Travel Finds: Pinnies & Poppyseeds

It’s weird for me to write a Travel Finds post about Edinburgh, but since I’m moving back to the States next week, it seems like the right time.  Prepare yourself for several Edinburgh posts; this city is amazing. Anywho, for my money, Pinnies & Poppyseeds offers the best shortbread Edinburgh has to offer.  For the past year, I’ve loved stopping at the P&P booth at the Stockbridge Farmers’ Market as well as enjoying the occasional P&P shortie at with my flat white at Brew Lab (a great spot for coffee near the Uni).  And now, P&P has opened an adorable shop on St. Mary’s Street, just off the Royal Mile.  While the shortbread is sorely missed at the farmers’ market, the opening of the shop means fresh P&P shortbread is now available every day!

The P&P shop (pic courtesy of P&P)

Personally, I think shortbread is just about perfect gift to bring back after a trip to Scotland or to bring a hostess.  It’s also probably the perfect antidote to the tourist fatigue I’ve often spotted on the Royal Mile.

Shortbread (pic courtesy of P&P)

And, in case you’re wondering, the “pinnies” part of the name refers to the cute aprons (ahem, pinnies) that are also on sale at the shop.

Pinnies! (pic courtesy of P&P)

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The Best Coffee Table Book, Ever, In the History of the World

Last week, I found myself burdened with an Amazon gift card.  After much deliberation, I bought this book, A Map of the World.  And, no exaggeration, that was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Well, maybe not.  But, if you, like me, love maps and clever illustrations, then buying this book is a very, very good decision.  The cover alone is bright and beautiful and will bring a certain clever classiness to your coffee table.  I promise.  And then, the innards offer 200+ pages of gorgeous maps.  The mind, it boggles.

So pretty.

This charming map is a little taste of the wonders inside.

Well-Heeled Wednesday: Duo

First things first, I love Duo boots.  I discovered them when I was living in London and they’re pretty great.  This fall, when I’m in a boot buying mood, I’ll almost certainly gush about them in another WHW post.

This week, however, I want to highlight the classic appeal of their other shoes.  Like the boots, all of Duo’s shoes are handcrafted Italian leather.

Here’s one of my favorite pairs of heels:

Opa

And, another:

Priva

And, in honor of my undying love for wedges:

Malia

Duo’s not exactly cheap, but, in my experience, they’re worth it.  You can also check out the Outlet portion of the website for some pretty good deals.  Including, right now, these awesome booties that I bought a couple years ago.

Carmen

Travel Finds: Queen City Bakery

As a native South Dakotan, it’s a little weird for me to highlight something there as a travel find.  This is especially true in Sioux Falls, since I lived there for four years as a college student.  That said, I’ve visited Queen City Bakery on each of my last few trips home and it definitely deserves a mention.

Like me, the owners spent a few years in Brooklyn and, as a result, the bakery has a subtle New York vibe.  The coffee is from Gimme! Coffee in Ithaca, the hot chocolate is from Jacques Torres in Brooklyn and the tea is from SerendipiTea on Long Island.  Also, and perhaps more important for my recommendation, every baked good that I’ve tried there has been fantastic.

In additional to the bakery’s excellent offerings, it’s also located in my favorite part of town: near downtown, by the river (hello, memories of my 21st birthday).  And, it’s housed in a charmingly renovated industrial building. Good food, good coffee, lots of character; stop by the next time you’re passing through town.

QCB

Taste of Summer: Campari

Summer seems to have really arrived in Edinburgh.  Both of the past two weekends have been warm enough to support outdoor drinking.  All of which led to me standing in the grocery store liquor aisle last night internally debating whether to buy a bottle of Pimm’s or a bottle of Campari.

campari

Now, Pimm’s is awesome and I’ll probably post my own Pimm’s Cup recipe here sooner or later.  But last night, the gorgeous ruby hue of the Campari won out.  Campari is a bitter apertif and, as such, it’s a bold flavor.  A lot of people find it hard to, um, swallow, in it’s more undiluted forms (a Negroni, say, or an Americano).  It pairs well with citrus so one approach for novices is to pair it with orange juice a la the Screwdriver.  My suggestion, however, is just to build on the basic Campari and soda.

I start with a lime, mint and sugar and muddle half a lime’s worth of lime juice, several mint leaves and about a half teaspoon* of sugar in the bottom of a highball or pint glass.  I then fill the glass with ice and fill it with Campari and soda (two parts soda to each part Campari).  Then I stir.  The resulting drink is refreshing and pleasantly rather than alarmingly bitter.  Yum.

*Remember, I really like Campari.  You can definitely add more sugar.

Song for the Weekend: Oh, hello summer.

As a kid, most of the music I heard was oldies and I have a very specific memory of riding in a car with my parents and hearing this song.  It was a dreary, rainy South Dakota spring day and I remember wishing so hard that it was summer.  I should’ve posted this two weeks ago when I was actually enjoying the California sun, but it works now, too.  Today was sunny and warm in Edinburgh!  And coleydi tells me that it’s sunny and kinda gross-hot in New York.  So, here you have it:  my favorite song of summer.

More stuff for my walls: Litographs

Before I gush about how much I love these book prints, let me note that I have a problem.  In addition to the many framed prints hanging on the walls of my flat in Edinburgh, I also have a few in storage and several that are unframed and quietly waiting for me to move into a bigger space.  That said, I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy one of these.

Taking the concept of books as art to a new level, Litographs creates each print from the text of a classic book.  The entire text.  Even better, the graphics are clever and gorgeous.  I love this take on Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

PErsuation

And their take on Pride and Prejudice isn’t too bad, either.

P&PHere’s The Great Gatsby with a splash of color.

GG

I even want to order books that don’t make my favorites short-list.  Like, Pinnochio.

pinn

All prints are available in color and in B&W.  They release new prints every Tuesday and Thursday and if you register with the website, you’ll get email alerts that will give you $10.  With a starting price of $29, that’s a remarkably good deal.  Oh, and as a fun bonus, a few of the prints are available as t-shirts.

Moby Dick

Moby Dick