Monday, August 10, 2009

in the daylight anywhere feels like home

I know, I know....I am quite audacious to show up on a long-abandoned food blog after months away, announcing my return and hardly offering any sort of excuse for my extended absence. The nerve.

No, really. I don’t have any excuse. But summer is oppressive, and as I’m writing this the sun has set, my fan is going full blast, and I’m chugging ice water like a freshman boy chugs Natty at his first frat party—and I’m still sweating bullets. Is anyone else ready for August to be over yet? Actually, I can think of one person who probably isn’t ready for this month to be over, my older sister Erin, who is due to have a little munchkin boy this Friday! That’s right, by the end of this week (or maybe next week, depending on how things move along...) I’ll have a new title, Aunt Monica! Does that make me sound old? I feel old. And then in November I’ll be Aunt Monica x2 when my eldest sister Elizabeth haves a cute lil baby girl...and I’ll be a bridesmaid in my other sister Bernadette’s wedding....and at the end of this month I’m helping my younger sister Victoria move into her college apartment...

I’m exhausted just thinking about it. But enough with the family newsletter, we’ll save that for Christmastime, ok?

Anyway, almost exactly one month ago, I received the stamp in my passport stating that I had successfully re-entered the country after a 24-day stint in the land that I wish my ancestors were from (they’re not. Those darn Irish and Italians had to spoil all my fun), Scotland. I swear I could write posts every day for the next year detailing all of the adventures and mis-adventures I had while on the isle, but I’ll spare you the details and get to what we’re really here for...the food.

I’m not going to lie, there were several days when a main meal consisted of a Clif bar and a piece of fruit, or a side salad and french fries, or a beer. Totally kidding about that last one! What kind of lush do you take me for?! But, there were also several memorable meals, and many restaurants and pubs were overwhelmingly helpful in putting together a vegan meal for me. My group had infinite patience for me, or at least they didn’t complain too much (to my face) about my eating habits.

One of my most memorable meals was the very first one I had in St. Andrew’s. I don’t even remember the name of the pub, but they had an amazing selection of sandwiches and lunch-food, so I was challenged to make a decision. I decided on a roasted vegetable and hummus sandwich with a big bowl of fries (ahem, chips). It was darn good, feel free to envy me and my delicious food.


Hands down, though, the best meal experience I had in Scotland was at David Bann’s in Edinburgh. It was almost an accident when a few of us stumbled across this vegetarian restaurant, just off the Royal Mile, after a long day of sight-seeing and exploring. I had read about it in my trusty Lonely Planet guide and when my travel-buddies and I found it was ecstatic. Dinner wasn't very pretty, but it sure was delicious...


“Mushroom, runner bean and cashew curry.
With jasmine rice, potato and fenugreek patties. Button mushroom, runner beans and toasted cashews cooked in an aromatic coconut, cashew, fresh tomato and coriander sauce. Served with sweet pineapple chutney and mint salad.”

I have no idea what runner beans are, and I think the jasmine rice was nonexistent, but it's still pretty difficult to get a bad dish of mushrooms and curry. I dug in before remembering to snap a picture, so there’s not a whole lot of food left on the plate. Dessert was a casual affair, three scoops of vegan ice cream on top of crisp cookies with raspberry sauce on the side, and it was especially glorious to my overheated self (of course, I would be in the UK the one time it gets a heat wave of epic proportions).

This was the trip of a lifetime, but I feel like I hardly touched the tip of the iceberg. I can’t wait to go back again, just as soon as I get the money to travel again...I’ll be taking donations for the “Monica has Wanderlust” Fund. All donations are tax deductible.


Nessie sighting?


  1. Oh, how I love your writing :) Give me some recipes girl! I just saw Food, Inc. and now I need some good advice on eating sustainably.

  2. That hummus and veggie sandwich sounds killer. The bread alone looks awesome!