The Skinny Food and Drink Reader Survey 2012
It seems strangely fitting to be writing this introduction in a hotel room in London, as Scotland is about to be blown away into the Arctic Sea by the most infamous Bawbag since Michaelangelo sculpted David and scared the hell out of Renaissance Italy. Specifically, I'm coming to you from Shoreditch, in trendy post-industrial East London, where the pigeons have ironic moustaches and everything is a recording studio. A place where the cool cats come together to decide what's hot, and they've just decided that the word 'hot' is out for this season. A place where trends are set, a wonderland where all the fun and exciting stuff happens before small chunks of it are sent off to the rest of us.
Except that's not really how things work. Fun, cool, interesting stuff happens everywhere, all the time, often right under your nose. Nice cups of tea or pints of craft beer are not confined to the M25, and no vermin with facial hair is going to tell me otherwise. Besides, none of us really pay much attention to V-necked poseurs with haircuts that look like the offspring of the Sydney Opera House and a ball of wool. When you want advice on what to wear, which films to watch or where to eat, you listen to your friends, workmates, and the other people you rub shoulders with day-in day-out. 'Real people', we'll call them. People such as your good self. Hello.
When we first came up with the idea for a food special, it became clear that we needed to somehow involve you 'real people'. Like apes sat in front of a mirror, we are self-aware enough to know that if we had simply picked our favourite restaurants, pubs, and cafes and plonked them on the page that wouldn't cut it. Luckily, unlike apes, we know how to set up online surveys and operate spreadsheets. So we decided to ask you for your suggestions on everything from the best pint in Edinburgh to the top place to grab a coffee outside the big two Scottish cities. After all, who better to ask for suggestions than the audience who'll (hopefully) end up reading this? That's you again. Hiya.
We've waded through hundreds and hundreds of your votes to bring you a comprehensive list of some of Scotland's top places to eat, drink, be merry, gorge in the wake of merriment, get your groceries, and impress the opposite sex. From the Highlands to the Borders, coast-to-coast, we read and counted them all, even the jokey ones. We're looking at you, people who laughed at the idea of good vegetarian food or suggested that the Finnieston Crane was the best place to go on a date. Now your selections have been charted, noted, whittled down and tabulated into one handy results page.
We say one page, because as much as we're grateful for your votes, eight solid pages of names and addresses would be a little dull for all of us. To that end, we've been out and about testing your favourite pubs at either end of the M8, in an entirely scientific and rigorous test of their merits. We also pop down to meet the team at Artisan Roast to find out just what makes their coffee so good, as well as speaking to Fence Collective supremo and noted Fife resident Johnny Lynch about the renowned and revered institution that is the Anstruther Fish Bar. (Oh, and we sent two of our readers on a blind date, to test the power of your favourite date place. Tee-hee.)
So here they are, your choices in The Skinny Food & Drink Survey. Thanks to everyone who voted, consider this supplement a token of our appreciation. And remember, these results were chosen entirely by you, so if you disagree with them you only have yourself to blame. Well, yourself and your fellow readers. The 'real people'. You certainly can't pin it on us. However, if you really have to, I know a place where you can find some 'trend-setters' with naff haircuts to take the rap.