Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Weekend in Edinburgh … brrr … brrr (it was cold)
When one of my closest friends decided to make full use of her creative talents, she left the job that she was in, and took up furniture-making in Scotland. Having had a look at the stuff she's come up with so far, I am so in awe and impressed that I wonder why she hadn't done it sooner.
So, the plot so far.
Place: Edinburgh, Scotland
Date: Easter weekend, April 2010
Cast: Me, the bf, and the good friend
Activities for the weekend: Lots and lots of food
Temperature: How cold is cold enough
Gotta be honest here. When I knew we were going to visit said friend, all I really wanted to eat while we were there were haggis and deep-fried Mars bars. Before you recoil in horror, I didn't actually get to eat the Mars bars, but I sure made a good attempt at eating everything else in my way.
(They deep fry anything and everything in Scotland, or so I've heard.)
The first thing we had was afternoon tea. Found a cute little bookshop in Haddington which had a cafe at the back of the shop - this really bright, airy space - and we had scones with jam, and tea. Like a taste of England in Scotland. The scones were buttery and full of fluff (ie fluffy) and it was huge! It seemed to go on forever, and when that was done, I ate my friend's half too.
Since I really, really (really) wanted to have haggis, we trawled the pubs around the Grassmarket area to find a pub which:
a) served haggis (nearly all of them, so no sweat)
b) wasn't completely full (not so easy)
Having found one (name escapes me) which seemed really popular with the tour groups, we settled down and ordered various Scottish dishes to begin our adventurous meal. Of course, that ended up with one order of sausage and mash (English), haggis, neeps and tatties (all part of a meal - Scottish), and chicken pie (not even sure where this originates from, but definitely not Scotland).
What you see above is the haggis. Tatties and neeps basically mean potatoes (po-tah-toes, p-tah-tees) and swede, and tastes like mash potatoes and mash swede.
Haggis - after waiting all this time to try haggis - I can only describe it as insides wrapped with insides. Taste-wise, it's like peppery mince. But mince with a drier texture, almost as though it had been dried out with some breadcrumbs. Altogether very nice though, with a slightly gamey note to the aftertaste. Might not be liked by all, but certainly liked by me.
The next day, we met up for breakfast. Not knowing where to go, we looked for a cafe type place with just the right amount of people (not empty enough to be tellingly bad, yet not crowded enough to have to wait for a table) for brunch. Found an Italian cafe along Lothian Road, settled in, and was served by one of the friendliest waitresses in Scotland (albeit one who didn't understand us much, but she was very friendly so that's OK).
Had toasted cheese and tomato (may-toes?) croissant, along with an egg roll, a chicken sandwich, and some afternoon relaxation.
My egg roll, which was egg mayonnaise served in a soft, chewy bun (or bap). Nothing fancy, but it was cheap and it was very satisfying.
The cheese and may-toes croissant.
Chicken sandwich, which, for the price of £3.50, was possible the hugest sandwich I've ever had.
Back to the may-toes again. After one bite.
So, after brunch, we went around town, went to watch a film (Shutter Island - kinda tensed, confusing, and a bit of a let down) and then shopped around a bit, before going to a ceilidh (pronounced cay-lee) at the Student Union. One of my friend's friends was playing the accordion in the band that day, and since ceilidh sounded like so much fun, we thought, why not.
For those of you unfamiliar with what this caylee thing is, it's pretty much a lot of people in a room, dancing (to moves which everyone but you will have been familiar with) and it's just a lot of fun. Partly fun in trying to dodge the elbows coming your way, partly fun because you get thrown around a room with the sounds of the accordion in the background.
It's no good me trying to describe it because from my point of view (elbow-height), all I saw were elbows coming my way, people being flung about the other way, and every so often, I'd get swung along the line past lots of grinning people, before being swung round the other direction again. Oh, and the helicopter dance.
So, after an interesting, tiring, and very kilt-filled dance night at the Student Union, we were ready for a big breakfast the next day, prior to heading out to Loch Lomond. As we'd kipped at the Premier Inn (everything's premier but the price, and I'm SO sold, I would sell Premier Inn to anyone if only they'd ask), we opted for the all-you-can-eat breakfast at the Brewers Fayre next door to the hotel. For £7.50, you could have as much porridge, sausages, bacon, eggs, mushroom, baked beans, croissants, tea and coffee (not to mention jam and Marmite) as you wished.
Whenever the words 'all-you-can-eat' come into play, I know I will rise to the challenge.
Croissant AND toast. When one bit of floury product is simply not enough.
The works, I'll have everything but the bacon (because I just don't like bacon). Must have eaten enough for the other tables, and I have not looked at a croissant the same way since.