What a fantastic long weekend we had in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Our stay at Blue Hue Houseboat was only part of the story. We set off on Valentines day so a romantic breakfast was in order to start the day in the right mindset. Rabbie mug courtesy of Gillian Kyle and the stamp for the toast from the pound shop. Boy had made me the love heart eggy toast for my supper on Valentine's eve. He'll always be my sweetheart.
We don't really do valentine pressies but Foodie Loon surprised me with a gift. He knows me so well. Gin and Peanut Butter is a winning combination. I reciprocated with a card endorsing the sentiment. I resisted inserting almost.
I'd asked on Twitter for foodie recommendations for our trip and Vhon's Vittles gave me some excellent suggestions for stopping off points en route. The first of these was Loch Leven's Larder. An amazing deli, farm shop, gift shop and restaurant in a lovely setting. Beats Kinross Services hands down. Well worth a wee diversion off the M90. We only had coffee and cake on this visit but the full menu looked very tempting. Absolutely loved their pods. Would be perfect for a special occasion.
After getting lost trying to find both (neither postcode works with sat nav) we did also stop off at Vohn's other recommendations of Hopetoun Farm Shop and Craigie's. Some more Sat Nav fun and we reached our Houseboat. Read all about it. Blue Hue, A Houseboat Holiday in Edinburgh. The Bridge Inn at Ratho had been recommended by the owners of Blue Hue so we had booked in there for a Valentine's Meal. Perfect location less than 50 yards from our boat. We were the only table of four in the restaurant surrounded by couples. Clearly not the done thing to dine en famille on the 14th of February. We were also the only table drinking milk and fizz.
The restaurant, staff and food were all fantastic. An interesting menu with great provenance and Scottish produce. I really love to find out a wee bit more about places where I eat and the story behind them and their ethos so was delighted to read the "words from the owners" on the back of the menu.
Wood pigeon breast, potato fondant, caper dressing, pickled vegetables
Scallops, pan seared, spiced chicken nugget, corn beignetts, sweetcorn puree
Tain venison loin, sticky red cabbage, haggis, braised shoulder boudin
Cinnamon Creme Brulee
Myself and boy both opted for the same starter (the scallops) and main course, the Signature Pork Board. It looked and tasted amazing. Loin in smoked bacon, crisp skinned belly, pudding, popcorn, apple sauce and baked beans. The pork comes from The Bridge Inn's own herd of Saddleback pigs who live just across the towpath. Food yards rather than miles. Also across the canal lies their walled garden with a full time gardener working to provide produce for the kitchen all year round.
We headed into Auld Reekie on Saturday morning via Park and Ride. First stop was Edinburgh Farmers Market in the shadow of the Castle. Alas the weather was somewhat soggy but that didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the fantastic variety of stallholders. The remainder of our day in the city was spent visiting Camera Obscura and the National Museum of Scotland.Both of which are well worth a visit.
I'd been told to keep a look out for Oink's pulled pork rolls and they didn't disappoint. Haggis, pork, apples sauce and crackling hit the spot even in the drizzle. Hot apple juice from Laprig Fruit kept our spirits up as we wandered round the stalls and enjoyed lots of tasters. Unfortunately we weren't in a position to buy very much as we were spending the rest of the day and evening in the city. Thankfully the German Mixed Nut Bread that I bought from Falko survived a day in my handbag.
Sunday saw us paying a visit to the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho. What a fantastic facility situated inside an old quarry. Three of the party headed up the rock face and one stayed in the cafe eating cakes and watching the Winter Olympics. No prizes for guessing who did what. A trip to Ikea in the afternoon to buy things I didn't even know I needed. Elk shaped pasta, paper napkins, milk bottles, tray, drinking straws, plastic bags, bag clips and biscuits. Just the essentials. Undoubted highlight of the Ikea trip was the Gingerbread Milkshake. This I need more of.
Back to the boat and a sneaky trip to The Bridge Inn for a Sunday afternoon tipple. I opted for the Pinkster Gin which I'd spotted on the way out the door on Friday night. Amazing dispenser but alas the promised hint of Raspberries was seriously faint.
Monday came all too soon and it was time to say goodbye to Blu Hue. It was also Foodie Loon's birthday so we headed to the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune for a celebratory trip on Concorde. Fantastic place with so much to see, do and discover. Great wee cafe too. A truly supersonic time was had.