comfy noshing Polish-style at Euro Deli Batory

Euro Deli Batory is the kind of place that’s going to make this upcoming winter worthwhile.  What better way to bundle up against the winds than with steaming, groaning plates of sausage, potato, cream and spices in a place painted red and wooden?  Done completely authentically and sold for as cheap as any regular sandwich, this place is going to be my sweater, slightly more stylish than a reindeer-knit but only just slightly.  There is, after all, a giant woollen eagle decorating this place like a guardian of your Polish auntie’s rec room.  Amazing.

If you need Hunter’s stew, sausage, potato dumplings, pierogies, mustard, sour cream, Montreal-style coleslaw, salad and cabbage roll in tomato butter sauce all on a big plate (swirl that fork through the tangy sauces… SWIRL IT!  :D), than I recommend the Polish Plate (or, in our case, a generous 1/2 plate for 9.75-ish$).  Not the kind of thing I would recommend finishing alone unless you’re hungry, but then again, if you’re hungry it’s perfect.

On the side – a nice little light snack, and a new offering at the Deli – a bundle of the most tender spinach and cheese crepes ever in an awesome buttery sauce (8$).  Sproingy crepes and zingy fillings, totally a winner, and also with vegetables for health.  They also have versions with bacon and cheese, and sweet crepes with fruits and cheese for the same price, prolly also Mmmamazing.  (pronounced “Ma-mazing, ie; delish way of expressing astonishment, now you know).

I came back the next day (!!), with a newly empty stomach to try the Flaki – a traditional Polish soup, swimming thick with ethereal swathes of beef tripe (MMMM!) in a smooth and warming broth reminiscent of a healing chicken soup, but thicker and spiced heavily with nutmeg, paprika, marjoram and pepper.  Euro Deli’s version was a tad salty, but otherwise fantastic and especially with bits of buttered rye bread dipped into it.  Winter?  Fah!  We will win winter.  We will win winter with soup.  Rarr!  (4.75$, I think).

Oh and specifically favourited things tried so far?  The sausage is snappy, the cabbage is deep dark and moreish, the cabbage roll is addictive, and the slaw is some of my favourite straight-up coleslaw in the city.  The pierogies I found to be hit and miss (there are 3: Meat: a bit like rillettes; Potato/onion: not distinctive; Cheese; melty fatty goodness), and the potato dumplings are not as good as some gnocci I’ve had, but like, whatever, it’s all good and you know you want it, especially slathered with that Hunter’s stew.

I come to enjoy the top 40 hits.  I come to enjoy the hilarious service that has forgotten my coffee every single time and to hear the neighbourhood thrive (locals, hipsters, geezers and travellers convening to talk about politics and deli meats).  I basically still have the whole menu to eat through, though, and I haven’t even tried the sweets yet.  Polish cheesecaaaaaake!  Eeek.

Euro Deli Batory on Citeeze

Euro-Deli Batory on Urbanspoon

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Dishcrawl Montreal – Crescent Street Edition (part 2)

Russian food, what do I know about Russian food…. ?

After this Tuesday, much more than I did. The limited response of “um, caviar?”  eradicated completely with a flood, a kaleidoscope of britesome and pickly-sweet & peppy flavours!  Russian tapas – the only way to be – at Restaurant Troika, the third and most fancy stop on the Dishcrawl train.

As soon as arranging ourselves along the stark black and golden-lit bar, the tiny plates arrived fast and with each one a new curiousity – could we recognize it?  Was it a familiar temperature or spice?   Was it authentic?  I think more than it might seem, yes, the plates were well Russian, AND well

1 blin, blintze, or blintz (Plural: blini, blintzes, or blinchiki). Cheese kind! Decadent and gooey and perfect with cold eggplant and garlic puree.

taken, at least by me.  I suppose the best way to describe the effect of the assortment of dishes (well over 15 in all) is to emphasize what was explained to us outside of the restaurant – this is food designed to be eaten with vodka, to keep the drinker going well into the night.  And friends?  This is fabulous vodka food.  Much of it cold and vinegared and cut in such a tiny way as to relate somehow to wee shots of the crystal clear spirit.  Beets in obvious attendance, as well as cream, onions, carrot, cucumber, fish, eggs, olives and garlic – food to survive long winters, things that can be preserved.  A serious toughness emanating from the cuisine, but with no lack of sparkle!

And my favourite dish of the evening turned out to be a most giddy-making surprise.  What I

PS….. fries. :D

thought was just one more piece of beet in a pink mayonnaise dressing turned out in fact to be a large and meltingly tender bit of smoked herring. HERRING!  Yums.  Yes, I like oily fish.  SO yummy, I stole a piece off of an untouched serving dish as we were leaving, not even believing my good luck that there were any left (the fact we were walking towards dessert momentarily forgotten).  The name of the dish is even totally whimsical – seledka pod shuboy, “herring in sheepskin coat”.  *grins*.  Want more….

Alas there is a moment of head-hanging here as I admit to not charging my camera batteries properly enough to last through a whole dinner through the OBVIOUSLY most important part… the sweet stuff, the end, the thing you wait through all that other munching to get to, to dive into, to gently (we’re adults here, after all) regress to the child self gleefully lost in a candy store with a pocket full of couch-found change and a tooth bent on gummie bears.  It is regretfully iPod resolution from here on in, at the gates of the carefree Swurl Frozen Yogurt.  Is this where I say something disarming like “Rock on!”?  Something like that. :)

And rock on one must, when faced with a wall full of sci-fi styled giant pulleys emitting frozen and ethereal gooey whipped fro-yo!  With a flavour assortment so assorted and so possible – Irish baileys, blood orange, chai, peach, chocolate, vanilla, cookies & cream, Original and pomegranate – I just had to try them all.  My favourites were definitely the blood orange (bright, rich, intense), the cookies & cream (super creamy, with that “ice cream sandwich” balance of chocovanilla), and the Original (just perfectly slightly tangy and smooth).  Of course, that’s just me, and I do suggest sampling them all if you get to do that.

Unlimited toppings (!!) include assorted soft gummies, sugar cereals (cookie crisp and golden grahams, lucky charms among them), strawberry pop tarts, licorice bits, waffle cone pieces, smarties, white and dark choco-chips, potato chips, fresh fruits (strawberries, banana, kiwi, peaches and more!), syrups of all kinds, fruity caviar orbs that burst, aaaaaand…..

Just for Dishcrawl, Ramen Squares.  (think Rice Krispie treats but with uncooked ramen noodles and chocolate bits – chewy, saltysweet and super interesting).  *dies of awesome*

It’s only criminal that I was so stuffed at this point that I could only eagerly sample each flavour and topping once and then leave my yogurt cup aside to (thankfully) bicycle, ie: exercise all the way home.  Have I been thinking about returning to Swurl practically every day since, though?  Yes.  With the emptiest of stomachs, oh you’d better believe it.

Also… does this remind me of some sort of flipped version of the toppings-select procedure involved with Taiwanese shaved ice?  Yes.  Oh yes.  Deliciously so.  God I love having a myriad candy in front of me with a little scoop.  /sweet tooth.

Thanks again to Kristel, for making this Dishcrawl possible, for putting so much effort into it’s smooth proceedings, and for the free ticket which I did not expect to get.  I do plan to attend many more Crawls in the future, bolstered by the enjoyment of this one!  Cheers and here’s to surprise eats!

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this is your inner 8-year-old’s heaven. just sayin.