Food this time.
When I started in the Indo in 1973 I didn’t know where to go to eat on my evening break.
I was trying to get used to the place and people and wasn’t confident enough to ask anyone to join me or even, which was the best place locally to get a bite to eat.
So, occasionally, I went to the Green Rooster on O’Connell Street which was at least tolerable.
One night I sat at the counter. I ordered my food – a fry or fish and chips or some such – paid, and waited for it to be served.
A dog strayed in from O’Connell Street, raised a leg and pissed against the corner of the counter.
A lady, in her sixties, emerged from behind the counter in her uniform, wearing rubber gloves on her hands in one of which she held a cloth.
With the cloth, she wiped up the puddle of piss.
And then, as she walked back to the sink, she nonchalantly, wiped the counter with the cloth leaving a long, pissy streak on it.
I left. I suddenly wasn’t hungry.
And I never went back
But there was great grub to be had in the area – even back then.
So when I could afford it, I’d go to Daly’s Steak House on Eden Quay. Top class fare.
One evening I was sitting at the bar, just beside the serving hatch when a waitress brought back a plate with a steak and all the trimmings still on it.
She knocked on the hatch. It opened. She put the plate just inside and said: “Could you change that sirloin to a fillet?”
Two hands appeared and made a gesture over the plate.
A voice boomed: “Abraca-fuckin-dabra.”
And the doors slammed shut.
I was a regular in The Headline at Leonard’s Corner.
It is, I am told, still a fine pub.
But years ago, it was a local, a local full of ordinary people. It was pints, G&T’s (your choice was Cork or Gordon’s) or whiskey.
And you could get a sandwich.
Then one day I walked in and saw on menus on each table and on the bar.
Proper, colourful, printed laminated menus which stood on the tables.
I was curious.
I picked one up.
It, sure enough, said “Menu” at the top.
I looked across at the wonderful Tommy McNally, one of the brothers who owned the pub. We knew each other well. He smiled.
I looked at the menu.
And this is what it said.
“Wide choice of sandwiches.
“Ham, cheese or tomato.
“Ham and cheese, ham and tomato, cheese and tomato, cheese and ham.
“Ham, cheese and tomato.
“All available toasted.”
In fairness, they made a damn fine sandwich, Michelin star stuff!
(By the way, a few people have asked me why I don’t put all these stories into a memoir. I did. And publishers are indeed beating a path to my door…
…to give me rejection slips!)