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My weekend in Poland

Who cares if it’s freezing out! When you know that there is a Polish neighborhood near by, loaded with incredible baked goods and smokey kielbsas, you simply can’t stay away! This is how I spent my Sunday. Lucky me.

Greenpoint, Brooklyn is sometimes referred to as “Little Poland” due to its large population of Polish immigrants, reportedly the second largest concentration in the United stated after Chicago. Cool!

This neighborhood is loaded with Polish bakeries, restaurants, meat markets and food specialty stores. Adam’s had the most incredible selection of cakes in the window. I had to jump in and take a look around.

Head cheese: it’s not a cheese but a terrine or meat jelly made with the flesh from the head of a calf, pig, sheep or cow, often set in aspic (gelatin made from meat stock). Head cheese may be flavored with onion, black pepper, allspice, bay leaf, salt and vinegar. It is usually eaten cold, at room temperature or as a luncheon meat.

I love this stuff! So flavorful! The meat just falls apart in your mouth. Tasty!

Kielbasa is a must…obviously! It is a staple in Polish cuisine and comes in dozens of varieties; smoked, fresh, made with pork, beef, turkey, horse, lamb, veal, or bison with every region having its own specialty. There are many popular varieties. A couple popular examples are:

1) Kabanosy, a thin, air-dried pork sausage flavored with caraway seeds.

2) Krakowska, a thick, straight sausage hot-smoked with pepper and garlic; named after the city of Krakow 

They can be served hot, cold, boiled or grilled. It can be cooked in soups, stews, bean dishes and casseroles. Serve it with fried onions or just as cold cuts on a platter. You can’t go wrong with a great Kielbasa.

Herring is packaged and sold in the back.

The cakes in the front window were so impressive I simply had to show them off!

Chocolate almond meringue happiness! Don’t you just want to shove your face in that?

This layered cake blew me away! Chocolate meringue layers with whipped cream and toasted nuts. So creamy and fluffy! What a work of art!

Another awesome spot is the Star Deli and Bakery. You can smell the freshly baked cakes from the street! Sweet Sweet vanilla. 

This is an Eastern European babka, a spongy, brioche-like yeast cake. It had such a light, airy texture and mouth-feel to it. The vanilla flavor was strong. I loved this cake. So simple but so impressive.

Slice that puppy up and take a look inside! It’s like a cloud!

You want a bite? ;)

The cheesecake was awesome too! If you get out there get both please! 

Northside bakery has an incredible selection of prepared polish foods. They have perogies, cabbage rolls, schnitzels, freshly baked rye bread, challah bread and everything else you would wish to find in a Polish restaurant.

 For lunch I got a cabbage roll stuffed with ground pork and rice stewed in a sweet tomato sauce and some chicken soup. ;)

 Check out their freshly baked challah bread and sweet jelly donuts.

Greenpoint, Brooklyn is such a treasure. I am so happy that this neighborhood is close to Manhattan. Now I know where I am going to buy my tea cakes and Polish meats. :) Ha ha! Yes!


Woke up extra early this morning to scope out the freshly baked goods being displayed at Polish G.I., a Polish food specialty store in the East Village, that supplies the local Polish and Ukranian immigrants with delicacies from back home.

The first thing I did when I walked in was down one of the jelly donuts. It was way to distracting to get anything else done.  Wow!! What a treat. I later found out that all the baked goods, challah, donuts, danishes etc. come from Greenpoint, Brooklyn where most of the Polish immigrants reside. 

There was a mound of steaming Kielbasa sitting on top on the counter. Next to them were stacks of crispy flounder schnitzel..OY!! Just right of the schnitzel were latkes (potato pancakes) the size of my head! This place definitely doesn’t kid around. I started talking with the woman behind the counter who just so happens to be the owner, Grace. She is originally from Poland and took over this space from a Ukranian woman 16 years ago. Her children helped her repair the store. There was such a strong homey feeling that overwhelmed the space. Grace told me that everything she cooks is exactly how she was taught back home.

While going through the list of items that Grace prepares daily there was a dish that I have never heard of before, krokiet, a fried breaded, pork filled crepe..uh..Is that legal?!

Along with all the fried wonder there were also cold cuts, smoked and cured meats and fishes..mmm..

One item that stood out in particular was smalec (homemade sandwich lard)… ha ha! Yes!! I asked Grace what that was used for and she said that back in Poland pork lard is used to fry almost everything. It has a higher burning point than most other fats so it gives the best fry, color and obviously flavor.;)

If you want some homemade Polski goods, please give Polish G.I. a shot..;) Grace can do no wrong.