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Get a genuine Irish breakfast at Mulconry’s 

click to enlarge A traditional Irish breakfast spread is a hearty, heavy meal that will last you all day, and includes some ingredients that are nearly impossible to find in Rochester. Here, Mulconry's offers the complete platter. - PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON
  • PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON
  • A traditional Irish breakfast spread is a hearty, heavy meal that will last you all day, and includes some ingredients that are nearly impossible to find in Rochester. Here, Mulconry's offers the complete platter.
Around a dozen people gathered shortly after noon on Superbowl Sunday at Mulconry’s Irish Pub and Restaurant in Fairport, but they weren’t there to watch the game. Their cheerful banter with owner Damien Mulconry carried above the din of pint orders and forks scraping up the reason for their visit — the Irish breakfast.

It was Patrick and Kathleen Claire’s first time there, and they came specifically for the dish. The Webster couple were impressed with the spread.

Patrick grew up visiting his family in Ireland every summer, and has fond memories of eating the traditional breakfasts his aunt made for the family.

“When we were over there a couple years ago, I had her Irish breakfast every day and it was so good,” Kathleen says.

click to enlarge When Patrick and Kathleen Claire heard they could get an Irish breakfast at Mulconry's, they had to see how it measured up to the ones they'd had in Ireland. - PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON
  • PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON
  • When Patrick and Kathleen Claire heard they could get an Irish breakfast at Mulconry's, they had to see how it measured up to the ones they'd had in Ireland.
A traditional Irish breakfast is difficult to find around Rochester. Only a couple of places trot them out around St. Patrick’s Day, but one can be had at Mulconry’s any Sunday of the year.

You’ve heard of corned beef hash and bangers and mash. But there’s much more to Irish fare. Less common around these parts is the Irish breakfast — a substantial, savory platter that includes eggs, baked beans in tomato sauce, bangers, rashers (Irish bacon), sauteed mushrooms and grilled tomatoes, brown bread, and what the Irish call black and white pudding.

The puddings are nothing like they sound. Once you know what they are, it might be tough to set that knowledge aside and give them a try. But you definitely should.

Black pudding is the type of blood sausage that’s common in the United Kingdom (other varieties, such as the German blutwurst and French boudin noir are variations on the dish). The Irish version is traditionally made with pork or beef blood that is cooked or dried and mixed with a bonding agent (usually pork or beef suet) and a cereal filler (oatmeal, oat groats, or barley groats) until it’s thick enough to solidify when cooled. Flavor-enhancing seasonings are also mixed in, such as mint, thyme, marjoram, and a variety of spices.

White pudding is broadly the same thing — without the blood. The sausages get their names from their dark and light coloring. They’re pan fried until crispy and served sliced. And they’re both delicious: chewy and rich with a salty crust from the frying.

Aside from the Irish breakfasts, Mulconry’s menu features other Irish fare, including shepherd’s pie and boxty, which is a traditional fluffy potato pancake filled with whatever they have on hand.

click to enlarge Owner Damien Mulconry with a portrait of his grandfather. - PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON
  • PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON
  • Owner Damien Mulconry with a portrait of his grandfather.
Mulconry says he works with different distributors to import the sausages, beans, and bacon for the breakfasts, because he wants it all to be the real deal. You really can’t get black or white pudding locally (we know, because we called every butcher in the county). But Mulconry’s makes the dense, slightly sweet Guinness brown bread in-house.

Irish breakfasts were originally the fare of farm laborers, who would fill up in the morning and have enough energy to last the whole day.
Today, tradition has become a treat.

“Growing up, Mom and Dad would make it for Saturday or Sunday breakfast,” says Mulconry, adding that during the week your options were porridge, beans and toast, or Corn Flakes.

“We don’t have fucking Lucky Charms,” he says with a roll of the eyes. “But Saturday, Sunday, we’d say, ‘Ma, any chance for a fry-up?’”

People like Mulconry and Patrick Claire, who ate black and white pudding as children, are unfazed by the concept of blood sausage.

“I didn’t find out what was in it until I was in high school,” Patrick says, adding that by then, he didn’t care.

If the breakfast sounds like Ireland’s version of the garbage plate, you wouldn't be too far off. It’s hearty and satisfying, but also meaty, greasy, and starchy — and a go-to indulgence after a night of over-indulging.

“It’s used as a cure to a good old hangover,” Mulconry says. “But it’s going to hurt afterwards.”


CHOW HOUND

AltBar, which has been hosting alcohol-free beverage pop-ups in Rochester, will be a resident business at The Commissary at The Mercantile on Main. AltBar will present a variety of zero-proof cocktail parties, beginning with a grand opening on Saturday, March 26, from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is free. Details at altbarroc.com.

Le Petit Poutine food truck opened the brick and mortar Petit Poutinerie at 44 Elton St. in February. The restaurant’s menu is packed with the truck’s popular poutine variations as well as new dishes, like curried lentils over paneer, and a variety of sandwiches and sweets.

The Saucey Chef opened a new location at 1011 Culver Road, and is offering Creole, Cajun, and Asian fare as well as sweet treats for pick up on Wednesdays through Saturdays, 2 to 8 p.m. The menus change daily. More information at facebook.com/thesauceychef.

The CurATE event series spotlights small food businesses by offering monthly surprise meals that customers can get delivered or pick up at the German House in the South Wedge. The next dinner is offered on Wednesday, March 9, and feeds two people for $35 ($40 for delivery). Order ahead and get more details at curatemeals.com.

Rebecca Rafferty is CITY’s life editor. Send feedback and dining tips to becca@rochester-citynews.com.
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