Sunday, June 03, 2007

Baltimore Festivals: Polish Festival

Well I braved the rain and the wind – neither seeming as bad at the time as they actually were – to go to the Polish Festival. This first for the year of Baltimore’s Showcase of Nations had far more parking than I expected. Apparently, most people did not want to brave the rains today.

I rarely go to these things for anything other than food. I did, however, soak up some of Baltimore’s Polish-American culture. I saw a nice exhibition about Polish-American history and holidays, as well as recipes, music and other nifty info. I even saw a photo of an album my grandmother had, of the harpsichordist Wanda Landowska, who I now know was Polish. Have no idea where it is now, gotta find it.

Between polkas in the background and rain on my head, I hungrily set out for Polish food. My first victims: three pierogis at a pierogis-only booth. I got three – two cheese and potato and a sauerkraut and mushroom – for $3. The potato one bored me, but I really liked the sauerkraut and mushroom. While I sank my teeth into the soft pierogis, I listened either to a Polish band from New Jersey named the Ablemen or to the Krakowiaki Dancers. I recorded a little on my mp3 player, but I think I might be violating some copyright law if I upload it.

I needed a little something to down the pierogis, so I headed over to get some beer. None of that piss-flavored American beer either. I went for a nice Polish beer, Żywiec, which was crisp and good and just $3. But this was only to accompany the first course, as I wandered around the WWII booth, the Polish soccer team stand and a crabcake vendor for more Polish food.

I found it not far from the pierogi stand. Here were all the other delicacies I didn’t find at the other stands. I avoided the stuffed cabbage (gołąbki) and went for some nice warming sour grass soup (zupa szczawiowa) and apple cake (jabłkowe ciasto). The soup ($2) reminded me of Italian wedding soup, but with sorrel (the sour grass), egg yolks and potato instead of meatballs, chicken and pearl pasta. The apple cake ($4)? I took a bite, it was okay. I'll eat some later.

I saved the requisite kielbasa (kiełbasa) for last. I should’ve gone for the smoked kielbasa because I just couldn’t get into the fresh ($6). It was okay, but I much prefer the smoked.

One more photo: Here's that sour grass soup. I got about 2/3 of the way through it before I whipped out my camera.


Fairfax said...

WOW! You're so brave to venture to a festival today!

Baltimore Snacker said...

Nah, just don't mind a little rain. And I'm not even Polish!