What I noticed about my dining experiences at Avec, Blackbird, and Girl and the Goat was their common use of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Whether it’s fish or vegetables, the dishes are reflective of the time of year. The hubs and I have a friend who’s an avid fisher, and he gifted us this hybrid striped bass. There’s no better way to enjoy fresh seafood than to fire it up quickly on the pan with butter, salt, and cracked black pepper before giving it a squeeze of lemon prior to eating.
It seems every city we visited in the UK and Ireland had a rendition of the good ol’, popular fish ’n chips. It’s no wonder, because the stuff is quick, easy, cheap, filling, and delicious. Fish ’n chips may be a British-born dish, but I grew up eating at Long John Silver’s, which has a similar offering of fried seafood and fried potatoes (called “fries” in the U.S. And “chips” in the UK and Ireland—and in case you are wondering, what Americans call “chips” are known as “crisps” over there).
Dating back to 1913, Leo Burdock’s is the oldest fish ’n chips chain in Dublin. We stopped by one of the locations after our last night drinking in Dublin, because greasy fish ’n chips are what you crave after a night full of ”slainte! There was no line, the order and pickup were quick, the food was cheap, and we carried our goodies home wrapped up in butcher paper. Back at our airbnb, we spread open the paper on the dining table and went to town. The fish was fried
The Pig’s Ear is located at the top of a set of stairs. We stopped in for lunch because I’d wanted shepherd’s pie. The lunch menu is prix fixe, and you can choose between a two-course or a three-course option. I chose two, and I was satisfied afterwards, but I could have very well gone with the three-course selection. I was just excited to get my shepherd’s pie in Ireland. The lamb pie wasn’t gigantic, but its modest size still filled me up. Most importantly, it was pretty darn good.
Because we got straight-up REJECTED at Balvenie, we visited Glenfiddich instead. The Glenfiddich distillery was a much larger operation, offering tours on a walk-in basis. A tour guide, complete with a kilt, gave us a tour of the 130-year-old family operation. I learned that glenfiddich means “valley of the deer,” hence Glenfiddich’s label. At the endof the tour, of course there was a tasting. The visit to Glenfiddich was totally worth it, but they say once you tour one distillery, they’re all kind of the same, so unless you’re a
I wanted to try haggis, so we had to find a restaurant serving some traditional Scottish fare. That’s how we stumbled upon Howies. We had passed many restaurants after visiting Edinburgh Castle, but none of the menus looked enticing. There were a lot of fish ’n chips, meat pies, and fish chowders—not that there was anything wrong with these—but everything sounded like greasy bar food, so when we found a bistro type eatery up a hill serving lunch specials, we put our names on the list. Howies isn’t super cheap,
On our fourth day in London, my girlfriend and I wanted to experience afternoon tea. I was recommended many places for tea time, including the Ritz and Claridge’s. But on this day, we’d been roaming around London in shorts and sneakers, and we just didn’t feel like trekking back to our airbnb to change into high tea-appropriate wear, so we ended up at the Rose Lounge, mostly because we were already in the area. The Rose Lounge turned out to be exactly what we were looking for: true afternoon tea
How do the Brits not fall into food coma after eating this? Maybe it’s because their adrenaline is still running high from being yelled at by the man taking orders behind the counter. I don’t know if he’s the owner, but he’s authoritative, whoever or whatever he is. Right when we entered, I heard his booming voice calling for patrons to hurry up and pick up their dishes at the counter. The place was bustling, and the Breakfast Nazi was in full swing, taking no bullshit from nobody. This was
Our third day in London was one long food crawl. We started with street food, then went to a fancy department store complete with its own fancy food hall where we bought fancy picnic bites to be consumed in Hyde Park, and finished off the evening with perhaps our favorite meal in London.
The first time I came to London, I was 22, fresh out of college, and traveling on a young backpacker’s dime. This meant I ate a lot of hostel breakfasts and fast food. I was later told London is home to the best restaurants in the UK, and now that I have a little more money in the bank, I was able to splurge on food beyond cold cereal and Big Macs (which, if I recall correctly, tasted just like their American counterparts). On day 1 of our UK &