Polish Deli, Palo Alto
There's a new tiny store called Polish Deli in Palo Alto that opened last Sat 2/12/05. I got to talk to Martin, I think he's the owner. Very nice and helpful guy.
I don't know anything about Polish food but he seems to carry many kinds of susages: Krakowska brand smoked sausage $6.49lb, Zywiecka brand sausage $6.99lb, etc. He says there from Chicago.
No sandwiches yet.
He has a few types of syrups, candy, Polish honey, candy, teas.
I got the Idylla Herbata Poziomkowa (Wild Strawberry Tea) $3.49 for a box of 20 teabags. Smells great.
Also got a bag of Kukutka Karmelki Nadziewane (filled candies). It's a hard candy, w/ a punch inside (somekind of alcohol). $1.59 a bag.
He doesn't have a phone line so no credit card machine yet and he's using his cell for business. Cash only for now.
456 Cambridge Ave (between El Camino and Birch, up the street from California Ave) next to Hair of Today and a Methodist Church.
Hope someone can visit the place and review it better.
This is NOT a Polish ethnic adventure, but a shop that sells high quality cold cuts, hot dogs and sausages. In a few weeks there will be a barbeque on the sunny patio out back where you can get grilled hot dogs and sausages.
The décor is very Bay Area like many of the restaurants on California Street (one block away). There are two tables near a large window and it seems like it would be a pleasant place to linger. English is spoken. You dont need your Chow passport.
Based on one visit, perhaps the applause is premature. However, I am so disappointed with the selection of Polish food in the Bay Area because someone new to the cuisine might think the tasteless, mediocre and sometimes strange food is representative of Polish food.
I would never take anyone to Old Krakow. I would be proud to take someone to Polish Deli to show them that Polish food can mean excellent meats and deli and not just sour kraut and stuffed cabbage. Polish deli is very American friendly without dumbing down the taste.
Im also premature on the sandwich part. While my cold cuts were being wrapped, impressed with the shop I said that I wished there was a good Polish bakery. The owner said there will be good bread for the sandwiches. I sighed and rattled off the all the mediocre Eastern European breads in the area and asked which one.
It turns out this will be a new baker. They are in the process of getting permits and sandwiches should be available in two weeks.
In the mean time, walk over to Palo Alto Baking Company on California and get the rye. It is like a Polish light rye, the top dusted with flour, the crust the right texture AND they will slice it for you. Get it sliced. I dont know why the artisan bakeries in the area wont do that.
It made the perfect sandwich for the delicious Black forest ham I bought at Polish Deli. The ham doesnt have that strange fake smoke taste most Black forest hams do. That sandwich was real Polish comfort food for me. The most authentic experience I've had since moving to California a few decades ago.
I eat Polish sausage usually once a year at Easter, since I need to lay off the sausages diet-wise. So I spend the year looking for the best quality I can find for Easter Sunday. The owners son asked if I wanted any samples, and gave me a taste of the Krakowsky (I think). There was a nice snap to the casing and excellent smokiness. So good I bought it even if it isnt Easter yet. It would be very good sliced for a party tray.
This is a small shop with a limited selection, but it is well thought out and top quality. As Arlene mentioned, the meats are from Chicago.
There is a small freezer with a selection of pierogi. I tried to talk them into making hot pierogi at the store, but he said they did not have the rights type of location to get the permits.
Also as Arlene said, the owner and his son are very friendly and helpful. No icy Polish glares. They were both actually interested when I said my grandparents were from Poland.
The directions she gives in the OP are excellent.
As Arlene mentioned also, there are some limited groceries. They appear to be top quality as well. I forgot to see if there was any sour cherry jam as that is something done well in Poland. I did buy a new brand of horseradish with sour cream that I havent tried yet. I was amused to see bottles of tartar sauce by real Tartars.
Anyway, excellent job of Chow sleuthing Arlene. Thanks. I will definitely make the trip as soon as the bread arrives.
A modern super clean sunny Polish Deli with top of the line sausages and cold cuts and friendly, personable owners who speak English. I HAVE stepped into an alternate food universe.
Because I don't bake, yes, I just use it on toast like any other jelly. My grandmother would put it in Polish donuts or other baked goods. Thanks for the tip. I am telling you I just grow more and more in love with that rye from Palo Alto Baking Company. I wish someone up this way would make something like that.
I must say that it is a welcoming to have this wonderful deli in this area. I recently took up work in the area as a nurse at local hospital for a temporary length of time. Being from chicago myself and full blooded polish along with my wife we have missed much of the delicacies of home. We both have strong ethnic backrounds, my wife's parents both being from poland and herself fluent in the language, both were in utter awe when we found the shop. We ran in like little kids in a candy shop and I must say while the deli compares nothing to the delis in chicago, it is a welcome to have some of our favorite foods within reach until we return back this summer. Coming from a person who grew up on this food I must recommend you keep Marcin's business going. The kielbasa and kabanosy (sausage) are the real thing and go a long way with a little horseradish and any type of rye. I higly recommend anyone who loves soup trying the Zurek (easter soup). For those of you who cannot read polish ask him to go over preparation. Once cooked add a little of the sausage and one or two sliced hard boiled eggs and you have a polish delicacy. Many thanks to Marcin for bringing a little taste of my home to california while I am away.
re: Alan Pietrowski
I coud see from your name, you were Polish. Thanks for your post. The Polish Deli is selling soup now?
Also, they were supposed to have a new baker making some breads. Has that happend yet?
Thanks for your post. I feel the same way that this little business is wonderful and I hope people will support it.
I am so there. Actually I may need to go to San Jose tommorrow, so I'll try to drop by on my way down or my way back. The Polish Deli in Campbell turned out to be Seakor of San Francisco. Thanks. I located a place in Campbell that imports, so to speak, Kielbasa from Chicago, but it would be nice to have a good Polish source closer to home.