On January 25th, the anniversary of Scottish poet Robert Burns’ birthday is celebrated by Scots worldwide. The occasion calls for much whiskey, and a haggis to sacrifice while reading Burns’ poem, “Address to the Haggis.” If you are unfamiliar with the Scottish delicacy, haggis is comprised of sheep liver, heart and tongue cooked with oats and spices in a sheep stomach. I used to assume that haggis would be mostly oatmeal with spices like clove, but don’t be surprised by the lack of strong seasoning. It is like meatloaf made with liver. If you are a fan of beef liver and other organ meats, you will love haggis. Here are our favorites.
THE TAM O’ SHANTER (Los Feliz)
Long-time Tam O’Shanter chef Ivan Harrison comes out of retirement every year just to make the haggis. The Tam lets you wimp out and gives each table a small side dish of the Scottish delicacy to taste and you order your meal from the regular menu, which means you can have their famous Lawry’s prime rib. There is plenty of entertainment including bagpipers, dancers and poems. They slay the haggis very dramatically. Reservations are a must. There are two seatings, one at 5:30 and one at 8:15. For Reservations call 323.664.0228. Kilts are strongly encouraged.
Chef Ralph Johnson will be preparing The Pikey’s Haggis with neeps and tatties (potatoes and swedes, which are kind of like yellow turnips). The dinner goes for $28 and a dessert of Cranachan (made with berries, honey oats and whiskey cream) is $9. The usual gastropub menu will also be available. Drink selections include Bruchladdich Single Malt Scotch ($5), The Robert Burns Cocktail – Single Malt Scotch, Dolin Sweet Vermouth, Orange Bitters, Matahari Absinthe, served up ($5). There will also be poetry.
THE NATIONAL FOOD AND BEVERAGE FOUNDATION AT REDBIRD (DTLA)
The First Annual Global Burns Night will take place on Friday, January 27th from 6:30 pm until 11pm at Redbird in DTLA. The dinner includes seven courses of “multicultural small plates paired with single malt whiskies from Scotland, France, India, Taiwan, Japan, and California.” Chef Neal Fraser has created a menu that”honors traditional Scottish feasts but reflects the homelands of each of the evening’s featured whiskies.”