How to do Edinburgh without doing the Fringe

Edinburgh Fringe 2015 has been very good to me.  I’ve seen some hilarious comedians, seen some great gigs, and just thoroughly enjoyed myself.  However sometimes, usually mid-August, I feel the need to do some regular Edinburgh activities.  I want to wander around the shops for no reason, I want to drink cocktails with my friends, I want to eat nice food in a quiet restaurant over a bottle of wine and some nice conversation.  Sometimes, it’s nice just to have a chilled out day amidst the festivities to catch my breath and remind myself what this city is all about for me.

Yesterday was one such day for me.  I finished my work early whilst it was still sunny outside, so phoned up a good friend to enjoy some good company and good eats.  We had a wander around the independent shops just off the Grassmarket, including Hannah Zakari, one of my favourite jewellery shops in the city.  I’ve had compliments on every piece I’ve ever bought from this place, which features almost entirely emerging local designers.  

   

    
  

 
Next we wandered over to St Mary’s Street for a late lunch at Empires, a family-run Turkish tapas restaurant that my friend absolutely loves.  

   

  

  

 She promised massive plates full of food, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  I’m vegan 90% of the time, but I was far too tempted by the vegetarian mezze platter to resist a few morsels of dairy.  Aubergine patlican, vegetarian moussaka, Ezme tomato salad, spinach and feta muska borek, and feta stuffed peppers.  

  
My friend, being an omnivorous sort, went for the hot mezze platter.

  
Before we slipped into a food coma, we decided to stop by one of my favourite cocktail bars, Dragonfly.  

   

 We tried a rum cocktail called a Pineapple under the C, made with Mount Gay and a pineapple caper compote.  

  
By this time, it was getting a bit late so we had to make our way back to mine to walk the dog.  As I live in the area, it would have been rude not to have a wee cocktail at the Blackbird.  We’d gathered a couple more friends at this point, as well as having one of my cats inexplicably follow us to the pub (I still have no idea why).  So we decided to cap off the evening with a flaming zombie. If you think this man looks happy in the photo, you should have seen him after!

  
We had altogether a lovely, slightly merry , recuperative day out enjoying the city away from the general Fringe mayhem.  Now I’m ready to get back into the festive swing of things!  

x

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