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Jul 23, 2006 10:46 AM

Oh Crixa Vatroushka!

'pon many recommendations here, I stopped by CRIXA a
couple of days ago intending to try their cherry-based
offerings. However they were sold out :-(

I sniffed around the display cases pointing to this and that
and then went off to Berkeley Bowl to buy some chinese mustard
and linguca to drizzle over it [my version of lazy fusion cooking].

On the drive home I tore into my box-o-crixa-delicacies.
The first thing I did was to take a GIANT BITE of the Vatroushka
[russian cheese cake]. It's a good thing I am single because
I spent the rest of the evening moaning "ooooooh, Vatroushka!".
Even more important that not having to explain "who is
Vatroushka?", it meant I didnt have to share her, er it.

Anyway, since it is apparently mandatory to be on the cell phone
while merging beyond the bay bridge toll booths, I called my
Russian Associate to ask if there was a reliable source for
Oh Vatroushka in SF. He suggested one of the Russian operations
in the Richmond, but wasnt sure of a specific place.

Anybody know of a quality pusher ... supplier ... in SF?

Crixa's offerings are:
>Slices available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
>until sold out.
The Crixa menu has the highest "Kolmogorov Complexity"
of any place I can think of.


Note: I also recommend the Berkeley Bowl balsamic oignon,
though maybe not at the same time as the Vatroushka.


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  1. Cinderella definately has it. Don't know if they have it every day, but they did on my last visit.

    Gastronom across from Aziza will probably carry it. I liked their baked goods better than Cinderella.

    European Foods on Clement has Russian baked goods but they are the most tasteless I have tried in this area.

    Moscow and Tbilis Bakery on Geary might have it, but I liken this to Shuberts, Neldhams, Victoria, Sugar Bowl ... all those old-time bakeries in style, Russian-version. It wouldn't be my first choice.

    You might inquire at Quality Market on Irving. They have a baking schedule that seems to be whatever they feel like making that day. I haven't seen vatroushka there that I recall, however, if they do make it occasionally then my guess is that it would be the best in the city. Delicious baked goods for the most part.

    Being Polish, Vatroushka, even Crixa's, doesn't compare for me with Polish cheesecake. Sekor Polish deli often has Polish cheesecake on Saturday and it is very good. NEVER buy it at Old Krakow. It is dry as dust.

    However, for Russian and Eastern European baked goods, no one even comes close to Crixa. It is the Acme (in more ways than one) of Eastern European baking in the Bay Area, if not the country. You just had the best version of this dessert you will probably ever have.

    3 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Do you know of a local source for <i>packi</i> (pronounced, as I remember from my NYC childhood, "poonchki")? My folks used to buy them on the Lower East Side, when there were still many Polish and Ukrainian businesses, community centers etc. around there; I haven't found them since.

      1. re: rootlesscosmo

        Yeah, but none of them are any good.

        Sekor Polish Deli occasionally has them on weekends, but ask about how fresh they are.

        Delikatessi in Concord keeps SWEARING they fly them in from Chicago on the week-ends ... I've stalked this place out for more than one weekend and they never showed. The staff says they never saw them, the manager says they do ... I'm going with the staff.

        HOWEVER, they do get them in on FAT Thursday (not Tuesday) during Lent. I JUST missed them this year.

        There is also a Polish Church that makes them one Sunday during Lent, but, home-made or not, they were pretty awful. You just can't make a donut a day or two before and expect it to taste good.

        Moscow-Tsilit bakery makes a similar Russian donut, but it is a little leaden and greasy ... hmmm ... I WONDER if I could talk Crixa into making these during Lent ... that would be awesome ... yes, I'm going to start working on this now ... after listening to me ask for kolachi on ever visit for months, they finally started making them just to keep me quiet, I think. If I mention packi on every visit from now to Easter, maybe I can wear them down.

      2. re: rworange

        Oh hello, witamy.

        Thanks a lot for your recommendations, both affirmative and
        negative ... it's pretty neat how CH is sort of a "distributed
        database" you can make pretty arbitrary "natural language"
        queries against ... "I'm meeting a friend to watch a game at
        Kezar Pub ... where can I buy a pastry bag at half time?"

        I've been meaning to go out to EUROPEAN FOODS to analyze the
        sausage offereings. I'll be sure to include some detours to

        Where is SEKOR POLISH DELI?

        The Mochas as CRIXA also looked really good ...
        just when I was getting a little down on Tartine.

      3. Seakor Polish Delicatessan [Richmond]
        5957 Geary Blvd
        San Francisco 94121

        1783 S. Winchester Blvd.
        Campbell 95008
        (408) 378 - 0991

        1. Cinderella has vatroushka every day that I've been there. Usually they have 2 kinds: (1) individual rounds of sweet yeast dough with cheese filling; (2) pastry baked in a sheet pan with a layer of cheese and pastry lattice on top, cut into squares. The first is more breakfasty and the second is more for dessert. I haven't tried Crixa's (will have to make a trip soon!), but the photo looks similar to the sheet pan variety at Cinderella, but without the lattice. I imagine Crixa's is better, but I do like Cinderella's too.

          1. I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I'm glad people are bringing Russian food to the forefront of conversation. I feel like it's been so often ignored on Chowhound (though definitely not by rworange).