Sunday, 25 December 2011

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Birmingham is a very functional city. Anything you need to do, there will be facilities for it. The one thing (exaggeration) which I think of as having any character is the German Market. But even that's been destroyed for me now. Having been to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland this year, I'll never appreciate the Birmingham German Market again. Winter Wonderland is so much better. In every way. There are rides and a circus and a revolving bar and a restaurant and countless food and trinket stalls. Even the trinkets they sell are better! I saw these dream-catcher type hanging ornaments which were made of several cut outs of metal which all span at different times making this amazing optical illusion. I considered buying one to look at before my exams instead of revising. 
The food is also much better. Birmingham has overpriced frankfurters and some potatoes and mushrooms. London, though still overpriced, at least makes the food better. Instead of a pallid-looking regular sized hot dog, they do foot long sausages of various different kinds for £5. My companion got one. I was very tempted by it. But I'd already got it into my head that I should have stew because I could have sausages from anywhere. I should've got the hot dog. Finding the stew stall was arduous. We had very sensibly decided to scope out all the food options before making our bed. After denying myself a foot-long hot dog and then deliberating about pie, I was settled upon stew from the Hungarian stew stall. There was a brief moment when I thought hey, maybe I should have beef stew and horseradish dumplings? I was encouraged to do this but still said no, I want Hungarian beef stew with dumplings. On with the quest.
By the time we found it, the foot-long sausage was half-digested (lovely image) and the stalls had begun shutting down. The dumplings were strange. They weren't the big, stodgy-but-in-a-good-way creations that I Was expecting but small pieces of dough which reminded me of maggots. Pleasant. They were very, very bland. I hate sparkling water - it makes me think it's a fizzy drink with the flavour taken out. Which it is, I guess. These dumplings were the food equivalent of sparkling water. I think the idea was that they soak up the flavour of the stew. Unfortunately, the stew tasted only of smoked paprika and salt. Both nice enough but very boring. And they completely overrode any taste that there may have been in the not-quite-tender-enough beef. The whole thing would be best described as the opposite of moreish. 

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