“Kat, we should get grapes as a palate cleanser. We have three tangy cheeses and chocolate truffles which are all contrary and scrumptious, and grapes will break up the flavors nicely.”
These words actually came out of my mouth on Saturday. I’m not especially known for my presumptuous palate. In fact, most of my meals here involve some combination of greasy kebab, pierogies, processed chocolate, and over-sugared tea. So I suppose I surprised even myself after vocalizing my Oprahesque thoughts regarding palate cleansers. In fact, the whole weekend was oddly Oprahesque.
Spell check is informing me that Oprahesque is not a real word, so I am kindly inviting Oxford dictionary to incorporate this new adjective into their dictionary:
Oprahesque (oʊprɑː/esk/) – of or pertaining to Oprah Gail Winfrey, and the encompassing wholesomeness and fabulousness that is her life
A description of my weekend might help you understand the meaning behind this new word.
Saturday: Early morning wake-up call! No time to sleep in when you’re being Oprahesque. I convened with my friend Katherine (Kat) Marren, an exchange student from Rochester, and we walked to Pod Wawelem (a Polish restaurant straight out of Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel) for its breakfast buffet. The restaurant itself is located in Planty Park next to Wawel Castle. It is one of my favorite restaurants in Krakow, mainly for its impressive ability to create two contradictory atmospheres, both equally inviting:
1) Night – The multiple rooms are packed with boisterous, friendly bar-goers and families devouring enormous schnitzels, barbeque, and endless pints of beer. The waiters are running around with flaming steaks and refills, dodging the rogue arms swinging pints of beer in celebration. A violin, accordion, and bass are playing Eastern European folky jazz music and the bartender is looking sharp behind his white tiled counter in his crisp white shirt and bowtie. Multiple chefs are madly dashing around the kitchen, clothespinning orders to every available string and counter, shouting and hurriedly passing off dishes to the young waiters running in every which direction. Wawel Castle appears all lit up through the windows, providing a spectacular backdrop, but no one seems to notice.
2) Morning – The chaotic night has come to an end and now the sun shines through the large, open windows and Strauss waltzes play quietly on the record player. A table of cold cuts, cheeses, eggs, bacon, fried mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, oranges, cookies, pastries, and rolls line the far wall. Set in its own sunny corner is the smaller table of coffee, tea, and juices. Waiters from the previous night are still cleaning and clearing, sharing understanding looks with each other that subtly translate the long hours of familiar exhaustion. Parents are planning their day while their kids are munching on breakfast cookies, and businessmen are reading their newspapers over freshly brewed cups of coffee.
Kat and I soaked up the morning atmosphere for a good, long while, discussing all sorts of issues – the death penalty, women’s health, education, working and living abroad, gun control laws, Hillary for president, microeconomic financial investments, you name it. We got so caught up in conversation that we both snapped back to reality as the staff politely hinted at us to hit the road by taking away our coffee and closing down the buffet spread before the lunch crowd’s arrival.
Proud of our intellectually productive morning complete with good food, we wandered to Jagiellonian’s botanical garden, where we spent the next leg of our Oprahesque weekend. It was chilly and overcast, and since most people were still asleep, we had the entire place to ourselves.
At this point, we started to realize just how cultured and classy we’d become in the course of one morning. Ensuing conversation:
“Look at us being so classy! We just went to a breakfast buffet on Saturday and discussed politics, and now we’re exploring a botanical garden and it’s not even noon!”
Once we established how sophisticated we were being, I think we both felt some pressure to keep it up for at least a full 24 hours before we regressed. We agreed that attending a cheese festival would count towards our Oprahesque day. We purchased our three favorites cheeses, a bottle of white wine, and fancy truffles before heading back to the dorm to assemble our purchases. In retrospect, I think the classiness of it all went to my head, hence the palate cleanser comment.
Starting to understand what I mean by Oprahesque? Yep. And if that wasn’t enough, we settled in to watch the Butler, starring Oprah. To top it all off, we got celery puree soup for dinner. I repeat, celery puree. I’ve never felt so wholesome in my life.
We decided that since we enjoyed being Oprah so much, we might as well continue our classy streak on Sunday. We woke up early again, and this time met with another friend. We all headed to the bus station for an impromptu trip to Cieszyn, a border town between Poland and the Czech Republic. We decided to cross the border by foot and have a lunch date in the Czech Republic.
I feel like by now you’re all getting a feeling of what it means to be Oprahesque. Since this post turned into one, long proposal for adding a new word to the English language, I think I’ve done my part in thoroughly explaining its proper usage. Oxford, take note.
So all that being said, I encourage you all to go out and treat yourself to an Oprahesque weekend!