Real Polish poppyseed hard rolls at Delikateski
There have been only two moments in the decades I have lived in the Bay Area that I saw a Polish food and actually got lightheaded. The schock of seeing it. The pleasure.
That's what happened Saturday when I saw the big baskets of Polish hard rolls at Delikateski in Concored.
Not bagged in plastic which softens the crust. They were almost like the kind you find at many East Coast Polish bakeries (the interior was slightly denser). Huge bushel baskets of them. Maybe they are the same as Kaiser rolls, but I've never seen those in this area either except bagged in plastic.
If you are not of Polish ancestry or a fan of this type of roll, it's not worth a special trip. This is no Acme. For me, personally it is worth a special trip. This will not turn you on to Polish food if you are unfamiliar with the cuisine.
Can't give you many details. I won't bore you with the long story, but I annoyed the store clerk by asking for a bag for the rolls. All was well in the end she was feeding me samples of cold cuts. However I knew asking questions like what bakery they were from and what days they were available would not be a good thing.
Speaking of cold cuts, they have a huge selection. I had this excellent Eastern European Prosciutto. It is a raw pork loin that is smoked, said the store clerk. I didn't catch the actual name so I asked to have it written down so I could buy some next time. The clerk shot me a look and wrote down "smoked pork loin" in English. You might understand my not asking more about the rolls.
Huge Eastern European beer selection with questionable Eastern European wines. Big dairy selection. They had Amish butter which I haven't seen before in this area.
Not sure if sampling the cold cuts is standard or the store clerk was trying to be nice after the initial incident.
I really can't tell you if the cold cut selection is better than the Russian market on Clement in SF. I just don't like the place on Clement. It has a horrid deli and despite the selection in the groceries, deli, etc. I never find anything that interests me.
Polish and European Delikateski
1984 Monument Boulevard, Concord
Goggling for the address, this earlier Chowhound post appeared. As it mentions there is a big selection of Eastern European bread, but with few excepetions, nothing you can't find elsewhere ... Bavarian Breads for example. There WAS an unmarked rye that I haven't seen before.
The Hungarian double-smoked bacon is good, too. I did get a very reasonable bottle of Croatian wine (the true home of zinfandel, some say) there. I'm more skeptical of the Ukrainian and Bulgarian stuff.
The German who works there says you can get fresh sauerkraut sometimes or you can order it most of the time. (It comes from Saag's.) Someday I hope they'll have the cherry sausage.
re: Robert Lauriston
I'll have to revisit. The big plus for European Food's smoked fish is that it is not wrapped in heavy plastic. But some if it looked a little wierd to me.
Tower Market during the holidays has the best smoked fish in the Bay Area. They have the perfect golden small smoked fish and the huge fat wonderful big fish. Hope the sale to Mollie Stone doesn't change things. This is where I get my smoked whitefish fix.
The smoked white fish at Win Mart in Sunnyvale looked good last week. It was golden and plump and not wrapped in plastic.
I keep meaning to do a smoked whitefish hunt at the Ferry Plaza.
Hehe, this was my reason for the weekend's field trip to Concord. I'll add my similar impressions later. But for now, let's say that I was jumping-up-and-down ecstatic to find what I know as German-style "brotchen". This is the only time I've had one in California. They're 59¢ each and well worth it if you miss this.
re: Melanie Wong
I hope you'll give a brief comment on the wines. Is there such a thing as 'fine Bulgarian wine'. I think perhaps some of the sweet dessert wines from Eastern European countries might have potential.
Growing up in a Polish household the drink of choice was beer and not wine. I can vouch for the beers at Delikateski.
re: Melanie Wong
Brotchen! Now go to Mollie Stone for some bratwurst. Their big white pork sausage is very similar to the bratwurst sold at "schnell imbiss" lunch counters in Frankfurt.
Brown the bratwurst on both sides, and pop it into a brotchen, with the sausage sticking out (rather obscenely) from both sides of the little roll. Smear on some mustard, and you are transported back the the Rhine/Main region!