Dear Mr. Gold:
I've only eaten haggis with my dad in Scotland, and loved every bite. Is there a proper, classic haggis (along with neeps and tatties) in Los Angeles? Never been to Tam O'Shanter (sort of feels like “cheating”), but it's about time I search it out locally. Thanks for any help!
I'm not sure I'd ever seen haggis on a regular menu until The Gorbals opened last year, where Ilan Hall uses it to stuff poor, defenseless chicken thighs. But the unjustly maligned substance, a rugby-ball-size sausage of chopped sheep organs and oatmeal boiled in a sheep's stomach, tends to make a magical appearance this time of year at Burns Night celebrations. This year Robbie Burns' birthday falls on January 25– it's not too late to make reservations at the Tam O'Shanter in Los Feliz or Buchanan Arms in Burbank, two local places that reliably celebrate the occasion.
If you're inclined to DIY, you could always pick up a canned haggis at the Tudor House, although I wouldn't–every dog in the neighborhood will come baying around your door. You could make it yourself, although staring down a raw lamb's pluck is not recommended for the uninitiated. Or you could follow the artisanal route and order a haggis from the fine people at Heritage Foods, who have obtained a supply of haggis from the butcher Ian McAndrew, who makes it at his shop in Brick, New Jersey. Just boil and eat, and make sure to keep a plentiful supply of Scotch whisky close at hand.