We woke up in the castle. Let me just say that again.
We woke up in the castle.
We had a full cooked breakfast in the castle that was marvelous, and included if I recall correctly, some delicious smoked salmon. This morning we were set to drive to Glasgow, but weren't in any particular rush, so we rambled around the castle grounds for a bit, including climbing down to the rocky beach to investigate smuggler's caves nestled in the base. Along the way was the gas works, which in Victorian times provided gas to the castle and nearby town.
We clambered down to the stony beach. It was all rocks, and no sand. We got there at low tide, so it was walkable. But given my double-fascia-ligament rupture, I wasn't going to risk re-injury by walking over sharp rocks. But pyr8queen had no such reservations, and cheerfully left me to sit and bird-look while she clambered off to the smuggler's cave.
Eventually she returned. She has never spoken of what she saw there, but when asked, she gets a distant look in her eye, and gently shudders.
With that accomplished, we packed up and drove to Glasgow. We got a little lost, and wandered around in the city looking for a place to stay, which was not unpleasant, as Glasgow is an interesting city. It has broad shoulders and broader roadways. Its buildings are made of obdurate granite that wears the industrial history of the city like a proud and tattered cloak of grime. It was not dissimilar to my home town of Philadelphia, with blue-collar roots tempered by intellectual heritage. Coincidentally, in filming the movie World War Z, the filmmakers redressed Glasgow to stand in as Philly. Why? I don't know, but hey, that's three of my worlds colliding!
We checked into the Novotel Glasgow, a very modern hotel with a gleaming white lobby like something out of Logan's Run. We then set out for the Kelvingrove Museum, but stopped for food because we were starving. We found The Butchershop Grill very near the Kelvingrove, and wandered in.
What followed was one of the best meals of the trip. I know I keep saying that. But really, this was great, and I wrote about it in greater detail at Letters To Bourdain. The owner stopped by to say hello, and when I told him it had a very modern feel to it while still honoring traditional roots, something which in my head I call "New Old School" - he chatted us up for a while about being inspired by chophouses and grills he'd worked for in Manhatten. He also laughingly told me not to worry about ordering scotch on the rocks, or on soda - in his words, "We don't care how you drink it, so long as ye drink it!"
I had a Foie Gras and Chicken Liver Parfait that was absolutely a revelation. This is some beautiful charcuterie right here.
For dinner I had Cote d'Bouef with sauce Bearnaise. This is one of my favorite dishes ever, but it's a cut of beef that is not often available here in the U.S., usually only around the holidays.
Herself had sauteed lamb's liver, which again was extraordinary. Despite seeing lambs gamboling and frolicking on every hillside, we'd hardly ever seen lamb on the menu. As this is her particular favorite, it was a disappointment, but the Butchershop made up for some of that! It was earthy and minerally but still had the smokey succulence of a very tender cut of lamb, and grilled to perfection.
I will say that Scottish beef, at the end of the day, doesn't quite compare to American. It was perfectly prepared, but this very fine cut of the best Angus beef was about what you'd find at the local Ralph's or Albertson's. Whereas, if you go out of your way to find a really prime cut around here, you'll end up with meat that I have yet to see rivaled anywhere in the world. But here at the Butchershop, the preparation, presentation and accompaniment were note-perfect, and the starter and lamb's liver were excellent, and quite different from anything anyone is doing here in L.A. at least.
Well fed indeed, we ambled off to the Kelvingrove Museum, a beautifully curated collection somewhat undermined by the simplicity of the text accompanying the exhibits.
The exhibits ran from the medieval to the surreal.
The Kelvingrove claims to have the largest collection of complete suits of armor in the world.
There were also a great deal of naturalist exhibitions, including this Irish Deer, now extinct but once a truly majestic animal.
And another majestic animal, who perhaps finally met her match.
We stayed at the museum until right up when it closed, then went back to the hotel to wash up and change. We walked around the neighborhood a bit looking for a place to eat, and settled on a place called Alla Turca. We ordered from a prix fixe menu that included a bottle of Turkish champagne (about what you'd expect) and a series of "mixed mezzes" that were all very interesting and tasty but not too heavy, a sort of Turkish tapas. We particularly enjoyed what my notes called "Iskander Something - Ottoman Style Iskander." I'm so glad I wrote that down, otherwise I might not have known what style of Iskander that was. Vital information. I am smrt.
I wish we'd have more time to investigate Glasgow, certainly half a day wasn't enough. But we had a ruthless itinerary, and it required constant forward progress. So we retired to our hotel, and readied ourselves to move on in the morning.