We continue from Bavaria.
Welcome to Italy, where even the beer has managed to form some kind of crust that probably shouldn’t be there. Or at least when you typically order a Peroni, you don’t expect to be asked if you want it served flat or well-done. Not everything has to be microwaved. The booth may be informed of this fact at some point.
Editor’s Note: This post is complete nonsense until you get to “Mezzelune Croccanti: Crispy Half-Moon Breaded Mozzarella-Filled Ravioli with Pomodoro Sauce – $12.” And even then, I’m not sure we’re completely out of the rabbit hole.
If I said “hope,” and you said, “The Italy Booth,” our chances of passing the first round of the Pyramid Game Show would be slim, but I’ll admit that there was a glimmer of something that felt vaguely wishful in my heart as I passed by the booth and it appeared shuttered. Could Italy actually opt out of the Festival, much like China? Several other booths were already open and happily serving, while Tuscany looked like someone had recently started foreclosure proceedings. Or the Health Department stopped by for the first time in ten years and the inspector started crying at what they saw while wailing, “Shut it down! Now! Yesterday! Terribile! Either way!”
We continue from Refreshment Outpost.
Editor’s Note: This is complete nonsense until you get to “Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce, Spätzle, and Braised Red Cabbage – $6.25”
Bavaria returns to the left of Germany with the same food menu as last year. “Prost!” I exclaimed at the news. I don’t know what the word means, but it has always sounded German and celebratory, which seemed like it fit squarely within the slim requirements of the situation. It’s also possible that I cursed out a room full of fifth graders. But it’s not my fault we were all at Firehouse Subs at the same time. I don’t get the submarine sandwich line’s printed schedule of events mailed to me weekly. Had I known about the crowding before going in, I would have spent that time hitting my head against concrete. Wait, I’m not supposed to do that anymore. I guess I would have gone somewhere else to get a sandwich. Like a crazy person.
No new food meant I probably wouldn’t have to come up with another adjective to describe how hideously lumpy the sauerbraten feels in your mouth after its bone-dry canopy of dry roast beef, juniper berries that don’t naturally grow to the greenish hue being served, and spätzle that would be less gummy if it was Double Bubble grated into spiral chunks. Then, the bone-dry meat utilizes its plentiful gristle to slowly inch its way down your throat, seemingly making a pit stop at every destination from the pharynx on down. But if risking choking to death on holiday meat meant delaying a visit to the Italy booth, it could take six weeks to force the sauerbraten down as far as I was concerned.
That’s why my Christmas wish every year is for the elimination of the Italy booth. Or actually, that everything offered at the kiosk is free one year to apologize for ten or more years of pain, suffering, and having to open up new lines of credit just to order asparagus water and polenta that was so hard it probably should have been confiscated by security as a potential weapon of deadly force. That wish comes in place of something silly, like world peace or an end to hunger. Those things aren’t happening, so it’s better to follow Walt’s advice, “If you can dream it, make it a small one, and maybe it will happen before you lose interest and move on to another half-finished project. You lazy bozo.” I’m paraphrasing a little bit there. And the names have been changed to protect the innocent. And all that.
How Germany basically became synonymous with Christmas, I am not real sure. Florida probably isn’t the territory I would have chosen to represent a cold weather holiday. We get IMPORTANT BREAKING NEWS warnings scrolling across the bottom of the TV screen in bright red like the Soviets just launched their entire nuclear arsenal and we have 14 minutes to live every time the temperature threatens falling below 70 degrees. Scrolling. Over. And over. And over. It doesn’t even hit actually hit 70 most of the time, but it might drop to 71 degrees for two seconds at 4:42am.
Do you know where your third turtleneck is? And your second blanket so you don’t freeze to death putting it on? And your space heater to keep you adequately warm during any lapses in removing blankets to add layers? Even though you are probably just setting the heat on the thermostat in your house to about the same number anyway. And won’t notice anything. Blogging isn’t exactly lucrative, but I think, with the help of a small loan, I can afford to heat my closet apartment for one night.
But it’s possible Floridians are some kind of ghoul and transform if the temperature drops to something unfathomably subarctic, like 68 degrees. I don’t want to seem unfair to Florida here, but I am failing to think of a person or creature who improves their appearance, chivalry, kindness, etc. during a full moon or as night descends. Like vampires come out at night. Werewolves do the murder during a full moon thing. Let’s just hope we can keep it at 70 degrees.
Anyway, Germany got Christmas. Did they win it playing dice? Fair and square? Promising revenue sharing among member countries? Threatening total war? We’ll never know. Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, or a host of other European countries that I may or may not be making up could have easily carried the banner.
The Refreshment Outpost gets into the spirit of the holidays with some number of Festival Offerings this year.
We continue from Las Pasadas.
There was a time (2020) when China offered an ambitious holiday menu of previously-frozen (baked, kind of) egg rolls, microwaved (too long) bao buns, and a (gummy) meat of questionable origin. In a somewhat surprising move, the China booth is not open for this year’s Festival in any capacity. Instead, it sits with its slats shuttered and its doors deadbolted, presumably postponing operation until the Festival of the Arts. I would post a picture of the partitioned off kiosk, but I feel like this post is already as praiseless as a meal at Morimoto Asia precisely when you least predict it.
We continue from Chestnuts and Good Cheer.
Las Posadas, which is a reference to the Inn in the story of the birth of Jesus, takes up residency in the usual spot before arriving at the pyramid on the lagoon side. Those nuts are located at a kiosk down to the right of this picture.