Category Archives: Eat

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Eats | Ed’s Easy Diner Edinburgh

Ed's Easy Diner Edinburgh

Happy birthday to me (er… two weeks ago…)! For my birthday was back up in Edinburgh for the week. While I was there I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Fort to do a spot of birthday shopping and to check out one of the new eateries there. Ed’s Easy Diner is a chain of restaurants inspired by traditional 1950s American diners. The Edinburgh Fort restaurant was the first to be opened in Scotland but has since been joined by one is Glasgow with Aberdeen and Inverness to follow.

Ed's Easy Diner Edinburgh

We went along during a quiet Thursday lunchtime and enjoyed really quick service. I believe that the restaurant building was purpose built and I love that the included a bar and open kitchen area. And that the chefs have to wear those paper hats!

Ed's Easy Diner Edinburgh Ed's Easy Diner Edinburgh

Every table is adorned with a jukebox loaded with 50s and 60s music. Its 20p per song choice and all the money goes to Action Against Hunger which is a really great cause. We were definitely hogging the speakers with all the Beach Boys and Chuck Berry songs!

Ed's Easy Diner Edinburgh

I guess you’ll be interested in the book then? For a starter we went with the nachos to share and cherry cokes. For me, I was pretty happy that the guacamole came as standard (what is with guac always being extra?!) and that there was no jalapeños but spice fans might be a bit disappointed with the lack of heat.

Ed's Easy Diner Edinburgh Ed's Easy Diner Edinburgh

For his main, David went for the Pulled Pork Burger. It was a tasty burger with a decent amount of pulled pork but not overloaded. The pork was pretty saucy and had a lovely nutty flavour.

Ed's Easy Diner Edinburgh Ed's Easy Diner Edinburgh

I went with the original Coney Island treat – the Chilli Cheese Dog. It was loaded with spicy beef and bean chilli, creamy cheese sauce and diced onions. It was so, so good. A simple meal but done really well. It was very messy to eat though – in a good way of course!

The sides were coleslaw, onions rings and fries. All decent sized portions and well cooked. I especially enjoyed the onion rings.

Ed's Easy Diner Edinburgh Ed's Easy Diner Edinburgh

For dessert we decided on pancakes and of course we had to try their legendary milkshakes. The pancakes came with powdered sugar, vanilla ice cream and maple syrup and were lush! Thick, fluffy, proper American pancakes.

The milkshake I went for was the chocolate and oreo while David just had the oreo with a vanilla base. Both were really thick and delicious. They came in old school style  aluminium cups and each was two servings. Luckily, Ed’s have a supply of takeaway cups so you can save some for later – they are very filling!

Ed's Easy Diner Edinburgh

Overall, I really enjoyed our visit to Ed’s. It was a really fun environment with good, straightforward food done well. Luckily for us, there’s an Ed’s nearby in Gloucester so we’ll definitely be going again next time the hotdog and milkshake cravings hit.

OK, I’m hungry now….

Big thanks to Ed’s Easy Diner for inviting us along to enjoy a complimentary meal. As always, opinions are my own!


Flavourly Craft Beer Club | January

Flavourly Craft Beer January

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I love trying out various subscription boxes. This month though, instead of the usual beauty boxes, we have something a bit more exciting. Well, it is if you’re into beer. Flavourly is a gourmet subscription service where you can choose between their deluxe food box or the craft beer club (or both if you so wish!). David is really into craft beer and micro breweries so of course we ordered the booze box.

This costs £24 plus £2 delivery but they currently have an offer for £10 off your first order. £14 for 8 craft beers and two snacks is pretty good value. At full price you’re not necessarily saving any money, but I see this box as more about discovery so it’s good if you’re interested in craft breweries. Out of the 8, there were only 3 that we had had before – the Brewdogs and the Innis & Gunn – the rest of the brands we hadn’t even seen before, which is pretty good going.


The box includes a booklet with information about the breweries and a location map. Like a lot of people, we’re keen to support small and local businesses whenever possible and it’s nice to know where your drinks come from, so this is a great touch.


Here’s what we received and a very brief verdict:

Eden Brewery St Andrews, St Andrews Blonde: Fruity as you would expect and very enjoyable.

Eden Brewery St. Andrews, Shipwreck IPA:  Good but prefered the other one from St Andrews.

Brewdog, This. Is. Lager.: Brewdog is a favourite brand from Aberdeenshire and this is a good, straightforward lager.

Brewdog Dead Pony Pale Ale: A refreshing and zesty option

Innis and Gunn, Original Oak Aged Beer: Good sweet beer from Edinburgh, you can really taste the toffee and vanilla coming through.

Inveralmond Brewery, Sunburst Bohemian Pilsner: You can really smell and taste the pineapple and grapefruit,  which is surprisingly nice and very refreshing. Favourite of the bunch.

Crafty Dan, 13 Guns American IPA: Smooth but with a hit of hops from the Blackburn brewery.

Crafty Dan, Triple C Golden Ale: Most hoppy of the selection but crisp and tangy.


To go with the beer, a few snacks are included. We received Lemon Sherbet popcorn from Portlebay Popcorn in Devon (more subtle than feared so very nice) and Sweet Potato Crisps from Fairfields Farm in Colchester. Both good snacks to go along with the beers, and again great choices of company to work with.

Overall, we were very happy with this box. We would definitely use this service again and are also thinking of trying out the food box – they look like they have a great selection every month.


Eats | Las Iguanas

Las Iguanas Edinburgh

It’s the middle of winter, it’s freezing and miserable. But on the corner of George Street, it’s still summer in Las Iguanas. Serving up Latin inspired food and a bevy of cocktails, it’s always sunny in Las Iguanas, so on a cloudy, grey day, it seemed like the obvious choice for a filling lunch last week.

Las Iguanas Edinburgh

The décor is bright and airy. A fun combination of colours and patterns add to the casual atmosphere of the restaurant, lending it the perfect ambience for sharing with friends – whether it’s tapas, a pitcher or just some gossip.

Las Iguanas Edinburgh

The cocktail menu is generous and ordered by country – Brazil, Mexico etc with additional Las Iguanas Favourites meaning you’re spoiled for choice. I went for the Strawberry Red – strawberry liqueur, Malibu Red, lemon and cranberry juice topped with lemonade which made for a fruity and refreshing combo. There is also a good selection of beers and my dining partner went for a Peruvian beer which complemented our mains.

Las Iguanas Edinburgh Las Iguanas Edinburgh

We decided to go for the tapas option and as our eyes are bigger than our bellies (and the table!) we got the 5 dishes for £24. As we had been seated at a small table we had to have the dishes brought out in two lots, but it was a quiet day and the service was swift so this wasn’t a problem. We had the nachos, calamari, chicken enchiladas, chorizo and fish tacos. It would be impossible to choose a favourite dish from these. The nachos were freshly made tortilla chips and came with guacamole as standard (thank God! Don’t you hate it when places think that guac is a privilege that you have to pay extra for – no, it’s a standard ingredient surely?!). The calamari and the chorizo were both cooked perfectly, so tender and not a hint of chewiness so probably the best I’ve had anywhere. The chicken in the enchilada was creamy with a good flavour. If I absolutely had to choose a favourite though, it would be the fish tacos. The fish (not sure of the type but it was white so possibly cod) was juicy with a lovely crisp but light batter. The dressing with corn and red cabbage was sweet and crunchy and complemented the soft fish brilliantly. I could eat that all day.

Las Iguanas Edinburgh

Even though we were feeling pretty full by this point we couldn’t resist the call of churros for dessert. Restraining ourselves by sharing the single portion (which we found to be plenty), they came out of the kitchen steaming hot, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. They were accompanied by rich, thick dulce de leche which, alongside the cinnamon sugar of the churros made for a warming, filling dessert which required us to be rolled home.

As a huge fan of Latin food I knew that I would love Las Iguanas but the quality and freshness of the food far exceeded my expectations of a chain restaurant. I’ll definitely be back very soon, probably eating my weight in fish tacos.

Christmas Gift Guide | Foodies

Foodies Christmas Gift Guide 2014Top row, left to right: Hotel Chocolat Christmas Jumper (£5) and Bag of Christmas Stars (£16); Tabasco Burger Press (£14.99); Happy Jackson Snack Box – Set of 4 (£9.99); Summer Harvest Rapeseed Oils and Dressings (from £3.25).

Everyone needs a bit of luxury at Christmas and when it come to chocolate, Hotel Chocolat has you covered. I love the Christmas Jumper, a delicious, creamy, chunky milk choc slab celebrating everyone’s favourite Christmas tradition – the tacky jumper. If you know someone that goes all out on the kitsch this will be prefect for them. I also rate the bag of stars as a pre-Christmas host/hostess gift. We always have tree chocolates in our house and the pretty white stars will keep things classy this year as well as covering all bases flavour wise as the come in a combination of white, milk and dark. Burgers have been big news this year, particularly in Edinburgh where there’s been a new burger joint opening every five minutes, so I’m sure everyone has a connoisseur in their ranks. This burger press is a great little gift to challenge someone to take up the gauntlet and make their own idea of the perfect burger. And for the cook/commuter why not treat them to some fun snack boxes. Leftovers deserve respect to y’know! These Happy Jackson boxes are so cheery they’d brighten up any desk-bound lunch break. One of my favourite brands I discovered at Eat Drink Discover Scotland was Summer Harvest. They produce a delicious range of rapeseed oils and dressings and I’m sure any foodie would recognise and appreciate their quality. My favourites are the Chilli and Red Pepper Oil and the Bramble and Juniper Dressing.

Bottom row, left to right: Edinburgh Gin Raspberry Liqueur (from £10), Gin (from £12) and Elderflower Liqueur (from £10); New York Cult Recipes (£20); Flavour Magic Rock Salt and Spice Mix Combo Pack (£12.50).

Gin has been coming in to it’s own recently with lots of craft distilleries popping up, making it very de rigueur. I may be biased since it’s the local, but Edinburgh Gin has to be one of the best. It’s a very modern and clean choice for the trend concious drinker. And tasty! A cookbook is always a safe option but the latest celebrity edition may not be the most stylish.The New York Cult Recipes book looks good, but is also full of recipes you will actually want to (and be able to!) make. From pancakes to mac & cheese, it’ll give you the hunger for sure. Lastly, this gift packs a massive flavour punch. The combo pack from Flavour Magic allows you to choose from three of their infused rock salts or spice mixes and includes a free grinder. I love the Smoked Rock Salt and the Fajita Spice Mix. If you want something hot, go for the Chilli salt or Togarashi spice, you won’t be disappointed!

Hope you enjoyed my selection. Tomorrow I’ll have gifts for her, hope to see you then.


Eats | Just Burgers and Beers

Just Burgers and Beers

Sometimes I think I should rename this blog “Ali’s Adventures in Burger-eating” or something to that effect. What can I say, I’m having a real burger moment and there are sooo many burger places popping up in Edinburgh right now. Recently I went to Just Burgers and Beers. Not the catchiest name, but like Ronseal, it does what it says on the tin, sells burgers and beers.

Just Burgers and Beers Just Burgers and Beers

As you would expect, the beer menu is impressive. Scottish beers, imported lagers, wheat beer, it has it all and of course there are alternatives for non-beer drinkers. Unfortunately a few of my top choices were sold out when we visited (Day of the Dead Pale Ale and Mongozo Coconut) but we both eventually settled on a couple of American pale ales – Anchor Steam for me, c’mon it has an anchor on the bottle, and Sierra Nevada for David. Both nice, rich ales. Mine had a hint of sweetness while David’s had the smallest suggestion of spice.

Just Burgers and Beers

But you don’t care about drinks, you want the main event right? I ordered The Dirty South. No prizes for guessing that this was a BBQ sauced, pulled pork topped BEAST. I quickly lost the gherkins, pulled out the skewer holding the tower together and effectively just stuck my face in it. Do not get this if you’re trying to impress someone – it’s messy. Unless they’re going to be impressed at your burger eating ability of course. I get pulled pork burgers all the time and I swear they just keep getting better and better. This one is super sweet, almost caramelised which I love but may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The burger itself was thick just evenly cooked – an admirable feat. The bun was tasty and managed to stay together even with the onslaught of sticky sauce.

Just Burgers and Beers

As massive as my burger was, it paled into insignificance next to David’s aptly named Man vs Burger. Two burger patties topped with pulled pork, smoked bacon, cheese and “burger salad”. This had to be de-constructed to be eaten but it was eaten. A food coma ensued.

We also ordered sides of fries and coleslaw. Both were fine, but nothing special. To be fair, they didn’t need to be, they were never going to be the reason you go there.

Just Burgers and Beers is a fantastic burger joint. It’s slap bang in the middle of the Royal Mile, somewhere I mostly avoid, particularly in the summer, but it is large inside so don’t let this put you off. The menu is great and has some pretty special toppings on offer such as macaroni cheese fritters or haggis. It also gives you recommendations for which beer will go best with your burger. The prices are very reasonable, starting at £8 and going up to £14 for the Man vs Burger. It’s a great place to take your mates, I’ll definitely be back for The Mac Attack.

Tipple Box | Pre-order at Indiegogo

Tipple Box Preview

The reason that I love subscription boxes is that it is essentially getting a little gift for yourself. There is literally a box that fits everyone, whether you’re a beauty lover, a stationery geek or a massive foodie. And if you’re a bit of a lush (in a good way of course), well, there’s a new box on the scene for you. Meet Tipple Box.

A start-up from Edinburgh, Tipple Box offers a monthly delivery of everything you need to enjoy a cheeky craft cocktail. The kit includes the alcohol, mixers, garnishes, recipe and even the shaker. All you need is a glass and some ice. Each kit includes enough for up to 8 servings so enough to add a dash of flair to a cocktail party or for a pretty fun night in yourself (ahem, drink responsibly folks!). You’ll be a cocktail connoisseur in no time, wowing your chums with your refined taste and mad mixology skills.

The Tipple Box service costs £24 per month (just £3 per cocktail) but you can pre-order the first box for just £20 at Indiegogo here. This closes on November 15th 2014, so be quick! You definitely don’t want to miss out on the craft cocktail revolution.

Tipple Box

I have a sneaky peek at one of their first cocktails for you as a taster of what you can expect. This is the Lady Marmalade (I would have called it The Paddington Bear but maybe beloved childhood characters aren’t an appropriate reference point for cocktails):

1. Fill half of your Shaker Jar with ice (we recommend the crushed stuff)
2. Pour one bottle of the Chase Marmalade Vodka into the Shaker Jar
3. Pour half a bottle of the Fever-Tree Sicilian Lemonade into the Shaker Jar
4. Add half the jar of the Tiptree marmalade
5. Slice your lemon in half, squeeze the juice from one half into the jar (don’t use it all, you’ll need the other half for garnish)
6. Put the lid on the jar, hold on tight and shake for 10 to 20 seconds
7. Pour your Lady Marmalade into ice filled glasses or drink straight from the jar
8. Garnish with a slice of lemon
9. Repeat for a second jars worth

Doesn’t that sound delicious?! The ingredients are all sourced from high quality, premium suppliers which I think will make Tipple Box really stand out. You know you are getting great quality and good value for money here.

I personally can’t wait to start honing my cocktail skills – it’s certainly going to liven up X Factor night! I’m really excited for this new venture and I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop. For more information and to pre-order visit the campaign page here and their website here.


Eats | Chop Chop

Chop Chop Edinburgh Chop Chop Edinburgh

Chop Chop is a bit of an Edinburgh institution. Ask anyone for a recommendation for a Chinese restaurant in the city and Chop Chop will probably be quite high up on the list. However, despite living just round the corner from their Haymarket restaurant I had never been. Shame on me, I know. So I was delighted to be invited along recently to finally see what all the fuss is about.

As is recommended to first-timers at Chop Chop, we went for the unlimited banquet for two – along with a couple of Tsingtao beers of course.

Chop Chop Edinburgh Chop Chop Edinburgh Chop Chop Edinburgh Chop Chop Edinburgh

The set banquet included two options of the dumplings that Chop Chop is so known for – boiled pork and coriander dumplings and fried prawn dumplings. Both were incredibly flavoursome, showing that when dumplings are done well, they’re a pretty perfect dish. A fun touch was that on the table there were ingredients to make your own dipping sauce. I accidentally went a bit heavy on the chilli, but luckily for me, we had a cooling cucumber salad to fight the burn. Alongside this was crispy Northern beef, seasoned chicken wings, crispy squid and aubergine as well as boiled rice and prawn crackers.

My favourite dishes were the cucumber salad, the Northern beef (in fact we had two helpings) and the squid. The beef had a deliciously sweet and sticky sauce while the meat was still tender and not at all chewy which can often be the downfall of these types of dishes. Similarly, the squid was perfectly cooked with a brilliantly crispy coating and I also really enjoyed the green beans that accompanied the dish. A surprise for me was the aubergine. I usually hate aubergine – something about the sludgey-ness of it puts me off, but this one won me over. It’s never going to win any beauty pageants but Chop Chop’s aubergine dish was cooked just enough with a really tasty garlic and spring onion dressing. I never thought I’d say it, but I liked it.

Chop Chop Edinburgh

We were pretty full by the time we got to desserts but we did manage one more dumpling – a chocolate ice cream dumpling. Perfectly sized if you’re someone like me who has to fit in the sweet hit of a pudding even if your stomach is telling you not to! Hot crispy outer, cold creamy inner. Very nice.

I had lots of fun at Chop Chop. The staff are fantastic as well, clearing and replacing dishes promptly and one even showed me how to use chopsticks properly after some good-natured teasing at my lack of skill. This adds to Chop Chop’s relaxed atmosphere where the focus is on making sure you don’t go home hungry. My tip would be to go with an empty stomach – it’ll soon be filled with a wide range of tasty treats!

Chop Chop also has a restaurant in Leith so they have both ends of the city covered, and they do a free membership scheme where you can get discounts and vouchers. The unlimited banquets are £20.25 per person which I think is pretty good considering the quality of the food. I would encourage you to try something on the menu that you’re not sure about, it will pay off for sure. Chop Chop is a great restaurant for sharing a meal with a big group of friends or family so we’ll definitely be back.


*Disclaimer – we were invited along to Chop Chop for a complimentary meal but were not asked to write a positive review. All opinions are our own and reflect our experience.