Poems and Kilts: It's Haggis Time, LA

The Tam O'Shanter remembers Robert Burns in a grand and savory way.

All of us likely have a list of year-end to-dos -- or maybe year-beginning get-done stuff is more accurate -- and that list is likely hefty. On the roster? Store holiday decorations, schedule dentist, wash dog, dryclean kilt for haggis night, the usual errands.

Oh wait. We all have dryclean kilt for haggis night on our lists, right? Or are we assuming? Because the Tam O'Shanter's annual January plaid-it-up is one of the liveliest nights on the culinary calendar. Make that plural, as in two nights. So popular is the historic restaurant's annual Robert Burns birthday celebration that they had to extend the revelery beyond a single evening.

And here's why: haggis. Please, no nose wrinkling, no saying "never," no asking if stomach is involved. (It is.) Haggis is an old and fabled dish of Scotland, where Robbie Burns hailed from lo these many years ago. "Lo these many years ago"=two and a half centuries, give or take.

The night -- or nights -- will fall on Jan. 22 and 23. There shall be poetry reading -- the Bard of Scotland did indeed write an ode to a haggis -- and there shall be the showing off of kilts. Bagpipers bagpiping and step dancers step-dancing are also on the colorful 'n lively docket.

It's the 255th birthday of the poet, if you're keeping track at home, which we assume you are.

Reservations are so far beyond a must for this thing that they're two miles down the road. Best get on that, if you like literary nights that have plenty of pomp and food and music and cheek. And if you love the Tam O'Shanter, too (and surely you do).

And, nope, you don't need to show in traditional dress, but if you have a sprig of heather, why not tuck it in your buttonhole. Trust us when we say people bring the Burnsian panache to this party.

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Don't you love it that a soiree for a poet who lived centuries back is one of our restaurant scene's biggest tickets? So when anyone claims LA isn't a lit-loving town, feel free to pull up this post and say "au contraire" as you do so.

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