Eat, Sarah, Eat

Exactly a week from today my plane takes off from the lovely city of Edinburgh and I will fly back across the pond to my awaiting family.  At breakfast this morning, my friend and I were reminiscing on how quickly the time in Scotland has flown by, and how grateful we have been for this wonderful experience.  Per usual, I started thinking about my travels based on my food adventures, so here is a list of the top things I ate while abroad.

Cheese and bread at IJ Mellis 

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Wine and cheese nights become a special dinner that my friends and I rallied behind.  We all would pitch in to create a beautiful spread.  Then would spend hours appreciating the food, wine, and good conversation.  We are having our last wine and cheese night today!

Tofu Teriyaki at Henderson’s Vegan Restaurant 

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Scotland might not have its fair share of health food, but I was able to find Henderson’s Restaurants in Edinburgh. Their fresh and nutritious food gave me a detox I needed a couple of times in the semester.

Danishes at Vedels Konditori 

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Honestly, I think the picture alone does this pastry justice.  If I could spend every breakfast eating this danish and latte I would.

Prince of Cambridge Scone at Gorgeous 

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There was nothing better than getting an afternoon tea and scone in between classes this semester.  Clotted cream was a game changer; a mix between butter and whipped cream to put on your scone alongside jam of course.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict at Patisserie Valerie

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Scotland’s smoked salmon demand is expected to drop very low after my departure.  I could not get enough of it! This was the best brunch meal I had.  Brioche bread topped with plenty of salmon, poached eggs, and ladled with hollandaise.

Biscoff (Cookie Butter) Tray Bake and Raspberry and Nutella Cake at Mimi’s Bakehouse 

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My sweet tooth was definitely satisfied abroad from all of the fabulous Scottish bakeries.  “Let them eat cake with a cup of tea” is my new mantra.

 

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Going Ham

This post is far overdue. In October, my study abroad program and I went up north to Inverness, Glen Coe, Loch Ness, etc. We stayed at the Inverness Youth Hostel, which provided us a quick breakfast each morning. Lunch was on our own during bus stops in between each of the attractions. We toured Dunrobin Castle, the battle site of Culloden, a whisky distillery and a sheep dog farm! Everyday we were greeted with even more beautiful Scottish scenery and I would definitely recommend making the trek.

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On one of our breaks, a few friends and I went to One Up Restaurant. I ordered the cheese and ham toastie.  My choice reminded me a lot of my little brother.  He LOVES ham, and especially likes it when my mum roasts it for Christmas or Easter.  The cheese was perfectly melted and the ham was better than your typical grocery store variety.  The sandwiches in Scotland have been a staple of mine, since people do not really eat salads for lunch… or anytime for that matter 🙂

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This is Dunrobin Castle which is situated directly on the coast.

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I took this picture on my way to Loch Ness.  It reminded me a lot of New England.

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And this is Glen Coe.  A few minutes before this picture I saw where Hagrid’s hut was filmed!

 

My New Reali-TEA

I started drinking coffee at the young age of 16 and continued having it every day since.  My mum had always been a fierce coffee addict, I mean drinker, and it seemed like a right of passage.  Dunkin’ Donuts is the famed chain up north, where only the best people get their coffee.  I would drink it black or add a dash of milk if I wanted to treat myself.  However, since arriving to Scotland, I have betrayed Boston and switched over to drinking tea!  Breakfast tea is a must in the morning since it has the most caffeine, but throughout the day I’ll love having green tea, herbal fruit tea, etc.  The list is endless.  My favourite one that I have tried so far was a black tea with chocolate in it.  It was so warm and comforting!

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This cute little tea shop, Hettie’s Teas, is located in Pitlochry.  Pitlochry became a spa and tourist destination after Queen Victoria declared the waters surrounding the town had medicinal qualities.  The tea arrived in a pot with a timer to let you know when it was drinkable.  I also ordered a smoked salmon sandwich alongside it.  In Scotland, butter is used as a sandwich spread instead of mayo, and it actually tastes really good!

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Before lunch, I had visited the beautiful Black Linn Falls at the Hermitage, Dunkeld.  This was one of my weekend trips up into Northern Scotland.  It seems like wherever I go, I am constantly greeted with different, yet still beautiful scenery.

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It’s Getting Toastie in Here

In Scotland, you will see the word “toastie” as an option for your sandwich.  What this means is that it will be toasted, or griddled like a grilled cheese.  At St Andrews Brewing Company, I ordered their cheese toastie alongside a mug of their tomato basil soup, and it felt like a taste from home.  The soup was really thick and creamy, and the grilled cheese reminded me of my mum, who would make that for the four of us kids growing up.  Dipping the toastie in the soup was definitely the way to go.img_5769

I really liked the vibes of the Brewing Company.  Their menu is stacked with stick to your rib favourites like mac and cheese, burgers, and nachos.  The bar is the central focus of the restaurant where you can order their homemade beer.  The dark wood and slightly narrow layout makes it feel really cozy and intimate, especially as more people saunter in throughout the night.

Definitely give it a go! And check out their merchandise and beer bottles as well.  Their logo is a really cool design.

Lox of Love

As I have already previously stated, smoked salmon is one of the fine delicacies of Scotland that I have fallen in love with.  It is better than the variety I have back in the States, and tastes more fresh and less “fishy.”   I have three different plates around St Andrews that offer this local favourite.

North Point 

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My absolute favourite smoked salmon dish I have yet to date.  North Point is an adorable cafe on the end of North St. that claims Kate and William would get their coffee there together!  I ordered their peppermint tea, toast, scrambled eggs, and smoked salmon.  It was HEAVEN.  The sandwich bread over here is also better, it tastes less like card board, and is more fresh.  Huge dollops of butter were added on top of the toast to slowly melt on top.  The eggs were perfectly well done, and were not too runny.  And the smoked salmon was the star of the show.  Perfectly salty and it melted in my mouth!

Bibi’s 

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I have already posted about Bibi’s, one of my first finds in St Andrews.  It is located on the opposite end of North St as North Point.  This salad was a delicious medley of vegetables topped with potato salad, avocado, smoked salmon, and a lemony vinaigrette.  The richness of the salmon and avocado, was well balanced with the crisp vegetables, and the tang of the dressing.

Gorgeous 

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What better way to eat smoked salmon than on a bagel?  Gorgeous tops their toasted bagel with smoked salmon, greens, cream cheese, and a balsamic drizzle, which puts this sandwich on another level.

We Are Family

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Moving into October, I find myself amazed at how quickly this semester is moving.  In less than two weeks I will be reunited with my mum, which marks the midway point of my time abroad.

I have officially fallen in love with Scotland’s lifestyle.  As I have said before, there is an appreciation for the smaller things in life, and the slower lifestyle results in less anxiety.  I live better here.  And I am truly content.

But part of this is also attributed to the people I have surrounded myself with.  And my experience would have been much different if I did not have such strong support from newfound friends.

I have been blessed with a core group of friends who ground my everyday.  We are from different regions of the US and world, but we are linked by common ideals, activities, etc.

These are the people that I go hiking with.  The ones I eat gelato with.  The ones I live with.

Abroad would be much different if I did not have buoys holding me down somewhat.  These friends will float alongside with me on adventures, but they also are markers that I can always return to.

These friends are my “family” away from home.  They are the people I wake up to eat breakfast with.  And the ones that wish me good night on my way home from socializing.  I can’t tell them thank you enough.  Because their presence allows me to truly let myself enjoy being abroad, take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, and know that at the end of the day, I can feel loved no matter what continent I am living on.

 

 

When the Saints Go Marching In

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This past weekend I was able to somewhat fulfil my craving for American sports, by attending the World’s Oldest Varsity Rugby Match at BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh.  The University of St Andrews played against the University of Edinburgh in a rivalled battle.  We ended up winning 24-12!  My high school had a good club rugby team, so I knew the general gist of the game.

It was so much fun cheering on my school and feeling the energy of the crowd.  Sports have a way of uniting people that never gets old!

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I tried ginger beer for the first time at the game, and it had a flavour similar to that of beer and ginger ale.  The lasting flavour on your tongue definitely was from the ginger, and was a spicy kick.

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The snack choice was a plate of nachos.  Since arriving in Scotland I have been craving Mexican and Italian food, probably because I can’t quite find anything to rival restaurants back in the States!  These nachos were basically Doritos covered in shredded cheese and toppings.  Albeit not traditional per my standards, it did the trick to satisfy my hunger cravings!

Sarah the Explorer

#adventure Has become a running joke that I say when I am greeted with a new abroad experience.  It can be anything from a beautiful hike that I have never completed before, to trying new types of food, or meeting new people.

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I really want to keep the adventure spirit in me this semester because when else am I going to live on the Scottish coast, near a castle, and eat a scone a day?  Probably never.

On similar terms, my economics teacher in high school once gave me advice regarding college.  It is 95% about showing up.  To class.  To interesting talks.  To parties.  Life is meant to be lived and when you show up to life who knows what will happen?  I took his advice close to heart and have not just applied it to college, but whatever situation I am in.

This blog post is about trying a new cuisine, Indian.  Back in the US I just never got around to trying it, and when I arrived in the UK, I heard that the Indian was quite good here.  Just as Americans order Chinese for takeout, in the UK, people order Indian.

A couple of friends and I went to Tulsi,  after our long hike last weekend.  Tulsi also offers Thai options, but since I was still on my #adventure kick from the hike, I decided to finally try Indian.

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I ordered vegetable tikka masala, with rice, and naan.  AND IT WAS AMAZING.  The tikka masala was a sweet tomato- like sauce tossed with cauliflower, zucchini, squash, and green beans.  The naan bread was perfect to dip into the sauce, and was soft and pillowy.  A thicker (and better) version of pita bread.

Tulsi offers great student deals.  6.5 pounds for a starter, main dish, rice, and naan.  Talk about a value meal!

I am excited for all of my future adventures to come and my future Indian dinners 🙂

Simplicity is Key

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Having been abroad for close to three weeks, I’ve been able to do a lot of reflection on my general transition to life in Scotland.

Over here, I have a lot less “responsibility,” whether it is places to be, people to see, etc.  It gives me more alone time, and chances to sporadically walk the beach, eat a scone, or write a letter back home.

I’ve come to really think about what are the necessary things in life that make me happy, and I came up with a list.

  1. People that love and care about me.
  2. Being intellectually challenged or finding work I am passionate about.
  3. Eating a few, simple food favourites.
  4. Exercise (good health).

Now this sounds all very easy, but I think back in the States I sweat too much about the little things that don’t fall on this list.  Over the course of these three months, I am going to focus on “Simplicity is Key,” so by the time I return back home, I have a better perspective on life.

To begin with, this past weekend I went on a 10 mile coastal hike, on a path that traces 100 miles of Scottish Coastline.  I went with great friends, got some exercise, and had a simple, but delicious lunch (so I satisfied three of the items on the list!).

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The views were breathtaking and reminded me a lot of Maine.

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I got a bagged lunch from my dining hall; consisting of a boxed ham and cheese sandwich (there are boxed sandwiches everywhere!), an apple, and some nuts.  It tasted delicious after a couple hours of walking, and we found a picnic spot by a cliff to have our wonderful picnic.

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One of my favourite things on hikes is see the cairns set by previous hikers.  It reminds you that others are looking out for you, and you don’t even know them!

Ice, Ice, Baby

As the first week of class winds down to a close, I am getting into the swing of things, both literally and figuratively… I joined the Womens Golf Club and will have lessons once a week.  And I tried swing dancing for the first time! It was so much fun and I am definitely going to go back.

Through these and other clubs/ societies I have been meeting a ton of different people, and I am so excited to keep up this routine.

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One of my friends had a birthday this week, so we celebrated with a pizza picnic on one of the beaches (pictured above), and then went to Jannetas Gelateria. St Andrews has two well known gelato stores that are supposedly in a heated competition to claim they are the best.  I’ve only tried Jannetas, but will keep you posted.

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I ordered Tablet, which is the fudge popular in Scotland, similar to penuche back at home. It was loaded with chucks of fudge and is one of my new favourite ice cream flavours!  Also, definitely try one of their sprinkled cones.  It just makes your ice cream all the more beautiful.

Honestly this ice cream was so good I am going back this weekend to get another scoop.