Archive for May, 2009

TEDxDublin – June 12, 2009

Image Courtesy: TED.com

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is probably one of the best sources of great, innovative, entertaining, inpiring talks by well respected, talented, thinkers, n individuals covering various themes, held every year in California, US (and also local chapters in UK n Africa) and am sure most of you have seen one or more of these talks, all available for free online at TEDtalks. Recently they also started, something called TEDx (independently organized TED event), where individuals or groups can organize their own local TED like events at home, work etc..

And, for the first time (n probably lot more in future), we have a TEDxDublin event being organized in Dublin on June 12, 2009 at the Science Gallery. It all started with conversations and exchanges between people on twitter and took shape very quickly that I didn’t even had time to inform about it earlier for the tickets. And its already been sold out :|. Thou’ the videos of the event will be available online.

It’s being organized by Dr. Aaron Quigley from CASL, University College Dublin and hosted by the Science Gallery. The 2 confirmed speakers are: 1) Blaise Aguera y Arcas – Microsoft Live Lab’s Photosynth technology and 2) Dr. Scott Rikard from UCD (founder of Roborugby and Sciencewithme); with more to be confirmed soon. You can get more update to date information on their facebook page or you also follow twitter feeds at DUBMetblogs [Dublin Metblogs] or ScienceGallery [The Science Gallery] for more up-2-date information for the event.

According to TEDx events page, there is one going to be in Galway also on 12/9/09. For more information, check TEDxEvents.

June Free Walking Tour

When we travel, we often take the time to unearth information about the cities that we’re visiting, perhaps read up about them on the guidebooks or Wikitravel, and so forth. However, when it comes to where we actually live, how much do we really know about the sights that earn the admiration of many? Or do we merely rush past on a day-to-day basis in our hurry to get to work, to go home, to attend meetings and the likes?

Dublin City Business Association (DCBA) and historian Pat Liddy has teamed up to offer free walking tour of the city centre of Dublin every Sunday throughout the month of June, starting at 11am under the clock at Clerys. The 1-hour-45-minutes tour promises to be informative and entertaining!

The O'Connell Monument

The O'Connell Monument

Do you know that there used to be 9 cinemas on O’Connell Street alone?
Do you know the names of the winged statues (i.e. the angels) on O’Connell Monument?
Do you know about the privileges of scholars in Trinity College?
Do you know how reasonable it was to buy the Mansion House in the old days?

The answers to the above questions are some of the nuggets of information that I’ve learned just last Sunday when Mo and I went on the walking tour with Pat Liddy. We may have live in this city for sometimes now, but there are still things that we are unaware of, or failed to notice even!

What I appreciate most about the tour is that it’s not just about dispensing facts and figures. It is about seeing the city in terms of historical value, to pause and take note of the subtle beauty of the monuments. I also thoroughly enjoy the dynamic interaction between Pat and the participants of the walking tour. The genuine interest from everyone in attendance made it all the more gratifying. Of course, we were also extremely lucky that Sunday morning was absolutely sunny and gorgeous, with clear blue sky.

I hope you take advantage of this wonderful offer in the upcoming Sundays. And I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get lovely weather to go with it too. I wish for you to enjoy the city as much as I have!

If you’re hankering for more walking tours but trying to keep an eye on your pocket, here’s something that you’ll appreciate. Dublin City Council are organising a series of free walks around the city – not always in city centre though – so you should definitely have a look at the schedule of Let’s Walk and Talk! and participate.

Happy walking. :-)

Luxurious bites of Ladurée

Macarons

It is rather unexpected that, at time of recession, a “luxury hall” has been established in Brown Thomas. Nonetheless, secretly, I am delighted because they’ve brought Ladurée from Paris to Dublin!

The name Ladurée is synonymous with delicious macarons, a type of French pastry made from egg white, ground almond and sugar, of which two macaron biscuits are sandwiched with creamy filings or ganache. The freshest and the best macarons are flavoursome, delicate and literally melt in your mouth.

There are some 20 flavours of macarons available in Brown Thomas when I dropped by a couple of days ago, including vanilla (it’s not boring and in fact is a must try), coffee, rose, orange blossom, lemon, red fruits, caramel of salted butter (my favourite!), chocolate, pistachio, raspberry and coconut. Every single one are equally drool-worthy, with a Paris-comparable price tag of €1.40 per piece. I was half-expecting BT to up the price so I was pleasantly surprised by this.

If you could resist buying these macarons for yourself, but have friends who are gourmet lovers, they make excellent gifts too. There are beautiful gift boxes available, to fill 6, 8, 18, 20 or 24 macarons. Gift boxes incur a small additional charge.

Apart from macarons, Ladurée at BT also sells a number of delicatessen items, including tea and preserves. Gift hampers can be assembled too, so really, this is a small piece of gourmet heaven in the city of Dublin. It’s bound to test my self-discipline but I must also remind myself, should I purchase them too often, they will cease to be special treats. Now, that is not something I wish for. ;-)

What’s your Salsa move?

salsadancing

Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.” ~Samuel Beckett

It’s coming up to summer no matter what the weather is telling us right now (seriously, what’s with all the rain in the past week?) and there are plenty who are hankering for some sunshine, a chance to host a BBQ, grab a picnic at the park, attend music festivals and of course, to dance.

Salsa clubs are becoming the places to go to have some rhythmic fun. With venues mushrooming all over the city, the salseros that form part of this salsa circuit must be delighted to be in such spotlight.

Before you get to the level to dance salsa freely, there are steps that you ought to master and for this purpose, there are numerous salsa classes somewhere in the city. No more excuses that a particular day doesn’t suit – there are classes just about everyday! Go with friends, partners or on your own, it doesn’t matter at all. It is not difficult to find classes where there are nearly as many guys as the ladies, if not more. I kid you not.

Unless you’re following specific series of dance courses (e.g. 6 weeks Beginners) most of the beginners, improvers and intermediate classes are organised as drop-in classes. You can join any day, whenever suits. And you won’t even need to attend in consecutive weeks. Most classes are charged at €10 each for one hour, with some salsa club time later on to continue dancing and practicing as you wish.

Here’s a list of the best known salsa class providers in Dublin and the days of their main salsa clubs:

Do you know of any others that I’ve missed? Then let me know and I’ll get the list updated. Go on, put your dancing boots on and put a wiggle in your step. You will have a blast and catch the fever. ;-)

Reporting back : Kobe Burger

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I was going to take advantage of buy-1-get-1-free burger offer by the Gourmet Burger Company in Ranelagh and checked out the Kobe beef burger. Did I go? Of course! ;-)

Kobe beef burger

Kobe beef burger

I was right, this particular item on the menu comes at a rather steep price tag. At normally nearly €40 a piece, it was really a good thing to have the promotional voucher that reduces the bill for my friend and I to €20 per person.

Served stacked high with slices of beef tomatoes, red chard and onion, with side garnish of cornichon and an amazing truffle wasabi dressing (with a hint of sesame oil in my opinion; and I liked it so much that I actually asked our waitress for a small serving to bring home which I had with some spinach salad and it was still so very delicious!), the Kobe burger was perfectly cooked to be just slightly pink in the center. The meat was tender and there definitely is a different to the texture of a typical burger patty. The effect of massaging the Kobe cattles in the first place, or good preparation and cooking, or both? I suspect it’s a combination of the two.

The previous voucher may have expired but there is now a new voucher on offer, with similar conditions as previous. Just print the Gourmet Burger Company’s 2 for 1 voucher and present it at time of order. The voucher is valid from 8th May to 8th September 2009, on Mondays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays (except Bank Holidays) from 12pm to 10pm. I think I’m going to head over there again soon, to try their other specialty burgers.

Go on. Give it a try. This is a also a good chance to explore a little of Ranelagh, which is a vibrant, small village that is less than 20 minutes walk from Grafton Street. Otherwise, Luas goes right through Ranelagh in just 3 stops from St Stephen’s Green. Bon appétit!

Dublin in Selective Colors

Seen on Upper Camden Street, by Maser. I did a bit of ‘selective coloring’ on it to bring out the colors. You can see the original one here.

No more free zippy bag

liquidhandluggage

If you’re travelling this summer and you’ll be travelling light with hand luggage only (in order to avoid the pesky checked luggage charges) chances are you will also have liquids in some miniature sizes in your hand luggage. Well, don’t forget to bring them in your own zippy/resealable bag.

You will no longer get them for free at the airport.

From now on, these nifty little bags will set you back by €1 for 2 bags, which if you buy your own Ziploc bag at the supermarket will cost a whole lot less. Or in terms of the big picture, why not even splurge a little at the pharmacy like Boots for a more durable small transparent resealable toiletries bag, which will hold all your miniature liquids for trips to come? I have one of those and it’s very convenient, ready to go whenever I travel, since I stock the contents in the bag and keep it handy to slip into my hand luggage. No more fumbling during packing, hunting high and low for resealable plastic bag or miniature shampoos and the likes.

You know, for a country that rolled out plastic bag levy all the way back in 2002 in order to curb excessive plastic bag usage and to help protect the environment, I am a tad surprised that the airport has been giving out free resealable bags for such a long time. Approximately 2 1/2 years, since the introduction of the liquid regulation back in November 2006. Many travellers take this facility for granted, never preserving the bags for further use beyond that one trip.

Anyway, all this is changing now. So pack accordingly and don’t get caught out by the new charges. Keep the resealable bag to the size of approximately 20cm x 20cm in dimension, or about 1L in capacity. Bon voyage!

Are you the next Irish Apprentice?

Alright, a bit of a late notice/reminder for you if you’re looking for a job with a little of the media glam thrown on top of it. Get cracking at your CV – right now! – and you may find yourself battling it out to be one of the finalists for the Irish edition of The Apprentice.

theapprentice2

Oh yeah, Bill Cullen is looking for an apprentice again, and in the climate of recession right now, I’d reckon plenty of people would try their chances on this. You have just ONE more day (the closing date is tomorrow, Friday 8th May 2009) to work on your application, and you can apply online here.

Good luck folks!

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