Famous Scottish poet Robert Burns died 218 years ago. The first Burns Supper to commemorate his passing was held by the poet's friends and admirers one year later in Ayrshire, the place of his birth, and has been held every year since. In the two centuries since, the date of the annual Burns Supper—also called Burns Night—shifted from the anniversary of his death (July 21) to his birthday (January 25), and the tradition has spread from Ayrshire throughout the world. Burns Night is even celebrated right here in Houston, thanks to chef Richard Knight.
Burns Night with Chef Richard Knight
January 25, 7-10 p.m.
D&T Drive Inn
The former owner/chef of Feast (and the upcoming Hunky Dory) is honoring the Scottish poet tomorrow night, January 25, at D&T Drive Inn with a Burns Supper featuring a menu of cock-a-leekie soup, haggis with neeps and tatties (that's mashed rutagabeg and turnips to us Yanks), and cranachan for dessert. It's a simple meal of staples that the "ploughman poet" would have proudly served his own guests for supper.
Haggis, for the unaware, is that most daring of Scottish dishes, which Burns referred to fondly in his poetry as that "great chieftain o' the puddin-race." In it, a sheep's stomach is stuffed with sheep pluck (that's the polite term for innards like hearts, livers, and lungs) mixed with oatmeal, mutton fat, onions, and a variety of herbs and spices. The entire thing is boiled and served like a giant boudin. Modern haggis is typically served in a sausage casing, however, not a stomach—but I'm not making any promises about Knight's haggis. Feast's menu was a gleeful abbatoir of unusual animal parts; I can only hope Knight goes full tilt here too.
Cranachan is another Scottish specialty, this one more fetching: it bears a passing resemblance to raspberry trifle (sans the cake) soaked in whisky. In addition to the liquor-poached dessert, Burns Night will also include two specially selected Scotch whiskys from the Laphroaig and Ardmore distilleries in the $50 ticket price. D&T will also be featuring Scotch ales on draft, should you require extra assistance getting that haggis down.
And because no Burns Night would be complete without it, bagpipers will be playing throughout the evening between recitations of Burns's poetry by a few special Scottish guests. Even if you aren't interested in getting acquainted with Burns's favorite food with the "honest, sonsie face," you can still avail yourself of some Scotch and a few poetry lessons. After all, there's more to Burns than just "Auld Lang Syne."
Tickets are available for $50 online or at the door. Seating takes place between 7 and 7:30 p.m.; no late entrants will be seated, so as to adhere to the traditional Burns Night program.