When you eat Polish food, you know you've eaten!
On a cold and grey January morning here in Detroit, a decision was made early on in the work day that the warming comfort of a Hamtramck lunch was just the ticket.
And from where we sit in the middle of Wayne State's campus, a trip to Hamtramck is no more fuss than taking a ride up the block. The question always is, "Which place are we going to?"
The "Big Three" are Polish Village Cafe, Polonia and Under The Eagle. Each one has their loyalists, and for my money there's plenty to like about each one of these places. For instance, I like the golabki (stuffed cabbage) at Polish Village the best, but Polonia makes it's own kielbasa that's out of this world (it's "fresh" as opposed to "smoked"). So at one place I like to order this, and at one of the other places I prefer to order that....it's all good! During this trip to PVC, I ordered the pork chops (pictured above) and they didn't disappoint.
One of my dear co-workers, Katie, who happens to be married to a nice Polish boy, ordered up the Polish Platter (pictured left) as well as some "to-go" goodies for her hubby. Her Polish Platter came with a stuffed cabbage, piece of kielbasa, a couple pierogi, kapusta (sauerkraut) and mashed potatoes (these are the real deal - lumps and all!) and gravy.
Not only did these delicious home-cooked meals warm our hearts and bellies, the restaurant itself provided a cozy and festive backdrop for our "feel-good" lunch. The Christmas decorations were still up in full force - garland, tinsel, lights, everywhere! When we got there, the place was about one third full. By the time we left, people were waiting in line for a table! It's no coincidence that so many of us find comfort in food like this, and let's hope we will always be able to find refuge in places like this.
Craig, another co-worker of mine and no stranger to all things culinary, took delight in putting away two stuffed cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes and green beans. These stuffed cabbages, topped with a tomato soup style gravy, were tender and filled with ground meat (not sure what combination they use of pork, veal and/or beef) a little rice and seasoning. It's the cabbage that really provides the flavor. I think we should all be eating a lot more cabbage, don't you?
Craig also had a good-looking cup of beet soup that came with his meal. See the pattern here? Cabbage, beets, potatoes...sure it's not low-cal, but we got our daily allowance of vegetables, that's for certain. Pass the sour cream, please!
I don't have a photo of it, not that it would have done it justice, but the other Kevin Gerard in our office (can you believe there are two in the same place?) ordered the roast pork. It looked so succulent, just falling a part like when you can cut the meat with your fork. I said nothing to him at the table, but I had a case of "plate envy" - do you ever get that? It's when you want to eat what somebody else ordered.
We cleaned our plates, filled our tummys and enjoyed the communal pleasure of spoiling ourselves with such a treat at lunchtime.