Goat Street Social – Dingle, Ireland

Being alone, without any means of finding things to do and in terrible weather can be a horribly defeating feeling while on vacation. I was certainly in danger of getting down on myself and feeling like I had wasted a lot of money for nothing on the first day of having had sat out on hiking.

But when the jewelry shop worker at Jon Weldon  suggested I take shelter in a cafe up the street my whole day turned out. Goat Street Social is a rather small establishment that serves coffee, brunch, and lunch though I was only in it for the hot drinks and cake. I was lucky to find a table as it was entirely packed but I wedged my way in. After having removing as many wet layers as socially acceptable I set my things up to dry and enjoyed a nice pot of tea and some almond orange cake. I grabbed the only novel off the high shelf above my head and started reading about Ewan McGregor’s motorcycle trip from Scotland to South Africa.
I didn’t finish the book, though it was a decent read. The place started to get really busy and I didn’t feel right holding up the table any longer given I had finished what I came in for. I gave up my small table to a couple. I could tell the waitress wanted to make sure I was actually ready to leave and not feeling pressured but was immensely grateful to not have to turn another customer away.

I went back the next day as I once again chose to sit out the hike. The terrain was not going to be great for my more comfortable but also significantly less water proof shoes. So while I waited for my ride again I headed straight back up. This time choosing a cappuccino and the sticky toffee pudding. Which was to die for.

In researching information about the establishment it appears that there used to be a place called The Goat Street Cafe in its place which has since closed. The new cafe, Goat Street Social is however open, obviously since I went there…twice. They must be new given how little information is on the internet. The cafe can be found at Grove, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland and is open 10:30 to 3pm seven days a week though it does close for bank holidays.

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Cafe Du Monde – New Orleans, Louisiana

Aside from Bourbon Street I would imagine Cafe Du Monde is the next most visited location in the French Quarter. I have no research to back this up, but I have never been day or night when it hasn’t been packed to the brim. In fact more often than not I have walked past, saw the line, turned around and came back later.

Cafe Du Monde opened in 1862 and has been opened every day of the year, 24 hours a day since its opening (with the exception of Christmas day and for the occasional hurricane). They serve a limited menu of mostly french doughnuts known as beignets, coffee and milk.

Excuse me while I drool over the piles of sugar and chicory coffee. It’s not the fanciest of places, the waiters aren’t always the friendliest, though who can blame them given the volume of people they serve each day. But there is something magical about sitting down in the shade drinking hot coffee and eating a pile of sugary fried dough. Don’t believe me? I dare you to try it next time you are there.

Additional Information:

Cafe Du Monde History and Menu.
800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Open 24 hours a day 364 days a year (not open Christmas Day)
There is an additional location on the other side of Canal Street but the French Market site is the original.
Cash only!

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La Conversation – Los Angeles, California 

During my recent trip to Los Angeles I mentioned that I was mostly on foot. Which meant long days of a lot of walking. One such day wound up being 12 miles in total, I had intended to just walk to Greystone Mansion and back but as luck (and lack of planning) would have it I wound up at the mansion three hours before it actually opened. So I chose to hit the bricks and explore the area and if I could find a place to grab breakfast. I wandered around Beverly Hills for a while leering at beautiful homes.

I started to get hungry so I looked up a coffee shop, I wasn’t thrilled with my options there was a Starbucks or a extremely popular local place both still about a mile off.  I toyed with the idea of just not eating but that seemed unwise. So I chose the local spot and headed in that direction. About a half a mile later I walked passed a small store front that just said ‘cafe’ on the awning. I was REALLY hungry at this point so I popped in.

The cafe’s name, La Conversation, I eventually figured out was a really excellent last minute choice. The wait staff sat me right away, at my choice of table. The coffee was delicious and strong. The menu had a lot of really great healthy options without being terribly unsavory (no green juice or other non-food foods). I settled in and enjoyed a leisurely brunch in this heavily antiqued restaurant.

I ended up wishing that I had more time in LA and more time at this end of the Sunset so that I could have gone back, but our time there was limited and I never got the chance to return. Hopefully in the future we will make our way back and I can revisit this charming little shop. Should you chose to give it a go, La Conversation can be found at  638 N. Doheny Drive West Hollywood, CA  90069.

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