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My Site: Day 87: Scotland

My Site


Day 87: Scotland

You’d be amazed at how difficult it is to find Scottish food in Los Angeles. Real haggis (heart, liver, lungs, onions, herbs and oatmeal, boiled inside of a stomach) has been banned in the U.S. ever since the mad cow scare in Britain, and for whatever reason, not much else in the world of Scottish gastronomy has spread outside of their borders. I was really hoping to have some haggis, since I’ve heard on a few different occasions that, if you didn’t know what was inside, your average meat eater would think it was really accessible and delicious. But alas, true Scottish haggis illegal.

So what happens when you’re desperate for a cuisine? Well, a lot of times, that means you’ll end up with something pretty bad. Cock N Bull is a British pub in Santa Monica which has been around for as long as I can remember. They are also not exactly known for their cuisine. So, while I hate to trash a place that wasn’t supposed to be any good in the first place, I needed to find something— and they serve a “Scottish Breakfast”, which includes two eggs, a potato scone, Irish bacon, square sausage, canned tomatoes, canned beans and toast. GirlfriendBites is nice enough to join me today, and opts for a the chicken curry pie. Well, as you can probably guess, the food ain’t so good. The scone is dry, the eggs are off, the sausage has lots of inedible, chewy bits, the toast is floppy and the beans are so sweet, their gooey, red juice is spreading across the plate and making everything it touches even worse. The only part that’s decent? The Irish bacon— which is Irish. I reach my fork across to try GFB’s pie as she glances up and says “You won’t like it.”

“Why?” I ask.
“Because it’s still cold in the middle.”
“Oh. Doesn’t that mean you don’t like it either?”
“I don’t care. I just want to leave.”

I try the almost-still-frozen center, knock back the end of my Scotch, pay the bill, thank the bartender (who was very nice) and we get out of there. The sad part is that it is a fun, old-school bar with lots of locals who enjoy the place just fine, thank-you-very-much. It’s just the wrong place to go for a Personal Food Project in Blog Form. If I start a website called, though, I know where to start.

Cock N Bull Pub
2947 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 399-9696

Food Breakdown: 1 alcoholic beverage, 2 entrées
Price: $17
Distance From My House: 5.5 miles



  1. Abba · Dec 01, 11:12 AM

    Haggis is a really wonderful dish – oaty, meaty, peppery and delicious. It’s such a shame it’s banned in this country.

  2. Mr. Meatballs · Dec 01, 01:04 PM

    Next time I do trivia at Cock & Bull, I’ll know what to order—Scotch. Was this more “authentic”-seeming than Tam O’Shanter’s?

  3. Noah · Dec 01, 02:15 PM

    As far as I can tell, Tam O’Shanter’s doesn’t serve any Scottish food whatsoever.

  4. Richard Gould-Saltman aka Silverlake Bodhisattva (me mother was a McFarlin...) · Dec 01, 02:41 PM

    Well, the food at the Tam O’Shanter isn’t THAT much less authentically Scots than what you got and the Cock & Bull , which, frankly, sounds amazingly like every breakfast I was served in Britain.

    The Tam does serve something which they allege is haggis on Burns night, and they always have salmon on the menu. A plausible argument can be made that “Welsh Rarebit” might as well be “Scots Rarebit. So that’s at least SOME autheticity. . .

    Mostly. you hit the critical points: whisky, and something fried. . Those, and a blazingly hot balti to clear your head may cover the “lower reaches” of Scots food…

  5. Abba · Dec 01, 06:52 PM

    I’m pretty sure that deep-fried Mars Bars qualify as authentically Scottish. Can you get Mars Bars in this country? They’re Snickers Bars without the peanuts.

  6. Richard Gould-Saltman aka Silverlake Bodhisattva · Dec 02, 02:43 PM

    The Woman in The Hat reminds me that somewhere on the ould sod (the Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow, maybe?) we were served a very tasty “vegetarian haggis” with tatties and neeps on the side. Went very well with a bit of one of their (several hundred, mainy extremely rare) whiskys.

    So there’s no excuse for the Cock & Bull serving what they did, except, of course, that it’s a bar. . . .