EAST LOTHIAN, Scotland -- Blame the haggis and the British influence for the bad rap bestowed upon the food in Scotland. Meals served on a golf trip to the "Home of Golf" don't have to be bland like the grey skies outside. Bright spots can be found in certain kitchens and dining rooms, just as the sun occasionally shines upon a seaside links.
Haggis sounds awful -- a mixture of a sheep's heart, liver and lungs cooked for hours with minced onion and various spices -- but it actually tastes quite good.
When it comes to food and fun in East Lothian, nobody does it better than Duck's at Kilspindie House in Aberlady. Owner Malcolm Duck can perform a spirited "Address to A Haggis," written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in the late 1700s. Post-dinner drinks and putting games in Donald's Bistro Bar will certainly cap a great night.
Plate for plate, though, it's tough to beat the talent of John Paul, the executive chef of the Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa in North Berwick. Even if you can't get inside the gates at Muirfield, it's still wise to make a reservation at the Chez Roux Restaurant inside the Greywalls Hotel next to the club. The fine food -- I can personally recommend the Black Isle Lamb -- and intimate setting will combine for a memorable meal.
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is normally for members-only, but the dining room of the Queen Street location in downtown Edinburgh is open to all. It's the perfect place to savor a night in the city, not to mention drink from the drams of the club's extensive collection. Golfers playing it safe can never go wrong with ordering fish and chips, a staple at pubs and golf clubs around the United Kingdom.