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May 22, 2007 08:45 AM

Need a quick Polish Eats/Polish Deli 101 class

Professor Orange? Anybody?

I'll be headed to New York in a month's time for a week to 10 days and staying with my daughter in LIC near the Queens end of the Pulaski Bridge, hence a short stroll from Greenpoint. I'll want to check out the goodies, but probably haven't been in a real Polish restaurant or deli in the 45 years since I lived on St. Marks Place next to the Polish Brotherhood Center in Manhattan. I've forgotten all I knew or thought I knew about Polish food.

I'n not looking for specific places (that's a matter for another board) but specific things. What's good to nosh on or buy to take home? (No sweets, unless they travel well). What woiuld you find precious in Greenpoint's best deli or Polish noshery?

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  1. my favorite polish foods: whole smoked whitefish, pierogi w/sauerkraut/mushrooms/potato, guompke (stuffed cabbage), kruschiki (feathery light fried dough with powdered sugar).
    also had great snack from polish deli: crepe stuffed with sauerkraut and mushrooms, rolled up into the shape of a stuffed cabbage.
    polish ham is delicious, pumpernickel, rye bread.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fara

      Is a kruschiki something like a churro?

      1. re: Gary Soup

        more like a flat cannoli shell. Also called angel wings for the polish impaired.

    2. Avail yourself of kielbasa! Smoked, kabanosa (skinny), fresh.
      Bigo's- Polish Hunter's Stew should be available.
      Potato pancakes
      Definitely golabki as mentioned above, and good rye bread.

      2 Replies
      1. re: monavano

        What's the difference (other than the girth) between kielbasa and kabanosi?

        1. re: Gary Soup

          Kielbasa is sausage, the generic term. Kabanosi are thin, quite dry usually and travel really well. There are also myslivska (spelling butchered) hunter's sausage and many others. Those are the two I learned to like.

      2. Certainly no professor ... my requirements are pretty basic with a peasant Polish background.

        However, based on the lack in the Bay Area ... pierogi crawl .. even the best ... Chopin doesn't come close.

        Other stuff I would seek out: pickles, potato salad, stuffed cabbage and baked goods ... especially baked goods ... rye bread, Polish Cheesecake, prune buns, cheese buns, polish donuts, krys-chicky ... I can never remember how to spell it so I'm claiming it as my own.

        There is good kielbasa and Polish ham in the Bay Area, but still something to consider ... and ... sigh ... look for a Polish buffet .. I still have memories of my decade old trip to Chicago.

        Also, look out for what might be current or unusual. In Chicago I never imagined there could be so many types of kielbasa.

        However ... above all else ... pierogi ... the Polish wonton, so to speak ... and I hope you will report about it in food pornographic detail so I can have a virtual fix.

        4 Replies
        1. re: rworange


          I'd say pierogi is the Polish shuijiao, not wonton. Do poles make kreplachs? Now THOSE are wontons.

          So Polska Kielbasa wan't invented by Hillshire Farms?

          I don't think I have the vocabulary to describe Polish food, but hopefully will get pics.

          Can I call you krys-chicky?

          1. re: Gary Soup

            Definately ... if it were possible to change my handle, I might go for that.

            Dont you hate when people don't read the OP. You said no sweets unless they travel well and not only are chrusciki sweet, they are fragile and don't travel well. Here's a good picture

            They are sort of crispy like a canneli shell or those Swedish rosette cookies. More like buenelos and nothing like churros.

            So are you eating in or planning to take stuff back to SF?

            One thing you want when you ask for recs on the NY or whatever board is places that make a lot of their own stuff. I mean you can get all those pre-packaged coldcuts and sausages on Geary St or Delikateski in Concord.

            At least in my family no Kreplachs. Don't think I've ever had one.

            Here's an old post about Seakor Deli that lists some of the different types of Polish sausage ... I tell you ... it was news to me ... I thought kielbasa meant a Hillshire-like product ... but ... you know ... better.

            Actually the first time I ever knew there was more to kielbasa was on a Chicago trip and saw the dizzying array of sausages in one butcher shop.

            When I first went to Seakor and later Polish Deli in Palo Alto and asked for kielbasa, they asked me what kind. Turns out kielbasa is the Polish word for sausage. It would be like walking to the butcher counter at say, andronico's and asking for sausage ... what type? ... chicken apple, pork, breakfast, etc, etc.

            1. re: rworange

              Mostly grazing and noshing. Maybe one sit-down dinner, but my daughter and her good friends in GP will have a line on that option. I might haul some stuff upstate to my relatives, but it will be another couple of weeks and two border crossings before I return to SF so I'll be quite limited in what I can bring back.

            2. re: Gary Soup

              Uszka are tiny dumplings, usually mushroom, that have a suspect won toniness to them, or if you prefer, a ravioliosity about them, and they are frequently enjoyed in clear soup.


          2. I should probably stay quiet on Polish foods... but I do know the area. First, off if you are single male, I would say the best Polish goodies are the pretty blondes that seem to be all around the main drag. With respects to food... the major concentration of restaurants & bakeries seem to be along McGuinness. I had a very good meal at a small sit down place almost across the street from Radio Shack. What to order? I really enjoyed the Cabbage wraps & Goulash (which they assured me is commonly eaten in Poland) and some kind of beef "empanada" and some ubiquitous Polish beer I can't remember. Food is hearty & tasty in a down home way....

            As far as the bakeries... there is plenty of take out savory food... and basically any place with scruffy, Polish laborers smoking cigarettes out front, marks the spot for tasty chow.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              If I can talk about Mexican, you can talk about Polish. Good tip ... look for lots of smoking people ... meant both ways ... and yet true. Yeah, that goulash thing must be specific to certain parts of Poland. I see it on our two lonely Polish restaurants in the Bay Area, yet never had it growing up.

              Noshing, I say lots of pierogies ... go on a pierogie crawl ... you just don't get that here. Then I'd have a Bay Area buddie bemoaning the sad state of pierogies in the Bay Area ... not as good as NY.

              That pate suggestion is a great one. Though I haven't had it yet, the guy at Polish Deli in Palo Alto always lights up taking about the wonderful pate ... it always is sold out before I make it there.

              Pickled herring might be a consideration too ... but only if it looks good and is house-made ... and you are into pickled herring. If the herring looks scary .. it is. Also great smoked whitefish ... looking plump and moist.

              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                The restaurant was probably Christina's. The beer was probably Zwiec, but may have been Okocim. Beata is a good store for polish dry goods and beer, it's on Manhattan between Huron and Green.

                Family Pierogi is a small pierogi factory on Freeman Street. Its storefront is on Manhattan ave between Freeman and Eagle and operates as a polish deli.

              2. Here's a decent directory of polish sausage from Polana

                I really like the country pate at polish butchers. You can make an (albeit bastardized) interesting home made banh mi with the supplies garnered from a polish butcher and a greengrocer in that neighborhood. No shortage of pork or vegetables, or bread.