also known as:
Celebrating Turning 21 in Scotland Part 1
Showing My Parents Around Edinburgh
What a lucky coincidence that my birthday falls on spring break (back in Texas)! My parents + Zander came to the UK to celebrate my birthday and for vacation in London (seriously, my favorite city on earth). I wanted to give them a proper welcome and tour of Edinburgh so we did quite a lot in one day.
First, a welcome gift. What do you give to first-timers in Scotland? Only the classics:
- Lambswool anything
- Digestive crackers (invented in Edinburgh apparently?)
- Turnock’s Tea Cakes
- Irn Bru
- Something by Robert Burns
- Cadbury Chocolate (okay not Scotland specific… but it’s everywhere!)
I must say, pretty proud to create a genuine Scottish gift basket that also wasn’t overly tacky and touristy.
We started the day in Leith, which is kind of sort of part of Edinburgh, but also not really. Leith is a town on the shore. It’s got some of the best food places in the Edinburgh area. And my first meal as a super-legal adult was at Mimi’s Bakehouse, which consistently appears on “best breakfasts in Edinburgh” lists. I very much approve of their style.
Everything in Mimi’s is slightly sweet. You’ve got pastel decor, cursive wall writing, the aroma of baked goods, and delicious food.
My mom ordered a traditional a “before-noon” tea…
and I ordered a traditional Scottish breakfast; finally finally got that one checked off the bucket list! (Yes I did break vegetarianism for one meal… how could I not try the traditional Scottish breakfast while in Scotland?!)
The traditional Scottish Breakfast includes (starting from the top, clockwise): Bacon, bread + butter, tomato, black pudding, haggis, sausage, potato scone, eggs, and beans (middle). Overall it was okay… very heavy and filling though.
I nibbled on the bacon, decided I didn’t like it/it wasn’t anything special, and gave it to Zander. The tomato was gone fast. Black pudding had the texture of crumbly tofu or polenta (?) and it tasted… well like very dry, spongy, well done, cooked meat (it really didn’t have a strong TASTE I could associate it with). My first impressions of the haggis was “oily.” It has the texture of eating grains in a way (since it’s so crumbly) and tastes like spiced meat. The sausage was actually good, very savory and it had a really nice texture. The potato scone – also super oily – was slightly sweet. It’s tastes almost like a Chinese pancake without the green onions and less salt. Eggs were standard (maybe a little watery for my taste). I didn’t really touch the bread (too full) or beans (not a fan of beans).
It’s actually super hard to describe the taste of the more Scottish items because it’s just so unique… there’s nothing I’ve tasted that’s like haggis or black pudding. Would I order it again? Maybe if I am feeling particularly Scottish, but I tend to like my breakfast REAL sweet.
After eating our fill at Mimi’s we walked around Leith for a bit.
This was my first time in Leith and while it’s pretty, my final verdict is that there’s not much to do beyond walk and eat good food.
We took the Water of Leith path back towards Edinburgh. Made it almost all the way back to town, but then decided to Uber back to make it to our Edinburgh tour on time. It’s a very pretty walk, I see why it’s on the list of “best walks to take in Edinburgh” (yes, that list exists!)
Even though I’ve lived here for about 3 months now… there’s still no one better than a tour guide to tell visitors about Edinburgh. I tagged along to see how good my knowledge of Edinburgh was… didn’t do too bad! I learned a few new things on this tour, but knew most of it already.
Two things I thought were interesting:
- The artist who created the statue in the center photo wasn’t getting paid, so he swapped the horses ears with pigs ears and made a “pigs ear” out of things (an idiom which means to mess up something)
- Deacon Brody – now a bar – is the real life inspiration for the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He was really well respected in the town (earning the title of Deacon) but also had some bad habits, so he turned to a life a crime to maintain his lifestyle. So by day, a respectable man, by night, a not respectable man -> Jekyll and Hyde.
Afterwards, I did my own quick tour of Edinburgh University – Central Campus. Slightly embarrassing that I don’t know too much about central campus… but then again, I don’t have any classes there!
We wrapped up the day with an super fancy dinner at Angels with Bagpipes. I was looking for a really nice Scottish restaurant and I didn’t have to look any farther than the Royal Mile
Angels with Bagpipes is nice, they gave us free Prosecco for my birthday XD, and the cocktail I got – St. Cristian – was very good. It tasted like one of those chocolate oranges, in a cocktail form.
While Angels and Bagpipes is nice, it also didn’t blow me out of the water the way I’d expect from this tier of restaurant (£££). It definitely makes for an interesting meal because of its unique flavor pairings (the crab avocado was surprisingly light and refreshing because it was combined with cucumber and lemon). Not going to recommend it because it’s totally not in my budget but if you’re looking for a NICE dining experience, Angel and Bagpipes fits the bill.
So for my birthday I got: a delicious Scottish breakfast, a beautiful day of walking, an interesting tour, a unique dining experience, one of the best cocktails I’ve had, and time with the family 💯 💯 💯