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Spending days aimlessly wandering around Galway is one of my favorite things to do. There’s enough to see and do and especially eat and drink, that the possibilities are endless, and even after so many trips to Ireland, I have a ton of ground to cover.

One not-to-miss restaurant is the beautiful, award-winning Kai Cafe + Restaurant, a bright, airy, cozy spot with a constantly changing menu of creative and inspired dishes. On this last trip to Ireland, we went for lunch on a chilly but bright day, no plans on the horizon, just able to spend time hanging out together. Take me back.

Kai Cafe Kai had quite the buzzing lunch time crowd, which just added to the atmosphere. With all of the Christmas decorations in Galway and the dry weather, people were in cheerful moods, and I love that people there tend to actually take a lunch break to relax and recharge.

Kai menu

The space that Kai is in was once a greenhouse, and the ceiling offers lots of sky views. It was hard to not look up to take in the pretty blue sky.

The menu is always changing and is kept up on a blackboard above the window to the kitchen, where the movement never stopped.

Kai Galway

While we pondered the menu options, we each had a glass of wine, because wine at lunch is a requirement while on vacation! I love cold, crisp white wine even in the winter and had a 2012  Picpoule de Pinet from the Languedoc while my lunch date had a big Malbec.

wine with lunch

To warm up, we each decided on one of the soups on the menu. I went for the Pumpkin, Chickpea, and Harissa Stew, which was topped with a delicious yogurt and tons of fresh herbs, really adding to the flavor. I need to add more fresh herbs to finish meals!

The stew was hearty and well spiced, and the bread that came along with it was heavenly.

pumpkin harissa stew 

turnip stew

  His Turnip, Carrot, Ginger Soup was equally as comforting and delicious, and the bread even better than mine! Luckily we always share. Just like the space that Kai is in, the food just pops, offering surprising little bursts of flavor and color and freshness, and welcoming you with warmth and love.

IMG_0197 We ended up being too full for dessert, but Kai is well worth a visit for dessert and coffee alone. Look at all of these sweets! I couldn’t stop staring at them and took about 20 different photos!

IMG_0198 

Kai GalwayKai is one of those places you could easily spend a whole afternoon over coffee and wine and delicious food.  I absolutely love it and hope that if you are planning a visit to Galway you add it to your list!

Kai Galway

Read more of my travel blog posts, including lots of Ireland posts, here.

http://traveleatlove.com/travel/

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Tags: Dining out, Food, Galway, Ireland, Restaurants, Travel, travel blog posts, travel blogger, travel planning

Whenever we visit Ireland, we have a list of old favorites we have to stop at, most being in Galway or out in Connemara. It can get a little overwhelming, catching up with friends and family, finding time to do all we need to do, and getting to every stop on our list. As a result, we often miss new places.

(For all of my Ireland travel tips, visit my Travel Blog Posts page)

Not this time! Through my various social media channels, I’ve been following  the consistently expanding food and cocktail scene in Galway, so when we went back for Thanksgiving, I had a few new places in mind.

 

Meet Tribeton

Tribeton Galway

 

Tribeton Galway

 

Tribeton Galway 

During my husband’s childhood in Ireland, Tribeton was a hardware store, and he couldn’t believe the transformation. When you arrive at Tribeton, after entering their festive lobby, you ascend a staircase to an open, airy loft that is just stunning.

Tribeton Galway

 

Tribeton Galway 

I went in expecting to order a simple hot whiskey as I often do in Ireland and was instead greeted by a cocktail BOOK with pages and pages of cocktails, including a huge focus on gin, and Irish gin in particular.

Tribeton cocktails Gin is definitely having a moment in Ireland, as evidenced by the shelves and shelves of gin bottles at pubs and the multi-page gin and tonic menus. It was not easy to make a decision!

gin and tonic menu I ended up going with the Dingle gin from Kerry, with the recommended Fever Tree tonic, cucumber, and lime. It arrived in a giant, beautiful balloon glass that really showed off the garnishes, pops of color with the icy, clear gin. As we wandered around Galway throughout the rest of the week, I noticed all gin and tonics being served in such glasses, and now I need to find some for myself!

gin and tonic My husband went with one of the bartender’s favorite Negronis, which was also presented beautifully and was strong, bitter with notes of citrus, and ice cold.

Negroni This might have been one of my favorite unplanned moments of our trip to Ireland. The cocktails were so delicious but also packed a punch so we sipped them very slowly. And since it was mid-afternoon, Tribeton was quiet and sunny, perfect for just soaking in the moment of being in our favorite town.

 

gin and tonicWe loved Tribeton so much that we ended up returning later that night with my sister-in-law. In the evening it was a bustling scene of diners and people getting ready to go out on the town. I opted for the Thin Gin from Waterford this time around, with Fever Tree Elderflower and fresh, juicy oranges for a refreshing nightcap.

Tribeton is part of the new Galway, delightfully and tastefully put in alongside the old, with touches of Irish history and design throughout. Even the name is a nod to Galway, City of Tribes.

In just a few blocks you can see the city’s centuries old walls, a church that goes back to Columbus’ time, traditional pubs, and some of the newcomers that breathe in fresh life without taking away from the tradition and history we love so much.

Learn about the Galway influence in Tribeton’s design here, or book yourself on the next Aer Lingus flight to Shannon to discover it yourself!

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Tags: bars, cocktail blog, cocktails, Galway, Ireland, Restaurants, Travel, travel blog, travel blog posts

Sometimes you get to combine work and things and places you love, and over the past year, that’s happened to me more than once. I got to work in Sonoma on a project last summer, and for the past year I have been working with the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council in Western Massachusetts. As a UMass alum, I find that Amherst and Northampton hold some of my favorite memories, and the area is still one of my favorites to visit. There is SO much good food, beer, and wine, and gorgeous open outdoor space. And that’s just the beginning.

A few weeks ago I headed West for a meeting, and since it was on a Friday, I decided to stay the night in Northampton.

The beautiful and historic Hotel Northampton, a business I also work with, was my home for the night. It’s the perfect place to stay, and I’m not just saying that because I am lucky enough to work with them.

 

Hotel Northampton atrium

 

Hotel Northampton

Built in 1927, the hotel maintains historic charm and character while also being impeccably clean and well-kept, a true place of elegance and luxury, where you feel like sinking into a chair and never leaving.

Hotel Northampton lobby    Hotel Northampton Our beautiful and cozy room featured two balconies, where we enjoyed watching the hustle and bustle of Northampton on a warm July night.

Northampton, MA Throughout, lovely little details like bookshelves, beautiful old fixtures, and welcoming staff really add to the special feel of the hotel.

Hotel Northampton Wiggins Tavern Wiggins Tavern, with its dark wood, plaid furniture, and historic artifacts is a place that can’t be missed. They have a great food and drink selection, and being that it’s a tavern that was actually brought from another location, it is just very interesting.

Hotel Northampton

Free breakfast at the Coolidge Park Cafe is filling and delicious, served in a bright and sunny space, the perfect way to start the day.

It was tempting to just hang out at the hotel, but there’s so much going on in Northampton and its surroundings, we had to get out and about. We enjoyed part of the Northampton Arts Council Summer Concert Series, which took place right next to the hotel, and we browsed the sidewalk sales which were happening that weekend.

 

New City Brewery

We had heard great things about New City Brewery and their ginger beer mimosa flight, and it certainly lived up to the hype! How beautiful is this?! It was SO delicious and refreshing and a unique tasting option.

In the same complex, we stumbled into the Community Food Engine, a really cool hydroponic restaurant and indoor park. It wasn’t open yet, but from the peek we got, we were definitely intrigued!

Community Food Engine

For me, no trip to the Northampton area is complete without visiting Black Birch Vineyards. I love their wine and their stunning vineyard views. I kicked my shoes off, got a cold glass of Chardonnay, and soaked up the beautiful country life.

Black Birch Vineyard

While there are many places to eat in Northampton, I will admit I had two meals at Bueno y Sano, and old college favorite. I will forever love their tacos and am obsessed with their hot sauce. The next time I visit, I want to explore more of the restaurants, including Bistro le Gras, which everyone raves about. I need a week to eat there!

bueno y sano

Before we headed out of town, we stretched our legs with a walk on the trail at the Mill River, which is very close to downtown Northampton. You can really have the best of all worlds, fine dining and shopping, downtown life, and outdoor adventures all within a few miles in Western Massachusetts.

Mill River Mill River

For past posts on visiting Western Massachusetts:

Eating our Way around Amherst

Perfect Massachusetts Getaway

If you’re interested in a Western Massachusetts itinerary, don’t miss the Visit Hampshire County blog.

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Tags: Massachusetts, Northampton, Travel, travel blog, travel blog posts, travel blogger, Western Massachusetts

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