Restaurant: The Liffey Irish Pub, St. Paul, Minnesota
I finished. I ran. I walked. I crossed the finish line of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. And after all the hullabaloo at the finish line…the gathering of essentials like finisher’s medal, finisher’s shirt, banana, water, photos, chocolate milk, salty snacks, and so on…I met up with my adoring public…Heather and Cathy. They were at the designated spot at the runner reunion area. And the night before we had made noises of checking out a pub after my run.
It has sort of become a thing…we either do a pub or Mexican food after I run a marathon.
You don’t mess with a thing.
Bad things happen when you mess with…a thing.
So, it just so happened that a great Irish pub in St. Paul, called The Liffey Irish Pub, wasn’t but a couple of blocks away from the finish area. While I was getting some compressions socks on and a different pair of shoes, Heather called ahead to see what the wait would be like. It turned out we were in between the rushes. So, after I stretched for a moment, we decided to pack up and make the hike to the pub. It was a slow hike…my foot, my ankle, my legs were killing me. I had never felt like this after a marathon…but I’d been injured (still was) and couldn’t train. It sucked, but my friends were more than willing to work with me.
Our good friend, Paul, whom we met through the big U2 summer of concert madness a couple years ago, met us there. He had been one of the group at Mile 17 and had said he could join us for lunch. I stepped inside and immediately was given a hug. We were immediately seated by the hostess, but before hitting up the table, Cathy and I ducked into the bathroom so I could get out of my running clothes and into something more comfortable (yoga pants and a t-shirt!). We found the table where Paul and Heather were seated and I started looking at the menu.
Usually it takes me awhile to be hungry, but at this point, I was hungry. Amazingly enough. And, also a plus, we knew from the Internet search, that The Liffey had a gluten-free menu. And when our drink orders were taken (water for starters and then Heather and Paul got drinks with their food), we were given the opportunity to think about what to eat. Easy here. For the non-vegetarian and gluten-free (my dining compatriots), it seemed that Fish and Chips (Heather & Paul got the North Atlantic Cod – $14.00; Cathy got the Canadian Walleye – $15.00) was the pub grub of choice (naturally!). For me…the Quinoa Salad ($9.75) sounded like the meal of choice. Ideal for recovery too!
Orders in…and we started talking about everything we had been up to…and U2 stuff…and all that jazz. In fact, we were so busy talking that it took us a moment to realize that the tray that came in a little later had our food on it! I think we were all ready to eat. Paul actually got his fish and chips with a Guinness and Heather got hers with a delicious Strongbow cider. Mmmm. I was feeling dehydrated so it was water only for me with my meal…this time.
The Quinoa Salad was a fantastic bed of spinach that contained quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, capers, basil, and avocado. All these amazing vegetables and grains were tossed with a fantastic, and highly delicious lime vinaigrette. The quinoa and spinach were great protein for after the run. And I loved the flavor. I didn’t actually expect the sweet potatoes to be cold, but didn’t mind it in this salad. While I’m not a huge fan of capers, the salty and vinagery flavor complimented the lime vinaigrette and the earthy vegetables in the salad. I enjoyed this salad down to the last bite. Amazing. And it takes a lot to amaze me when it comes to salad. This one hit all the right notes…and was like no other salad I’ve had before.
I like different.
I also like being able to enjoy a dessert when I go out to eat. And there happened to be a few that I could indulge in here at The Liffey Irish Pub. Oh, St. Paul…you’re winning me over with this gem of an Irish pub. A fruit cup was an option. Or the local Izzy’s Ice Cream (flavors unknown). But the one that interested me was the gluten-free version of their S’more Pot du Crème. We asked for four spoons.
The Gluten Free S’more ($5.50) was a rich chocolate custard with Izzy’s Vanilla Bean ice cream. All of this was topped off with a fantastic marshmallow fluff brûlée. It sounded beyond delicious. And when it came out…all four of us dove in. Seriously. Four spoons dipped into the toasted marshmallow top, through that layer of vanilla ice cream and touching that decadent chocolate custard.
BEST. DESSERT. EVER.
We licked that bowl clean. While I was glad there were four of us going after this dessert, I probably could have eaten the entire thing by myself without feeling any regrets. It was so good. The rich custard with the cold ice cream and the warm, fluffy nature of the fluff was the perfect combination. It felt like I was eating a delicious s’more at a campfire. But better. This was just…the best campground treat elevated to restaurant quality. High class. Amazing. I was wishing for one more bite once we polished it off.
It was unanimous, really.
BEST. DESSERT. EVER.
Should I say it again?
BEST. DESSERT. EVER.
I was way beyond satisfied when I shuffled out of their with my friends. We each said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Paul one way, Heather to take us to our car and then meet up with us at my grandpa’s house so I could shower and then we could keep me moving by walking the Mall of America.
Where I bought a fantastic dress…
But, that’s of no consequence. What is, however, is the fact that, without hesitation, without any doubt, I would eagerly return to eat at The Liffey, in St. Paul, Minnesota, whenever I happened to be in the area. Forget any other pubs that might be more convenient to where I am in Minneapolis. This one blew me away. And, I of course would have to get another taste of the…BEST. DESSERT. EVER.
Yep…I’ll be back. Count on it!