Now that I’m back from my Europe trip, I’ve had some time to synthesize my experiences eating at nice restaurants in four different countries (Scotland, England, France, and Germany). Coming from Los Angeles, where the restaurant scene is as vital as anywhere else in the U.S. right now (possibly the world), it felt a bit like stepping into a history book; or, to put it another way, like watching a bunch of classic movies after a Quentin Tarantino marathon. There’s no question that America is setting the trends these days; the hottest restaurants in Paris are all popular because they’re considered “Très Brooklyn.” What, then, might a modern American restaurant have to learn from a modern European restaurant? Here’s my attempt to answer that question with a list.
It began with an off-the-cuff remark. Craig mentioned that his movie was going to play at the Edinburgh Film Festival and I said, “See if they’ll bring me out too.” I never expected that to actually happen but, somehow, some way, it did and before I knew it we were on a plane flying over the ocean. Edinburgh is a funny city for me because I’d actually been there once before, only I was too young to appreciate it. (I spent a summer at Oxford after my junior year at Emory and we did a two-day trip to Scotland.) My memories of Edinburgh were so foggy, in fact, that Craig hardly believed it happened. “Do you remember this from when you were here before?” he teased me as we made our way from the hotel lobby (after dropping off our suitcases) out into the city upon arrival. “Shut up,” I said. “Oooh look at that castle.”
Wild news: Craig’s movie is screening at the Edinburgh Film Festival in three weeks, then he goes to the Nantucket film festival, and back to Europe for the Munich film festival. The best part? Edinburgh is flying me out too, so I can join him in Munich as long as I make my way back to Edinburgh to fly back. So here’s the plan: four days in Edinburgh, then when Craig goes to Nantucket, I’ll make my way to London where I’ll lay low for a week until it’s time to go to Munich. After that, we’ll tack on three days in Berlin because how can you go to Munich and not go to Berlin? (Also: I want to see a certain someone’s Berlin kitchen.) Now I need your advice. Where should we eat in Edinburgh? Where should I stay in London? Where should I eat there? (I feel like I have to go to the River Cafe; I’d also like to try St. John and a Heston Blumenthal spot, but that may be unrealistic $$-wise.) Where do we eat in Munich? And where do we stay in Berlin? Oh and where do we eat there too? Also, if there are any books you can recommend about any of these places (fiction or non-fiction) I’d love to load up for the flight. Thanks for all of your help and I’ll be sure to share the whole adventure with you here on the blog, as I always do. I’m pretty nice that way.