While Americans are well-acquainted with Robert Burns' poem "Auld Lang Syne," sung when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Day, the 18th century poet and lyricist is beloved by his fellow Scotsmen for his hard drinking and cheeky verse. As Scotland's national bard, his literary style influenced Romantic poets such as William Wordsworth and Percy Bysshe Shelley, but he also captured the imagination of 20th century writers like John Steinbeck and J.D. Salinger.
The poet's birthday on January 25 is celebrated each year as Burns Night, marked by an evening of merry-making: it often involves singing and reading his songs and poems, followed by the Burns Supper -- the Scottish national dish of haggis with neeps and tatties (a mash of turnips, rutabaga, and potatoes.) Haggis, for the uninitiated, is sheep's offal mixed with oats, onions and seasonings, stuffed in the sheep's stomach, and boiled for several hours. As Burns lovingly describes it in his poem "Address to a Haggis," it's "Warm-reekin', rich!"
In my opinion, it doesn't reek at all. Instead, it's peppery and savory with a texture that's a combination of crisp stuffing and tender sausage. But where can you get a taste of a proper Burns Supper and a wee dram of Scotch in Los Angeles?
2980 Los Feliz Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039; (323) 664-0228
Thursday, January 22: Burns dinner menu with haggis, poetry readings, bagpipers, step dancers, and Scottish sword dancers. Call for reservations.
2013 West Burbank Boulevard, Burbank, CA 91506; (818) 845-0692
Saturday, January 24: Burns dinner with haggis, poetry readings, and bagpipers. Call to be on the waiting list.
7383 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046; (323) 655-3331
Sunday, January 25: Burns night menu with haggis with bagpipers.
77 West Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91103; (626) 796-3399
Sunday, January 25, 5 pm - 9 pm: Haggis and bagpipers. Call for reservations.
7617 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90046; (323) 850-5400
Sunday, January 25, 3 pm - 10 pm: Menu with haggis and Scotch tastings