Rittenhouse Rye and Stockbridge Stew-My First Weekend In Scotland

A three hour brunch, a trip to the theatre and meeting a movie crew – not too shabby for my first full weekend in Scotland.

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous heading into my first full weekend in Scotland.  I don’t have many friends here yet, and I’m still working on figuring out the city (yesterday, I counted four streets within 50 yards of my flat with the word “Terrace” in them, two with the word “Crescent,” and Brunswick, depending on which direction you’re headed, can be a road or a street, plus, venturing out is still a life or death game for me, seeing as how I cannot seem to train my mind to look the proper freaking direction before I cross the street), and so I was just sort of hoping that I’d stumble into a fun, busy weekend (without getting hit by a car), which is exactly what I did.

On Friday night, I decided to explore an area of Edinburgh called New Town, which is mostly a commercial area and the home to many of the best, nicest bars and restaurants in the area. After a thorough, intensely researched hunt for the perfect Friday night bar, which included, and was limited to, a Google search for “what is the best cocktail bar in Edinburgh?” I made my way to Bon Vivant, a french-style cocktail bar that made me happy on so many levels.  For starters, it’s a French cocktail bar, so the wine and liquor list was nothing short of incredible, and the bartenders (who did not serve one drink without flipping a glass or lighting something on fire) were incredibly knowledgeable about every bottle in the place, plus, they gave me free cheese and freshly shaved serrano ham to go with one of my drinks…you may think its kind of pathetic to hit the most popular bar in town solo on a Friday night, but the thing is, the bartenders do too, and when their sympathy shows up in the form of cured meat and cheese, I can’t even pretend to be upset about it.  Plus, when one of them was mixing my second (OK, my third) drink, he pulled out a bottle of brown stuff that almost made me tear up – Rittenhouse Rye Whisky.  It’s the whisky named for my old neighborhood in Philly, and even though you can probably find the stuff all over the world, it still made me feel like the universe was giving me a little sign (in the form of a cocktail, a/k/a my favorite kind of sign) that I’m in the right place.

After what I considered to be a pretty successful Friday night, on Saturday morning I made my way to brunch with my AirBnB hostess, who agFullSizeRender - Copy (68)reed to hang out with me despite the fact that I probably came off as a wee bit desperate when I texted her approximately four hours after I met her to ask her if she wanted to get together soon (I’m not here to not make friends, y’all). We went to a place that is maybe 100 yards from my front door, Polentoni, and is officially my new favorite place/worst habit.  I had a fritatta that was so damn good it was otherfreakingworldly (sausage, broccoli, mozzarella – that’s some type of holy trinity, right?) and I can’t see myself getting through too many weekends here without having one.  The nicest part about brunch wasn’t even the food, which was outstanding, it was the fact that myself and Helen stuck around for almost three hours chatting and getting to know one another over cappuccino after we finished eating.  It felt a lot like how my weekends were with my friends in Philadelphia – full of food, convo and coffee, and it made me feel like I’m inching a bit closer to making this place my home.

Saturday night, following an extended food coma, I headed out to the Edinburgh Playhouse to catch the late showing of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and it was nothing short of wonderful, I had a genuinely great time and by the end of it I was standing up and dancing and clapping to the final encore (don’t worry – so was everyone else). Following the show, I decided to have a night cap at a local bar, where I happened to run into a group of set designers for the new Avengers movie, which is being filmed here. Once again, with absolutely no regard for how desperate I may have looked, I asked them to be my friends (the words “do you guys wanna be my friends?” were spoken) and now I have six new friends and am also one (totally shameless) step closer to meeting Chris Evans.

Today, after willing myself to walk past Polentoni without going in for fritatta, I headed to an area of town called Stockbridge to pick up some fresh meat and veggies so that I could make a Sunday stew.  The Stockbridge Market (pictured) is basically a farmer’s marFullSizeRender - Copy (69)ket and will definitely be a staple of my weekend routine from now on.  I was able to get my hands on some amazing Scotch beef (apparently its the Wagyu of the British Isles), along with some beautiful produce.  I picked up whatever was freshest, meaning I ended up with leeks, parsnips, potatoes and some fresh herbs, and then I headed home to combat the Sunday scaries the only way I know how: cooking enough food for roughly three full-grown adults and eating it all myself.  Oh, and on the way home, I took a wrong turn and quite literally ran into Edinburgh Castle. Overall, not a bad weekend commute.

I wasn’t sure how my first full weekend in Scotland would turn out, but, between cocktails, brunch, the theatre and one of the best farmer’s markets I’ve seen (not to mention I basically, essentially, almost met Chris Evans), I’d say my first weekend here was a total success.  I can’t wait to see what the next one brings, and I really (really) can’t wait for my next fritatta.

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