Monday, November 5, 2018

Fall in the UK - Part III

After breakfast, we headed to the castle on the other end of the Royal Mile, Palace of Holyroodhouse where Her Majesty the Queen spends her summers. Because it's still in use, there were no photos allowed inside. However, along one side of the palace is Holyrood Abbey. While it's falling down a bit (and has no roof) I thought it was quite striking.
It was pretty chilly walking around so we headed to Bon Vivant for a cozy lunch. I had this yummy cocktail to warm up a little bit - The Chloé - Tea Infused Tanqueray Gin, Cocci Rosa Vermouth, Grapefruit Cordial, Citrus, and Rosemary.
I also had the vegetarian pumpkin chili with fried halloumi cheese and jalapeño cornbread.
If you are a fan of The Crown on Netflix, you might recall that the Queen, and Prince Phillip, sailed on The Royal Yacht Britannia. It is now a permanent museum that you can take a self-guided tour of (hence my handset above). It was super neat to see all the bedrooms and the galleys, and yes dad, the engine room.
I mean, this was a drawing room on the ship where the royal family played cards and did puzzles!
We ended our day with the most amazing meal at a Michelin-starred French restaurant called Restaurant Martin Wishart. It was so delightful, from the service to the atmosphere and of course the food and drink. We each had a six-course meal, although with the amuse bouche, the bread, and the tray of sweets was more like nine.

Everything was so delicious, especially the white truffle risotto with scallop, the cheese soufflé, and the bread (of course). The sommelier came around and consulted Brian and I on which wines he would recommend based on how many glasses we wanted in total, what we liked to drink in general, and then made the perfect pairings. He even got me to drink a port! It was the perfect end to our little getaway.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Fall in the UK - Part II

I don't normally double post on Instagram and the blog, but this avocado toast at Kilimanjaro Coffee was just too pretty to follow my regular "rules" with. We also had coffees with our breakfast while sitting in the window, watching people pass by.
After breakfast we walked to The Scotch Whiskey Experience for our Master Class.
Known best for the largest unopened collection of scotch whiskey in the world. Purchased by a single collector, Claive Vidiz, the collection features 3,384 bottles that date as far back as 1897, many of the bottles look less than full because of the "angel's share" - or the portion that evaporates over time.
Our Master Class was with two other couples and an instructor. We did a blind smell test - Brian won - learned how to properly taste (which isn't different than wine) and tasted four scotch whiskeys. Since it was 10am, we didn't get too crazy, I even left some in the glasses!
After the tasting we walked around town a bit and then walked about a half hour to Dean Village. Brian had heard it was great for picture taking and he was not wrong. This was one of my favorite photos that I took, I think it looks like a painting.
After lunch at a vegan restaurant, we headed to Edinburgh Castle.
I liked the Scottish National War Museum, the views from the top of the hill, and the prisons (I guess I have eclectic tastes).
The city below the cannons.
After dinner we headed out for drinks at Under the Stairs with one of my colleagues who was also in town with his wife. We had a lovely evening chatting and swapping stories. I had this pretty cocktail (that I slipped behind our table for a photo) - the Cactus Jack - ocho tequila reposado, prickly pear liqueur, basil liqueur, amaro vermouth, watermelon syrup, citrus. So good! 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Fall in the UK - Part I

The first week of my trip in London was spent working on/at our annual festival, mostly, so not too many photos to share from that, well that you might find interesting. The best part of the week was seeing my friends/co-workers and catching up over rounds of delicious cocktails at Nine Lives (if you are in London, don't miss it). 
Brian flew in on Friday to help with the festival, and to see what takes me to London each fall. On our last day of the festival, a small group of us took advantage of a break and had a delicious high tea at the InterContinental London - O2. We had teas, finger sandwiches, and so many tiny pastries and cakes - just enough sugar and energy to power us through the clean up after the festival was over.
On Monday Brian and I took a train up to Edinburgh, Scotland for a few days of vacation before heading back home. The upstairs of our Airbnb was too cute. The stone cottage, formerly a coopers quarters and workshop, sat beside a big park and next to one of The University of Edinburgh's libraries. It was a great location to walk to most anywhere from. 
After we got settled in at our Airbnb, we walked back to the center of town to pick up a walking tour of the Blair Street Underground Vaults with Mercat Tours. While the tour didn't really lend itself to photos (lots of grey slabs of stone), we learned about the city of Edinburgh and the history of the fascinating set of underground caverns built in the 18th century beneath the South Bridge. 
After the tour, we headed to Devil's Advocate for a delicious dinner. I started off with this yummy cocktail - Cycling in the French Riviera - Star of Bombay gin, Suze, Cocchi Americano, yellow chartreuse, and cucumber bitters - so good!
After a week of mostly grab and go meals, I needed some veggies so I ordered the roasted cauliflower with tahini, sumac, pomegranate and toasted seeds. It was very good but there was so much of it - and I needed room for the truffle parmesan chips I ordered as well. It was pretty cold outside (40's F) so we bundled up and headed back to our cottage for some much needed and deserved sleep. Had to rest up for a very packed couple of days, more on that tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!