One trip to the UPS store, a few packets of salsa and about 90 dollars later and I could have some breakfast tacos at my doorstep in Ireland by Wednesday. They’re a bit hard to come by across the pond. Although currently a month into my breakfast taco withdrawals, my semester abroad has consisted of a rather hearty Irish diet.
Tacos and tex-mex aside, a typical Irish breakfast can be found in many cafes and restaurants. Skipping out on sweets like syrup-coated pancakes or waffles, a plate comes loaded with meat such as sausage and bacon — or bangers and rashers — fried eggs, potatoes and white and black pudding. Not chocolate pudding, but a sausage patty consisting of pork meat and fat, bread and oatmeal. While many restaurant menus in Austin have vegan and vegetarian sections, here, vegetarians would probably get comfortable with the pastry selection.
Breakfast is only one of the many meals that contain the Irish staple: potatoes. From Shepherd’s Pie to Irish stew to potato and leek soup, spuds are easy to come by, and delicious. Even the potato chips taste better here.
One of the primary Irish food groups — or at least it should be — is beer. A student pub just recently reopened on campus, and it’s not uncommon for students to head there after a sports practice or a study session. For not being a beer drinker prior to coming here, I will say that there’s nothing like an ice-cold pint after class. Many foreigners load up on Guinness during their visit, but there are many other domestic and international beers to choose from.
Okay, all of you non-beer drinkers are still unconvinced. If you want to gain street cred at the pub and are willing to part with a little more cash, whiskey is the next best option. If you ask for whiskey, rather than the standard American Jack Daniels, you’ll get Jameson, which is a thousand times better. If you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up, you can’t go wrong with an Irish coffee: hot coffee, brown sugar and whiskey topped with thick cream.
While the Irish word for “whiskey” literally translates to “water of life,” the Irish do indulge in non-alcoholic drinks. The British afternoon tea tradition is also enjoyed here, and a bonus is that tiny tea cafes often have the most delicious food.
So while all of you Austinites are indulging in your chorizo and avocados, I’ll be in Ireland trying to explain the difference between breakfast tacos and breakfast burritos. And by the time I get back, you might find me at a local Irish pub instead of Torchy’s.
This was originally posted on the Longhorn Life website.