Saturday, December 16, 2006

The scoop on the Christmas party

It started even later than I posted. When the man came home he had an update...don't even show up until 9:45!!! We did, all dressed up, and not everyone had arrived yet. It was in, what is in the day time, a really fairly scuzzy bar, and as we went over, we realized this. I will confess I whined. I had my gastric juices aimed at something higher than bar food, however well the Spanish do it.

When we got there it turned out that the bar had two halves, a daytime half that was quite scuzzy, and a night time half that was lovely....in we go. The husband recognizes no one but we ask at the bar...sure, come behind the bar, you know where the wait staff work...
- pardon?
Well, we file behind the bar, through the first kitchen, primarily a fridge and food storage, through a second kitchen and down a flight of stairs to what had been a cellar. It is beautiful. The ceiling is arched and there is brick work walls and old tools and swords on the walls, and about half the people are there.

There are spectacular tapas type starters on the table which no one has touched yet...and wine and water. Finally everyone starts to dig in. Mmmmmmmm. There are a couple of people who speak some English and talk to me a bit, but the Catalan is flying fast and I couldn't get much of it. They are also a profoundly multilingual group. The least capable speak only two languages. The guy next to me spoke four fluently, the woman on my right five, and the woman to my left five or six. Unbelievable. I was nonetheless a bit of a conversational black hole. The man wasn't far behind me, because when they dropped into Castilian (which is what the Catalans call Spanish) he was lost.

They brought out plates of mussels. OMG, I like mussels, but these were to die for. They were steamed open in a lightly flavoured broth, a few drops of gorgeous olive oil. They were small but incredibly outrageously spectacularly good. Unbelievable. Then came the main course. These had been pre-ordered from a choice of about five. The man and I had bacalla, which is cod. MMMmmmmmm. Say no more. mmmmmmmmm. OK, so I said more. Not enough bread to sop up all the juices was the only problem. Then dessert, fancy ice cream.

Now the timing. Most people were there by about 10:15, maybe a little later, and the starters started. A couple of people sipped some wine before this, but that is all. People dug into the tapas at about 10:30 or so, maybe a little later, and the main course arrived at about 11:30. pm. After the dessert they came around to take coffee orders, at 12:30. This was not decaf. This was jet fuel. The husband had some, but I think he has coffee in his veins. Cut him and he'd bleed espresso. Almost all of them had coffee!!!!

That said, most of them were probably going on, and came home about when we got up. We left at around 1:30ish I think, walking in a long line through the kitchens, out from behind the bar and out through the restaurant/bar that was I might add doing a booming trade, full of people who did not look like it was time to call it a night. We retired in exhaustion, though I had a shower before bed. Hate the smell of smoke in my hair and on my skin when I get into bed. Bleaurg.

It was extremely civilized. Really, it was more like a really fun family dinner there was a little bit of rowdiness, throwing corks down the very long table, but no one got hammered, and there was lots of laughter. They seem like a very comfortable group of people, and it was great. Wish we did office Christmas parties as well. Except maybe for the timing. Can't quite get used to it.
Kind of sleepy today. The man and I went into Barcelona for the day. Lovely day. Lots of artist and artisans have stalls up selling their beautiful and unique wares, had some jet fuel myself this afternoon. Hate coffee, but I love this.

Flying to London tomorrow morning to meet up with the kids and then on to Warsaw the next day for the festivities, so I will try to post regularly but it may get trickier as I won't have my own computer etc etc etc.

7 comments:

Beth said...

Sounds like a great evening. I'm envious. Tonight I'm off to the second of my husband's Christmas office parties. I "shone" at the first one last week. I may be a "conversational black hole" (love that expression) at this one. All depends who I get stuck sitting beside during the dinner. Wish they played musical chairs at these functions. And they go on for friggin' hours...

High Desert Diva said...

Sounds lovely...and yummy.

oreneta said...

Beth: This one did go on for hours, but despite the fact I couldn't understandmuch, it was fun... partially the people and setting but also just the newness I expect.

HDD; It was soo good. Mmmmm Don't know if Warsaw will match it, but my brother-in-law's mother has made some homemade pierogies that were pretty damn awesome too so we'll see....


Reminds me of a funny pierogie story from my sister's wedding, maybe I'll post that one day.....

Beth said...

wow...you describe everything so perfectly, I feel like I was there...wish I was.

I also hate, hate, hate the smell of smoke in my hair and on my clothes. Yuk!

you ahve GOT to put some pictures up on here! I am so jealous! Have a Merry Christmas and safe traveling. Hurry back.

Dorky Dad said...

Man. My workplace isn't doing anything. I'll be lucky if my boss gives me a freaking candy cane.

kate said...

I remember the first time we went out to dinner with my husband's friends in Barcelona-- we were set to meet at 11pm! Then came the pre-dinner drinks, and it just went on from there. And when we were all younger and childless, a dinner out with friends in Madrid, with similar hours, always ended up with an after-hours trip to a bar or disco. To be honest, I can't say I miss those days...

oreneta said...

Beth, thank you, and lets all send messages to Santa shall we?

DD: I have to confess, when I was self-employed the package at Christmas wasn't hot, and when I worked out it wasn't this sweet either.

Kate: I agree with you, not sure I will ever get used to it.