Jan 11 2013

Romantic Restaurants for the Single Guy – Part 2 (Fiona)




OK, you’re a single guy, you have met someone new – she’s looking like a ‘keeper’ –  and you want to move things along a bit (or a bit faster anyway!).

In Part 1 of this article (here) I covered the top 5 restaurants in the world. In this second part I will cover the best 5 restaurants I have actually been to around the world….. and that are a bit more realistic on the wallet. They are not exactly cheap – but they’re not ‘silly money’ either – and you should at least be able to get a reservation there before you start drawing your pension.

Click on the web links I have provided for each one to discover more about them.

I hope you get the opportunity to experience one or more of these fabulous restaurants with that special lady in your life one day. She’s out there waiting for you – just get out there and look for her….. and cook her a romantic meal once in a while J

Lots of love,




1 Le Parc (Carcassonne, France) http://www.restaurantleparcfranckputelat.fr/

(website has an English section)

I last went to Le Parc in the summer of 2012, sitting outside in the covered garden, listening to the cicadas chirping away and soaking up a beautiful sunny day at the foot of the ancient historical ramparts of La Cite in Carcassonne. He could have had me there and then if he had wanted to!

The food of chef Franck Putalet here is divine and the fixed price lunch cost €35 each (which included a glass of wine, a salmon starter, breast of duck main course and dessert). For a 2 star Michelan restaurant, that is remarkable value and it is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.  There are more expensive and more extensive menus available both at lunchtime and in the evening for all you gourmets out there but I promise you the fixed price lunch will leave you full and happy.

If you have any problems with the web site, try a different browser to internet explorer.


2 La Signoria  (Calvi, Corsica) http://www.hotel-la-signoria.com/

(website has an English section)

La Signoria is a 5 star hotel situated just outside Calvi in Corsica (the most beautiful island in the Mediterranean). I ate in the Romanesque-style palm gardens here on my birthday in June last year under a beautiful pale blue evening sky, accompanied by the best, most discrete table service I have ever experienced. The menu when I ate there offered a great selection of dishes based on local organic ingredients (I had a cold pea soup as a starter that was to die for) including local cheeses.

The hotel was once an 18th century Genoese estate and is quite incredible and luxurious, nestled at the foot of the Corsican mountains and away from the general noise of the town. I think they still doing cooking classes here too.


3 La Mere Zou (Dublin, Ireland) http://www.lamerezou.ie/

I have to give my favourite local restaurant here in Ireland a place in my top 5 list. La Mer Zou is a thriving but relaxed restaurant in the centre of Dublin (St. Stephens Green).

The food is simple but stunning classic French cuisine (including a good selection of local seafood), it is relatively  inexpensive and the ambience (it often has live music such as a guitarist or cello player) created by the owner and staff is perfect for a romantic dinner for two. It also has a good selection of wines at affordable prices. Early bird menus from 6-7pm currently offer 3 courses for €26.

If you are ever in Dublin, I would definitely recommend eating here.


4 The Cinnamon Club  (London, UK) http://www.cinnamonclub.com/

Quite simply, the best Indian restaurant I have ever eaten in and I would get on a plane and go back there tomorrow for their spiced rack of lamb. Based in the heart of Westminster, in the former Westminster library, it will change your perception of Indian food if you dine here. If you have a lady who likes Indian food, take her here.


5 Izakaya Sozai (San Francisco, USA) http://www.izakayasozai.com/

San Francisco is a great, fun town and this is a great Japanese fusion/ramen restaurant. A lot of the menu covers seafood options but there’s plenty of meat on offer too and you can have it on skewers, breaded, deep fried, braised, sashimi’d or with wasabi!  The ramen is great and it’s a fun place. Whenever you look around in this place everybody looks happy and like they are having fun.

I think ‘Izakaya’ actually means a Japanese drinking establishment that serves small plates (like tapas). I had a complete pig-out and went for small dishes of pork belly  and a whole grilled squid followed by ramen (ritsu tonkatsu).




Jan 10 2013

Happy New Year (Helen)




Hello – Helen here. Kate is away with work over January/February so I will be running the site in the meantime.

Welcome back to Alpha Dog Food and Happy New Year to all our readers. I trust you had a great Christmas. Santa was certainly good to me 🙂

Looking forward to the next month, we have new articles ranging from romantic restuarants to Asian recipes lined up for you – and a new joiner from the USA to tell you about.

Be sure to subscribe to receive the latest posts (over on the right there somewhere – just add your email address in the box and new posts will automatically be sent on to you).

Alternatively, you can follow us on Twitter @alphadogfood or go to our Facebook page here and ‘like’ us to receive updates on Facebook. We sometimes put additional material on Facebook and Twitter it’s worth signing up there anyway if you are already subscribed to receive updates from the blog.

We would love to get more feedback to help us improve our blog so please leave comments on here (you need to register to be able to leave comments), Twitter or Facebook. And please pass our details on to your friends too!

It’s cold, windy and wet here in Ireland. We need you men cooking warming romantic meals for us girls. So come on and make a resolution to do more cooking for us in 2013.

All our best wishes for 2013.


Dec 11 2012

Christmas Gifts for Cooks (Jenny)




I have been searching the web trying to come up with three perfect gifts for the man who cooks for you and here they are:


1. Mandolin



This is one of the most versatile instruments in the kitchen when it comes to preparation (and presentation) of food. But please mind your fingers – I faint when I see blood. The best ones usually come with changeable blades that allow you to cut, grate, dice, slice and have adjustable cutting thickness. Even professional models are relatively inexpensive. I use the ProCook model and I think I paid around €35 (£30 $40) for it.


2. A Simple Wok

A Simple Wok




The deeper and heavier the better. You can cook everything in one of these – from stir fried vegetables to a pasta sauce (it reduces quicker). It really is one of the most useful pans to have around in any kitchen. It’s better to invest in one of the heavier, better quality non-stick versions if you can. Mine is a 26cm Raymond Blanc (Anolon) version, again it was relatively inexpensive at around €35.


3. A Good Set of Knives

Sabatier Knives



All men love mucking around with knives (and barbeques!). If you really want to push the boat out you can buy him a set of Kai Shun Damascus knives for a couple of grand (!) but for those of us with more limited budgets, I would suggest either buying a cheaper set or – if you think he’s a ‘keeper’ – buy him one really good, different knife a year of the same brand until he’s built up a good set and you’re the only one he’s every going to be cooking for. I use Sabatier but there are plenty of choices of good quality knives out there in all price ranges. Go to your local kitchen shop, tell them your budget and they will find something in that range for you. Like most things in the kitchen, you get what you pay for so go for the best you can afford.


We don’t have any links to sellers on Alpha Dog Food so I suggest the best thing to do is simply shop around online to find the best deal or go to a local kitchen shop if you want help and advice. If you are feeling really lazy, go to Amazon to do it. I know you can find all of these items there as I’ve checked.


Have a great Christmas,




Merry Christmas!


Nov 5 2012

Small Bites 1

A quick apology for the delay in launch. Sadly, due to a death in Kate’s family last week, we had to postpone the launch for a few days. We are trying to reschedule for the end of this week.

Thanks for your patience,