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My Favourite Places #2: No. 9 Barronstrand Café

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That No. 9 is a favourite place of mine may not come as a surprise to some of you. I mean, I practically live there.

Whether I’m running errands downtown and need a quick break with the baby or need to get out of the house to work on the many, many (many) pieces I need to get written right now, I like to come here for the food and relaxed ambiance.

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You’re probably thinking “It’s a café, duh, of course its relaxed”, but unless you’ve been out in public with a baby who’s prone to screaming fits you wouldn’t really understand. No. 9 is seriously baby and toddler-friendly.

I meet my mom-friends here about once a week – they have a playroom with toys that would appeal to any baby/toddler/child, including a mounted television playing “Peppa Pig” on a loop. They also have coffee, which most moms need to get through their day. The staff put up with our screaming children and are helpful and kind.

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Even though nearly every mom, grandma and baby in Waterford is at No. 9 on any given day, don’t worry – there’s always, somehow, just the right number of highchairs for everyone. They have a smaller infant swing with dangling toys if your baby is too small for a highchair, but you have to ask for it specifically.

They also encourage breastfeeding on their premises. This is great – you don’t get stares that seem to ask “Why aren’t you feeding your child in the toilet?” or “What makes you think you can partially expose your breast to the patrons of this establishment?” Not that I get those stares a lot. It’s just nice to know you’re welcome to feed your baby, however you choose to do it.

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They have an extensive menu at No. 9, along with freshly baked cakes, scones and puddings. The food is good. They have excellent American-style hot wings, a different roast dinner on special every day and (my personal favourite) they serve an all-day breakfast menu. I love their full Irish & Spanish Eggs (sunny side-up with chorizo, tomato, potato rostii & caramelized onion) and Patrick always orders their Eggs Benedict.

There aren’t too many places in town where you can have a proper brunch, so this is just another reason why No. 9 is packed on weekends.

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They also have free wi-fi for their customers – just ask for the password when you order. I have spent entire afternoons at No. 9, just writing and eating (which is my idea of heaven, really).

You’ll find No. 9 on the upper level of George’s Court Shopping Centre, just across from the upper level of Mothercare. If you park on the quay (Clock Tower lot is easiest) and spend 20 Euro at George’s Court you get one hour of free parking – just get your ticket validated at the Chocolate Café on the lower level of George’s Court.

You can follow No. 9 on Twitter or like them on Facebook for more info.

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My Favourite Places are written on an entirely voluntary basis. The aim is to promote local small businesses I visit regularly and who are doing amazing work in our community. I receive no incentive to write these posts and visit each place a minimum of three times before writing.

Walking through Waterford

I was just going through some of the older pictures on my camera and came across these shots I took in early January. Pat, Maeve and I took a walk downtown and it was such a beautiful day. Winterval was over at this point but the massive Winterval carousel was still up and running, making things look, if not Christmas-ey, then at least a bit more festive than usual.

Just thought I’d share these shots of Waterford with you all; it is, after all, a beautifully old city (the oldest in Ireland, I hear!).

The People's Park, where there's Buggyfit on Mondays, two awesome playgrounds, a gazebo and even a skate park.

The People’s Park, where there’s Buggyfit on Mondays, two awesome playgrounds, a gazebo and even a skate park.

Dunmore Rd.

Dunmore Rd.

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This was our first home in Waterford...

This was our first home in Waterford…

Along the quays

Along the quays

Reginald's Tower and our viking protector, Valgard.

Reginald’s Tower and our viking protector, Valgard.

Not really a Waterford pic, but Maeve will. not. keep the blanket on her legs when we take her in the buggy.

Not really a Waterford pic, but Maeve will. not. keep the blanket on her legs when we take her in the buggy.

The pedestrian shopping area, near George's Court shopping centre.

The pedestrian shopping area, near George’s Court shopping centre.

One of my favourite Waterford shops. You can find ANY exotic/ethnic ingredient here, seriously.

One of my favourite Waterford shops. You can find ANY exotic/ethnic ingredient here, seriously.

The carousel...

The carousel…

Stilton, Pear & Walnut Galette

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It’s February 6th, and my month of paleo is officially over. How did I do?

I don’t know how much weight I lost because we don’t have a scale in our house, but my jacket zips up now when it didn’t before (well, not since I had Maeve). My pre-pregnancy jeans that I bought ages ago at Old Navy are feeling a bit LOOSE – last month, by comparison, I was barely able to squeeze into them. I don’t look in the mirror and notice a significant change, but I think by next month I might.

Yup, we’re going to make this an official lifestyle change. No bread, no grains or legumes, no refined flours or sugars will be allowed in our house. I still cheat a little – we’ve made tweaks to the paleo diet that work for us. Saturdays are fair game for whatever we want to eat, for example, and we’ll have a bottle of wine or a few beers on a Saturday as well. I still eat oats for breakfast. And I still bake regularly.

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That’s my downfall, you see, because I don’t want to bake things that are paleo friendly. This is not a paleo blog. And I like to bring goodies when I meet up with my mommy friends that are indulgent and fun (although I do throw in a healthy muffin or two to the mix). That is when the majority of my cheating happens.

I don’t mind, though. I think those small cheats are a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of sugar, fat, grain and gluten I’ve given up and I have been feeling amazingly good lately. Like, healthy and full of energy. Pushing the buggy no longer tires me out. I’ve been walking home from downtown instead of taking the bus. I bought a new pair of sneakers (my first pair in over six years) and have forgotten how good it feels to walk in a comfortable pair of footwear.

So, we’re stickin’ with this lifestyle change even though I sometimes just want a sandwich for lunch.

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Or this tart…

I mean, galette (getting fancy here).

What is a galette? Well, I’ve already said it. It’s basically a fancy tart. There are some differences in galettes depending on where you’re from (French galettes and French Canadian galettes are different, the former being more of a cake or buckwheat crepe and the latter, more of an open-faced, rustic tart) but I tend to stick with the basic shortcrust version. It’s a great tart to make with leftover fruit that’s about to go off if you have a bit of extra pastry hanging around.

I made this galette with pear (deliciously sweet and juicy pears are available right now), Stilton (which was on sale last week and looked too good to pass up) and walnuts – a classic combination. Combined with the flaky, slightly salty shortcrust pastry, it made cheating on my diet totally worth it.

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Stilton, Pear & Walnut Galette

Ingredients:

1 recipe shortcrust pastry (you can find my recipe here)

3 ripe pears (any type will do)

250 grams whole or roughly chopped walnuts

125 grams Stilton, or any good quality blue cheese

1 egg, lightly mixed

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees (210 degrees Celsius, no fan)
  • Line a baking tray with parchment
  • Roll out shortcrust pastry to about 1/8 of an inch thickness and roll into a rough circular shape (if you want neat lines, use a pizza cutter to make a proper circle by cutting the rough edges)
  • Transfer the pastry circle to the lined baking tray
  • Peel and slice the pear, then spread the pieces out over the pastry (leaving about 1 1/2 inches at the edges, for folding)
  • Crumble the blue cheese over the pear slices, then top with the walnuts
  • Take the pastry edges and fold up and over the filling, making a raised edge. The majority of the filling will remain uncovered
  • Mix one egg in a bowl and lightly brush the egg over the crust
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is browned and bubbly
  • Serve warm with a side salad (also makes a great dessert)

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