Launching the R&K guide to Edinburgh, from whisky to walking shortcuts.
Happy August! It’s Alexa here, R&K’s resident sort-of Brit, commandeering the newsletter for our unofficial Scotland week.
It’s a special time of year in Scotland. As much of Europe sweats in record-breaking heat, millions descend on often-rainy Edinburgh for the world’s largest arts festival—and the locals GTFO of town and rent their flats to hopeful stand-up comedians or university theater companies doing Hamlet set in ‘80s Liverpool. One of my first jobs was as a Festival Fringe reviewer, which was a perfect crash course in the array of cultural treats on offer: In one day I saw Margaret Atwood read poetry, an interpretive dance version of Anne of Green Gables, and a shadow-puppet rendition of the 1828 Burke and Hare murders.
But there’s no need for festival FOMO. It’s always a good time to visit Edinburgh—where I misspent a generous chunk of my youth. Sure, the weather can be grim, but you can bet that the city has figured out how to have fun indoors, eating, drinking, and generally being merry—and whisky is always in season. (As is Irn-Bru, Scotland’s other national drink.)
With that in mind, we’re excited to share our new Edinburgh city guide. I’ve been spending a lot of time there over the last few months, working with local writers, eaters, and musicians. Start with what to know before you get there, with such essential knowledge as our favorite pubs and the correct pronunciation of Cockburn Street. Also, learn some history of the city through 10 dishes, and where to eat them. Of course that includes haggis, but also—snails from the Isle of Barra, off of Scotland’s northwest coast. Food writer and author Caroline Eden tells us why Arbroath smokies are a better breakfast fish than kippers. Edinburgh folk-music stalwart Conrad Molleson tells us where to find the city’s best homegrown sounds, from folk-session pubs to shadowy jazz bars. We have an epic walking tour that never strays far from a good pub and a good meal. And because one of the best things about Edinburgh is that Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, is less than an hour way, food writer, author, and cookery teacher Sumayya Usmani share her favorite food spots to hit on a day out in Glasgow. And of course, a grateful hat-tip to our fearless illustrator Daisy Dee, who made deep-fried sausages and offal come alive on the page.
Over on R&K Instagram, George Nickels is taking over our feed, sharing photographs from his last five years in Cambodia, documenting everything from the legacy of leftover landmines to the effects of global warming on Tonle Sap lake.
Until next time,
[Cover image by Kraft_Stoff/Shutterstock.com of the Edinburgh castle esplanade]