On a crisp autumn day, I made my way to McMurphy’s Irish Pub, located at the Auburn Holiday Inn.
For the past three years, the Cayuga Community Health Network has used the Holiday Inn for our annual Mind, Body and Spirit luncheon. The food has always been deliciously prepared with the utmost professional service. Mary Moore, Angie Ware and Carrie Mann have always gone beyond the call of duty for the network.
I walked through the hotel lobby into the warm, cozy, relaxed pub. The atmosphere was cheery as I made my way to the table. You might think you were in Ireland, as the pub really has an authentic Irish pub look. My enthusiastic server greeted me, and yes, I was hungry and ready to eat.
The lunch menu consisted of starters, salads and soups, authentic Irish creations, classic burgers, sandwiches and more. Prices ranged from $3 for a cup of soup to $15.95 for Aunt Molly’s Pot Roast.
Because it was a cool and crisp day, I wanted to start off with a soup appetizer. The choices were potato leek soup or corn chowder. I chose the cup of corn chowder and promised myself not to eat the whole cup. Honestly, the corn chowder was so darn good that I did eat the whole cup. The soup contained a silky, creamy goodness of corn, potatoes, green and red peppers from a chicken base. The soup is started with a roux. Roux is a cooking mixture of flour and butter. It is the thickening agent of three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: béchamel sauce, velouté sauce and espagnol sauce. It is used as a thickener for gravy, other sauces, soups and stews. I must say that was one of the most satisfying cups of corn chowder I ever ate. Well, OK, I knew I would be headed off to the gym that evening for my overindulgence. It is not always easy to make the right choices all the time, but if you slip, remember that exercise is the way to redeem yourself. Dr. Phillip Gioia, who sits on our board, once told me that Americans can cut their annual health bills in half by doing two things: eating healthier and exercising.
A portion control tip when eating out: Eat half of your meal, or share an entree. Serving sizes are literally three to four times the size they used to be, which is way more than you need. Split a meal with a friend for a more appropriately sized meal, or put half in a to-go box. You’ll see there’s a big difference between being full and being stuffed to the point of feeling uncomfortable.
The main entrée, Ashford salmon, then arrived. The 5-ounce portion of salmon was grilled with a dill sauce on the side. It was served with a delicious serving of sautéed veggies and your choice of mashed potatoes, pub fries or fresh fruit. I chose the fresh fruit. Let me tell you, the salmon was moist, succulent and flavorful. It was grilled to perfection, and made me smile. Now, that was some good salmon! Nothing I hate more than dry, tasteless salmon. The sautéed vegetables were also cooked perfectly, and I quickly disposed of them. Chef Todd Field was off that day, but I did speak to line cook Lorraine Bajanen, who told me they use all locally grown produce. Hooray for McMurphy’s! She also told me that fresh fruit is offered as a side dish for every entrée. Hooray again. Purposely, I saved the fruit for last. I was given a wonderfully fresh, generous portion of strawberries, melon, blueberries, grapes and pineapple. It was a fine ending to a great dining experience.
One last thing: Just because McMurphy’s is located in the Holiday Inn, don’t think it is just for their guests. Don’t miss out on a truly great place to eat. I was even told that on Wednesday nights, there is live Irish music for your entertainment. Thumbs all the way up for McMurphy’s Irish Pub! Have a happy and healthy day!