The Seakor Polish Deli Chain has Paczki
If you are looking for good sausages, cold cuts and an ethnic Polish adventure go to Seakor. If you are looking for top of the line Polish food in a clean modern shop where they speak English follow the link below for Polish Deli.
Seakor is a Polish Deli that makes its own kielbasa, Polish Sausages, cold cuts and ham. The SF store on Geary has the finest dried mushrooms in the Bay Area. The other location is in Campbell. Both locations have excellent Polish cheese cake on the week ends as well as a few other Polish pastries.
With Seakor you have to be selective. When something is good, it is excellent. The hills are high, but the food valleys are very, very deep. It can be horrible.
On my last visit I had the liverwurst. This is the version of liver sausage that all others will be judged by in the future. Wrapped in a thick smoked pork skin that is sewn together, it is the smoothest liver sausage I have eaten almost whipped and it has the deepest true smoke flavor.
The liver sausage is called Pastetowa (country style liver sausage). Seakor says it has pork, pork liver, onions and an abundance of spices. I say it is better than some pates Ive had.
Nobody speaks much English in either location. The advantage of the Campbell location is that they put English signs on the sausages. The reason I only tried the kielbasa and not the other smoked sausages in SF was because they were not labeled and my Polish isnt good enough to get the details.
Heres a list of the sausages they offer with Seakors description
Biala Kielbasa (uncooked kielbasa) Pork sausage, garlic, pepper, marjoram
Mysliwska (Hunters sausage) pork and beef combo with crushed allspice, and ground caraway seeds. Double smoked.
Czoskowa (garlic sausage) very lean pork sausage with extra garlic and pepper
Kiska (Blood sausage) with organic buckwheat, marjoram, onion and pepper (personal comment, ORGANIC Polish?)
Kabonossy beef stick and pork with generous amounts of ground caraway seeds.
Slaska (summer sausage) pork/beef low salt sausage
Other meats include:
Dry Polish salami
Baleron Smoked pork butt
Polendwica Canadian bacon
Boczek (bacon) old style bacon, cured, smoked and cooked.
In addition to the liver sausage I bought Polish salami and head cheese.
Krakowska (Polish salami) Pork salami with garlic, peppers, and mustard seeds
This tasted like Canadian Bacon to me with a spiciness. In San Francisco sausages and dried mushrooms hang from the walls and ceiling. I was in Campbell which had fewer hanging meats, but the salami was cut down from the string of salamis. Very cool, but I dont like it enough to order it again.
Salseson (head cheese) pork tongue, garlic, caraway seeds. I love head cheese, but this was way too real for me. Parts of the tongue were too identifiable. Salty without the garlic / caraway taste. It was also cut too thick. Im going to have trouble finishing this, but the cat seems fond of it.
Unfortunately the "Paczek" (pronounced "punch-eck") or Polish donut wasnt very good. It was fat and plump, nicely dusted with powdered sugar and filled with a wonderful sour cherry filling. The donut itself was a little stale. Maybe it was too late in the day.
Seakor makes it as difficult as possible to enter the Campbell shop. The windows are covered with black film so you cant see inside. Even with a neon open sign lighted. I tentatively opened the door.
There are two little tables in the shop with a TV broadcasting a cable station from Poland. I watched the local weather report while eating my donut (that filling was worth getting through the stale donut). It was snowing in Krakow and Warsaw. When the weather was over, they broadcast Friends dubbed in Polish.
The poppy seed cake looked great, studded with walnuts. However, the cheesecake which I personally love, looked like it had been sitting too long. It seems the Campbell location doesnt have as much traffic as the San Francisco Location.
There is also a decent selection of herring, cheese, dairy products, and groceries like pickles, sauerkraut, cookies, jellies, candies, etc.
Until the liver sausage and my new found knowledge about what meats are being sold, I only liked Seakors cheesecake and outstanding dried mushrooms. They are the only dried mushrooms I have seen that are not packaged in cellophane. There are huge fragrant bins and mushrooms on strings hanging from the ceilings. Some cost as much as $100 a pound.
I never liked the kielbasa. It tasted crude and too rustic. I bought a bad Polish ham once from Seakor. It was green ham and eggs that Easter. After the ham, I only went to Seakor for the mushrooms and cheesecake.
So if you go and it doesnt look fresh, dont buy it.I am sure that the ham was just one of those unfortunate things that occasionally happen. This is a busy shop and the meats don't sit around for long periods. You cant go wrong with that liver sausage though.
The nice older man who rand the store and reminded me of an uncle of mine, didnt speak English. I was told by my parents that until I was four years old, I spoke only Polish and no English. They taught me English for school and I promptly forgot most of my Polish except for key words like hello, thank you, good day, etc. So I really appreciated the English signs.
I walked in the door, saw the donuts and said Paczki in pleased surprised. My Polish pronunciation was corrected. It was corrected all five times I said the word. Another customer came in and started talking in Polish while my cold cuts were being cut. I was thrilled. It was like being at home.
Emboldened when I was handed my cold cuts, I thought I would say thank you in Polish and instead said to your health, like when you drink beer. Both men looked at me confused. I feebly said, thank you? Oh, they both said, smiled and gave me the Polish word.
The Campbell location was tolerant of my Polish. I was glared at and got no response when I tried this in the SF Store.
It is a sad day when you need a Chow passport to communicate with your own ethnic group.
SEAKOR POLISH DELICATESSEN
5957 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 387 8660
1783 S. Winchester Blvd.
Campbell, CA 95008
(408) 378 - 0991
Pretty sad, but I've printed it out and will take it with me to the SF store.
Derek, if you go, ask about the dried mushrooms. There are some big glass jars. They will let you smell them. It is wonderful. I've been trying to push people into trying the dried mushrooms for years on Chowhound.
You can substitte them for any recipe you would use dried mushrooms. I mainly used them for a Polish Christmas Eve soup that involves saurkraut, dried mushrooms and lots of butter. That particular dish I would say is an aquired ethinic taste. But there is such an intensity of flavor that any dish you use these in would be elevated, IMO.
My Grandma was from Warsaw...so it sounds good to me!
One of the Polish delis (it may be the same one, it was on Geary..I'll check when I go)
Had the BEST stuffed cabbage...better than my Grandma's. I got it unsauced, and made an approximation of the one I grew up with, which was tomato based...sweet and sour, and had raisins.. great..warm culinary memories of my immigrant Grandmother!
I went to Seakor on Geary after work today and learned that they only have paczki on Saturdays. i'll come back and will pick up some kielbasa if i feel like slipping on my diet. i often had it as a kid and actually had a craving for it a few days ago. good timing on your post!
I also popped in to New World Market about a block away. it looks promising as far as Russian take-out goes. much of it looked like it had just come out of the oven, just in time for dinner. i can't vouch for the taste though.
i also picked up a hot cross bun at Wirth Brothers Pastry. it was nothing special, but inspired me to make my own this weekend.
I've been buying their garlic Kielbasi for years, the best west of Floral Park (Long Island)!
does anyone know if they have Oplatki - the Polish Christmas wafers? If so, I'll run in tomorrow and get some, if not, I'll have to buy them off the internet and hope I can get them sent in time.
Delikateski?!? What a great name! I will try both if my order does not arrive or is incomplete. I found a site that guaranteed delivery this Monday. The "order form" said the 2 wafers were accompanied by a Christmas card, however, the order confirmation made no mention of the card. Three questions about that were not answered, so I hope i will get 50 cards and 100 wafers Monday, or it is off to SF or Concord!