At the Utniks

January 24, 2006 |

This post comes from the regal home of the Utniks. 

In the traditional manner I have been given a full breakfast and now a huge lunch all inside an hour and a half.  Some Polish traditions never die.  I can’t believe it was 17 years ago that Damian and I were here. We spend one of the all time great nights of that trip drinking and eating, talking revolution, passing along gossip (some of it true) until the early morning hours.  The room seemed so much bigger then.  I vividly remember collapsing into a bed with the world whirling round.  The night felt like a scene out of Potop (for those non Polish readers it won’t mean much and I ain’t explaining), larger than life. It remains a very fond memory.  

Seventeen years on and the Utniks remain the model hosts.  The sort of hosts I aspire to be, generous to a fault (not a tradition many Australians follow though).  Adam looks a little older but still very hale and hearty.  Pani Utnik is still a wonderful host and a lovely person into the bargain.  My Polish is barely up the the challenge but we get by.  They make an effort and I make an effort and, by and large, we understand each other.  There are gaps in the conversation but it doesn’t matter. They are such gregarious host that the the atmosphere is wonderful.  The parents Clarke should really make an effort to get to Wroclaw before it is too late. 

The Utnik grandchildren, two of them, are gorgeous and nice people, on the briefest exchange.   Kaisha will be taking me around the town for her sins.  Turns out that it is her day off.  She is a very generous host.  As a family they are first class.

Onto other, more venal, matters.  I have a coat.  It is a great coat.  It is an expensive, budget busting number but it is so damn warm it brings me to tears when I wear it.  Sheepskin with a fur lining. Take that lefty, anti fur wearing hippy woosy sorts. Burn in hell’s eternal coldness.  If those big girls blouses were here they would switch to killling everything on four legs and skinning them for warmth.  Today wasn’t so bad but with this new coat, and my dopey hat, I am ready to march to Siberia (if I was seriously drunk and only if).  The bad side is that the coat cost an absolute bundle.  I guess something had to bust the budget.  The hope was that it would be a woman but in this cold a coat is a better option.  For one thing it is on me all the time and there are no arguments.  I am taking back ye olde coat for last rights. I can’t bear tossing it.  It was my uncles and predates me by at least 20 years.  It has almost an antiquity quality to it.  It will need a major overhaul. One arm is almost sepearated from the body and the buttonholes and other parts are fraying.   

To get out of the cold last night and avoid a night of drinking I went and saw Jarhead, the new Same Mendes film.  It was Full Metal Jacket lite.  It could have been so much more.  Not a bad film in its own right but it really had no message beyond being a marine was great but it sucked as well.  Trying to make something dramatic over a pretty dull First Gulf War is no easy thing. Clint Eastwood had the same trouble with Heartbreak Ridge.  How do you make an exciting war movie over the invasion of Grenada. There were maybe 4 skirmishes in a 2 day operation.  Paleeeease.  The run of ordinary movies continues.  What is it about the current batch.  They lack that something that would lift them out of the also ran category.

Onto matters gastronomical, I had one of the all time great meals, solo, at Restauracja JaDka (Ul Rzezkiczna 24/25) last night.  It is a place owned by the Polish equivalent of Stephanie Alexander.  And the food was out of this world brilliant.  The menu is to die for.  The entre was black pudding pierogi.  As a lover, even worshipper, of the black sausage and great admirer of the pierogi this was a truly happy meeting of cuisines.  The outcome was brilliant.  The main course was Wild Boar loins with the polish equivalent of knocchi and a sauce to die for.  I didn’t venture into the desserts . There was too much damage by then.  The restaurant is set in an old meeting hall and it is a seriously swanky place to dig in.  Highly recommended.  The gastronomical faction of the family Clarke would die and go to heaven in this place.  Another good reason to venture to Wroclaw before it is too late.

Time to sign off. Getting taken around by a seriously gorgeous sort. A mans got to do what a mans got to do. 

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