Friday, 21 May 2010

New coffee/snack bars in my Auld Reekie crawl!

My other passion, coffee and snacks- updated!

At last, Summer has arrived! Edinburgh looks like a completely different place when the sun shines and takes on a holiday atmosphere. The good weather has encouraged me to get out and about and extend my coffee crawl pit stops. I feel as if I am stuck in a rut by going to my trusted favourites repeatedly- I need to discover some new hidden gems!

I have always pooh-poohed the Royal Mile as a tourist trap; a place that in order to buy a coffee, you would need to remortgage your house. However, I was proven wrong when I went down one of the little rabbit warrens just off the Mile and ended up in Brodie's cafe, directly opposite the famous Deacon Brodie pub. This cafe is a cute, old fashioned tea room and has an outside courtyard, a perfect summer alternative. The courtyard is a fairy glen of twinkly lights and a rainbow of flowers giving the kind of surroundings that you would like to spend all day in. The prices are fantastic too, a large coffee, large sparkling water and a soft drink came to around a fiver. (May I add that the coffee passed my rigorous quality standards- not a jar of instant or a bitter filter in sight!). Next time, I will make room for cakes. The tearooms offer a rainbow of approximately 20 cakes in as many flavours, lemon, carrot, chocolate with marshmallows etc... it felt like Willy Wonka's factory!

We crawl on to a midweek baguette 'n' coffee lunch, a rare aftenoon off work for me. Sick of Boots' production-line meal deals and fed up with breathing in the artificial perfume of Subway's fresh bread (fresh being their word, not mine), I opted for a bountiful looking freshly made baguette. Baguette to Go on Rose Street, nestled in between old mans pubs, kilt shops and annoying chain cafes, done what it said on the tin- efficiently constructed baguettes to go (but I ate mine in with a steaming large coffee!) These beauties cost around £2.20 and are packed to the brim. My baguette of choice consisted of brie, cranberry sauce and looooooads of salad with my requisite red onion. For me, a sarnie isn't a sarnie without red onion. If a cafe does not offer red onion, it is an automatic 'fail' in my cafe test!

The next day, I decided to take a trip to the Edinburgh institution 'The Baked Potato Shop'. Apparently, every veggie in the city should visit this place for lunch and the veggie concoctions are so satisfying, even a carnivore won't complain! TBPS is a hippy joint on Cockburn Street, reminding me of a smaller version of Liverpool's Egg, but TBPS was a lot cleaner! Unfortunately, there is only 1 table, but as it was a whopping 20 degrees (foreigners don't laugh at me, this is a HEATWAVE in this neck of the woods), it was a good idea to bask in the sun of the Royal Mile whilst devouring the spud.
The list of fillings were endless and after much deliberation, I opted for a summery Greek salad. The hot potato meeting the cold salad was a taste sensation. the chunks of feta melting on the tattie.Fat olives and chunky veg soaked in a lemon based dressing made the ideal accompaniment for a summer's day. I also sampled the veggie chilli- fit for a Vindaloo Queen! This chilli was red hot with a paprika kick and was padded out with chunky courgettes! In a way, it was similar to ratatouille.

The crawl draws to a close and we find ourselves in the old town's Grassmarket, a square of pubs and bars. My old favourite, Made in Italy, was fit to burst so as we were sitting outside, it didn't matter where we chose to sup coffee. I opted for the Beehive, a traditional pub in winter, but in summer, it takes on a pavement cafe ambience. Surprisingly, the coffee here also met my standards, unusual for a pub!

Have a great summer!

Baked Potato Shop on Urbanspoon

Beehive Inn on Urbanspoon

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Hi Vindaloo Kings and Queens!