Not every baking story I have to tell is a wild success, especially when I’m desperately trying to recreate an incredible dish. I had hoped. I understood all the elements, but something was missing from the baked figs I made (and it wasn’t the ice cream — I added that after taking this photograph). Maybe it was time or distance or the ambiance of the Edinburgh restaurant I first had this dish in. Maybe it was because the first time I ate it without the distraction of company: just me and a spoon and a heavenly dessert before me. I’ll never really know.
But I will try again. Because my world needs nights with baked figs surrounded by pieces of amaretto cookies topped with vanilla ice cream, nights where I slow down and savor every glorious moment: the smell of the cookies, the taste of the figs, the heat in my mouth, the warmth in the air, the light draping itself across the table…
I’m not sure who said to me “you don’t go to the UK for the food.” Whoever it was never has spent any time in Edinburgh — or really, the rest of Scotland for that matter. I left having prepared myself for breathtaking scenery and beautiful castles, but I return craving the food I had there. I had intended to do one massive “things I ate in Scotland” post, but the food was so good, I need to linger over a few of my favorites, especially my eats in Edinburgh.
The Outsider in Old Town Edinburgh, just off the Royal Mile, came highly recommended to me by Naomi — and I’m so glad she sang this restaurant’s praises. I spent a good two and a half hours dining there (alone nonetheless) because I was savoring every bite of their pumpkin leek vegetable roulade (above) and baked figs dessert, which was so good that it needs two photos to just begin to convey its awesomeness.
Mum’s is a cute little 50s-ish inspired homestyle real British food (with a healthy twist) diner just south of Old Town. Their veggie haggis warmed me right up on a rainy day. It was all the deliciousness of real haggis with none of the brow-raising questionable meats — not that I’ve ever had real haggis, and I don’t think I’ll ever have to given how yummy this one was.
I was also lucky enough to stumble upon a great outdoor market on my last day in Scotland where I ran into Kaori, who hosted me the first two nights I was in the country. Kaori is the culinary mastermind behind the delicious Japanese food at Harajuku Kitchen, and I was so thrilled I had the chance to try some of her food while I was there.
So as not to overwhelm you with food porn, I’ll save the rest of my Scotland culinary discoveries for next week.
Is your tummy rumbling? Mine is.