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All quiet on the Yule front?

… you may well be asking. [Or not.] The answer, of course, is a resounding NO – all is not quiet; in fact I have been Yuling my little buns off for the last several days. This includes obligatory stuff like braving crowds at the Kringlan mall; making the single most scrumptious cookies ever invented in the history of the world; cleaning [no deep-cleaning though – I’ve decided to heed some of the best advice I’ve ever heard, which is to turn off the overhead lights, light some candles instead, and put cleaning fluid in a bucket behind the sofa for that freshly-cleaned smell]; sending off homemade cards [those insipid store-bought ones? – that’s far too easy]; and eating myself into a stupor at swanky old Perlan.

It’s s’posedly the best Christmas buffet in town, and so it was with some anticipation that EPI and I headed there last Friday to meet with his colleagues, at the generous invitation of his employer. [For the uninitiated, Perlan, or ‘The Pearl’, is a restaurant that sits atop the hot water tanks (from which we get our geothermal hot water for heating, showering, swimming, etc.) on Reykjavík’s Öskjuhlíð hill. It’s on one of the highest vantage points in the city and has an amazing view, which is why every tourist who has ever visited will know where it is – it’s the first place anyone ever takes them. The restaurant is one of those rotating establishments, and takes an hour or two to complete a full circle. Which sounded kind of touristy and beneath our dignity before we went, but which turned out to be pretty exciting once we were actually seated at the window, rotating and pointing and getting all disoriented trying to figure out where we were. But I digress.]

The buffet was one of those typical smorgasbords that invites utter gluttony. Personally, my eyeballs are always waaayy bigger than my stomach on such occasions, and that by the time I’m done with the appetizers I’m already ready for a post-dinner snooze. Appetizer highlights were, without a doubt, the duck pâté and the whale carpaccio with arugula lettuce and pine nuts. Main course highlights: the venison and the ‘purusteik’ with the wild mushroom sauce – a Danish-style pork loin with a crunchy top that I’m sure is called something proper in English. By the time I was done with those I was virtually comatose [I’m not a very big person, and I was eating like a trucker], yet was unable to resist the lure of the dessert buffet, which was stacked with impossibly delectable sweets. Highlights: chocolate mousse topped with strawberry in a paper-thin chocolate cup, and some sort of concoction that was similar to a white chocolate mousse with traditional Icelandic candy bits in it: licorice, crispy Nóa-kropp and other crazy stuff. Yow.sa.

So, I couldn’t fault the food, I couldn’t fault the service; but what I did fault was the sort of herding atmosphere that seemed to prevail. By which I mean that the general patronage was sort of herded through the buffet [line up here, then into this line here, etc.], was herded back to the long buffet tables [those were only tables available] and when the buffet was deemed [by the management] to be over [around 11 pm], they started flicking the lights on and off. Very tacky. Which meant that the Christmas staff party basically consisted of sitting down, eating, and going home. No mingling. Boo.

We’re a bit behind here at the Weather Report, and while we’ve been Yuling about town, Stúfur[Itty-Bitty], Þvörusleikir [Pot-Scraper Licker] and Pottasleikir [Pot Licker] have all come and gone. Today, however, we have Askasleikir [Bowl Licker], who crept in to the houses and licked the ‘askar’ clean [askar being lidded wooden bowls, often elaborately carved, that people ate from. Everyone had their own personal askur and when they were done using them, they were given to the dogs and cats to lick clean. (Ringworm, anyone?) So logically, old Bowl Licker would have not so much pissed off the human population, as the canine and feline one.]

Having already rambled on too long, I shall let this photo [yes, or this one] speak the 1,000 or so words I might use to describe the weather. I took them this afternoon down by the south shore. Temps currently –2°C and sunrise was at 11.18, sunset at 15.29.

Taiga the Fox lives in Finland and has an incredibly delightful Advent Calendar set up on her site. [At least I assume she’s done it herself – hm.] Do check it out – you will be charmed – guaranteed!



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