Thursday, July 27, 2017

Polish Gastronomy

One of the most fun things about traveling is getting to try different types of food.  Eating out is obviously expensive, so we are trying to find a good balance between preparing food at home and eating out.

Our rental in Wroclaw had a pretty nice kitchen set up.  There were a couple things missing though.  There was only a single pod coffee maker, not a coffee pot.  We felt bad about using so many pods, so ended up buying a french press.  And we missed having a microwave.

Poland had lots of foods to try and we were pleased that the kids were open to trying everything!  We tried several types of pierogi, which were a favorite for both kids.  Sadly they do not photograph well.  The traditional potato and onion were the biggest hit.  But there were cabbage and meat fillings as well as fruit and cheese.  Dumplings, kielbasa, potatoes and pickled veggies are very common here.
Clockwise: potato dumplings with 3 pickled salads, cold beet soup, cheese pastry, beer platter with pickles, kielbasa, bread and garlic lard.
One of our first traditional food stops was at Przedwojenna.  The menu was simple and painted on the wall.  Drinks were 4 Zoloty, about $1 Usd and food was 8 zt.  So we ordered nearly everything and had a smorgasbord.

We had mixed reviews about the food.  Bottom left is the kielbasa and it was a hit with the kids as it is essentially just hot dogs, but better.  

To the right of the kielbasa is bread, lard spread and pickles.  In my opinion the garlic lard spread is only good after several beers when you are hungry and there is nothing else to eat.  I could eat about half a slice before I couldn't stop thinking "I'm eating lard, gross" and then I was done.  

The square shaped food in the middle is kind of like a savory jelly.  Imagine making a yummy chicken soup with vegetables, you put the leftovers in the fridge and the liquid and fat congeal, and instead of warming it up to liquify, you just dump it on the plate in it's jelly form.  Voila!  Spencer and Jason seemed to enjoy spreading it on bread.

The top plate, almost out of picture, is a savory cottage cheese dish with potatoes.  This was simple and quite tasty.

Not pictured, was a plate of pickled vegetables including peppers, mushrooms and mostly pickles.  My only complaint is that sweet and dill pickles were combined, and it was a surprise each time you bit into one.

We stayed away from the tartar, for what I thought were obvious reasons.  But after seeing everyone else in the restaurant order it, Jason wanted to give it a try.  His review, "it's like making a hamburger and then not cooking it".  He swore it was fine, especially if followed by two shots of vodka and beer.  Meanwhile I tried not to gag the entire time he was eating it.

In conclusion, eating some of these Polish dishes is a mental game.  If you can just stop thinking about what you are eating, you can choke it down pretty quickly and leave feeling full.

Last but not least we had this delicious zapiekanki at the Taste of Europe festival during our last week.  Toasted bread piled with grilled meat and veggies.

The kids had some favorites too.  We tried several lody (ice cream) shops, including one that always had a line going down the block.  But I think their most favorite place was Mr. Pancake in Krakow.  Which for the record is not a breakfast spot, as it doesn't open until afternoon and has a full bar.  They were in pure sugar heaven.  Especially Spencer who ordered one with Snickers and ice cream! "Best dinner ever!"

Of course there was also a lot of partaking in the local libations.  Lots of beer and vodka sampling.  Our kitchen was reminiscent of a college dorm with empty bottles everywhere.  Just kidding...

A family of beer steins in Gdansk

Happy Jason finally found a proper beer tasting.

Our first introduction to lard bread and beer at Spiz in the Rynek.

The first of many vodka tastings.

Kerry a bit excited for her fruity cocktail and oversized burger.

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