Friday, May 28, 2010

Slavic Savor

Uh... would Slavic savor be slavor? Is this alliteration thing a little too twee?

Although I was "scooped" by Aunt Snow, a blogger who regularly posts mind-bogglingly beautiful pictures of her garden, I had a craving for Polish food last week, so I headed over to the Polish Community Center, which features a weekday buffet, for the well-nigh inconceivably low price of $8.45. While the dining room has all the ambiance of a budget hotel, the food is simple, but well-prepared, and the service is top-notch. The menu invariably features potato pierogi, stuffed cabbage, kielbasy and sauerkraut, a rotating variety of "American" dishes (the day I went, mixed vegetables, chicken Marsala, and mashed potatoes were on the menu), a soup of the day, and various salads. Absent from the menu are such "challenging" Polish delicacies as tripe soup or kiszka- this place concentrates on serving up heaping platters of crowd-pleasing foods. The lunch crowd is a mixed bag of retirees, city employees (City Hall is an easy walk from the community center), and gastronauts with a couple of hours on their hands in the middle of the day. The beer selection is perfunctory at best, with Bud and Bud Light on tap, and $5 bottles of ┼╗ywiec (I dated a Polish girl for a while- she was a staunch Okocim supporter, being from the greater Krakow metropolitan area, and doubtlessly would have castigated me for patronizing the rival brewery). For the price, the buffet at the Polish Community Center is one of the best lunch deals in Westchester County- again, the food is simple, but prepared with care, and the service is remarkably attentive (each time I have eaten here, the same waitress has been on duty, and she's absolutely charming).

Continuing on in my Polish culinary journey, I stopped by Roman's Deli, 643 McLean Avenue on the following day. The deli features a wide variety of Polish charcuterie, anchored by an impressive selection of sausages (not only several types of kielbasy, but Hungarian style dried sausage, and kiszka- a personal favorite of mine which will merit an entry of its own), which the proprietor gets from a distributor in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Roman's, which opened last August, would be the one-stop place for someone in south Yonkers to pick up the ingredients to make bigos.

While Roman's Deli is an angelic upstart, the best place for purchasing Eastern European foodstuff's is Ukrainian butcher shop Yonkers Miasarina, 39 Lockwood Ave, Yonkers, NY. The store-made kielbasas (including an uncooked variety which is a refreshing departure from the usual smoked variety) put supermarket varieties to shame, and the store sells house-made smoked pork ribs (bacon on the bone! Need I say more?). Yonkers Miasarina is worth the trip from anywhere in the county.

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