Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Friendly Alien Eats Edinburgh

My search for a good croissant led us this morning to The Wee Boulangerie, and there I hit buttery gold. Yes,The Wee Boulangerie sells plain croissants that taste like croissants and not--as they do perhaps everywhere else in Edinburgh--like bread. And they are NOT £3 a pop, as someone claimed on TripAdvisor. I do not know how much they are exactly, however, as B.A. ordered a pain aux raisins. Together our pastries came to £3.75. We ate them happily while wandering down Nicholson Street in the direction of Brew Lab.

Brew Lab, that hipster mecca of coffee, was not overcrowded, and so we sat and enjoyed an espresso (B.A.) and a macchiato (I) made with Has Bean beans imported from Kenya. B.A. sat in one of the red leather armchairs in the window and read The Spectator while I sat on a bench beside two philosophical young Poles and wrote a letter in Polish. I hope the Polish youths did not think I was recording their conversation, averting to the Collins Polish-English English-Polish dictionary when I got stuck on the spelling.

The letter having been written, B.A. and I went next to Central Library where I returned two books and took out five more. Then B.A. complained of the dizziness and double-vision that come upon him when he is hungry, so we went straight to Mother India's Café. There we ate a dhosa (lentil pancake) wrapped around spicy spinach and served with lentils; smoked chicken with peas; onion bhajis and pitta bread and drank a bottle of sparkling water. This tasty feast cost £19.75 + tip.

B.A. then proposed another coffee, so we decided to visit Baba Budan under the Waverley Arches after I picked up my new glasses from Specsavers. These are very special glasses that you can wear both to see the world in front of you and to read.  We took them to Baba Budan and ordered two filter coffees (£2 each) and sat on a bench. I read Ada i Adam na Wsi  aloud to B.A. using my new spectacles and was slightly nonplussed when I realized that the hipster girl crocheting in the armchair at my elbow was Polish.

Baba Budan is constructed on the usual hipster brick-and-board lines, only its ceiling is a bona fide stone archway and its walls are smooth and white. It advertises itself as a "donutterie", so I went back to the counter to buy a doughnut (a whopping £2.50 each) for BA and me to share. Baba Budan was down to passionfruit-mango and strawberry jam, so I picked the latter and it was TOO SWEET. Sugar is evil; I shall not do that again. Believe it or not, Goodfellow & Stevens offer a very decent chocolate-covered ring doughnut in supermarket bakery counters, so one need not search Edinburgh high and low for a good doughnut.

The coffee was served in round juice glasses, but we will not hold that against the café. It came from the Coffee Collective and was very good. The young ladies (Irish and Polish) beside us chatted amiably about taking each other on visits to Ireland and Poland and what their relations think of Lesbianism (e.g. fashionable, curable) and how, as these girls are Artists, their relations cut them some slack. I haven't seen these girls at Mass, but then perhaps they go to the Cathedral.

As B.A. and I were so close to Waverley Station, we took the train instead of the bus home, stopping at Co-op to purchase something for B.A. to eat later for supper. (I shall have a restorative mug of miso soup.) B.A. would have bought the boxed corned beef-with-mashed-potato dinner had he not noticed that it had something like 150% of his daily sodium requirements. He put it back with the haggis-and-mash and macaroni-and-mash (etc) boxes, and I reflected that the brand's motto could have been "Slowing killing Scots since 1904."

Skipping lightly over our supper prospects, we can reflect that we have had a very good foodie day. For croissants, we highly recommend  The Wee Boulangerie*. For a relaxed coffee, we vote for Brew Lab. For an excellent Indian lunch, we are all for Mother India's Café. For a quick coffee near Waverley Station, we give Baba Budan the nod although I didn't like the doughnut.

Update: B.A. made himself corned beef stovies according to his mother's recipe. It is composed of corned beef, mashed potatoes and a can of baked beans. Although B.A. refers to it as "Splodge", it is actually very tasty. Instead of having soup, I had a half-cup of Splodge and then began to make croissants according to Ruby Tandoh's recipe. If all goes well, B.A. and I will have homemade croissants for breakfast.

*Correction: Not La Petite Boulangerie but The Wee Boulangerie!

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