to listen to the choir sing Christmas carols. One day was an early morning of renting a car, driving the countryside to Kilkenny in the south to have lunch. Because who wouldn't want to be in the south of Ireland for no other reason than to have lunch. The very end of my list of things to do was to get the Lily Obrien's sticky toffee chocolates in duty free at the Dublin airport.

laduree-macaroons.jpgMy friend Angie, who is a world class shopper and wanted to do nothing but shop, said to me one day, "Have you been to Brown Thomas and had the Ladurée macaroons?" Brown Thomas is the equivalent to Neiman Marcus in Ireland. I was thinking 'macaroon,' the sticky coconut things? I was not interested and quite wrong.
Where have I been? Have you had a macaroon of this sort? Tiny little wafer/meringue like cookies, all different flavors and probably the most decadent morsel I have ever put in my mouth. The selection of flavors is better than any ice cream store. My favorite was the Sticky Salted Caramel.'
Ladurée originated in Paris and is a small franchised company with gorgeous boutiques. Turns out that Robert had to come to Dublin for a meeting with Johnny Collins who owns the Ladurée franchise in Dublin. They sell 12,000 macaroons in a good week for 1.5 euros each. I came home with these beautiful boxes of the delicacies, which I had good intentions of giving away as gifts, but they were so good I ended up eating more than I shared. It was my birthday trip after all.
Laura grew up in a small southern town in Georgia on a cotton and pecan farm where life centered around family, friends and good food. She has lived in Atlanta for 20 years and has been a Flight Attendant for a major airline for 18 years, traveling the world in search for the next best meal.