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December Food News | 2001

Chef's Dish

Great Scot

This past spring, Gordon Ramsay, the enfant terrible of the London food scene, returned to his native Glasgow to open Amaryllis (1 Devonshire Gardens; 44-141/337-3434; dinner for two $87), his first restaurant in Scotland. Here are three of Ramsay's local favorites for dining on his night off:

Shellfish Thoughts I love Rogano, a classic oyster bar (11 Exchange Place; 44-141/248-4055; dinner for two $100). They serve grilled Dover sole and lobster mayonnaise—but done right! This place is the Scottish version of Brasserie Bofinger, near the Bastille. When I worked in Paris, I used to watch those guys, outside in the winter wearing berets and fingerless gloves, shucking oysters past midnight.

Fish 'n' Chips Throughout my childhood, we went fishing on holiday. After a day spent wearing thigh-high rubber waders in that famous Scottish drizzle, we'd go to Inverlochy Castle (Torlundy, Fort William; 44- 139/770-2177; dinner for two $130) for crisp fried cod with chips. It was a treat to sit down to a proper meal, even if we hadn't caught anything. I still love to fish, and I still go to Inverlochy. Most people think fish-and-chips has to be served wrapped in newspaper, but it tastes just as good off china.

Late-night Scene Ashton Lane is Glasgow's Carnaby Street, with many trendy bars and restaurants. My favorite is the Ubiquitous Chip, just called the Chip (12 Ashton Lane; 44-141/334-5007; dinner for two $100), which looks like a 1940's greenhouse. They've got an amazing colcannon, a dish of cabbage, mashed potatoes, leeks, and onions. It's the perfect late-night meal. A lot of chefs go there after work because of the after-hours jazz bar next door—on Friday nights it's kicking till 2 a.m. That's probably why Amaryllis doesn't open till dinnertime on Saturdays. —Melissa Clark

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Wine Travelers

Learning the difference between a Gewürztraminer and a Grüner Veltliner doesn't have to be a dull swirl-and-sniff affair. Three Napa Valley institutions are combining wine education with epicurean travel, so you can have your wine and pair it too.

The most ambitious is COPIA (500 First St., Napa; 707/259-1600), a new 80,000-square-foot cultural center devoted to the connection between food, wine, and the arts. Seminar topics include Mastering Merlot and Wine Pairings for Christmas. Foodies will also love regular guest-chef visits to COPIA's gourmet restaurant. The Wine Center at Meadowood (900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena; 800/458-8080) now offers excursions to nearby vineyards. Resident "wine tutor" John Thoreen's curriculum ranges from the basic (the ABC's of Tasting) to the whimsical (Wine and Croquet). And starting next fall, the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (2555 Main St., St. Helena; 800/333-9242) will launch its first travel program with a food and wine itinerary. September's destination: the wine regions of Spain. It's the ideal opportunity to brush up on Tempranillo and tapas.—m.c.

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