Hi all. I had a day off from work today. It was grand – first time in nine days I haven’t worked at the cafe, nimmos, or ard bia’s restaurant. I remember not too long ago, I blogged how I was spending my days floating from coffee shop, to pub, to coffee shop. Killing time. Taking in Galway. This most definitely wasn’t the case last week. I worked 51 hours.
It’s alright though. I need to save money. More importantly, I really do enjoy my job. The cafe was something to get used to. The busiest time of the night at Nimmo’s comes around nine or half nine. This is when our 12 tables turn over. We have to kindly encourage people to leave, reset tables, and tend to the vultures who came to their 9:30 booking but have to wait for ten or fifteen minutes to be seated. At the cafe, we have 17 tables which are constantly turning over – for six hours.
But, I do love the fast paced environment. I love the interaction with our customers. I’ve always said I enjoyed my job at Telefund because I loved working and knowing I was making a difference. At Nimmo’s, I enjoy the fact that I can help to ensure someone has the best possible experience on their night out.
Eating out (at night) in Ireland has a different feel than at home. Often times, I feel when people go out to eat in the states, they hope to get in to a restaurant, sit down, be served quickly, eat, and leave. In Ireland, going out to eat is an all night experience. Nearly everyone orders starters, mains, desserts, and then coffees. The coffees, mind you, must be served AFTER the desserts – it has taken me a while to get this down. I’d want my god damn coffee before my dessert came. Not in Ireland. Also, you wait to clear plates from the table until EVERYONE is finished eating. This, also, has been difficult for me to get used to. I’m of the mindset that when I’m finished eating, I don’t want to look at my dirty plate any longer. Again, not in Ireland.
I’m lucky enough to work in three, brilliant restaurants – each with a unique feel of their own. The ambiance at Nimmo’s is my favorite, by far. I don’t think I could describe either Nimmo’s or Ard Bia better than these two reviews …
The Ard Bia way of working is to make everything as simple and direct as possible. The dishes are simply listed – Irish stew with potatoes and root vegetables; organic salmon, new potatoes, butternut, grenobloise sauce. Warm goat’s cheese and walnut salad. Brilliant. The wine list is stunningly direct – Gulfi’s 2004 Carjcanti, for instance, is ‘Made with 100% of the rare Carricante grapes, this wine shows white flowers, pineapple and minerals on the nose, and a crisp firm acidity’. Brilliant. Why can’t everyone do things this way? The funny thing is, of course, that Ard Bia is actually a complicated mix of restaurant, café, art gallery and wine business, and it all happens in a minuscule space. Quite how Aoibheann McNamara manages it, we don’t know, but we suspect there is some small stroke of genius operating here. What does it all add up to? The perfect restaurant for Galway, we reckon, because it’s a restaurant just like the city – left-field, obvious yet strange, arty yet straight. Great food, great wines, great space, all done in the most instinctive, imaginative and refreshingly different way.”
So, 51 hours was a lot to work last week, but I enjoyed it. Dad always says, “If you enjoy your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
The second review referenced Aoibheann (pronounced Evann – Irish, go figure), the owner of Ard Bia, Nimmo’s, and Ard Bia’s art gallery. She really is quite the character. I won’t opine too much, though she calls everyone ‘Darling.” I remember the day she asked me where I was living.
“Darling, have you found a place to live?” she asked.
“Yeah, I have. It’s actually a funny story. I’m living over on Dock Road in a massage parlor. The massage parlor is open from 11 – 6 so we kind of have to stay hidden. Not ideal, but it’s cheap and kind of a funny story,” I told her.
“Oh darling, that is terrible,” Aoibheann said.
“No, really, it’s okay. Kind of funny, I think,” I assured her.
“Oh, no really darling, that is just awful. I’m so sorry.”
It was all I could do not to laugh.
I’m sitting in a pub right now, and I’ve been trying to book a flight out of Ireland. I had a couple options lined up, but decided to hold off on booking them until Brian ensures his parents won’t be in Ireland at the end of the month. As for now, it’s looking like we’ll be in Sweeden, Belgium, Italy, or Germany for a couple days before the new year. The flight prices change constantly, so who knows. Tomorrow, it could be someplace completely different.
I’m comfortable with my half-drank pint of Guinness and not ready to walk home from the pub. It’s raining, cold, and windy.
Alas, it’s winter in Ireland. What should I expect?