After some corned beef, a Guinness, a Black & Tan, Irish folk music blaring on the stereo, and some YouTube instruction, I am fairly certain that I can be a professional Irish Jig Dancer!
I love holidays like St. Patrick’s Day that allow people to have fun without being disappointed by unmet expectations (unlike other holidays that require expensive gifts and grand romantic gestures that may or may not happen). Today, as long as I wear green (check!) and can drink some Guinness (check!), all is right with the world as far as I’m concerned. Irish jigging myself into exhaustion hasn’t been all that bad either.
I am 100% NOT Irish (though I am a Gael which should count for something). Aaron is just Irish enough to get the occasional red hair in his beard. We live in a town with very little Irish influence (corned beef and green chile, anyone?). There are only 2 Irish style pubs in town that I can think of (one now has 2 locations), and I noticed that the overwhelming majority of people weren’t wearing green today, and this didn’t bother anyone. This hasn’t stopped the Lavenders (who actually met on St. Patrick’s Day three years ago) from trying to be festive. For example, we like Irish things:
1) Guinness: for some reason it tastes much better with a clover imprint in the foam
2) Bailey’s Irish Cream: makes coffee happier
3) James McAvoy: This married lady isn’t ashamed to admit a major crush. I still hold a grudge against Briony for causing him to die
4) Van Morrison: who doesn’t love a Brown Eyed Girl or a Fantabulous Night for a Moondance?
5) Blarney: a fantastic word that really should be used more in everyday conversation
Our quest to be festive has caused us some headaches (and not just of the hangover variety). Last year we made the mistake of going to O’Neill’s pub in Nob Hill (one of the two Irish inspired pubs in Albuquerque). As one of two Irish places, the line to get in was a little ridiculous, and by the time we got there, they were letting people in only as people were coming out. But we waited the 30 minutes like troopers… only to have our friends decide to go elsewhere once we made it inside. The other Irish Pub is Two Fools also in Nob Hill, which on a regular day is quite pleasant (if you don’t mind their strict “no shot” policy). It is also rather authentic minus the cigarette smoke and the old owner/cook/waitress/bartender with bad teeth that you would find across the pond.
This year, even though O’Neill’s has opened a second location bringing the Irish pub count to 3, we decided to play it safe and go to the NE Heights version of Gecko’s. Gecko’s, also a Nob Hill staple, is known for their tapas and Bloody Mary’s, making it a very un-Irish selection. Luckily for us, this also made it a much less crowded place with no line and no overworked bartender. Plus, Gecko’s is only 2 blocks from our house, greatly reducing our chances of getting hit by a drunk driver (please don’t drink and drive).
We got a lovely patio table with no wait.
We got our Guinness.
We got our corned beef and cabbage.
We got our Jameson (well, Aaron got his Jameson.).
We got everything we needed to have a pleasant and successful Saint Patrick’s Day without the frustration of fighting crowds and worrying about drivers on the road. Now we can sit at home and relax with another round and some Irish jig dancing!