There isn't a city on the planet that's as tied to the words "new" and "shiny" and "youthful" as often as our own. And yet one of the hottest tickets of the year, and certainly the early part of the year, involves a multi-century tradition that's all about looking back to 1700s, with gusto, mirth, and a whole lot of haggis.
It's the poet Robert Burns birthday, an occasion that is marked in Scotland and places elsewhere. LA takes pause to observe every year at the Tam O'Shanter in Atwater Village. How much takes pause? Consider the fact that over a thousand people sign up for the scotch-scented revelries. They now take place over two nights. And those two nights always, always sell out.
The 2013 dates are Wednesday, Jan. 23 and Thursday, Jan. 24. There are two seatings each night.
The poet Burns is famed for many a well-turned word, including "Auld Lang Syne." The Tam O'Shanter also took its name from a Burns piece. But the poet notably penned an address to a haggis, an entree is he sure to be associated with throughout the eras.
The haggis has become one of the easier punchlines of the culinary world -- sheep's organs are involved -- but lovers of the dish stalwartly stand by their ovine favorite.
Thus haggis is on the menu and over 40 kinds of single malt scotch. A ceremonial sword is also brandished in the cutting-of-the-meat segment of the evening. (It is actually billed on the program as "The Slaying of the Haggis.") If your next question is "do a lot of patrons show in colorful kilts?" are next answer is "aye. A big, big aye."
Burns maven Dr. Neil MacLeod has been the host of the evenings at the Tam for over three decades, so expect some old-school chummery and lit-loving conversation among the oft-returning regulars.
As mentioned, reservations are essential. Kilts are not, but we'll just go ahead and say right here that you should kind of treat the kilt topic as a pretty undebatable.