Archive for the ‘Finn McCool’s Irish Pub’ Category

The Most Talked-about Holiday Dessert Recipe

Thursday, December 24th, 2009
Holiday Pumpkin Shortcake at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

Pumpkin Shortcake with Caramel Apples

The Best Pumpkin Dessert in the world is at Finn McCool’s Irish Pub in Santa Monica. My friend Michal Mitchell, who now lives in Virginia, is one of the best home cooks I know and she sent me this recipe to make for the Thanksgiving dinner at my home.She always has fabulous ideas. Of course I tweaked the recipe a tad and used buttermilk instead of whole milk.  It is the lightest of any shortcake I have ever made. The caramel apples will melt in your mouth, and the ginger whipped cream is an ethereal and clever topping for this dessert. It is so easy to make and will grace any holiday table. I brought a batch of them to my friend Diana Temple’s house for dinner the night before and every one raved about them. Diana is a professional chef so I was very proud to have her compliments.

 I like it so much because I am not a pumpkin pie lover, I prefer sweet potato pie. So we served it as a special at our Irish pub on Thanksgiving. The shortcakes also received rave reviews so we are featuring it throughout the holiday season. My mother used to say a moment on your lips, a lifetime on your hips! The diet starts for real in January.

Happy Christmas to all of you and all of our very best wishes for a safe, healthy, prosperous New Year. 

Michal’s Pumpkin Shortcake with Caramel Apples & Gingered Whipped Cream   Makes 6


4 tablespoons sweet butter

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut in ¼-inch wedges

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons heavy cream

In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat and add apple slices. Sauté for 10 minutes until tender. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and cream and cook slowly over low heat until thick and caramelized. Set aside.

Starting the mixture for Pumpkin shortcakes at finn's

Pumpkin Mixture for Shortcakes at Finn's


1 ¾ cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon                                              

⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into ¼ inch dice

½ cup pumpkin puree

⅓ cup buttermilk

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup sugar

 1. Heat oven to 425º F.  Butter a cookie sheet. Sift the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl of a mixing machine.

Mixing Shortcake Dough at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

Mixing dough at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

2. Add the butter and mix until flour resembles coarse crumbs. Beat together the pumpkin, milk, egg and vanilla. Add into flour mixture with the machine running on low and stir until it combines. Dough should be sticky but hold together in a sticky ball.

Shortcake Dough at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

Shortcake Dough at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

 3. Flour hands well and turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press out and cut dough into 6 three inch rounds with a glass or a cookie cutter.

Shortcake Dough ready for the Oven at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

Shrtcake Dough ready for the Oven at Finn's

Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Baked Shortcakes at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

Shorcakes hot from the Oven at Finn McCool's Irish Pub


1 cup heavy cream

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

⅓ cup sugar

2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Place cream and vanilla into mixing bowl with wire whip and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Slowly add sugar and continue beating until cream holds soft peaks. Stir in ginger.


Split each shortcake in half & place a large dollop of whipped cream on top. Spoon warm apple mixture over cream and make sure to serve a generous amount of sauce. Place top of shortcake and drizzle with a little more sauce.

Finn McCool's Irish Pub Holiday Pumpkin Shortcake

Pumpkin Shortcake with Caramel Apples at Finn McCool's

Finn McCool’s Irish Pub for Vegetarian Food

Saturday, November 21st, 2009


I’m not your typical vegetarian.  Most of my tofu-loving friends made the decision to forego meat some time in elementary school.  When they realized that that rack of lamb is a rack of baby lamb, or that their hotdog used to go “Oink”.  My parents, however, raised me on a vegetarian diet from birth. So essentially, the decision was made for me.  It is one I have chosen to uphold but it’s inspired an interesting attitude towards meat for me.  A lifelong curiosity that some of my veggie friends would only describe as morbid!

Working at Finn McCool’s has only fueled my little obsession. Bacon.  Good God, does anything smell better than sizzling Irish bacon? 

Someone just ordered the Shrimp and Avocado Salad. Were I so inclined, I’d pop those juicy shellfish like candy. 

Shrimp Salad - Finn McCool's

Shrimp Salad - Finn McCool's

How about the Shepherd’s Pie topped with buttery champ.

Shepherd's Pie at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

Shepherd's Pie at Finn McCool's Irish Pub


I like to live vicariously through my omnivorous co-workers at times. If Grant, one of our bartenders, orders the Corned Beef and Cabbage, I’ll perch on a bar stool and watch.

Corned Beef and Cabbage at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

Corned Beef and Cabbage at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

          “How’s the beef?” I’ll ask, “It looks lean.”

          “Uh, yeah, India. It is” he’ll reply, fork poised in mid air.

“So…so is this better than Tele’s Crispy Chicken? ‘Cause that chicken looks good. And with the gravy? Delicious, right?”

          “I just want to eat my…”

          “Put some Coleman’s mustard on that bite before you eat it. It really compliments the meat.”

 This will go on until Grant’s meal has gone cold or it’s just too awkward to eat. Whatever comes first?  Richelle, another bartender, thinks I like to keep her company during her dinner break. But really I’m just keeping an eye on her Connemara Seafood Stew and how it’s working with that garlic saffron sauce.

Connemara Seafood Stew - Finn McCool's Irish Pub

Connemara Seafood Stew - Finn McCool's Irish Pub

At the end of the day though, as delicious as animals may look when sautéed, roasted, deep fried or grilled, I love them too too much to eat them.  And so, I am resigned to find my own culinary delights amongst the vegetable kingdom.  Lucky for me though, Finn’s has an entire page of our oversized menu devoted solely to veggie cuisine.  So often, vegetarians are forced to endure a meal where the meaty element has simply been removed.  A big plate of limp bell pepper slices and sad carrots with a gaping hole where the chicken is supposed to be.  But Geraldine and Hector have gone to great lengths to make sure that our vegetarian guests leave Finn’s as satisfied as their steak-loving friends.

It would be a feat for any chef to adapt Irish food into something acceptable for a vegetarian.  We’re a meat-loving breed what with our beef stews and Shepherd’s pies.  But Finn’s triumphs!  One can enjoy a traditional Irish boxty: crisp, tasty vegetables sautéed in a creamy garlic or spicy curry sauce and wrapped in our homemade potato pancake.  Cure your Sunday morning hangover with a Bloody Mary (minus the Worcestershire sauce; its fishy!) and a veggie Irish breakfast complete with Heinz Baked Beans and potato bread. Have a Cashel Blue Cheese salad, full of cranberries and yummy candied walnuts, for lunch.

Finn McCool's Irish Pub Signature Cashel Blue Salad

Finn McCool's Irish Pub Signature Cashel Blue Salad

Traditional Irish Boxty at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

Traditional Irish Boxty at Finn McCool's Irish Pub









Or just have a big plate of champ, our delicious mashed potatoes with green onions.  It’s that good. And, of course, supplement your iron with a pint of Guinness!

We’ve even adapted some of our most popular dishes into something I can enjoy. The Blarney Bacon Skins are, by far, the customer favorite.  And the veggie skins don’t disappoint.  Instead of bacon, these little potato dreams are stuffed with avocado and chewy sun-dried tomatoes then smothered in Blarney cheese. Amazing. 

Order anything off our menu that involves a Portobello mushroom.  Portobellos are like the steak of the veggie world. Big, juicy and filling.  Hector roasts them in balsamic vinegar nd grills them to perfection.  The Portobello Salad is to die for but it’s the mushroom sandwich that rocks my world. A big mushroom cap topped with blue cheese, caramelized onions and spicy remoulade, served in a sesame seed bun.  I like to attack mine with a steak knife.  You know, just to pretend!

Vegetarian Portobello Salad at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

Vegetarian Portobello Salad at Finn McCool's Irish Pub


Portobello Sandwich at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

Portobello Sandwich at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

      The latest and greatest addition to our menu is the Flatbread with Pesto, Sun-dried tomatoes, Goat Cheese and topped with an Arugula Salad
Vegetarian Flatbread at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

Vegetarian Flatbread at Finn McCool's Irish Pub

And if you have any room left after all that, go for one of our traditional Irish desserts.  Meat-eaters and vegetarians alike can unite over our bread pudding. Or our rhubarb crumble. Or the apple pie. Or, oh God, our amazing chocolate box packed with bubbly mousse and fresh strawberries.   And don’t forget a creamy Irish coffee made with our brewed Organic Coffee to wash it all down!

So in conclusion, if you are a confirmed meat lover, come on down to Finn McCool’s Irish Pub and sample one of the dozens of unbelievable traditional Irish dishes we have on offer.  If you are a vegetarian, you too, will be spoiled for choice.  And, if you are a weird, secret-fantasy-meat-loving committed vegetarian like myself, well then this is the only restaurant for you.