Thursday, 5 August 2010

Another work week Don'

I've been in Aberdeen all week, hence the lack of blog entries this week. Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city and has often been described as the 'Granite City' or the 'Grey City'. The reason behind this, well some of the buildings have locally quarried grey granite incorporated into them, so when the sunlight hits them they sparkle like silver, but when the sun is not shining, it very quickly becomes the Grey City. As a port town, Aberdeen was also important for its fishing and shipbuilding industries, but since the discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s, it has also gained another name, the Oil Capital of Europe.

Its not all industrial, as it has a long, sandy coastline. Unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to explore it at all as I have been rather distracted at work. So maybe next time, but I did get to snap a few photographs of Aberdeen yesterday evening whilst looking for somewhere else to eat, as I was getting rather fed up with the limited hotel options. The hotel itself was located on the outskirts of the city, so I was rather glad to go into the city centre, even though most of the shops were closing for the evening.

The bus also passed Aberdeen harbour. If it wasn't so late, the adventurous person in me would have got off the bus and explored a little, but no way was I going to be doing this on my own and so late in the evening.
I walked from one end of the town centre (Union Street), in-between and then the West end looking for somewhere to eat.

I walked passed Books and Beans, a second-hand bookstore, fair trade coffee and Internet cafe, but it was closed. If it was open, you know me. I would have probably walked out of it with a cookbook or two.
I did do some Internet research to see if Aberdeen had some vegetarian eateries. I even asked some Aberdonian work colleagues if they knew of somewhere or could recommend a place. All of them said they were not aware of anywhere that catered specifically for vegetarian and vegans, but most places offered a vegetarian option. Well, rather than going back to the hotel to eat a door-stop version of summer vegetable kobabs with pitta bread, I looked at a number of restaurant menus within my budget and dietary needs, but also a place were I would feel comfortable eating on my own.
I stumbled across a little organic cafe called the Foodstory. Its sign made me smile, as it was still open, I stepped and glanced at the menu. Although all rather good and comforting, I honestly wanted something more substantial than just a seasonal salad or a sandwich this time. But I did walk not out empty handed. I walked out with a rather posh bar of Vivani White chocolate bar with mango, coco and yogurt. Not for me to gorge on, but to take back home for D.
Opposite the Foodstory, I noticed a Thai Restaurant called Bhan Thai. I was sold on the menu clearly marking a number of vegetarian options with a green 'V'. For starter I had the Thoong Thong, a parcel of thin crispy pastry filled with a spicy vegetable stuffing, served with sweet chilli sauce and for main Gaeng Dang, apparently a famous Bangkok red curry with coconut milk, aubergines, bamboo shoots, chilli and basil leaves with egg fried rice. I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh, spice and crispness of my pastry and although a little sweet, my red curry was really good too. The place has already received some good reviews, but it someone was to ask me about it, I would certainly recommend it. Not just for the food, the decor, the ambience of the place was lovely too and the waiters and waitresses were very attentive.
By the time I got back to my hotel room, showered and ready to knock myself out with sleep. I looked out of my hotel window and was amazed. I thought the skies in the West of Scotland have been rather fabulous recently, but Aberdeenshire skies are just as beautiful - it is Scotland after all.
Oh as I've been sitting, eating alone at the hotel restaurant or at the Thai restaurant, my lovely husband D was eating alone too, but at least he was home tucking into some home made Mushroom, Puy Lentil and Ale pies. I just wish he had cut one open to show you all the filling. You know what this means, I'll have to make them again.


  1. Never been to Aberdeen... never been to Scotland in fact, even if i lived almost 6 years in London... (but those day I hardly had the money for going as far as Sussex, let alone Scotland!!). One day I will make it though, and I want to go as north as I can. Is it cold there?

    For the time being, thank you for the virtual trip :-)

  2. Alessandra,
    Its my third time in Aberdeen, and the longest time - always work related.

    Scotland really does have some pretty sights, so I really recommend a visit someday. I'm originally from Wales, where it always seems to rain too, so for me its pretty much home from home int he sense of the weather. It can get cold in the winter, especially further north you go.

  3. My middle son, was at Uni in Aberdeen, and it truly is the most beautiful city. If the weather was a tad warmer and the icy wind was not quite so cold it would be perfect for a wonderful beach holiday methinks!

    My mother in law visited us, and we took her up to Aberdeen to meet my son. She lives in the west country, and had imagined Aberdeen to be very heavy industrial etc, so she was really stunned when she discovered just how beautiful it was!

    I love the east coast trip on the train up to Aberdeen just beautiful.

    G.J. x

  4. Green Jeannie.
    Hopefully I'll get more of an opportunity to explore Aberdeen again and not just for work which sometimes has its limits.

    Your right though, Aberdeen does have a reputation for being rather grey and industrial and its not necessarily the case.

  5. there's nothing like home cooked food after a week away - the pies look lovely but glad you had a good discovery

  6. What beautiful photos! Most of what I know about Scotland is from Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series. It's nice to see "real" pictures!

    The food looks/sounds lovely, too!

    BTW, thanks for visiting my blog.

  7. Johanna - Yes I missed homely food.

    Thanks for coming by Aimee.


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