Pierogi found! (by reservation)
Thanks to reader Phil Newland for responding to last week's plea for a local pierogi hook-up. Phil was the first of a few readers to say that the The European Café (935A Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs) has excellent pierogi and Eastern European food. He also noted that it's imperative to call ahead if you plan to order the pierogi they're not available daily, and are very labor-intensive to prepare.
A call to owner Bozena Jakubczyk confirmed that three days' lead time is usually needed for both in-house and take-and-bake pierogi orders, though you may get lucky with an occasional walk-in special. Jakubczyk, a native of Krakow (the city in which I recently wolfed pierogi for a week), says she makes her pierogi the "old-fashioned way," without using any machines.
Jakubczyk sells her treats by the dozen, and prices range according to the filling. A fruit pierogi order (more of a dessert style) runs $15.95, while the savory styles such as mushroom, cabbage or Russian (potatoes, cheese and onion) cost $13.95. Call 685-3556 for more.
And ... we did also receive a cheese pierogi recipe transcribed by reader Claude Wiatrowski from his mother's recipe book, which we've posted at csindy.com.
'Fat sandwich' revealed! (still not endorsed)
In response to last week's call for info on the "fat sandwich," we first heard from our food writer Monika Mitchell Randall, who said her mother of German heritage used to put bacon fat on rye bread and sprinkle it with onion and salt. Next, Jan King wrote to say that she grew up in a Polish/German family that also served a variation of pork fat and congealed gravy smeared on white bread with salt and pepper. Interestingly, King is now a vegetarian and a nutritionist.
Then, over the weekend, we received two more letters: one from a Czech reader and another from a Slovak reader, each with the goods on this dish.
Eva Syrovy, born and partly raised in the Czech Republic, wrote that her grandmother, a Moravian farm girl, "regularly prepared this for me as a snack." Syrovy says the Czech name is chleba se sadlem, literally translating to "bread with rendered fat." The sandwich, Syrovy added, is "better with the cracklings left in, lots of salt and thin slices of radish garnishing the top, countering the relentless animal-fat taste, and [also better] on rye bread rich with caraway."
While it's not a taste she'd expect any American "to cotton to," she noted that historically, "these were people who worked hard in the fields all day and nutritionally, this is no worse than a package of Doritos, is it?"
And finally, Lucia, a reader of Slovak heritage, said the name of the "fat bread with onion" is mastny chleba s cibulou (mastny being fat, chleba bread, and cibula onion). She, too, defended the fat sandwich somewhat by noting that each country has its own traditions and national foods, and adding that she finds Slovak cuisine to be much healthier than ours, overall.
Also, she requested that I mention the positive aspects of Slovak Christmas markets, such as the pleasant music, atmosphere and people.
True: The markets were wonderful in most every aspect a great argument for hitting Europe during the holidays rather than tourist-overrun summer. I also had a tremendous dining experience in Bratislava at an authentic Slovak restaurant that served delicious foods from its own organic farm.
Old World, new restaurant
A new restaurant has opened at 945 S. Eighth St., the former site of Zeb's. Old World European Restaurant is now open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch (entres from $6.50 to $8.50) and 5:30 to 9 p.m. for dinner (until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, closed Sundays; entres from $6.50 to $18). It claims "fine German and European dining."
Offered items include soups, appetizers and salads, as well as traditional favorites like bratwurst, schnitzel and spaetzle. Old World is also open for a "coffee time" from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. daily (except Sunday), during which fresh-baked pastries and drinks are available. Call 578-1902 for more. Compiled by Matthew Schniper
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