Katie’s Diner. I’m always amazed at the number of people who live in Bruntsfield and haven’t heard of Katie’s Diner. It’s a bit tucked away on Barclay Terrace, but the bright blue and red neon sign in the window means you can’t miss it if you’re walking across the Links. It’s an American Style diner, serving brilliant burgers and steaks in a relaxed setting. The walls are covered with posters and photos of iconic American landmarks, and the shelves are cluttered with various knick-knacks that Kate and Geoff’s loyal customers have brought them back from holidays in the US. If you’re in for a meal, look out for a model of King Kong climbing the Empire State Building – that tasteful piece was a contribution from DorkyDad and me.
‘Kit Kats’. I had the same flatmates throughout my time at uni in Edinburgh and despite always being a bit disorganised and leaving things to the last minute we were usually fairly lucky with our flats. The one exception was our place in third year, which was on one of Marchmont’s slightly grubbier streets. The flat itself was fairly nice, if a bit squashed. The big problem was the less-than-salubrious stairwell. It was dark, dirty, and a bit stinky. The lock on the main door didn’t work. “It’s funny,” I said to my mum, during a weekend visit home. “There must be someone in the building who really likes KitKats, because they’re always leaving their foil wrappers littered all over the floor…”
Lupe Pintos. Ahhh, I’m sure I’ve already raved about the Lupe Pintos Deli on this blog before, but it was definitely my favourite shop in Edinburgh. They sell all manner of good things; everything you need for a good chilli or a curry; American candy bars and condiments; beer, tortillas, tequila… It’s so good I’m getting a bit drooly thinking about it. We stupidly forgot to stock up our cupboards before leaving, so the first week here I had to do an online order. DorkyDad was beyond thrilled to get his Butterfingers delivered a few days later, but it wasn’t quite such a satisfying shopping experience for me. When you can’t ask to taste a bit of cheese, or pick up a handful of chillies to smell, or catch up on the latest adventures of The Hatman, it’s just not the same at all…
Make Poverty History. Say what you like about the success or otherwise of the Make Poverty History campaign and all that has followed… but being in Edinburgh for the MPH march on that incredibly sunny day in 2005, it really felt like we were part of a moment. I was stewarding the march for the first part of the day, so arrived at the Meadows very early in the morning for a briefing, not knowing if the attendance was going to be 1000 people or 10,000. I remember standing there as crowds started to gather… and they grew, and grew, and grew. In the end a quarter of a million people descended on the city to make their ‘white band’ around Edinburgh Castle. It felt good to be one of them.
Margiotta. Definitely a contender for the best local shop ever, Margiotta takes the humble corner shop and elevates it to a whole new level, with lovely fresh-baked bread, home-made pizzas and a tooth-chattering collection of traybakes. There are several Margiottas across Edinburgh, but the one on Marchmont Road was our regular. I don’t know how they make any money, because they always try to talk you out of half your purchases. ‘Organic milk? Pfft! Are you sure you don’t want the non-organic, it’s much cheaper! A lottery ticket?! Pah! What are you wasting your money on that nonsense for?!’ Once you crack through that cynicism though, you soon discover that the owners are as lovely as the shop itself.
Meadows. Revising in the sun, drinking beer and having barbecues with friends, browsing stalls at the Meadows Festival with DorkyDad… I’ve seen a gorilla playing drums here, and heard a brass band doing their version of Gangsta’s Paradise. It is where DorkySon learnt to walk, and then to run. The Meadows is the joyful, beating heart of Edinburgh, and I have too many memories of it to list… so a photo collage of some of the best will have to do.
National Museum of Scotland. When the NMS re-opened last summer after a £47 million re-fit, I couldn’t wait to go along and see the changes that had been made. The joint DorkyMum-DorkySon verdict is that it‘s… mmm, well… it’s okay. I miss the fish. DorkySon hates the dinosaur that you have to walk past to get into the animal exhibits (really hates it – he buried his head in my shoulder and cried while I picked him up and we sprinted past it – much to the bemusement of poor Scribbling Mum and Miss P who we were meeting for the first time). We are much bigger fans of the bit next door – the old Museum of Scotland – with its steam train and funny holes in the wall for sticking your head through. I don’t know what that says about us… Nothing good.