Hot!Polish food, in Connecticut and elsewhere

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Ketteract
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2016/08/29 15:49:10 (permalink)

Polish food, in Connecticut and elsewhere

A while back, at the end of a large post, I put up a couple of pics from New Britain's Little Poland festival. The kielbasa was from the Zieleniak Green Grocery. The pierogi I'm not sure about.
 

 

 
This past weekend was the Dozynki harvest festival, also held in New Britain. On Saturday, I had a company picnic to run, and on Sunday, I was so swaddled with leftovers that I wasn't sure I even wanted to think about food for a while... but I went to the festival anyway, and I was very glad that I did.
 
The two vendors I sampled were, again, Zieleniak, and the Belvedere Cafe and Restaurant. Both of these have their permanent presence on the very Polish Broad Street.
 

 

 
I got the same things from both: stuffed cabbage, potato-and-cheese pierogi, sauerkraut-and-mushroom pierogi, and some kind of meat dumpling with a very thick potato-based dough.
 

 
Behold.
 

 

 
I thought I might be full after just that much, but I wasn't even close, so over to Belvedere's booth I went.
 

 

 
Belvedere's portions are smaller overall, and they fry their pierogi instead of boiling them. I honestly don't have a preference. Either way, they're pierogi.
 

 
Their meat dumplings were much thicker on the dough than Zieleniak.
 

 

 
I still had a little room left, and kielbasa is mandatory for this sort of thing. Belvedere did not offer any - at least when I went, which was about half an hour after the festival opened - so it was back to Zieleniak.
 
I remembered an identical giant can of sauerkraut from their booth at the Little Poland festival.
 

 
The preparation was slightly different this time, as you can see: there's a proper sausage bun, and they put little cuts into the kielbasa, presumably for faster cooking.
 

 
I found I could finish only half, so I tucked the rest into my car for transport home.
 

 
The bun really was something, chewy and full of character. This picture is from today, so it doesn't look as fresh, but even after a day it was still far better than the generic white buns that you find at fairs.
 

 
... and as if that weren't enough, a Polish coworker of mine happened to have a private family dinner on Saturday, and, in his generosity, gave me some wonderful leftovers.  Stuffed peppers, beef, chicken, pork, rolls, and some kind of mixture of potato dough and sauerkraut. I don't know if there's an official Polish name for it, but it was delicious.
 

 

 
I spoke today to a friend of mine in Ankeny, Iowa, who informed me that there was some kind of world food festival going on near her. I asked her to show me the vendor list... no central or eastern European food to be found. Not a bit. At that moment I felt very lucky to have moved where I did. 
 
For some time, I've been meaning to hit up the big three Polish restaurants in New Britain: BelvedereCracovia, and Staropolska.  I will be sure to post reports here as I do so!

post edited by Ketteract - 2017/04/15 11:41:56
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    Michael Hoffman
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/29 16:17:25 (permalink)
    Wow!
    #2
    Ketteract
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/29 16:22:47 (permalink)
    I guess I should have put this in the International subforum. Could someone move it?
    #3
    TnTinCT
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/29 16:31:25 (permalink)
    Another great area to explore! We ventured to New Britain and checked out the Roly Poly Bakery which has amazing rye and a bunch of other great Polish offerings. Most of the folks are speaking Polish in the store, haven't been in a few years, but now I want to go back.
    #4
    Ketteract
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/29 16:47:36 (permalink)
    Roly Poly's light rye is what we always use on the days when people bring in Martin Rosol's kielbasa and Boetje's mustard!
     

     

     
    I should also mention that the Polish coworker who provided me with those leftovers is the same one that first exposed me to żur/żurek (as well as an amazingly dense rye).
     
    And yeah, pretty much everyone at the Dozynki festival was speaking Polish.  One elderly gentleman saw me chowing down on the kielbasa, and said in a thick accent, "Oh, you are hungry!"  Delightful.  
    post edited by Ketteract - 2016/08/29 16:49:58
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    lleechef
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/29 16:53:07 (permalink)
    Ketteract
    I guess I should have put this in the International subforum. Could someone move it?

    Nah.  I think you're good. 
     
    In a town close to where I grew up they had a festival every summer called Nationality Days.  The booths were sponsored by the local churches and the church ladies did the cooking.  It was mainly Eastern European.  I miss those pierogies, stuffed cabbage and all the other things you had!  Thanks for the pictures!
    #6
    essvee10
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/29 17:05:41 (permalink)
    Funny story. My brother took me to one of the delis in Little Poland. Huge long display of pork in any fashion one could imagine, hunter's bacon, double-smoked bacon, dozens of dried or smoked sausages, fresh cuts of all sorts, and in one little corner of the display, squeezed in and looking wan and forlorn, about 2 1/2 pounds of chicken. Wonderful array of truly Polish faces, people speaking Polish to each other and to the butchers, I was entranced. I asked for fresh kielbasa, meaning unsmoked, and the butcher got an indignant expression on his face, drew himself up, and spat, "It's all fresh!"
     
    They also had paczkis the size of my head. What a wonderful place. Nothing like that here in California, that's for sure. 
     
    Side note, my brother also took me to Capitol Lunch. Feh. That joint's got nothing on Coney Island Hot Dogs in good ol' Worcester MA. 
    #7
    Ketteract
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/29 17:11:31 (permalink)
    Your description of that deli matches what I saw at Podlasie, which is over on High Street, close to Martin Rosol's.  Just an incredible array of meat behind the counter - most visibly, all the sausages hanging from the ceiling.  Podlasie also has the best rye bread I've had in the state, but you have to get it mid-morning on Fridays... and there will be competition.  The last time I went, I got there way too early, but there was already an old fellow sitting in the back with his newspaper, waiting.
     
    I must politely disagree with you about Capitol Lunch, though.  I've been to them and to George's Coney Island in Worcester, and for me, CL's meat sauce is the hands-down winner!
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/29 19:04:27 (permalink)
    Ketteract
     
    Behold.
     

     





    Those meat dumplings are called "Silesian Dumplings" on the menu at Smak Tak, one of Chicago's most respected Polish restaurants.  We've ordered them several times, but compared to most of the other menu items, I find them to be particularly uninteresting.  Much better choices include the Hungarian Pancake and the Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.
     
    Very nice write up on your experiences.  If you really want to enjoy Polish food without crossing the Atlantic, come to Chicago.  We have more Poles in our city than anywhere except Warsaw.
     
    Buddy
     
     
    #9
    mar52
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/29 21:44:09 (permalink)
    Real comfort food.  WOW is right!
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    leethebard
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/29 21:50:45 (permalink)
    Those meat dumplings look interesting. Never had one, but sure would like to try them.
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    Michael Hoffman
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/29 21:57:14 (permalink)
    In case there's a problem finding Silesian dumplings ask for kluski śląskie.
    #12
    leethebard
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/29 22:29:40 (permalink)
    Michael Hoffman
    In case there's a problem finding Silesian dumplings ask for kluski śląskie.


    Same thing?
    #13
    Ketteract
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/30 08:28:27 (permalink)
    BuddyRoadhouse
     
    Those meat dumplings are called "Silesian Dumplings" on the menu at Smak Tak, one of Chicago's most respected Polish restaurants.  We've ordered them several times, but compared to most of the other menu items, I find them to be particularly uninteresting.  Much better choices include the Hungarian Pancake and the Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.
     
    Very nice write up on your experiences.  If you really want to enjoy Polish food without crossing the Atlantic, come to Chicago.  We have more Poles in our city than anywhere except Warsaw.
     
    Buddy


    Well, these were pretty much spherical, with no dent in the center, but I'm sure they were otherwise similar (they're dumplings, after all).  They were a bit plain on their own - maybe I should have set aside a pool of this interesting-looking mustard:
     

     

     
    I've been to Chicago a number of times, and thoroughly enjoyed its food, but the closest thing to "Polish" that I've ever had there is a Maxwell St. Polish at Portillo's.    I'd love to explore Chicago's Polish cuisine scene at the next opportunity, but until then, I'll be working my way through New Britain!
    #14
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/30 10:16:15 (permalink)
    leethebard
    Michael Hoffman
    In case there's a problem finding Silesian dumplings ask for kluski śląskie.


    Same thing?


    Same thing.
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    essvee10
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/30 18:39:34 (permalink)
    Buddy, my only Polish/Chicago experience was years ago at the Red Apple out on Milwaukee. Ever been? We had a ball. 
     
    Ketteract, I am glad we can disagree about this here in America. I wonder if we could get the Sterns to weigh in on this, as they have been to both places, or anyone else who's been to both for that matter. Personally, I found the Capitol sauce to be gloppy and weird, but I have eaten hundreds of Coney Island hot dogs at Coney Island Hot Dogs, and it has a special place in my heart. (I never knew anyone from Worcester who calls it George's, even though the name is prominently displayed on the front over the bar entrance.)
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/31 01:05:38 (permalink)
    Of the many Polish Buffets we have here in Chicago, The Red Apple is one of the most highly regarded.  I've been to several of them, but never the Apple.  Smak Tak, along with Podhalanka is a sit down restaurant.  Both feature a down to earth, low key ambiance.  If you ever plan to visit our fair city, either one or both are recommended.
     
    Buddy
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    Ketteract
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/08/31 10:47:10 (permalink)
    Only now am I finally finishing up the leftovers.  I'm told that, on the day they had their get-together, this was the "after-dinner" food.  
     

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    Ketteract
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/09/03 13:55:53 (permalink)
    Hmm... what's that at the Enfield Pirate & Food Truck Festival this weekend?  Ahh, a mobile pierogi operation.

     

     

     
    Pretty sure these are meant to be shared, but oh well!
     

     
    (Not shown, but perhaps being saved for another thread: tacos, and a pulled-pork-and-mac-and-cheese sandwich.)
    #19
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/09/03 14:10:23 (permalink)
    Did you try all 3 varieties?  Which one did you like best?
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    leethebard
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/09/03 14:48:01 (permalink)
    They look delicious!
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    Ketteract
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/09/03 15:44:30 (permalink)
    They only sold them in six-packs - and, hungry as I was, there was no way I could polish off eighteen pierogi all by myself!    The ones I did have were potato-and-cheese, which also seemed to be the most popular, judging by what I heard practically every other patron ordering.  I honestly think I prefer boiled to fried, though.
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    billyboy
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/09/03 22:03:22 (permalink)
    First grinders, now Polish food?  You are doing some fine work there, sir.  Keep it coming!
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    Ketteract
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/10/04 12:04:26 (permalink)
    More leftovers from my kind and generous Polish coworker: his mom's stuffed cabbage, this time filled with buckwheat!  
     

     

     
    They weren't quite as flavorful as those filled with pork or beef.  He said he used ketchup when this was the case.
     

     
    I may have used too much... but still, delicious!
     
    Hoping to make it this weekend to one of the three great Polish restaurants in New Britain: CracoviaStaropolska, or Belvedere.  Belvedere will probably be the last one, since I already got to sample their fare at the Dozynki festival.
    post edited by Ketteract - 2016/10/04 12:07:46
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    leethebard
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/10/04 12:53:20 (permalink)
    Interesting. Would like to give that buckwheat cabbage a try!
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    Michael Hoffman
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/10/04 13:01:53 (permalink)
    leethebard
    Interesting. Would like to give that buckwheat cabbage a try!


    Me too. But I'd add some farfalle to the buckwheat groats and have kasha varniskes holishkes.
    #26
    Ketteract
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/11/18 14:49:11 (permalink)
    I was in the mood for Polish food at lunch today, but thought New Britain might be a tad far for the middle of a workday. I then remembered the Polish National Home of Hartford.
     
    It was as cozy as you'd expect from a cultural center.
     

     

     

     
    They started me off with a nice light rye.
     

     
    I'd say there's really only one thing to get, and all the New Britain restaurants that I mentioned before do their own renditions of it. Here, it's called the "Polish Plate Deluxe": Kielbasa, bigos, pierogi, golabki, and potatoes. Interestingly, I got boiled potatoes, instead of the mashed potatoes shown on their online menu and in older Yelp photos.
     
    The bigos was the standout - not just the natural deliciousness of sauerkraut, but very tasty seasoning and spices, whatever they were. Says Wikipedia:
     
    Wikipedia
    The stew is usually seasoned with salt, black peppercorns, allspice, juniper berries and bay leaves. Some recipes also call for caraway, cloves, garlic, marjoram, mustard seeds, nutmeg, paprika and thyme.

     

     
    The potato-and-cheese pierogi were boiled (my preference), and generously topped with bacon and onions.
     

     
    I'd had more flavorful golabki, to be honest, but I applied my coworker's advice from before and added a little ketchup. Worked nicely. I might not have needed it if there had been some more tomato sauce.
     

     
    Although I enjoyed my meal overall, this definitely isn't a place for dining alone. If I were to return, it would have to be with a group!
    #27
    mar52
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/11/18 23:01:54 (permalink)
    Now that's comfort food!
     
    Ketteract...   Spectacular!
     
    Wish we had something like that here.  You have me very jealous!
     
     
    #28
    Ketteract
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/11/19 07:28:20 (permalink)
    Believe me, I don't take it for granted! I barely knew what Polish food even was before moving to Connecticut.

     
    PNH's Polish Plate seems to have undergone some changes over the years.  As I said, I got boiled potatoes with mine, but old Yelp photos show mashed with gravy.  Here's one from 2015:



     
    One from 2012 also shows what appears to be some horseradish at the top - but three instead of two pierogi, and a smaller portion of kielbasa:
     

     
     
    #29
    ann peeples
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    Re: Polish food in Connecticut 2016/11/19 11:51:11 (permalink)
    Boy oh boy-now I am craving polish food!
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