Sept. 1

Suffering from acute jet-lag, I park myself at one of the few empty tables at Costa coffee in Heathrow, T5 (three hours to kill before my flight to Edinburgh; I choose to kill them with coffee). Very dry cappuccino, extra shot, only foam and cinnamon–they did it right, the cup should feel light in my hand because of the absence of yucky milk, the one and only raison d’être  of which is to serve as a lowly vehicle for Coffee the Great)  and a big-a$$ chocolate chip muffin. At Costa they warm the muffins without asking. Of course you want it warmed, anyone would want it warmed. So they just do it, and they give you butter and you take the butter and you like it because you know they do not have margarine. They make the bad choice for you, absolving you of any and all possible blame and/or self-recrimination or running into the restroom to look at your a$$ in the mirror before or after you ingest the muffin. They give you no choice but to be bad and boy is it good.

Sept. 2

Last night was pasada de rosca (like when you screw a lid on so tight it comes loose again, a Spanish expression for being so tired you can’t see straight…) room service. I tend to travel above my pay grade, credit card bills be damned.

Fresh-caught Scottish salmon has no equal in the entire world. That’s what we had as a starter, sliced thin but not too, on one of those fashionable little slate serving trays. It tastes like fishy butter, which sounds disgusting but is divine on crisp flatbread (toasted w/olive oil and sea salt) with a sprinkle from the little bowl of fresh chopped organic dill.

Main course was Parmesan risotto with herb-roasted root vegetables and a side of broccolini–flash-blanched (no stringy stalks for us!) and pan-fried–with not-ashamed-to-be-thick, who-cares-about-breath-since- we’re-both-eating-this slices of garlic, just browned in olive oil. The risotto was just the right side of creamy, with the roasted parsnips and squash and yellow beets keeping it well free of mushiness. Sweet and bitter and cheesy combined as your roaming fork pleases is surprisingly pleasing to the tongue and surrounding sensory apparatus.

Prosecco to wash it all down with, best if consumed ice-bucket cold in a 5-star hotel in Edinburgh in a noise-isolated room with a huge bay window that looks out over the city (the building used to belong to a newspaper and this is the editor’s erstwhile suite, you can just see him at his desk with his sleeves rolled up and his fingertips inky), and especially the train station (you get to see and not hear the tracks — my companion has a train fetish), in the plushest imaginable hotel bathrobes (do we love hotel bathrobes or what), with your feet cradled in equally plush spa slippers.

The jet-lag just makes it better. Oh, and if you want no human interaction involved in the transaction, you may request your room-service be delivered to the privacy hatch yes, really; no bad jokes allowed, far too easy).

Tonight we explore afield…