We drove from Killarney to Dublin yesterday, and stopped at Country Choice in Nenagh for a bite to eat. I was worried that it might be too far off the highway and would eat into our time, or that the service would be slow, or the food not worth it, but none of these were warranted.
I can't imagine being made more welcome. This was the best food I'd enjoyed in Ireland to that point. Things are locally sourced, and the owner (Mary Ward), has known some of her suppliers for years. We were reading the chalkboard menu when she came up to us and invited us to simply look at the food on the counter in front of us; it was simpler. It had all been prepared that morning, and offered the choice of three different mains with sides, plus the sandwich board and other small bites on offer.
We chose the chicken with mashed and greens, and a sandwich of country ham, local cheese, a bit of pickle, lovely olive oil, and fresh tomatoes with greens on a freshly-baked focaccia. We also tried the carrot and ginger soup which was fresh and phenomenal. Before bringing the food to the table, Mary asked us if we wouldn't eat two pieces of chicken instead of one. We protested, but did anyway (it was our pleasure!).
We chatted a bit about food, mentioned we were driving to Dublin, and were presented with a map of other foods in Country Choice's organization of locally sourcing restaurants. After that, Mary called her son to ask what we might enjoy that was close to our hotel in Dublin, and gave us a list of things we might enjoy.
As we were leaving, she gave us directions to get back on the highway.
An amazing person, who gave us the gift not only of a great meal, but a memorable experience on our trip.
This is a must do if you're anywhere in the vicinity.
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