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Grilled Cheese with Haggis

Dean's in Glasgow, ScotlandI’m starting to think that you can add haggis to literally anything, and that thing will be improved.  Because so far I’ve had haggis with breakfast, haggis on a pork sandwich, haggis in puff pastry, and haggis in a burrito, and they’ve all been surprisingly delicious.

The latest haggis mashup?  Haggis with grilled cheese (or a toastie, as it’s known in the UK).

Grilled cheese from Dean's in Glasgow, Scotland

I had this at a place in Glasgow called Dean’s, and it comes with haggis, cheddar cheese, grainy mustard, and Branston Pickle (which is essentially a sweet British chutney).

This might have been my favourite of the various haggis dishes I’ve had so far.  The haggis adds a meaty substance to the delightfully gooey cheese, the mustard adds a nice zingy counterpoint, and the sweet Branston Pickle cuts through the richness.

Like the burrito, I sort of expected this to be a bit of a novelty, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

It’s Better than it Sounds

Los Cardos in Edinburgh, ScotlandThere’s a Mexican joint in Edinburgh called Los Cardos that sells a burrito filled with haggis.  It sounds like it should be a gimmicky abomination, but it’s actually surprisingly tasty.

It’s just a standard-issue burrito otherwise — it’s filled with typical burrito ingredients like rice, beans, salsa, and cheese… plus haggis.  It shouldn’t work.  It should probably be horrible.  But it isn’t.

Los Cardos in Edinburgh, Scotland

Texturally, the haggis is fairly similar to ground beef, which is obviously a fairly typical burrito filling.  And the distinctive haggis seasoning melds surprisingly well with the Mexican flavours.

Sometimes, when you eat a weird dish like this, the reaction is “well, that was pretty good, but I’d never eat it again.”  But if haggis were a standard burrito filling, I’d be eating it all the time.  It’s great.

You Know What I Like Best? The Price.

Piemaker in Edinburgh, ScotlandWhen you’re traveling on a budget, there’s nothing more satisfying than finding a cheap meal that’s actually good.  A great example of this?  A delightfully affordable pie shop in Edinburgh called Piemaker.

Piemaker in Edinburgh, Scotland

I got a Scotch Pie, which is filled with a peppery mixture of very finely ground beef (the texture kind of reminded me of the filling of Jamaican patties).

Piemaker in Edinburgh, Scotland

I also got a haggis roll, which features greasy puff pastry (seriously, look at how oily the bag got after about 15 seconds of contact with this thing) filled with a generous amount of haggis.

To be honest, neither was anything too memorable, but the price?  I paid £2.50 for both — around four bucks Canadian — for a meal that was tasty enough and surprisingly filling.  Somehow, when it’s that cheap, it just tastes better.

Scotland’s Big Breakfast

Full breakfast from the Royal McGregor in Edinburgh, ScotlandRemember the post about the English full breakfast I had in London?  Well, Scotland has their own version of the full breakfast (they add haggis, because of course).

I had it at the Royal McGregor, and it came with toast, a thick slice of tomato, baked beans, eggs, bacon, sauteed mushrooms, sausage, haggis, and buried beneath all of that, a tattie scone (which is a potato-based flatbread).

It was quite tasty — the haggis is a great addition (haggis, being made with various organ meats, is one of those things that sounds like it might be an acquired taste, but is actually just delicious).  Plus, the tattie scone is under there, soaking up all those flavours.  It’s not the best breakfast I’ve ever had, but I can certainly think of worse ways to start the day.