Archive | Travel RSS feed for this section

Breakfast at The Windmill Cafe-Santa Cruz

14 Jun

The Windmill, Santa Cruz

by Rhea H.Boyden

Last month I was in California visiting family for a few weeks. I spent some of the time in the Santa Cruz Mountains going for long walks down the canyon with my sister and the family dog, a lovely white German Shepherd. We also went swimming at the UC Santa Cruz pool. I have never been one to see much merit in a lazy or laid back holiday. I like keeping active especially because I like eating good food. I always eat a lot when I am in California in the springtime and it is hard not to when one is surrounded by so much good food. We enjoyed delicious burritos, chips and salsa at a roadside taqueria and bowls of San Francisco clam chowder. We ate blueberries and strawberries each morning with our cereal. We also enjoyed delicious homemade spaghetti carbonara made with fresh eggs from the chickens at my stepdad’s house.

One morning, when a friend was down visiting us from San Francisco, my sister suggested we go into Santa Cruz to her favourite breakfast place: The Windmill Cafe. She told us they had the most delicious sauteed veggie croissant. We drove down the mountain and then along East Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz to the delightful cafe which is an old windmill that was built in 1927 to house a family flower bulb distribution. The area surrounding the windmill was once flower fields.


We went in and a friendly waiter greeted us and brought us to our table. ‘Let me just move this table a little so it doesn’t wobble’, he said to us with a smile. ‘This whole side of the room is a little sunken since the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989’. We looked at the floor in amazement and indeed there was a crack running right through the restaurant. Santa Cruz was struck particularly hard by the earthquake. ‘Would you like to start with a cup of coffee?’ he asked us. My friend and I ordered the freshly brewed French roast coffee while my sister, who has never been a real caffeine junkie, ordered a green tea that was brought to her in a lovely green tea pot that matched her outfit perfectly.

cordelia at windmill

The Windmill Cafe was founded in 2009 by Mary Apra who grew up in a large Italian family who loved cooking and eating good food. She has a background in permaculture gardening, design, theatre and fashion. The menu includes a range of delicious gluten free and organic delicacies such as waffles, pancakes, bagels and a Tofurito which is a tortilla filled with scrambled tofu, cabbage, potatoes, cheese and salsa. I personally would have been sceptical as to how good scrambled tofu would have tasted but I am sure it must be pretty delicious after tasting how good their sauteed veggie croissant was. All three of, us upon the recommendation of my sister, ordered it and it was yummy: A fresh croissant filled with sauteed red cabbage, cauliflower and green beans as well as feta cheese, egg and avocado topped with a delectable honey mustard dressing. We washed it down with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and more tea and coffee. We then said goodbye to the friendly waitstaff and went for a walk along the beach to Santa Cruz harbour. I am very much a homebody and I love to cook. I don’t eat out in restaurants that much, but when I do I try and get new ideas for my own cooking. I would like to try and recreate this sauteed veggie croissant, but I somehow doubt I will be able to make it quite as delicious as how Mary Apra and her team of creative chefs managed to make it.

The Windmill Cafe is at 2-1231 East Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz and is open daily from 7am to 3pm.

STB’s Best Long-Read Articles of 2014

9 Jan

Brecht-Weigel-Haus_Buckow_01My Brecht Weigel Article has been included in this round-up of Slow Travel Berlin’s best long-read articles of 2014:

A Weekend in Barcelona

21 Nov

a view from the hill

by Rhea H. Boyden

Last weekend I braved the strong winds and pouring rain and walked out onto Dorset Street in Dublin to jump into a taxi at 4.30am to go the airport to get an early morning flight to Barcelona. ‘Do you think the flights are even going in this horrendous weather?’ I asked the friendly taxi driver. ‘Oh yes, they are. I have already been out to the airport this morning. It’s the lovely Irish fog that causes flight cancellations, not a bit of rain and wind!’ he said, laughing.

A friend of mine is currently studying in Barcelona so I thought I would take this opportunity to visit him and finally see the city that I have been wanting to visit for so long. And what a delight it was to finally escape the Irish wind and rain and arrive in Spain on a bright and sunny November morning. The skies were azure blue, the temperature a perfectly lovely 20 degrees celsius.

clothes hanging barcelona  Gaudy

 Right image: Gaudi’s Casa Batllo

My friend met me and took me to his favourite lunch place- a delightful Mediterranean restaurant called Balthazar in L’Eixample where we dined on delicious asparagus salad, turkey, sauces and rice, fruit and creamy desserts all for the bargain price of 10 euros a piece including drinks. After lunch we strolled down the Avenue Diagonal where my friend pointed out some of Antoni Gaudi’s impressive architectural works including the delightful Casa Batllo.

Place Reial

Placa Reial

In the late evening we ventured out again to the Restaurant 7 Portes and enjoyed a delicious salad of the freshest greens followed by a Paella with everything in it- sausage, chicken and fish. We were so stuffed that we continued our evening ramblings though the narrow streets and passageways, strolling through the beautiful and impressive Placa Reial. Without my friend to guide me I would surely have got lost very fast in the alleys and streets he was leading me through and I generally pride myself in having a good sense of direction.

wall paintingSaint Maria church barcelonaStreet art

The next afternoon when my friend went to his intensive Spanish course I decided that I would go to the top of the hill. If there is one thing I missed very much while living in Berlin, it was hills. I love cities that are built on hills and I so enjoy, when in a new city, to meander to the top to enjoy the view. In the past couple years I have very much enjoyed my solitary hikes up to Twin Peaks in San Francisco and Sacre Coeur in Paris. I love climbing steps and steep streets and the invigorating exercise that comes from it. One of Barcelona’s main attractions is the Park Guell where there is a lot of Gaudi’s work. I skipped it on this trip. I can always go back. I chose instead to climb to a quiet place on the hill and sit in silence on a rock under a tree and gaze out at the stunning city and sea stretched out before me. I find it wonderfully restorative and meditative. From my rock seat I saw the Sagrada Famila Cathedral in the distance and decided I would try and walk back to it without a map. I managed very well to wend my way right down the streets and arrive right in front of Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece that is still under constuction. It is hoped that the Sagrada Familia will be completed by 2026 which is the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.

Sagrada Familiabarcelona fish

Sagrada Familia and Frank Gehry’s ‘El Peix’

On Sunday afternoon I wandered again through narrow streets discovering graffiti, street art and fabulous courtyard cafes. I also took a stroll through the Santa Maria del Pi Gothic church which has a most spectacular rose window. My friend then took me on a tour of the Barceloneta neighbourhood and we dined on delicious spicy chicken tacos, octopus and hummus at the sweetest Slow Food cafe. As the sun was starting to set we walked to the end of the Barcelona waterfront boardwalk to see another impressive sculpture: ‘El Peix’ the Barcelona fish, which is a huge stone, steel and glass sculpture commissioned by renowned architect Frank Gehry for the Barcelona 1992 summer olympic games. The fish sparkles gold in the sunlight and draws you in from quite a distance, beckoning you to walk the length of the boardwalk to view it up close. We then walked back along the waterfront and up La Rambla where I met my ride to the airport. I feel that I barely scratched the surface of the wonders of Barcelona and very much hope to return again soon to continue feasting upon its splendid culinary and architectural treasures.

Exploring the Wicklow Way

12 Oct

south wicklow hills

by Rhea H. Boyden

A couple weeks ago I was invited down to Aughrim, County Wicklow for the weekend by some old friends of my parents. Our plan was to go for a Saturday afternoon hike along a small section of the Wicklow Way in South Wicklow where the rolling hills meet the fertile lands of County Wexford. When I finished work on Friday afternoon I walked steadily, hopping over puddles, in the pouring rain to Tara Street Station in Dublin. My umbrella was destroyed by the time I made it to the station. I boarded the train to Greystones, which is a charming town about 27 kilometres south of Dublin on the coast. On a clear day you can enjoy beautiful views of the Irish Sea. The view I saw from the train was this:

Rain from train.

My host met my train and we drove to his beautiful home where his wife greeted us at the door. They had prepared a delicious meal of Wicklow lamb stewed with peas and carrots served with colcannon which is a traditonal Irish dish of potatoes mashed with either scallions, cabbage and other herbs. They had mashed it with fresh kale from the tunnel in their garden which not only housed kale but an impressive grapevine. We munched on their delicious home grown grapes before dinner.

After dinner we sat in their lovely dining room listening to the pouring rain on the skylights. ‘We may just go for a short walk tomorow if the rain continues like this.’ my host said. I just smiled. I know what the weather is like in Ireland. You don’t let it upset you or ruin your plans. I slept deeply in the lovely guest room listening to the sound of the pouring rain. 

Wicklow way

The next morning when we awoke there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I joyfully jumped out of bed and ran into the kitchen where my hosts were making coffee. We were all in great moods to see how the weather had suddenly decided to cooperate. ‘We better get going soon.’ they said. ‘This fine weather may only last a few hours.’ After breakfast we took a short walk around the fishing lake of Aughrim village and then we and their dog got into the car and drove to the foot of Ballycumber hill.

fishing lake

The hike was about 5 miles round trip and it was a stunning stretch of green road between Iron Bridge and Tinahealy, Wicklow. After helping the dog over a stile we soon approached an ancient Hawthorne tree which was in the middle of an ancient ringfort. Here we broke for a drink of water from our flask as a few clouds gathered, rendering the surrounding landscape splendidly dappled in sun and shadow. My host reminded me that the Irish word ‘Rath’ means ringfort and there are many towns in Ireland beginning with this prefix: Rathdrum, Rathmore, Rathmines, etc. Ringforts are circular fortified settlements, most of which were built during the early Middle Ages. The one we found ourselves standing in had very likely been a farm enclosure built by the well to do of early medieval Ireland. In Ireland over 40,000 sites have been identified as ringforts.

Green wayHawthorn

After quenching our thirst we continued to the top of Ballycumber hill. At the summit there was a cairn (a pile of rocks) which my host told me was the burial site of the ashes of the elders of the tribe. This made me smile. I didn’t ask which tribe, but I let my imagination run wild. These hills are magical and remind me of fairy tales and my host and guide reminded me of Gandalf in his hiking hat. We didn’t stay long at the summit as the chilly wind prevented it, but we retraced our steps back down the mountain and then drove back to their lovely house to enjoy another exquisite home cooked meal of chili con carne. After a hot bath I fell into another deep sleep in the guest room. 

 Summit CairnGandalf

On Sunday morning my hosts made potato cakes from the leftover colcannon served with fresh eggs from the local farm before driving me back into Dublin. I found it hard to leave the beautiful Wicklow countryside which is quite different from West Cork where I grew up. I am delighted that they have invited me to return again soon to go for another hike. And while I may have my moments of doubt when lying alone in my bed in Dublin, listening to the rain and wondering how my career will run and if I will be successful in this city and sometimes missing my lovely flat in Berlin, it is the wonderful excursions to see old family friends in the countryside that lift my spirits and renew my faith in the fact that I have made the right decision giving everything up in Berlin and moving back to Ireland.

Dublin- First Impressions

28 Sep


by Rhea H. Boyden

Wow! It has been nearly 2 months since my last blog post which is a little scary. I hate taking a break and being away from it for so long. When I mentioned this to a friend the other day she simply said: ‘Take it easy on yourself. You have just moved countries and started a new job. A break will be good for your creativity.’ Now that I have found a day job in an office in Dublin city centre and have my first week of work successfully behind me, I finally feel at leisure to write. And where to start? There is so much to write about! I have been in Dublin for a month now and it has been an interesting month, to say the least. This city is pulsing with energy, the weather has been fantastic and every day confirms to me that my decision to move home after 20 years abroad is a good one and the timing is right too. I do not miss Berlin yet. And what about the phenomenon of ‘reverse culture shock?’ Well, I am not feeling it at all. I feel very happy to be home. I feel I belong here. The worst reverse culture shock I have experienced was in the first few days when I looked the wrong direction crossing the street and nearly got run over by a bus. But I have got used to that now too.



I love my new room, and while I have a much reduced library, I feel I have kept the books that meant the most to me and I am happy that all the others found good homes with my friends in Berlin. One book I held onto was a poetry book that is simply titled ‘Great Poems’ compiled by Kate Miles. It is illustrated and I guess is geared more towards young adults, but I find it adorable. It contains a whole section on poetry that is about food. One poem, whose author remains anonymous, is a recipe for a chowder. It starts like this:

To make a good chowder and have it quite nice

Dispense with sweet marjoram parsley and spice;

Mace, pepper and salt are now wanted alone.

To make the stew eat well and stick to the bone,

Some pork is sliced thin and put into the pot;

Some say you must turn it, some say you must not.

The poem continues to delightfully instruct you on what fish to add and to let it simmer. I remember reading it in Berlin and looking forward to coming back to Ireland and eating chowder. There is a lot of great chowder to be had in Ireland and it is one thing I really missed when away. Within a few days of being here I met a friend of mine in Sheehan’s pub in Dublin city centre and ordered a bowl of delicious chowder served with soda bread and Irish butter. After eating it I went home and fell into a deep and satisfied sleep. The fresh sea air makes me sleepy and even the seagulls with all their squawking don’t manage to keep me awake for long. The sound of seagulls makes me happy. It reminds me that I grew up near the sea and now I have returned to the sea. This is another reason I haven’t been writing: I have been tired, so I have been getting plenty of sleep. Aswell as sleep, I am getting plenty of exercise. The biggest joy is that I have only been on two buses since I got here and as I live so centrally I can walk everywhere. And this is a good thing that I will keep up, as given the whole range of delicious food on offer in this city I will need to walk a lot to burn it all off.


After work last week, I walked across the Ha’penny Bridge which is right near my office and walked over to the Temple Bar area to explore around there. I immediately stumbled upon a pie cafe. I walked in with a big smile on my face and said with delight: ‘You have pies!’ A delightful woman behind the counter said ‘We do indeed!’ So I sat down and sampled one of the many delicious pies they have on offer at ‘The Pieman Cafe’: chili and chorizo, beef and Guinness, ham and leek, chicken and mushroom plus many more. They even had an apple caramel pie served with fresh cream. Lunch prices are great too as there is a lot of competition in the booming Dublin restaurant scene.

Pies   Pieman cafe

In my first few weeks here, I was unemployed and job searching, so naturally I was not wasting money on restaurants, but shopping at my nearest Aldi and cooking and eating at home in between sending out my CV to many companies, but now that I have a job I feel I can splurge a little and treat myself. On Friday night I met an old friend at the wonderful Cornucopia Vegetarian cafe on Wicklow street in Dublin city centre. Cornucopia, which is housed in a gorgeous old Georgian house, has been in business since 1986 and they serve a fabulous range of vegetarian and vegan foods. We ordered potato salad, hot pastry pockets, green salad, aubergine bake followed by hot fudge brownie and white chocolate and lime tart. The staff are super friendly and it really is hard to decide what to order from their mouth-watering range of foods.


Dingle ice cream

Across the street from Cornucopia is Murphy’s of Dingle (Co. Kerry) Ice Cream shop. They proudly make all their ice-cream from the cream from Kerry Cows, a breed of cow that is rarer than the panda. The ice-cream flavour that has been all the rage the past few years internationally has been salted caramel which I love. Murphy’s do a Dingle sea salt ice-cream. I also tried the butterscotch. It was heaven. And again: served with a smile. There are so many new sensations, sights, smells and sounds. I will get back into cultural writing and reviews soon enough, but right now I think I need a meal, a walk, and another long nap, for I may not be suffering from reverse culture shock but it is an adjustment and a big life change. So far, my move home is working out better than I could have imagined. And the delicious food and long naps are sweetened even more by one big thing: the fact that I am surrounded by old friends and family, for that is the primary reason for moving home.

Excursion to Sanssouci Palace Gardens and Potsdam

22 Jun

San Francisco to Potsdam 582

by Rhea H. Boyden

There is a meterological phenomenon in Germany known as ‘Schafskaelte’ which translates into English as ‘sheep’s cold’. Frequently in Germany, after a stretch of pleasant spring weather, heating up to delightfully hot summer temperatures, the temperatures then plunge again and it is winterlike and rainy with North East winds making one think it is late October and not June. This generally happens between June 4th and June 20th and is the result of the sea and land warming at different rates. It is a real danger to sheep who have already been shorn and so many farmers wait until the end of June to shear their sheep.


With the onset of hot weather in the past couple weeks, my roommate and I decided that we would take advantage of the lovely weather and go on a day trip to Sanssouci in Potsdam which is the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. Yesterday morning, however, we stood at the balcony window and looked out at the pouring rain and were about to cancel our trip on account of it, when we decided that we would just go for it and not let the rain and the dark clouds deter us. The park and gardens would not be as full of visitors if the weather was like this, we reasoned, and surely this was just a shower and it would not keep up all day. So, grabbing our umbrellas, we headed out the door.

San Francisco to Potsdam 562

 The Neue Palais

We took the regional train from Alexanderplatz directly to the station Park Sanssouci which is located only a 10 minute walk from the west entrance to the park where the Neue Palais is situated. The Neue Palais was built in 1763 after the completion of Sanssouci and was constructed in a much grander Baroque style than the smaller summer palace of Sanssouci built in Rococo style in 1745 and modelled after the palace of Versailles. Frederick the Great had the Neue Palais constructed later to house guests but he never lived there himself, preferring to reside in Sanssouci which is the French for ‘without worries’ and was his place to relax in summer away from the bustle of the Berlin court. After observing the Neue Palais and ignoring the dark clouds above us, we continued our walk into the park past the Botanical Gardens and finally stopped in the shade of a large maple tree as one of the large clouds above us broke into a shower. When the shower stopped we continued our rambles which led us to The Temple of Antiquity which Frederick the Great had constructed to house his valuable collection of ancient art. In the 19th century the temple was converted into a mausoleum.

San Francisco to Potsdam 571 San Francisco to Potsdam 565

 The Chinese House and the Temple of Antiquity

The sky started to brighten slightly as we then walked over to the Chinese House which Frederick the Great had constructed in 1755 to adorn his fruit and vegetable garden. He took a great interest in horticulture and besides this garden he also raised tropical fruit such as melons, oranges, peaches and bananas in greenhouses. From the Chinese House we wandered until we saw the fountain in the distance which is at the foot of the south facing terraced vineyard which leads up to Sanssouci. This terraced vineyard impressed us greatly. Built right against the brickwork, there are scores of separate mini greenhouse niches complete with glass doors. Figs and grapevines grow inside them. We remarked on how much pruning it must take to keep these plants within the confines of each niche.

 San Francisco to Potsdam 577 San Francisco to Potsdam 579

Statue of Mercury and a niche of figs on the terraced vineyard

After admiring the marble statues of Mercury, Venus, Minerva, Apollo and a host of other Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses we ascended the steps to the palace and then bore right to where Frederick the Great is buried next to his dogs that he adored so much. Frederick’s grave is decorated with potato figures and flowers: he was the man who introduced the potato to Prussia. This made us hungry and so we continued walking and after exiting the park we found a reasonably priced restaurant that served us delicious new potatoes which we enjoyed with white asparagus and hollandaise sauce. I also ordered a salmon filet and my roommate a schnitzel. From our seats we had a view of Potsdam’s Brandenburg Gate.

San Francisco to Potsdam 583

Frederick the Great’s Grave

Fully sated, we wandered over to the Dutch Quarter which was built under the instruction of Dutch master builder Johann Boumann between 1733 and 1742. The quarter consists of 134 brick houses and is the largest example of Dutch architecture outside of Holland. We drank a cup of coffee in a small cafe and then jumped on the tram back to Potsdam main station. As we arrived at the station the sun burst though the clouds and we were happy to have taken this fun day trip. After a train ride home to Berlin and a ten minute walk back to the apartment, we again saw the dark clouds gather. We hurried up the stairs and stood at the balcony door again and watched the clouds burst into yet another fantastic summer rain shower. We stood there with smiles on our faces, happy that we had not let the weather deter us from our plans.



10 Great Day Trips from Berlin

9 Jun

Lienhard Schulz

Photo of Brecht Weigel House by Lienhard Schulz

10 Great Day Trips from Berlin

My article about my excursion to the Brecht-Weigel House in Buckow has been included in this post on day trips from Berlin.

Review of Lutter und Wegner Restaurant

25 May

by Rhea H. Boyden


                       Lutter und Wegner Restaurant at Gendarmenmarkt

Berlin has a whole range of eateries ranging from the simple curry sausage stand to an elegant brunch served at the fancy Adlon Hotel with a view of the Brandenburg Gate. There is something to suit everybody’s budget, lifestyle and taste. If you are looking for something special with a serious dose of Berlin history, then you could do very well to treat yourself to an evening meal at Lutter und Wegner at Gendarmenmarkt in the historic centre of Berlin.

The modern restaurant is located behind the fabulous Konzerthaus that was designed by the renowned Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, and was opened 1821. On either side of the Konzerthaus lie the German Cathedral and the French Cathedral, each of which have a long history of destruction and renewal throughout Berlin’s turbulent history. The restaurant is decorated and furnished with a combination of contemporary art, as well as traditional furnishings. The Jugendstil lamps are from Vienna and there is a bronze sculpture of a monkey sitting on the bar to greet guests that was crafted by the German artist Joerg Immendorf. There are three beautifully painted columns that are named ‘wine, woman and song’, that are the work of the German artists who belong to the group known as the ‘Neuen Wilden’ (new wild ones) whose aim was to break free of stiff conventions in art in the 1970’s and create a newer, freer form of expression.


                              Konzerthaus with statue of Schiller

While dining on a traditional veal cutlet, or a delicious slow-cooked goulash served with exquisite Swabian noodles, your eyes may also fall upon a painting of the eccentric genius E.T.A. Hoffmann, the famous German fantasy and horror writer who penned the novella ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ upon which Tchaikovsky based his famous ballet. There is also a room in the restaurant named after Ludwig Devrient, who was one of the best and beloved actors in Germany in the early 1800’s when the restaurant first opened its doors in 1811 at its original location a few doors down from the present day location. Devrient made a name for himself playing Mephisto in Goethe’s Faust, and also for his interpretation of the works of Shakespeare and Schiller. The restaurant is indeed indebted to both of these talented men for its early success. They would wine and dine the night away after an evening at the theatre, and people would pack the restaurant in the hopes of eavesdropping on or partaking in their conversations. It was E.T.A. Hoffmann and Ludwig Devrient who came up with the name ‘sekt’ for sparkling wine, a name that is still used throughout Germany as a generic name for different brands. Lutter and Wegner has its own house sekt, as well as a wide range of exquisite wines to satisfy every palette. The young Romantic poet Heinrich Heine was another of the restaurant’s famous patrons in the early 1800’s.


                         E.T.A. Hoffmann Plaque

In the 1920’s, as Berlin was flourishing culturally, it was home to 3 opera houses, 49 theatres, 70 cabarets and 363 cinemas. More and more cafes and restaurants opened during this time to accommodate the many actors, artists, performers, theatre and movie goers, and Lutter und Wegner did a roaring trade in this time too. During the Second World War, however, Gendarmenmarkt was nearly completely destroyed by allied bombing in 1944/45 but this did not stop the restaurant from operating for long. A previous employee of the restaurant named Hermann Neumann continued serving wine from the bombed-out ruins of the wine cellar on Gendarmenmarkt in June 1946.

During GDR times, however, the restaurant was forced to close its doors, but swiftly opened them again at a new location in West Berlin. Finally, after the Berlin Wall fell it then returned to Gendarmenmarkt in 1997, but not to its original location, but by a wonderful twist of fate, a few doors down, in none other than the former home of one of its first and most famous patrons, E.T.A. Hoffmann.


 Deutscher Dom (German Cathedral) at Gendarmenmarkt


Französischer Dom  (French Cathedral) at Gendarmenmarkt

The restaurant has now expanded and has many different locations, both in Berlin and Hamburg and the Austrian Spa resort of Bad Gastein, and each has its own delicious offering of German and international cuisine, along with extensive wine lists. Some delicacies on the menu of the diffferent Berlin restarants include Pot au Feu, aubergine lasagne, shrimp with chantarelle risotto served with grapes, estragon, spring onions and corn salad, a fantastic chicory salad with goat’s cheese, pomegranate seeds, mandarine and crunchy homemade bread, caesar salad, as well as classic meat dishes such as roast duck with dumplings and red cabbage. Lamb chops and steaks are available for the carnivores. For those with a sweet tooth a seasonal mulled wine ice-cream, crème brulee, chocolate mousse and of course the traditional apple strudel with vanilla ice-cream is served. An evening at Lutter und Wegner is a sweet and heady mix of wine, food and history that is bound to leave you happy, sated and inspired.


Breakfast at Breakers Restaurant

23 May

By Rhea H. Boyden


When I am in Berlin I generally have a light breakfast of fruit, yogurt and muesli, or perhaps I will have one egg on a small piece of toast. It is only on special occasions when I am with family in Ireland or the U.S. that I will go mad and have pancakes, waffles, omelettes and bacon. Several of my siblings love making pancakes and french toast so it is always nice on holidays to indulge a bit and eat the delicacies that are placed before me.


My aunt and uncle live in Pacifica which is a town on the Californian coast just south of San Francisco and north of Half Moon Bay. My dad grew up there before he moved to Ireland and he and my uncle were keen surfers. Pacifica has a popular surfing beach- Linda Mar Beach-which attracts surfers from all around the Bay Area.


View of Linda Mar Beach, Pacifica

A new breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant named Breakers opened in Pacifica last year, and while I was visiting my aunt and uncle this May we went there for breakfast twice. Just over the hill from Linda Mar Beach is the Pacifica neighbourhood of Rockaway Beach which has a few other nice restaurants too such as The Moonraker that my grandparents used to take me to in the 90’s and Nick’s which has cocktails and crab cakes.


Eggs Benedict with Hash Browns

Breakers is run by father and son Steve and Robbie Bancroft from Pacifica and it is their dream come true to finally open this restaurant. The first time I went there I couldn’t resist the Eggs Benedict with crab cake and hash browns. The second time, when my sister came along we ordered the plain Eggs Benedict and a large blueberry waffle which we then split. The hardest decision at a breakfast place like this is deciding whether you are in the mood for a sweet or savoury dish so it is great to be able to order both and share. Some of the neighbours joined us for breakfast and one of them ordered the chocolate chip pancake which looked like a giant chocolate chip cookie. The fun bit of course, is then covering it in whipped butter and heated maple syrup. The Breakers wait staff always make sure you have a full pot of fresh coffee and a jug of iced water on your table too. 


View of Rockaway Beach from Breakers Restaurant

Other specialities include a Lox and Bagel, Eggs Florentine with sliced avocado and spinach, cranberry pecan pancakes, raisin walnut pancakes, as well as every conceivable type of omelette. Breakers, which is located at 135 Rockaway Beach Avenue, is also open for lunch serving lunch crepes, tuna melt on rye bread, burgers, Reuben sandwiches, clam chowder and a great variety of salads.

I felt no guilt in indulging because after breakfast when staying with my aunt and uncle we always go for a long walk on the beach and then climb the extremely steep hill back up to their house which certainly burns the calories off again. Breakers is a delightful place to breakfast while on holiday and I look forward to going back sometime and trying their enticing lunch menu.


Discover Ireland- Culinary Tour of West Cork

19 Apr

This is a delightful video made by two good friends of mine from school- Mattie and Mary. They take us on a culinary tour of West Cork. I smile so much when I watch this video. They are both charming, as is my lovely home of West Cork. So much delicious and healthy food to be enjoyed there surrounded by stunning scenery. Makes me homesick (and hungry!)