Monthly Archives: May 2008

Eat all you can

Polish dumpling
I know nil about Polish food. So I was both excited and a little nervous to join my friend Lynn (whose ethnic background is Polish) at an all you can eat pierogi fest at Seattle’s Polish Home.

Pierogi are half-moon dumplings that are boiled and then sauteed in a pan with butter and onion. They contain sweet or savory fillings and are commonly eaten with a healthy dollop of sour cream.

The first pierogi I sampled were farmer’s cheese with potato and a variety simply labelled “MEAT.” I was unfamiliar with farmer’s cheese, which is made by pressing most of the moisture out of cottage cheese. It reminded me of ricotta, and when combined with mashed potato inside a pierogi, it was absolutely light and delicious.

I asked Lynn if she knew what kind of meat was in the MEAT pierogi. She had no idea but thought that maybe it was a combination of chicken and beef. When I cut one open and peered inside, the filling resembled canned tuna fish more than anything else. It looked flaky and stringy. Since I grew up in a household where potted meat is a major food group, I had no qualms about sampling the pierogi. However, eating the MEAT didn’t give me any other clues about what I was actually consuming. I would not be having seconds.

The next pierogi I tried were ones with sauerkraut and mushroom filling. I’m usally not a sauerkraut fan, but I loved this combination. I thought the kraut would have a strong vinegar taste, but it was sweet and mild.

I waited in the very long pierogi line twice, and each time they were completely out of the sweet pierogi. There were two flavors, blueberry and plum. The blueberry pierogi were especially popular. One little boy patiently stood in front of the empty blueberry pan for close to half an hour, waiting for a fresh batch. My friend Roxanne finally snagged me one, and it was worth the wait. I pierced it and watched the warm blueberry filing mingle with the dollop of sweet sour cream I had put on top of the pierogi. Yum.

It was refreshing to sample a food without any preconceptions about it. And I was lucky that the first pierogi I ever tried were fresh and handmade by home cooks. I’m Filipino American and used to being quizzed about my food and culture. This time I got to do the asking. Lynn and I talked about the origin of “Polock” jokes, Hitler’s extermination of Polish Jews and Catholics, how to make pierogi dough and much more. I enjoyed being exposed to Polish people and culture in such a unique food setting. I could definitely go back for more.

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Filed under Essays, Food and race, Savory, Sweet

“What fresh hell is this?”

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Going international

My friend Tara recently sent me a link to MSG150, a blog chronicling three guys’ quest to eat lunch at every restaurant in Seattle’s International District. MSG150 features great photos and incredibly detailed reviews from very different viewpoints. It’s a handy reference for ID newbies and experts alike.

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The $8.00 milkshake


A little over a year ago, the New York Times’ Kim Severson blogged about her close encounter with an $8.00 shake at the Brooklyn Burger Bar.

The first thing that Severson thought of was Uma Thurman and John Travolta bantering about a $5.00 shake in “Pulp Fiction.”

Her verdict on her pricey ice cream concoction? “In a word, it was OK.”

Eerily, I had almost the exact experience on Sunday at the Steelhead Diner. I was trying out the restaurant for the first time, spotted an $8.00 milkshake on the menu and immediately thought of said Tarantino flick. I adore ice cream and would gladly shell out eight bucks for a transcedent milkshake experience.

I ordered the chukar chocolate milkshake, which was made with fruit from Chukar Cherries and Olympic Mountain Ice Cream, two Seattle-area favorites.

I enjoyed the excellent fried chicken sandwich and sauteed mustard greens for lunch and saved the shake for dessert. I expected it to be an exclamation point to my entire meal.

It wasn’t.

Halfway through the shake, I was loving it and thinking that it was worth the high price. The consistency was creamy and thick, but not too thick, and the sweetness of the chocolate and the tang of the cherries played off each other beautifully. But then I got to the bottom, which was a clot of cherries that hadn’t been pureed enough and didn’t incorporate into the shake. Without the chocolate ice cream, the cherries were too bitter and cancelled out all other pleasing flavors of the meal.

Dairy Queen, here I come.

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Filed under Ice cream, Reviews, Sweet