Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Klezmer Hois and Other Food Tidbits

Last night we ate at a Jewish restaurant in the Kazimierz section of Krakow. We had been wanting to try some of the Jewish restaurants, but Kazimierz is a bit of a walk. Now that the weather is nicer (and our time here is getting short) we figured we'd better go for it. The Klezmer Hois is an old house where they serve meals in what was the dining room...little tables covered with crocheted table cloths, pictures on the walls, Jewish music in the background. We were surprised to find Kugela on the menu - a potato dish that John's Mom always made at holidays, but it was a recipe from his Father's (Lithuanian) side of the family. One of my books did say it was hard to distinguish the difference between Polish food and Jewish food, since they both developed in the same geographic area using similar ingredients. And Lithuania and Poland were the same country for many centuries. But we have never seen Kugela on the menu of any Polish restaurants here. The other major difference in the menu was the lack of pork dishes, which are plentiful on most Polish restaurant menus. The tomato salad we had (called the Rabbi's salad) had so much garlic and onion in it that John and I could taste it all night. That didn't prevent us from finishing it off, though we did stop at the grocery store on our way home for some of our favorite "Krakuski" cookies to try to counteract it a bit.

Speaking of cookies, it took us a while to discover that in Poland you buy your bread at a piekarnia (bakery) but you go to a cukiernia (pastry shop) to buy coffee cake, sweet rolls, cookies, cake, etc. We will miss our favorite little neighborhood cukiernia - I think we've tried all their varieties of coffee cake....a habit we'll have to break when returning home is starting off every day with a few cups of espresso and a piece of coffee cake - in bed! (Remember, we live in a studio apartment.) Here are some pictures of our little coffee shop, also just down the street, that roasts its own beans. We will really miss this!

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