Mother India’s Cafe (Edinburgh): A South Asian Delight

IMG_6428For the past year, I’d been hearing about this little Indian place in Edinburgh, usually whenever my craving for something spicy inevitably popped up.

“Mother India,” D.B. would say. That’s the place to go in the city for good Indian food.

As much this name was invoked, however, we never seemed to make it there. And as the months passed, I began to think of it as something of a unicorn — did this mythical place actually exist?

Finally, after a gloomy, drizzly April Monday in Scotland, it seemed like a spicy dinner was in order. So, off we traipsed down a narrow lane packed with old stone buildings near Edinburgh’s Old Town, and soon, there it was: Mother India’s Cafe …

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Spoon (Edinburgh): Haggis and Harry Potter

Jams

J.K. Rowling, as you might imagine, is big in Edinburgh.

The Elephant House, with its sweeping picture window views of Edinburgh Castle, is constantly packed with camera-toting tourists, as Rowling wrote bits of Harry Potter there — back when she could still wander the world incognito, of course.

Besides this cafe, however, there is one other spot that is something of a Rowling shrine — though one that’s considerably less mobbed, as it’s morphed into something else since its Rowling years: Spoon, a bright and cheery first floor restaurant that used to be Nicolson’s Cafe, otherwise known as the place where Rowling wrote some of the early chapters of Harry Potter.

As much of a fan as I am of the series, I’ve never wanted to get in the perennially long line at the Elephant House. Spoon, on the other hand, not only doesn’t have the lines but is also a restaurant whose food I’d heard good things about.

So on a drizzly Sunday, D.B. and I set off for a little look-see …

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Jelberts (Cornwall, England): The Best Ice-Cream

photo (26)The noodging began the moment I mentioned traveling to Cornwall for work.

“You must go to Jelberts.”

“It’s really the best ice-cream.”

“You have to go.”

All this coming from a man who has given very few foods the slightest compliment in the short time I’ve known him.

I’m not a big cold sweets person myself, but two things swayed me — Dorset Boy simply adores ice-cream. And, he spent chunks of his childhood in Cornwall, a fairly short walk from Jelberts, in fact.

So when I finally set foot in Cornwall, on this southernmost bit of England, I decided I had to see what the fuss was all about. Or, never hear the end of it …

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Coltman’s Delicatessen & Kitchen (Scotland): The Pleasure of Peebles

IMG_0361There’s a charming story about a lord near the tiny town of Peebles, located in the rolling hills of Midlothian, Scotland, right by the beautiful River Tweed.

When the conversation turned to¬†Paris once, this lord recounted how a local woman once sniffed: “I’ve been to Paris and I’ve been to Peebles — give me Peebles for pleasure anytime.”

Which may have been why Dorset Boy chose to take me to Peebles on our very first Sunday drive. I’ve been to Paris, after all. Peebles, on the other hand — now this was virgin territory.

What was in store? A cozy little cafe named Coltman’s

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The Raeburn (Edinburgh): Quaint Scottish Locavore

Jacob's LadderI hadn’t been in Edinburgh for very long when I started to hear about Stockbridge.

This little neighborhood filled with quaint shops wedged together on narrow, cosy streets used to be a village — and still has that air about it.

It’s become recently fashionable, though — sort of the Greenwich Village of the city. And amid the buzzy cafes and shops popping up, I started to notice one in particular: The Raeburn.

Aside from reading about this new boutique hotel and restaurant, I knew there was something there when I happened to overhear a set of chic young Edinburgh professionals talking about it being the place to meet for after-work drinks these days.

So on a chilly spring evening, Dorset Boy and I bundled up and headed over …

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