Michael Perlis presents Eileen Writes Eileen Wright heads to Scotland, visits Philadelphia [huh?] and eats…Mediterranean food? Not to worry, it was great, and she also samples traditional fare and enjoys the historical sights.

My Three Day Trip To Scotland

Driving through the countryside to Scotland was like watching a scene in a movie; three foot stone walls sweeping through the green pastures with only babbling brooks interrupting the rolling hills. Along the knoll were grazing sheep, horses and cows; baby animals frolicking about the meadows.  The first stop was Glasgow, Scotland.  My agenda was to find the hop-on hop-off tour bus to understand the history and see the times of yore. I was taken aback to notice the city center was decked out as Philadelphia.  Of all days, Brad Pitt was filming his most current movie (World War Z) in St. George Square.  I could catch sight of street signs for 16th Street, Philadelphia Philharmonic Foundation, United States Court House, Highway Signs for the 676 East and 30 East, and additional staged objects to make St George Square look like Philadelphia.  Fortunately, the remaining part of the tour reflected the times of past where ship building and Engineering were once major industries; nowadays, banking and financing dominate.

Whilst on the tour a Mediterranean restaurant by the name of Roma caught my eye.  I back tracked my steps and was victorious at locating the bistro.  I was famished at this point so I ordered the three course special:
1st Course: Bruschetta Pomodori: cherry tomatoes, olive oil and basil

2nd Course: Risotto con Salisiccia Picconte E Porro: Risotto with spicy Italian sausage and braised leaks, rocket in a tomato sauce.

3rd Course: Roma Special: Tagliatelle and salmon with garden peas in a white wine sauce

Wine of choice: Solandia Nero d’Avola Sicilia, Italy. Blackberries and vanilla-spice

The flavors within the courses were beautifully synchronized and balanced.  When accompanied with the Solandia Nero d’Avola  the hearty wine with an aroma of ripe fruits and a slightly spicy finish enhanced the sausage and tomato sauces.

The following day I had gone to visit some relatives who lived in a small town outside Glasgow by the name of Falkirk, Scotland. Amazed, the movie filming had followed me to Falkirk and the local Grangemouth Oil Refinery where a cousin currently works.

Luckily, the streets were not transformed into Philadelphia.  The main attraction in Falkirk is the “Falkirk Wheel;” a rotating boat lift (world’s first and only) based on the Archimedes principle of displacement (I must have slept through this science class)-the final combination of ‘boat plus water’ balances the original total mass and uses only 1.5 KWh of energy to proceed.  Boats can now travel through the canals in just a fraction of the time formerly needed

Designed after a Celtic double headed spear.

Lunch was served at The Wheel House

I could not help myself; I had order a drink once served to King Louis XIV; the “French Martini” consisting of vodka, pineapple juice, Chambord, and blackberry liquor. This little bit of indulgence was incredible; I was apprehensive the beverage would be too sweet or overwhelmingly strong with alcohol but, much to my chagrin the use of fresh juices gave the cocktail an invigorating finish.

My lunch consisted of two small plates (very popular half size portions)

Seared Scallops with a bacon salsa; this fusion was spectacular. The bacon salsa was a caramelized combination of pancetta, white onions and a balsamic vinaigrette reduction.

Scotish mussels with a tomato garlic sauce. This was an amusing dish that was served in a miniature pot.  As the top was removed the aroma of fresh sweet tomatoes and beautifully sautéed garlic were embraced.  The Scottish mussels were creamy in texture and evoked thoughts of the pure, fresh sea.

Rounding out the spectacular meal was a glass of D’Vine Cabernet Sauvignon delle Venezie, Italy.

The soft, smooth feel on the palate and flavors of summer berry fruits played remarkably with the meals spices and fresh flavors.

My last day was spent at Edinburgh, Scotland (the capital city).  As I stood on the bridge just above the train tracks and just beneath the amazing historical castle and various medieval buildings, I felt as if I were standing on a page of a pop-up book.  I was seeing the spellbinding city in an amazing 3-D effect.  Every year in the month of August Edinburgh, Scotland has a huge festival by the name of “The Edinburgh Festival”.  The streets were crowded with theatrical performers, musicians, and characters of all kinds.

  One of the more popular attractions is the Royal Military Tattoo.  The Royal Military Tattoo is an exhibition of traditional sounds such as bagpipes, drums and shows from military groups from around the world; an event that is unparalleled – phenomenal!

While aboard the Royal Britannia I had the chance to have tea just as the Queens of past eras enjoyed while sailing the seas.  Two favorites of Queen Elizabeth was, smoked chicken Caesar salad with slow-roast cherry tomatoes and parmesan croutons. Followed by, Inerurie roast beef with tomato, horseradish and chive mayonnaise served on white bread. For dessert, a delicious slice of apple pie ala mode.  All accompanied with a traditional pot of Edinburgh black tea.  I tend not to eat many sandwiches with white bread due to the amazing selection of breads offered in present-day.  I must admit the combination was a smashing hit. The bread needed to be simple so the minimal flavors of horseradish and chive could show through.  There is nothing better than a fresh cup of tea with fresh homemade apple pie dusted with powdered sugar and Scottish ice cream; the cream is authentic and not overpowered by sugar and vanilla; exquisite!