I’d been to Edinburgh several times, but always in the winter, but Eric had never been, and I knew he was going to love it! Imagine my surprise when we arrived on June 27, and it was about 55 degrees and pouring rain! (I wasn’t surprised.)
Luckily, our bed and breakfast was only a fifteen-minute walk from Waverley Station; on the way, we stopped in to the first decent-looking pub we passed to dry off, grab a bite to eat, and kill some time until check-in.
The Theatre Royal Bar.
Leek and onion soup!
After checking in and dropping off our bags, we walked back across the park to the Royal Mile, and walked the entire thing. After peeking into Holyrood, we doubled-back and, still near the bottom of the hill, popped into another pub, the No. 1 High Street Bar, for dinner.
The starter: focaccia and delicious dippings.
Eric ordered… more fish and chips! Haddock, this time.
And I had… more bangers and mash! This was the best plate of bangers and mash of the whole trip: prime Scottish sausage from award-winning local butcher Crombies of Edinburgh, served with onion gravy, mashed potatoes, and market vegetables.
The malt of the moment!
Our bed and breakfast, Adria House, was amazing. Not just the immaculately restored, quiet, neoclassical New Town digs, but the attentive and friendly service! Our hosts made us packed breakfasts for the two mornings on which our schedules necessitated an early departure: yogurt, cheese, clementines, apples, granola bars, and juice! I highly recommend this B&B!
Of course, a leisurely breakfast in the dining room was even better!
I turned 34 while we were in Edinburgh, so we went out for a nicer-than-usual dinner. Our Scottish friend Alan recommended Rose Street, and so off we went!
Look, it’s my tattoo! Made of pebbles! On a street! In Scotland. Wait, what?
We went to The Rosehip and had a lovely, lengthy, decadent meal.
First course: prosecco!
My main course: Local lambshank served with a leek and savoy cabbage mash and coated in a red onion, rosemary and onion jus. It was so, so good.
Eric’s dinner: Scottish venison steak with mashed sweet potatoes! YES.
Did I mention they also had an impressive whisky collection?
I toasted the Blair ancestors with a wee dram of 1997 Blair Atholl.
The dessert course: chocolate cake and cappuccinos. Mmm. It was actually a bit too cold outside—on June 30!
Window display, Royal Mile.
We also went on quite the pub crawl in Edinburgh. We went to three folkie pubs recommended by KUT‘s Ed Miller (who hosts our favorite radio program, Across the Water). We visited several pubs on the Royal Mile, in the heart of the touristy center of Edinburgh. We got lost in Canonmills and wandered into a pub packed with spaniels, showing Wimbledon live, and serving real ale. We went on the aforementioned Rose Street walk. We drank the pint above at The Doctors, next to the University of Edinburgh, on graduation day; the place was packed with be-robed graduates in white tie, happy families, balloons, and crusty British professor types.
And we bought obscure local brews to take back to the sitting room at our B&B! So relaxing.
One of the pubs recommended by Ed Miller was the Canons Gait on the Royal Mile. We’d also hear they had good food, so we decided to go there for dinner.
Eric had the fresh salmon and scalloped potatoes with salad. It was really good. But what I had was even better.
I ordered haggis!
I’d never had haggis before; I had enjoyed an amazing, lentil-based vegetarian “haggis” at the George Hotel in Inverary, when I went there with my mom in 2004 (in fact, it was so good, I ordered it for every meal!). I calculated my chances at the Canons Gait: 1) recommended by Ed Miller; 2) reassuringly short, obviously seasonal menu; 3) the Scottish lady at the next table over ordered the haggis. I decided to go for it.
And I’m glad I did! This was one of the tastiest meals of the entire trip. The haggis was flavorful and decadent. The neeps and tatties were creamy and addictive (especially the tatties—I think they were half butter, to be honest). Washed down with a pint, it was a meal to remember. I’d even eat it again.
I think that’s a great note to end on, don’t you?
Check back next week for part four: Northumberland and Liverpool (I’ll explain!).