Ten days in Scotland

September 18, 2009 at 10:41 pm (Restaurant review, Trip report)

My blog has languished recently because I haven’t been cooking–I’ve been enjoying other people’s cooking in Scotland.  Derek and I spent a week in Edinburgh and three days on the island of Islay. Both were lovely.

edinburghSmallI immediately fell in love with Edinburgh.  I felt at home from the moment we got on the airport bus and started riding through the suburbs. I liked the Georgian monotony of New Town, the touristy cashmere kitsch of the Royal Mile, and the small town friendliness of Stockbridge.  Edinburgh feels like a big, bustling city, yet it’s very easy and fast (and cheap!) to get around on foot and by bus.  Plus they’re rebuilding the trams!

I spent most of my week in Edinburgh just walking around, exploring all the different neighborhoods, and checking out the marvelous thrift stores (of which there seemed to be an infinite supply).  And I ate.  I ate lunch and dinner out every day.  After the unvarying German/Italian/Thai of Saarbruecken, it was a pleasure to be able to sample so many different cuisines.  Still, as the week wore on, I started to get sick of restaurant food.  My normally captious nature blossomed into outright pickiness (as you’ll see in the comments below).  But don’t be fooled by all the criticism.  I had a lovely time in Edinburgh, and would return in a minute.

Scotland is more vegetarian friendly than Germany–almost every restaurant has at least one vegetarian main dish.  That said, the vegetarian fare is pretty predictable.  At most restaurants the vegetarian option is risotto, and if not risotto, then it’s almost always ravioli.  I enjoy a well-made risotto, and I’ve had some excellent ravioli. (The pumpkin ravioli in a sage cream sauce at Girasole in Pittsburgh comes to mind.) However, when I go to a restaurant and the only vegetarian choices are risotto and ravioli, I become unreasonably acrimonious.  So I tried to seek out places with more interesting vegetarian options. Read the rest of this entry »

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