Monday, August 06, 2012

Pierogie Diplomacy & other tidbits

After work, I hopped a few subway lines to get to Green Point, a hipsterish part of Brooklyn to meet a new friend named Talia.  She is the daughter of some good friends of my parents, and we had connected before because she does PR in the music biz.  And also works from home.  We chatted up about life in Brooklyn, and the joys and discontents of the virtual office.  About actually forcing yourself to get dressed, shave, shower, etc.

Since I happened to be in a Polish neighborhood, after drinks I stopped for dinner at a fun place called Krolewskie Jadlo.  The classic-looking restaurant had a knight standing sentinel outside.  Talia had recommended it as good and cheap, which is Chopin to my ears.  It was both.

The borscht was sublime.  Soft potato chunks in silky beet soup with beet and carrot slivers swimming about.  Pierogies to follow [editor's note: I love it that my computer tries to correct "pierogies" to "Robspierre"!].  In a soothing Polish accent, the waitress asked if I wanted my pierogies boiled or fried.  As if the question needed to be asked.  A plate full of delectable Polish delights came up still bubbling from their oil bath.  Half of the pierogies were stuffed with mushroom and spinach, and the other half with potato and cheese.  The fried dough gave a little crunch before the soft insides burst out.  I slathered the Polish dumplings in sour cream and soft grilled onions, and washed it down with a cold Lech beer while I dreamed of Polish gastrodiplomacy campaigns.

It would really be some wonderful cultural diplomacy on Poland's part to help introduce its cuisine far and wide.  I feel like Polish cuisine's heartiness could be popular in the South.  I would introduce it as Central European soul food for its stick-to-your-ribs quality.  I also think that pierogies would go over well in places like China as an alternative take on the dumpling or wanton.  I am curious if there is some gastronomic historical quirk that connects the pierogie to the Chinese dumpling.

I am quickly finding that New York is a gastrodiplomat's paradise.  Maybe this is where i will set up my base of operations for the Gastrodiplomacy Institute.

PS: The beauty of the @gastrodiplomacy twitter feed is that all sorts of people tweet me fascinating articles related to food, politics and international affairs.

For example:

-Burmese couple opens a restaurant for the burgeoning Burmese community in Buffalo, and it goes big-time.

"When an ethnic community becomes established enough to support its own restaurant - a place where they can get a taste of home - other neighbors benefit, too. They get a glimpse inside another culture, a place where strangers can become familiar - and they get another choice for dinner.

The corner of Niagara and Austin is likely the only place between Manhattan and Toronto where you can taste Burmese dishes such as own no koksware, coconut curry chicken noodle soup, la peth thoat, a salad built on pickled tea leaves and crunchy fried peas, and mont hin gar, a tangy fish soup with hard-boiled eggs, caramelized onion broth and banana stem used as a vegetable. The dishes share ingredients and flavors that might be familiar from Indian, Thai and Chinese, but they're purely Burmese, said Stephanie Lin."

I might have to make a pilgrimage.  

-Breads of Beirut

There is nothing I can pull from this article because it is just too beautiful.  Do have a read.

-Fictitious Dishes

A fun photo essay on literary delights.

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