The Tourist

I did my research before we headed off to the log cabin. Sure, it was self-catering but it also happened to be near Callander, which is the home of the Ben Ledi Cafe, one of The Independent’s Top 50 UK cafes. I drooled over the website for weeks in advance. So while Gareth was looking forward to long bike rides, strenuous hikes and blissful serenity, I was dreaming of fried fish and burgers.

I had pretty much memorised the menu, so as we pedaled alongside the loch on the Tuesday afternoon I chanted to myself, "Just keep going. Keeeeep going. Soon you can have the chips. Or the milkshake. Or the banana split."

So imagine my dismay when we rocked up to the Cafe a few hours later and it was CLOSED.


"Are you okay?" asked Gareth.

"Of course I’m okay!" I said brightly. "Why the hell wouldn’t I be okay?"

"Umm. Alright. What do you want to do now?"

"Go back to the cabin and cook something, I suppose."

When we returned I got busy with the pots and pans right away.

"So you’re sure you’re alright?" Gareth asked again.

"Yes! Why do you keep asking?"

"We-llllll," he said carefully, "Sometimes when you have a food-related disappointment it can take you a long time to recover."

"Don’t be ridiculous!"

Half an hour later we were eating our sensible home-cooked meal, something involving spring greens and baby potatoes I think.

"Soooo," I said, trying to sound casual. "Do you think they’ll open later?"


"I mean, WHAT IF THEY DON’T? What if they’re shut ALL WEEK?"

"Ha ha! You are obsessed!"

"I’m not."

We went back on the Thursday and thank-bloody-goodness the lights were on. I was torn between the burger and the fish tea but when Gareth ordered the fish tea, I knew I could steal a bite of his and it would be almost as good as having both meals. Hurrah!

"Just the beef burger thanks!" I said to the waitress.


"OH! Could I get cheese on that too?"

"Sure. Anything else?"

"No. OH! Any chance of some bacon too?"

"Of course." You gluttonous piggy.


Oh people. It was so worth all those weeks of anticipation. I would have to say it’s the best burger I’ve had in Britain. The beef was succulent, the relish was homemade and zingy. The bread roll was one of those gorgeous pillowy Scottish ones. And the salad! Not only was there fresh, delicious greenery on the burger, there was EXTRA salad on the side! I had never seen such a radical thing on Scottish shores before.


Of course I had a major case of Plate Envy when Gareth’s fish tea came out. Check out that fish! The batter was so clean and golden, no bits of old dead chips clinging to it like you get in some less quality establishments. By the way, for the uninitiated, a fish tea is basically fish and chips with bread and butter on the side. Gareth said it was just as good as all the fish and chips he’d scoffed in Australia!

Well, he said that after some prompting.

"Is it as good as Australia? Is it? Is it!?!"



I also had an orange juice which was genuine freshly squeezed! "Whoa, tastes like Spain!" was the Gareth verdict. Many places claim freshly squeezed but the only thing they’re squeezin’ is a Tetra pack.

Afterwards I had a banana split but that photo came out blurry as I was trembling in anticipation.

There are few things more pleasurable to me than when you’ve been looking forward to something for ages, building it up in your mind, and it actually turns out to be just as brilliant as you imagined. Particularly when it’s something edible.

Anyway, there’s absolutely no real point to this entry except to say I heart food. And when it comes to being a tourist, I shall always travel with stomach first, eyes and feet second.

23 thoughts on “The Tourist

  1. I’m a food tourist as well. The meal looks great, which is high praise coming from a veggie.

  2. Oh yeah. You and I could totally travel together. Food tourists! I don’t know what excited me more, going to the world famous San Diego Zoo, or dining at the area’s best sushi restaurant that same day!

    Those meals both looked fantabulous. Glad you guys got to enjoy a little tastebud theater. (that sounded naughtier than it was meant)

  3. Your burger does look devine! I am like you, where ever I go, it better have decent food! I always look forward to the food the most, how sad is that???

  4. Mmm…it’s 7:20am and suddenly I feel like a burger! Or fish & chips.

    *sigh* OK, porridge it is!

  5. Mmmmm, it all looks so good. I took a look at the menu – when you go back can you please order a Chocolate Symphony milk shake for me?


  6. Ahahahahah like Kathryn, I thought of a fish flavoured beverage myself! Mmmmmm… John Dory teabags…

    I’m a food tourist as well – in fact, whenever my Dad talks about places we’ve been on our family road trips, I’ll always recall the locations not for their scenery and the lovely people, but “the place with the ice cream”, and “the place with the sausages”.

    And your meals looked yummalicious. πŸ˜€

  7. Hmmm. Food-related disappointment; I am SO glad you wrote that. I often used to feel that (not eating conventional food right now) and felt a lot of guilt and shame about it. But I am NOT alone, it seems. Hooray!

    Anyway, fellow Food Tourist, so glad the meal did NOT disappoint!

    Have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend!

    Mrs L xxxxx

  8. I would die for a burger, some fried fish or even a bloody piece of bread.

    I have been gluten free for 3 weeks now and, although it is giving me heaps of energy and I am losing weight without even trying, I long for bread, burger buns, pizza anything with real flour!! Not too badly but on a Friday night at 10.31pm when you had dinner at 6pm and it was gluten free pasta with tomato pasta sauce, you are just dying for something junky!!

  9. no beetroot?

    It takes me a long time to get over disappointments too.

    Mostly of the family related kind though!!

  10. Just you wait, missus shauna, just you wait, ho ho ho

    Im making plans you know πŸ˜‰

  11. A GOOD burger in Scotland? Really? I ordered them a couple of times thinking “surely they can’t screw up something as simple as a burger” but it turned out they could! Here in the U.S. a burger is usually just ground beef, and maybe some spices. Topped with cheese, bacon, whatever. But it seems like in Scotland they put odd things in it (oatmeal, maybe?) that make it taste strange to me. Not sure how it is in Australia, or what you’re accustomed to, but the idea that there’s hope of a good burger in Scotland is a wonderful thing. And that log cabin was amazing. Maybe next time…

  12. Oh I heart food too!!!!I heart it even more now that i don’t abuse @ food related disappointment, I so get that! I just didn’t know that others did πŸ™‚

  13. ahh… food tourist… i am going to san fran in a couple of weeks and have been compiling a long list of shops to visit while i’m there – and most of them are food related! i want to try a burrito from there… a burger from there… chocolate from there… of course im going to do heaps of other stuff, but i will be dead devestated if i don’t get to try a burrito from stevie from belle & sebastian’s favourite mexican joint!!! (discovered through the q&a section of their site). sounds like you had a fabulous romantic getaway πŸ™‚

  14. I was so expecting this entry to end with, “But in the end, I looked back over my six years of weight loss and decided I couldn’t sabotage it with such food, so I chose the wilted lettuce salad with a side of oxygen and hot tea to drink and then I climbed a mountain and meditated at the summit about all the progress I’ve made.”

    And now, since you didn’t, I adore you even more.

  15. I’ve hearted your blog for so long, from afar…but I needed to say that I laughed my arse off at your reference to “food disappointment”. Oh, that is SO me!!!
    And your adventure sounds absolutely divine.
    I adore your blog.

  16. this reminds me of my sister’s gorgeous honeymoon that her husband thought she had lovingly planned but which all revolved going to the cadbury factory in tasmania and then when she got there – it was closed!!!!!!!! he didn’t understand why she then had to visit EVERY fudge shop for the rest of the time to make up for it!!!!!!!!

  17. Well, of COURSE you were disappointed at first — but I’m so glad you got your burger in the end (well-deserved, too). It looks great!

  18. Woman! You have hit a cord with everyone; A positive fun entry that speaks to everyone. (Again) good job and that holiday looked lovely…I think if I get to travel the UK I will be putting your whole trip on my itinerary including the food bit!

  19. This is what shits me aboutn my home land.

    All the ingredients are there for all to see,all to use. We could make food easily as good as any Melbourne Deli,yet we are reknowned for our shitful cuisine.

    It beggrs my credence that with meat and veg as good as we have in Scotland that any establishemnet that does anything well is regarded as being occult.

    Having said all of that, things are not exactly Escoffier in England either.

    Go Shauna, only tiny bit left.

    Post current pics so we can all ooh and ah at your skinny ass self.

  20. You’ve got me drooling! The log cabin looks pretty good too. Cheaper than the holiday I just experienced. I will be poor for months… But happy too.

    Oh and congrats on becoming a Brit.

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