Category Archives: Wine & Food

Saying ‘Goodbye’ to Belfast; Returning to Dublin for dinner

Belfast Psychedelic Taxi

Another tour destination on our Hop-on/Hop-off tour of Belfast was the Titanic Museum:

Titanic Museum

Time was running low however, so we did not disembark for entrance into the museum. I did manage to snag a shot of one of a nearby display, HMS Caroline (1914):

Museum ship HMS Caroline

Of course, no visit to Belfast is quite complete without a journey to the historic Belfast Harland and Wolff Shipyard. Harland and Wolff began building ships in 1861, and is most famous for constructing ships for the White Star Line, including RMS Titanic, Olympic, and Britannic.

Harland and Wolff Shipyard
Harland and Wolff Shipyard

The hour grew late, and we had to catch a bus back to Dublin before we got stranded. So, back to Dublin it was for Ursula and me. Here we have the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin:

Samuel Beckett Bridge

This bridge is noted for an appearance reminiscent of a harp lying on its side; the harp being a national symbol of Ireland.

The Samuel Beckett “Harp”

The sun was setting, giving Dublin a nice, warm glow that I took advantage of:

Golden Hues of Sunset in Dublin
Golden Hues of Sunset in Dublin

Finally, after a long day, it was time for dinner at a place we went back repeatedly during our stay in Dublin. That would be Quays Irish Restaurant. But today I was feeling more inclined toward some American fare, so I went with the chicken wings and a Smithwick’s Red Irish Ale:

Smithwick’s Red Irish Ale

Ursula opted to stay local with steamed mussels and a bowl of chowder:

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Bonus Blog, Recipes — Super Dips for the Super Bowl

Here’s my annual Super Bowl Super Dip Recipes (Jalapeño Pesto and Lipton’s® California Onion dips):

First up: Jalapeño Pesto Dip:

The great things about this recipe are:

  • It’s healthy as all get out.
  • It’s so tasty you’ll completely forget how healthy it is.
  • It’s not as spicy hot as it sounds (although it’s definitely not for the timid of tongue, either).
  • It goes great with anything from tortilla chips to corn chips to potato chips to even pretzels.
  • It’s so simple to make even a husband can do it.
  • The leftover jalapeño pesto is great on a whole variety of dishes ranging from omelets to burgers (use as a topping)  and even mixed with ground beef for tacos or chili.  By all means use your imagination with the leftover pesto, because you’ll probably think up dozens of uses for it.


  • 2 pounds fresh whole  jalapeño peppers
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. granulated or fresh crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ⅓ cup good extra virgin olive oil or other healthy monounsaturated oil

Step 1. Bring to boil just enough water to immerse the jalapeños.  Once the water is boiling, add the jalapeños and bring the water back to boiling.  Gently boil the jalapeños, stirring occasionally, for fifteen minutes.  Drain the jalapeños and set aside until they are cool enough to handle.

Step 2. Slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise and remove the stems.  Now, this next procedure is where you control the heat to some extent.  On most of the jalapeños, remove the seeds and the ribs to which those seeds are attached.  Keep the seeds and ribs on approximately one-third of the jalapeños, choosing in particular those jalapeños with very white, healthy-looking seeds and discarding those seeds that are dingy or brown in color.  Increasing the number of seeds and ribs retained will increase the heat; decreasing that number will help to tame it.

Step 3. Place the jalapeños, cumin, garlic, and salt into a food processor.  While pulsing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Do no overdo the processing or you’ll destroy those beautiful white seeds and lose texture, but you do want a fairly smooth consistency.

Other uses: In addition to the suggested uses below (besides as a chip dip), I’ve since taken to using this Jalapeño Pesto recipe also as a pizza sauce and in macaroni and cheese.

Serve either warm or cold with your favorite chips (my choice is good quality tortilla chips). Warm is particularly interesting, especially if you contrast that with a well-refrigerated . . .

Lipton’s® California onion dip:


  • 1 envelope of Lipton’s® Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 pint reduced-fat sour cream

Step 1. Mix together thoroughly in a bowl, preferably the day before the Super Bowl; wrap tightly or put back into the sour cream container and chill

Step 2. Serve with the chip of your choice; my favorite for this is Fritos® Scoops!®

Variation: Try mixing together some of the California Onion Dip with my Jalapeño Pesto dip, but go easy and taste frequently until you arrive at just the right kick to suit your tastes.

And since this is listed under Wine & Food the next question would have to be, what kind of wine would you serve with this?  Well, first of all, this is definitely an accompaniment to beer, especially a good, fairly strong ale. Or, one of my favorite Mexican beers, Modelo Negra™.  But if you would like wine with this, it’ll have to be one that helps tame the fire.  That suggests a semisweet white.  Think:  Johannisberg or German Rieslings, Chenin Blanc, or Gewürztraminer.  The cooler white wine serving temperatures supply immediate relief and the sweetness helps neutralize the capsaicin (the compound that gives peppers their “heat”) in the long term.

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Circumnavigating Australia — Yarra Valley; Yering Farm Wines

Yering Farm Wines

We were in for a very long haul for our next tour stop. The ride from Yarra Valley Dairy to Yering Farm Wines took place over a nap-inhibiting 1.6 kilometers, which took nearly three long minutes to transverse.

Yering Farm Wines vineyard

This Yering Farm stop was a fun one. The views were nice, the wines tasty, and the staff friendly.

Yering Farm Wines — Our knowledgeable server with Duck Down Under Cabernet Rose

One of the first things that strike you as you approach the tasting room is the old, weathered, rusted-roof structure. It’s like a scene right out of the Old West.

Yering Farm Wines — Like something right out of the Old West

Facing the other direction we were greeted with colorful scenery.

Yering Farm Wines views

Inside, the tasting room appeared right out of a square dance hall.

Yering Farm Wines tasting room

Our server poured us a good representative selection of Yering Farm wines, which range from there Farmyard Series, to a mid-range Estate Series, on up to their top line Reserve Series. None were disappointing.

Yering Farm Wines views

This week’s Fun Photo Friday will conclude this Circumnavigation of Australia series. One destination I’m going to have to skip. That was Tasmania. The weather was miserable the entire time, and I only acquired a very few shots. Three photos simple would not be enough to do an article on this destination.

Starting the Monday after next I’ll begin a series on traveling around New Zealand. As with this Australia series, the New Zealand photos were acquired over two separate cruises — March 2019, and March 2020.

Next week will be a bit of a vacation. During that time I’ll be posting photos of El Paso desert flowers and a spectacular sunset, all of which were taken April through June of this year.

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Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation, Wine & Food