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Slovenian food and some general eastern europe questions

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I just got back from Slovenia where I had a few interesting dishes. One of my favorites was "jota" (sp) a thick, slightly sour soup made from beans, smoked bacon, and sauerkraut. It's commonly eaten in the mountains. Has anyone ever seen this in LA? (I understand it's not hard to make and am getting the recipe - I'll forward it to those interested.)

I am also curious if one can get the most common type of Slovenian sausage (I believe it's called something like "Carolinean") which is made from pork, garlic, and white wine; it is very smokey and winey, apparently they are cold smoked for 3-4 days. I assume other countries in the region eat the same thing, so I'd assume they'd be available in LA. Where's a good source for quality eastern european sausages in LA?

Also, they tend to eat the equivalent of sauerkraut made out of turnips, not cabbage - I thought that the turnip version was superior. Anyone seen this stuff?

Finally, I liked some of the local liquers and wine. "Pelinkovac" is a tasty cough syrup-like substance which has an addictive quality. The local wines are quite good and cheap, including some very nice dessert ice wines which tasted as good as anything German at a fraction of the price. Again, any LA sources for these types of things?

Anyway, that's all for now.

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  1. I would try Atlas Sausage in Burbank on Burbank Blvd. for the sausage portion of your quest.

    2 Replies
    1. re: soccerdad

      Atlas is good, also some branches of Ron's Market, particularly the one on Sunset near Normandie and Santa Monica near Western. There's a ton of little Russian delis on Santa Monica between Fairfax and La Brea, they seem to have interesting sausages.

      1. re: Patty

        Atlas has been closed for several years now. In its place is a mediocre Cajun style barbeque place. If you want authentic Eastern European sausage I would check out the European Sausage Company on Saticoy just west of Coldwater. Its in a little industrial park. Smells like heaven inside. I'm not sure where exactly they are from, I've been told both Poland and the Ukraine, but they have a wide assortment of sausages made on the premises - including the best hot dogs I have found in LA. They have lots of imported delicasies, but no wine. It's worth a trip, especially as it is so close to Thai alley on Sherman Way.

    2. There is a very good Russian deli on the north west corner of Santa Monica & Crescent Heights in a mini-mall. I forgot the name (although it may have something to do with Russian royalty). While you're in the neighborhood, stop by Stolichnaya Bakery next to Whole Foods, Santa Monica & Fairfax, for terrific bureks stuffed with potatoes, spinach, cheese (I think there's a beef one too).

      There's also a good Russian deli in the same complex as Trader Joe's -- I think it's called Tatiana, (boy, the brain goes first), also on Santa Monica between Fairfax & LaBrea.

      13 Replies
      1. re: Sandra W.

        (I know I'm not supposed to change the title, but WHY not?)

        The preceding post references boureks. The ones I've had here in LA are actually quite different from those they sell in Slovenia, and I have to admit, I liked the Slovenian version a lot better. It is a much more buttery affair, with a thicker dough essentially identical to that of the "roti paratha" one finds in Singapore (and those, too, are unavailable with any authenticity anywhere in North America, as far as I can tell). (The dough on the bourek I've had here is closer to a phyllo dough; the dough on the bourek there is slightly thicker and stretchier, more moist.) They are sold piping hot, not reheated - the greasiness of the entity would not stand reheating, it must be served fresh.

        Actually, those onion pancakes sold at that Israeli restaurant in LA which others have praised here (the Magic Carpet? is that the name) are vaguely like that bourek, but they are also -- sad to say-- completely inferior (sorry).

        (And if you are ever in Ljubliana (sp?) the bourek I enjoyed most were at a place called "Nobel Bourek", open 24 hours.)

        1. re: Dylan Yolles

          I crave the burek (boo'-r-r-rek) from Ljubljana also. I lived and worked there for 3 years (1997-1999) and had it for lunch or late night snack often. Is the burek stand (Nobel) you're talking about on Miklosiceva across from the Austrotel, the one at the train station or the one on Slovenska? I have strong opinions about each one.

          I love jota also, as well as all the distilled brandies and wines of Slovenia. I never had bad wine there. The Slovenes always said they kept the best wine for themselves; that's why it's not very popular abroad.

          I'm not from LA; I'm from Minnesota. But this post has really got me going with memories of my Slovene chowhound days. Maybe we should take this Slovene discussion offline so we won't bore anyone.:-) Or maybe on a different board.

          1. re: Carol Chubiz

            OK. Here are my only suggestions (and let us know if they work out)
            1. There is a Slovene Hall (social hall) in Fontana that has dances. Someone there may be able to tell you where to get the Slovene version of Bourek (burek, borecas, etc).(909) 357-6902
            2. There is one former Yugoslav, Croat restaurants in LA that I know of. Maybe they can help. Maybe not. They are
            Ante's Restaurant 729 S. Palos Verdes Blvd., San Pedro And the Paragon Inn is no longer around.
            As well, I believe there is a Croatian Cultural Center or some such in San Pedro. Possible help there.
            Good luck

            1. re: jerome

              These are great recommendations. As they are 6 years old, I'm wondering if they're still good. I just got back from my third trip to slovenia, and there are many things i am craving. one additional question i have: are ANY slovenian wines available here in california?
              i brought back several bottles, but they are going fast.

              1. re: mr mouther

                The obvious first place to call is Otto's, which you probably already knew, mostly Hungarian. Maybe they can place an order or direct your local search:

                http://members.aol.com/HungImprts/Win...

                1. re: mr mouther

                  I just got back from Slovenia and loved the wines. I found several different ones at Silverlake Wines. One of the owners has an affinity for them as well and has started to stock them.

                  1. re: mr mouther

                    You can get various eastern European sausages at most Jons Markets -- an astonishing selection, in some of them, and Karolinskaya was definitely part of it.

                    1. re: mr mouther

                      As Kaxajon states, Silver Lake Wine Store on Glendale Blvd. does carry Slovenian wines, and they are starting to make the rounds of other wine shops as well, as they are very good quality, very affordable, and actually go better with food than most chardonnays, as an example. Go and get on the e-mail list for tastings asap., as in tomorrow. George, one of the owners, and I were discussing this subject about 2 hours ago.

                      1. re: carter

                        Speaking of Slovenian Wine, Silver Lake Wine store is having a tasting on Sunday, August 5 at 3p.m. with food by DJ Olsen of Lou Wine Bar on Vine Street. Try to sign up asap as these tastings fill up very fast, and only around 40 people can attend. Guy from Blue Danube Wine importers will also attend, where questions can be asked.
                        www.silverlakewine.com and click tastings.

                      2. re: mr mouther

                        Ante's is still around. More traditional Croation and Slav. Try South Shores Meat Market, Sunshine Market, A-1 Imports and McCowans Grocery Store, all in San Pedro. South Shores and Sunshine also make fresh cevapacici sausage on the weekends - 2 die for. These markets cater to the Croation/Slav and Italian grocery needs of the local residents. There is another Yugolav market on Western Ave & Crestwood in RPV, but I do NOT recommend since I purchased some Usingers products that were well past there expiration dates and didn't realize it until I got home. although there selection of groceries was descent. I know fiends also go to Alpine Village / Torrance and Eschbachs in Gardena.

                      3. re: jerome

                        Ante's Restaurant has closed. The owner died.

                  2. re: Sandra W.

                    I love Tatiana Deli; it's on the NW corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Havenhurst Drive (not by Trader Joe's). I haven't sampled their sausages, but their chicken-stuffed cabbage is wonderful.

                    1. re: Dogbite Williams

                      A sad update: Tatiana Deli has changed hands. No more homemade goodies. It's now just basically Boar's Head meats on display.

                  3. My favorite purveyor of eastern european delicacies is a deli on Wilshire between 12 and Euclid in SM. South side of the street.All the sausages are made and smoked in-house and you will find all you need for your sauerkraut soup, including a nice chunk of smoked pork.
                    The garlicky sausage is called 'kabanos' and they will let you taste everything before you buy.Another good sausage for your soup is one made with garlic and juniper berries, called, l think 'farmers'.
                    l make the soup in the winter months and my suggestion is that you make it the day before you eat it.It really needs to sit.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: hana

                      The deli has a large sign in the window that says POLISH SAUSAGE FACTORY. The language barrier can be a problem sometimes. They also have the most incredible rye bread I have EVER tasted.

                      Should that fail you, there is a Ukrainian deli across the street and one block east of the Polish Sausage Factory that sells sausage but specialises in Eastern European foods.

                      Also, the name of the huge deli at Santa Monica & Fairfax is "Gastronom", which is Russian for "Grocery Store".

                      1. re: PRSMDave

                        Yes, I know I'm "responding" to a reply that's 13 yrs old. Just wondering about the place mentioned in this sub-thread. I think it's called J & T European Gourmet Food now. Not sure if the ownership has changed. Does anyone have an idea if the place is good? And if so, what should a newbie to eastern european food (i.e., me) purchase there? I've walked by it a few times and have always been curious (but lacking in courage).

                        1. re: ilysla

                          Their specialty is fresh and house-smoked sausages and hams, but they have a lot of Polish and German items - Northern European rather than Eastern European. They have a better than average selection of pierogies, kraut, and other items. I have found the quality to be high and the service reasonably good.

                          I haven't heard anything about the ownership changing - I'll have to find out.

                          1. re: FoodObsessive

                            Thanks for the info! Will definitely be stopping in one of these days....

                    2. Warszawa has excellent gourmet Polish food in Santa Monica. The hunter's stew is fantastic and so are the pierogis and flavored vodkas. They have a "Who's really happy" Hour weeknights and a patio where they play live gypsy music.

                      I hope you find Slovenian here. I'd love to try it. Croatian which may or may not be similar is one of my favorite foods on the planet. I've never tried to find it in America though. Their grilled meats are superlative.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: swisscharred

                        Polka near border of Glendale has homestyle Polish food reasonably priced.
                        http://www.polkacatering.com/ I am Slovenian and have never found any Slovenian Sausage or Potica (nut bread dessert) in the LA area, You may also wish to try Croatian food which is somewhat similar since it is located next ot Slovenia. There is a Croat community in San Pedro: http://www.antesrestaurant.com/home.html

                      2. It's counterintuitive, perhaps, but the closest thing to Slovenian cooking in Los Angeles is at Tre Venezie in Pasadena, where you will in fact find (at least in winter) jota, turnip sauerkraut, and a sopresa that sounds pretty much like the sausage described above. The cooking of Slovenia is very similar to that of Trieste and Friuli, which are, after all, right next door.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: condiment

                          I'm impressed that people are responding to a post I made about six years ago! The cool thing is, I'm still looking for answers. Will try out tre venezie and some of the other suggestions people came up with.