St. Paddy’s Day Feast at Cal

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All four of Berkeley’s residential dining commons will host a St. Patrick’s Day feast. For the uninitiated, Irish cuisine can be intimidating and exotic. Characterized by a lack of spices (except salt and pepper), wholesome fresh ingredients and dishes usually not drowning in gravy or sauce, Irish food is a particular standout in the culinary world. We at the Clog are here to break down some of the tasty treasures found from the Emerald Isle.

False Advertising. Corned beef does not contain corn. Deal with it. Corned refers to hardened sediments of salt that fuse to the meat during the process of salt-curing. The delectable smoky saltiness that ensues packs a high flavor profile. The meat can be thickly cut and coarsely textured, so prepare to sink your teeth into this St. Patrick’s classic. Corned beef can be found at Crossroads and Café 3.

You say “potato.” Boiled, mashed, stewed, baked or roasted, the Irish preparation of potatoes is mind-bogglingly diverse. The Irish are particular in that idea that potatoes ought to be cooked whole, a major break from American diner classics like french fries or potato chips. What results is a focus on the subtle flavors of the inner starches. Experience potatoes like never before at Foothill, CKC, Crossroads and Café 3.

Had a little lamb? The fight for title of best meat in an Irish stew is an enduring legacy of St. Patrick’s Day. Foothill chooses to showcase lamb, a meat renowned for its distinctly gamey taste. Mixed in with thyme, sprigs of rosemary and generous cuts of carrots and onions, Irish stew is a satisfying remedy to any hunger craving. For in-depth coverage of beef Irish stew vs. lamb Irish stew, try this Chicago Tribune article.

Irish Greens. Cabbage and kale form the backbone to Ireland’s leafy vegetarian ingredients. Often blanched to soften, dishes like steamed cabbage and braised kale will be available at Foothill, Crossroads and Café 3. Blanching leaves a milder taste on the vegetables, a really refreshing break from your meal of hearty meats and potatoes.

Ireland’s famous drinking culture will not be explored in the residential dining commons. To get an authentic St. Patrick’s Day experience, explore some of Berkeley’s best pubs and breweries. But if a beer belly seems like too much, burn it off with Irish dancing lessons at The Starry Plough Pub. As they commonly toast in Ireland, “Dance as if no one’s watching, sing as if no one’s listening and live everyday as if it were your last.

Contact Alex Mabanta at [email protected]

Image Source: Emily Barney under Creative Commons