A medieval Scottish abbey that’s hailed as the birthplace of whiskey will soon be the site of a modern distillery.
Lindores Abbey near Fife, Scotland, is the first place on record to have distilled whiskey, when in 1494 it received an order from King James IV. The abbey, founded in the 12th century, has been a ruin for centuries, first being sacked by a mob in 1543, and then thoroughly destroyed by John Knox, founder of Scottish Presbyterianism, in 1559.
Now the Scotsman reports that the owners of the land have launched a £5 million ($8.1 million) project to build a whiskey distillery on the site. Water will come from the abbey’s medieval well and the barley will come from adjacent fields. The distillery will open in two or three years and will include a visitor’s center.
Of course it takes time for whiskey to mature, so landowner Andrew McKenzie Smith is also looking into making gin and flavored liqueur, which mature more rapidly. The Smith family hopes the abbey’s legendary status among whiskey aficionados will bring in business, and are looking into teaming up with Historic Scotland to restore the abbey.
As part of CNN’s “Parts Unknown” show, Anthony Bourdain went to New Mexico to check out Santa Fe’s Five & Dime General Store, which is very well known for its Frito Pie. It didn’t end well.
Holding the bag of Frito chips covered in chili and topped with cheese, Bourdain proceeded to refer to it as “warm crap in a bag.” Granted, he was just trying to give viewers an idea of what Frito Pie feels like when you hold it, and he did say himself that the dish was “delicious.”
Bourdain has gotten a bit of flack since the episode. For one, the episode claimed that the dish was made with Hormel chili, when in fact Five & Dime makes its own. Bourdain apologized. But it raises the question: Do people care what Anthony Bourdain has to say about food?
We have a strange relationship with food, and when we see an odd food combination in the national spotlight, we’re often compelled to try it. Just look at the cronut trend.
Is it more important for Bourdain to like the dish he tries, or just to get the dish onto national television? I would wager that there are just as many people who are tempted to try different dishes simply because Bourdain has put them in the spotlight, regardless if he actually likes them or not. Certainly, he should get his facts right, but at the end of the day, isn’t all publicity good publicity?
Be honest: you want to go and try it for yourself. So book a trip to Santa Fe to eat some Frito Pie. Or just make it yourself.
There’s nothing better than exploring a new culture through the lens of food, be it crepes on a street corner or ordering an unknown item at the market. But any self-respecting food-lover should travel well prepared, and there are a few key items you should always have in your luggage. Here’s the essential packing list for anyone that’s ready to eat their way through wherever they’re traveling.
1. Reusable bag
Come well prepared for market shopping. You have to have something to put all that local produce in.
2. Ground coffee + coffee filter
Rule number one of traveling: never, ever, ever be without coffee. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a hotel or hostel with mediocre coffee options, so bring your own. MSR makes a cool reusable filter that fits right into your mug, so all you have to get your hands on is some hot water.3. Tea bags
Another good item to add to your “just in case of an emergency” collection are tea bags. This way you’ll always be able to brew a mug after a long day out on the town.
4. Reusable containers
When you’re headed out for a long day of exploring, it’s smart to take some provisions with you, and a good reusable container will keep all your food in one spot. I find they are particularly helpful for carrying fruit, protecting it from bouncing around in your backpack. The MC2 from Innate is perfect, as the silicone lid doubles as a bowl.
5. Corkscrew/bottle opener
Particularly if you’re in a country known for wine, you’ll want a corkscrew opener on hand, and the same goes for bottle openers in beer loving countries. This way you can buy a few libations at a market or grocery store and do your own local tasting. Just remember to put it in your checked luggage, or if you’re traveling light with carry-on only, snag one upon arrival.
Whether you’re slicing off fresh cheese from a French market, cutting into artisan salami in Italy or slicing a mango in Thailand, a knife will serve you well. A classic is the good ole Opinel. Just be sure it’s packed in your checked luggage.
7. Tea towel
Tea towels can do wonders for impromptu picnics, giving you a small tablecloth that you can spread out wherever you’re sitting, keeping your food items off the ground.
Note down where you ate, what you ate and everything in between. A small journal is perfect for tracking all of your culinary experiences and keeps you from saying “what was the name of that cute hole-in-the-wall?” a few years later. Coffee, beer, wine or whiskey lover? Consider the 33 Books series which has specific journals for each drink.
If you’re eating on the go, a reusable spork is indispensable. It keeps you from having to waste a bunch of flimsy plastic forks (that never feel good in your mouth anyway) and you’re always ready to eat, be it airport food or street food. I prefer a metal one, like the titanium one from SnowPeak, because you don’t have to worry about it breaking in your bag.
This post references events from the series finale of Breaking Bad. If you haven’t yet seen the episode, don’t read any further.*****
During last night’s Breaking Bad series finale, Walter White drives a stolen Volvo nearly 3,000 miles from New Hampshire to New Mexico.
Although he’s estranged from nearly everyone in his life at this point, under different circumstances the cross-country trek would have made for an excellent family road trip, filled with fun for the whole extended White/Schrader clan. So gas up the RV and hit the road with this Breaking Bad-inspired road trip, bitch.
First up is a stop at the Herkimer Diamond Mine in Herkimer, New York, where Hank could search for rocks — ahem, I mean minerals — to his heart’s content. Alas, the mine’s name is a bit of a misnomer, you’re actually much more apt to find cheap quartz crystals than actual diamonds. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children.
Marie would love a visit to the Lambert Castle Museum in Paterson, New Jersey, where she can take in the world’s largest collection of antique and souvenir spoons. The 5,400 spoons come from as far away as Egypt and Holland and are extremely rare, so please refrain from slipping one discreetly in your purse.
No Breaking Bad-inspired cross-country trek would be complete without a visit to the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Walter White could spend hours visiting the various exhibits, including the aptly titled Sensing Change and Making Modernity. Asking how to properly cook blue sky is frowned upon though. Admission is free.
Before entering the museum, be sure to swing by Hats in the Belfry on South Street to pick up your own black porkpie hat and shades.
By this time, Walt, Jr. would have probably worked himself up quite an appetite. Flynn, a true breakfast aficionado, would appreciate Papa’s Pancake House in Indianapolis. Order the eggs, hashbrowns and bacon, and if it’s your birthday, don’t forget to spell out your age with the fried pig meat.
(Papa’s fried chicken is pretty good as well, but perhaps not as tasty as Twisters in Alburqurque, which served as Los Pollos Hermanos’ stand-in.)
There can be such a thing as too much family time, so Skyler might want to get in some more pool time. The Joule Hotel in Dallas, Texas, features an incredible rooftop infinity pool that sticks out eight feet from the building’s exterior.
What would you add? Where do you think would Jesse go? Where would Saul want to visit? After the road trip, who would head straight to Belize?