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Saturday, March 13, 2021

St. Patrick's Day Celebration at Home

We're coming up on yet another celebration that's going to be odd for a lot of people. Possibly, this is the second pandemic St. Patrick's Day for people, as lockdown started right around this time last year. We've been learning to do more on our own, without the backdrop of a packed restaurant or bar around us. In fact, this might be one of the most pleasant holidays we've had (not including Christmas), because there weren't a ton of drunk people around us.

Those of you that know me personally, probably know I worked in an Irish store for several years and it really ruined me for a long time for wanting anything to do with Irish food, music, or culture. When you're inundated day in and day out with people telling you about their family heritage, it sort of loses its shine. Also, my boss and her daughter were the literal worst when it came to supervisors, so that probably had a lot more to do with it. Ireland is gorgeous and full of amazing people and it is a lot easier to see that now that it's not my actual entire job. 

In fact, Ireland was not a place I was that terribly interested in seeing, until I went to Scotland and learned more about it firsthand. 

I get asked frequently if I'm Irish. It could be the green eyes and that I usually have a red tint to my hair or my fair skin (or a combination of all three). My family isn't Irish in the least, but I am always intrigued by the interest. 

So, this weekend we decided to do an early celebration with traditional food and a few walking tours of Irish factories, including the Guinneess brewery and the Jameson distillery. Both are on my list to visit whenever we get there, but this was fun for both of us while we sat at a table "outside" the famous Temple Bar and had a few drinks, then had some traditional dishes.

Our tablescape was pretty easy to pull together. I threw on a dark green tablecloth. I already had these sparkly shamrocks in a green vase on one of my shelves, so I pulled it down and added a little Irish flag. This light-up shamrock necklace has been a fixture here as well, since Snape (scroll to the bottom) usually dresses up for every celebration and holiday. We borrowed it, added some of our Mardi Gras beads, and then heaped a cauldron (because of course I have a bunch of cauldrons around here) with chocolate coins. 

You've already seen these plates and I have a variety of cake plates as well, so I thought a matching white one would go perfectly. All pubs serve drinks in pint glasses, and we brought home some Glencairn whisky glasses from Scotland, so I poured myself a dram of one I've been sipping on at home.

You know I can't resist a good chance for headwear. I don't remember why I had this Irish flower circle, but I do, so that clearly needed to be reused. I got Eric this fantastic leprechaun hat. Isn't it perfect? It'll be one of those things we can reuse for a future Harry Potter party.

I love how large and vibrant this backdrop is. Plus, my apple cake looks pretty awesome, too. If you follow me on Insta, you saw a sneak preview of it, but here it is in all its glory (and in the main photo). But, let's talk actual food first:

Though we have a lot of Irish restaurants in Portland, there aren't any super close to us or that deliver. I did consider making this whole dinner, but then decided I didn't want to, plus I couldn't find any corned beef like usual, so I ordered from a great pub I'd been to pre-pandemic. I ordered corned beef and cabbage, which came with roasted carrots and potatoes. That's what's on our plates. In the container is shepherd's pie made with pork. 

I ordered ahead, chose my pick-up time, masked up and got curbside to-go. Easy peasy. The verdict?

Holy cow! Why have we never had corned beef and cabbage before?! It's delicious! My incredibly weird thought was that I already had pastrami, so why did I need corned beef? I enjoyed the cabbage, but I think I'd much rather have colcannon instead. The shepherd's pie was yummy, too, and a nice spiciness to contrast with the rest of our meal. 

Since it didn't seem like anyone serves Irish desserts, or ones that aren't totally boozy, I decided to go with something easy and not super sweet. This Irish apple cake recipe sounded perfect and it totally was. I remembered how quick a custard is to make, and will, hopefully, not forget again before I decide to make it for something else. 

To go with this meal-ender, I made Irish coffees. One with whiskey and one without. I cheated a bit and used peppermint creamer, topped it with coconut whipped cream, and added some fun sprinkles and stars. It was a great complement to the apple cake. 

There are still a few days before St. Patrick's Day, and if you want to throw your own celebration at home, you still can! You don't have to do much prep to make it special either. Here are few things you can set-up or order right now to be ready for Wednesday:
There you have it. A fun and easy St. Patrick's celebration at home. I'll be doing something else on Wednesday, too, so follow me on the 'Gram to see my special homemade fun, where we will eat and watch a livestream of an Irish band (It's called One Night in Dublin and you can sign up with Goldstar.)

Slainte! And stay tuned for a follow-up post on traveling to Ireland.

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