Monday, August 13, 2012

Double Booked Weekend

Though we didn’t manage to get any hiking done this weekend, it was still jam packed with social festivities. After spending a gorgeous Friday afternoon walking the Aberdeen Beach...
 eating gelato...
and laying out...
 Jonathan and I took advantage of the great weather and walked the mile and a half to meet some friends for dinner at Rustico's, an adorable Italian restaurant in the city center. This was Jonathan and I’s second time to Rustico’s, and while the food is impressive, it is nothing compared to the awesome service. Since most of the wait staff in Scotland are paid a handsome hourly wage, they have little incentive to turn tables or earn tips.

Tipping in general in the UK is not the custom the way it is in the USA. Usually it’s automatically added into the price of your meal, and if not, 10% is customary. Which is probably why we often end up with servers who take ages to take our order, are never around for refill requests, and are not in any kind of hurry to bring you your bill. It’s also part of the culture here to spend at least 2 hours at dinner, so we’ve had to get used to not getting in and out of a meal very quickly.
Well, that being said, Rustico’s seems to be the exception. The wait staff are welcoming, courteous, and attentive, and usually within 10 minutes of ordering, you’re eating your dinner, which earns them a whopping 15% tip from us. And even better than the food and the service, was the company and conversation. As per usual, the girls occupied one end of the table, while the boys talked shop on the other end. It’s so nice not to have to smile and nod during engineering conversations. Yawn. (Except for when Jonathan talks about engineering of course. Then it's all super fascinating. Smile and nod.)
After a satisfying Italian feast, we headed to BrewDog to try some of their brews. I was instantly impressed with the hipster bar vibe when we walked through the doors.
They had a wide selection of beers on tap, and several more eclectic brews in bottles. They also make beer cocktails which mixes their beers with liquors for a tasty beer substitute. When I googled BrewDog online, I discovered that of the top 20 beers in Scotland, they occupy 13 of the rankings. I may have found my new favorite bar...
After a few drinks at BrewDog, our group decided to do some pub crawling and went in search of a quieter space and some imported beer.
Weird cultural observation: inhabitants of the British Isles love Coors Light. We noticed the same thing in Ireland. Now, stateside I wouldn’t be caught dead drinking a Coors, but for some reason the Taste of the Rockies tastes much better  here in the UK.
Who says you can't get a sunburn in Scotland?
Since the night was fairly warm by Scottish standards, we ended up even enjoying some time out on the patio, so my night out on Friday really hit the spot for curing some of my recent homesickness.
Due to our late night festivities, we ended up having a gloriously lazy Saturday. Usually Jonathan and I’s weekends are full of running errands, traveling, or heading out to explore Scotland.
It was kind of nice to nap, catch up on Big Brother, see a movie with friends, go out for burgers and hit the sack early. And we needed plenty of rest because I accidentally double booked us for Sunday plans. In my defense, Jonathan told me that his company bar-b-que was on Saturday, so when we were invited to brunch just south of Stonehaven for late Sunday morning, I thought our schedule was wide open. And since brunch is my most favorite meal and I also have a weakness for the Scottish coastline, I of course committed us to attend.
It wasn’t until Thursday that Jonathan informed me that the company event was actually on Sunday, and therefore our commitments were overlapping quite a bit. No big deal. If Jonathan and I are good at anything, it’s eating. We just put on our elastic waist pants and dealt with the consequences of our scheduling error.
Brunch was in a small coastal town called Catterline, and the scenery leading to the award winning Creel Inn restaurant was, as always, spectacular.
 The food was delicious, and the sticky gingerbread pudding (!!) for dessert knocked my socks off.
It was honestly the best part of my already spectacular weekend. But as soon as I enjoyed my last bite of pudding, Jon and I left our cash on the table and headed straight to the bar-b-que. Since we already pre-paid 30 pounds to eat at the all you can eat buffet, Jonathan had no choice but to fix himself a big ole plate. I didn’t want to cleanse my pallet of the sticky gingerbread goodness just yet, so instead I opted for some cider over ice which I enjoyed in the Scottish sunshine.
Since the company hired a steel drum band, and the party was held on a large and grassy Scottish estate, it was easy to imagine that we were on some tropical Island, enjoying a cold drink and a cool breeze. Until the breeze turned into a gust, and then our pleasant afternoon outdoors was somewhat tarnished.
We stuck it out like true Scots however, and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting with friends and freezing our tails off.

Sorry that I didn't have that many lovely photos to share with you from this weekend, but I do have many lovely memories, which I prefer to pictures anyway.  

No comments:

Post a Comment