The best way to experience new culture is at the tables of local bars and restaurants.
And so I left Dublin with a hangover, Paris with a stomachache and Barcelona with both. Heading to St. Andrews for Halloween weekend, I feared the land of haggis and blood pudding would pale in comparison. But I found plenty to enjoy. The birth place of golf and where “Will met Kate!” (as they proudly display around town) boasted a number of delicious Scottish meals.
Upon my arrival I was promptly whisked off to The Tail End, a popular seafood restaurant in town. But when it comes down to it I mean fish and chips because that seemed the only thing ordered in the joint. I’m a sucker for local foods and was happy to see the restaurant publicized a choice of fresh, regional fish. When my meal arrived, the fish was crispy and the peas mushy. With a dash of malt vinegar, a dollop of tartar sauce and a pint of local ale, the dish was complete. There it was, my first Scottish meal.
Throughout my three nights in St. Andrews, I had the pleasure of sinking into the cushions of a many pubs and bellying up to quite a few bars. I tried to spread out my bar orders among local beers and the occasional cider, but there was something about cider’s crispy, fresh taste and bright bubbles that kept bringing me back. I’m not talking any of this Martinelli’s or Woodchuck stuff. This is the real deal. Scotland has a repertoire of cider to make Johnny Appleseed jealous. So while I tasted a few stellar beers during my time in Scotland, the cider won my heart.
Sticky toffee pudding is another specialty for which we should thank Scotland. This dessert is the stuff of dreams — a warm, soft, syrupy antidote to cider’s bite. Eating this cake-y concoction nightly must be the only way that students survive St. Andrews’ mercurial weather. And I can’t blame them, but I would be sure to mind the haggis.
Schuyler Dalton is a junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and studied abroad in Lyon, France last semester. She may be reached at email@example.com. Notes from Abroad: Nightlife appears on Mondays.