Scottish Dining: Mark Greenaway and 21212

I was lured to Scotland by two of my dearest friends to attend their wedding a few weeks ago, which gave me the opportunity to maximize the experience and include some fine dining while in Edinburgh. Mark Greenaway, a restaurant in a sophisticated townhouse opened a few months ago, and has been getting some great reviews, so I made sure to have a reservation before I left New York. The experience turned out to be fantastic: photo above is my favorite entree of the trip: Goosnargh Duck Breast: Sausage Roll, Potato Croquette, Peas, Caramelized Watermelon, and Tarragon Jus. The duck was cooked to perfection, with a nice layer of fat, and had the ideal texture to pair with the sausage rolls. The next night, we snagged a last-minute reservation at 21212, which was open on Sunday because the Fringe Festival was in full swing. Lucky for us, we were able to escape the fray around the Royal Mile and head over to another beautiful, posh townhouse. 21212 gets its name from the menu, which has a choice of 2 starters, 1 soup, choice of 2 entrees, 1 cheese, and a choice of 2 desserts. Photo below shows the entree: The Chicken Roast Dinner, French slow-cooked corn-fed chicken breast, with  bacon, chipolatas, ham, 4 Scottish root vegetables, mini roasties, cranberry puree, sage & onion, white bread & rosemary sauce, tiny leeks & crisp skin. It was two nights of pure decadence! See more photos of all the fabulous bites on my FB page in the Foodie Scotland album.

Scottish Cocktails Report Edinburgh/Glasgow: Blythswood Square and Ubiquitous Chip

After a few days in Edinburgh, we headed west to Glasgow. Blythswood Square Hotel proved to be not only a totally high-class spot, but also devoted to cocktail making. One sip convinced us to stay for dinner as well, and try some more cocktails after we had some food in our system. Bartender David Smillie invented a cocktail for me on the spot, the Teq App, when I told him I had a preference for tequila. He blended apricot brandy, pink grapefruit, lime and pineapple juice, added a dash of Peychards Bitters and egg white with Tapatio Blanco (photo, top). Fabulous! On the other end of town, we stopped in at the Ubiquitous Chip, celebrating its 40th year in business. We chose the tiniest of the three bars, where Peter treated us to the specialties of the house. Photo shows the Ginger Mojito with Anogstura 5 Year Old Rum, Mint, Lime and Ginger. See more photos from the trip at Scottish Cocktails on my FB page.

Scottish Lodging: The Scotsman Hotel and Citizen M

I try to stay in boutique hotels whenever I travel, and the two that I picked in Scotland could not be more different from each other, making for a split personality trip! In Edinburgh, The Scotsman was built in 1905, originally as offices for the newspaper of the same name. The architecture is striking, and unique, and the hotel is like a maze, as it is actually 3 buildings, each serviced by its own elevator. Each of the suites are different. The lower level houses a stainless steel swimming pool below the spa and gym. When we headed over to Glasgow, and Citizen M, we encountered a totally modern, space with personality. The rooms were designed and fitted modularly, so that each room was identical. A sumptuous, king-size bed decked with plump, cushy pillows, spanned wall to wall, in front of a window. Inside the space was a frosted glass cubicle which housed a luxurious shower and the toilet. The TV, lighting, and window blinds and shades were all controlled with a Philips remote. We nicknamed the room "the pod" for its futuristic qualities. See more photos of both hotels in the Foodie Scotland album on FB.


Body Baring?

Reach for low-cal beverages to help keep weight on track. See the three posts below.

Bubbly Goodness: R W Knudsen Sparkling Essence

I love the pretty little cans, and always have a few in my fridge, which are great for adding sparkle to single-serving cocktails, providing a complexity of flavor with no calories whatsoever. The latest editions, from R W Knudsen Sparkling Essence, Coconut and Lime, are naturals in a cocktail. I suggest mixing them both, with a splash of pineapple juice and rum, for a low-cal refreshing take on the PiƱa Colada. i.e. put the lime in the coconut, and drink ‘em both together...

Good BAI extra calories!

Think about adding one of Bai’s exotic infusions into your next cocktail. At only 10 calories a bottle, you will be totally guilt-free! You may find it difficult to decide on which flavor, so it’s best to try them all: Panama Peach, Sumatra Dragonfruit, Costa Rica Clementine, and Congo Pear. See my earlier post and cocktail recipe at this link.

Honest Tea introduces Cocoa

If chocolate is on your mind, address your craving the healthy way with Honest CocoaNova, Honest Tea’s new line of low-calorie beverages. The three varieties, Mint Cacao, Mocha Cacao and Cherry Cacao each have a sophisticated, chocolate-y taste, and have only 50 calories a bottle. In addition, your drink comes packed with the natural antioxidants and theobromine found in their USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified cacao beans. Available in health food stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, Whole Foods, and more—check the website to find a retailer near you.