Thursday, November 05, 2009

We landed . . .

First day in Philly and home, sweet home! Gordy and Lynda picked us up at the airport, we safey negotiated all that traffic traveling on the opposite side of the street, and Philadelphia looked her best on a clear, cold November night, full moon, lights twinkling on skyscrapers and the boathouses along the Schuylkill River. Greeted by home-made barley soup with chunks of beef, savory brisket and an apple cake, we were more than happy to hug Mom, catch up with all the news -- and do laundry, despite the fact that my body is ten hours ahead of present reality and I'm now two days behind on NaNoWriMo. Ah well.

Our last lunch at The Kitchin was every bit as amazing as we'd hoped. Yes, "bags of flavor." The starter, a kind of salmon mousse with a sweet, very fresh (OK, deliciously raw) oyster with sprigs of green on top. Cockaleeky soup served in a tiny, elegant white bowl. Ten or so serious young chefs working with great concentration in the kitchen. Wait persons hovering. The main -- Mallard duck on a bed of braised red cabbage with little potato puffs and perfectly roasted zucchini and parsnip. OMG, I thought I was going to die right there. And then dessert came. An impossibly tall chocolate souffle, creamy and light with just a dollop of home-made chocolate chip ice cream. I did not want to disturb my palete with coffee, tea, or even wine. I shall forever feel challenged when cooking and feel in some ways forever changed. Perhaps it was the attention to detail. Or the sweet surprise of pure flavors mixing and melding. Memorable.

When we flew from Scotland to Philadelphia, we flew into the sun, layers of clouds shifting and drifting below us, just above a seemingly endless blue, blue sea.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Just three days left . . .

It's raining today, a perfect stay-at-home day for packing, organzing and trying to remember the last details of what needs to be done. We've stayed long enough to feel at home, but not long enough to explore every nook and cranny of this beautiful city. We both hope to return one day.

Allen has decided we will go to a Michelin star restaurant on Tuesday, our very last day in Edinburgh. Entranced and inspired by the cooking on Master Chef: The Professionals, a BBC competitive cooking show featuring young chefs competing for the title of "master chef", we learned new vocabulary from host Michel Roux, Jr. (this has "bags of flavor").

So on Tuesday, we'll take our all-day bus pass and tour Edinburgh all the way to the port of Leith where we'l lunch at The Kitchin. We're hoping for "bags of flavor." For now, we're cozy in our apartment in Old Town, just down the hill from the sign of the mermaid, and I shall begin NaNoWriMo.

Mermaid entry Great Hall, Stirling Castle, Scotland