It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve returned from my whirlwind trip back to Scotland, and what a holiday it was.
In honor of the trip, this weekly feed is a roundup of highlights (of which there are many):
The first night, my sister and I went to dinner at my friend Jim’s, who along with my other friend Hannah treated us to a feast of delicious Scottish produce, much of it grown by Jim himself. From sweet colorful carrots to snack on, to a German-style potato salad with the creamiest new potatoes (to say I was obsessed with them would be an understatement), and handmade pasta with olive oil, anchovies, spring onion, lemon juice and zest… this meal was a wonderful welcome back to Scotland. And did I mention dessert? Oh, just your average selection of homemade ice creams, whiskey caramel sauce, and strawberry syrup.
Since we just arrived that day, we weren’t able to make a dish, BUT I did bring a bottle of local American whiskey, Manhattan Rye from Hudson Whiskey (you may recall me raving about it previously) as well as some maple syrup from Crown Maple, another local producer which went over well… in fact, I’m pretty sure I’m now their official American maple syrup supplier.
On our second day, we had dinner at Cafe St Honoré. I enjoyed a delicious starter of pickled beets with crowdie (a fresh Scottish soft cheese) and a main of roe deer with black pudding… so so tasty.
Part of the following day was spent in Semper Tattoo studio where, you guessed it, I got another tattoo! The lovely Keira Rose tattooed a couple sprigs of lavender along with the word ‘eunoia’, meaning “beautiful thinking,” also an old term for a “well mind”, on my right outer forearm. (my mom wasn’t too happy about this 🙈) We ate dinner at one of my favorite pizza places in Edinburgh, Civerinos, which with their massive slices and hot crispy fries did not disappoint anyone in my family.
Then on Friday came graduation! It went by very quickly, which I have no complaints about. After some celebratory fizz, a trip to Mary’s Milk Bar for gelato, my sister and I ended up meeting with a few of my former flatmates at Smith and Gertrude, a cool casual wine bar in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh.
I tried and loved a glass of Gewurztraminer from Alsace (I totally butchered the pronunciation of it the first time); Rolly Gassman Gewurztraminer 2015 is the specific wine if you’re interested—we ended up buying a couple of bottles at a local wine shop in Edinburgh.
Sunday (our sixth day), we headed to the Stockbridge Market. There we picked up/enjoyed a few goodies. I also purchased a rhubarb vanilla candle from JoJo Co., a small Scottish candlemaker located on the other side of the Firth of Forth in Fife—it smells just like real rhubarb mixed with vanilla. We also made a stop at my request at I.J. Mellis for cheese (you’re all soooo surprised, I know).
On Monday, we headed into the Highlands on a day tour. It was gorgeous weather up north, but unfortunately all too quick of a visit. Our tour guide was chock full of knowledge (he’d be great at a pub quiz), but was pointing out every car park we passed and whether caravans—we call them campers in the US—were allowed to park there or not (“No caravans allowed here!”) 😂.
Wednesday, we went into Leith for an obligatory stop at Bross Bagels (my favorite bagel place… and this is coming from a New Yorker) followed by a stop at a grocery store for the essentials: tea, baking ingredients (marzipan is super affordable in the UK) and biscuits.
On our last full day, we walked to the Royal Botanic Garden—why I never went when I actually lived here is beyond me, it is so beautiful! Plant geeks, people who like a nice quiet place to think, or people like me who just like to look at pretty flowers, should all visit this garden if given the opportunity to do so.
After the garden, we walked to Pinnies & Poppy Seeds, a sweet small artisan bakery specializing in shortbread, located just off of the Royal Mile. Flavors available that day included traditional all-butter, fennel seed dipped in dark chocolate, chocolate chip, lavender dipped in white chocolate, and cinnamon sugar. I bought a bunch to bring back to the office and friends, and one for myself to eat—it was the best shortbread I’ve had, I didn’t even make it out of the shop with it.
And we would be remiss not to make another stop at Mary’s Milk Bar — the tea and jam gelato I ate might be one of my favorites.
That evening, we headed to The Kitchin for dinner, and it was pretty evident throughout our meal that we were dining at a Michelin-starred establishment. From the treatment of the ingredients in each dish, to the emphasis of seasonality and sourcing from within Scotland, the entire dining experience was superb—we were also given small paper maps of Scotland to take home that showed where each of the ingredients came from.
And the front of house staff’s attention to detail was impressive—I failed to notice that my napkin fell off of my lap, and at the exact moment I did, a maître d’ appeared with a new one like a fine dining ninja.
A couple standout dishes (and this was difficult to narrow down) included:
Carrot Veloute with ginger and lime– This velvety smooth, super carrot-y, bright, spicy, refreshing (it was served cold) soup was only a small pre-starter, but I could have easily eaten an entire bowl.
Rabbit with wine and kidney sauce- The main dish I enjoyed during this fine dining extravaganza was delicious, but what really made it special was the wine and kidney sauce; rich, complex, this sauce was lick your plate good—don’t worry, no plate-licking occurred (though I was tempted).
Sadly, the next day we headed to the airport for our flight home. But I left Scotland feeling very inspired and motivated to work on some projects/ideas I had put on the back burner (currently working on one of them!).