I just missed Kramarczuk's five-course Polish dinner and Polish beer tasting on the 13th, but you can call 612-379-3018 and make reservations for the next one on the 20th. Orest Kramarczuk has completely remade his East Hennepin Avenue monument to all that is wonderous when it comes to eastern European foods. The café is one of the best bargains in town for great home-cooked foods, and with all the fancy wine dinners and tasting menus being offered at even the most incompetent eateries, it's refreshing to see someone who knows their audience and is also doing something different to attract new customers. Kramarczuk's has been a regular stop on my food trail for fifteen years, and if you have not been yet, get your butt over there. Their homemade Krakowska sausage—rings or sliced thin from large loafs—is one of my top ten favorite foods in town. I like to grab some dark bread, a few pounds of deli meats (Krakowska, Speck ham, air-dried beef, and lachshincken are my musts), some other goodies (whatever tickles my fancy), and then I stroll into the café, grab a Ukrainian sausage and kraut to go, and I'm off. Kramarczuk's offers sixty different types of sausage, twenty breads, pastries, chocolates, and has been offering world-class food for fifty-three years and through three generations. Last week when I was there Orest gave me a few slices of his newest creation—a custom smoked ham that he bastes with an herb and garlic wash as it perfumes and cures in his massive smokers. The ham ate like the artisanal hams I ate last month in Europe. Ask for it in the café, it's hot and sliced to order . . . and by the way his beer dinner is only $50, all inclusive. Five courses, four beers, and if you can't make it on the 20th, he tells me that these dinners will change themes and menus each month.
Am I the last person on earth to finally visit Emily's Lebanese Deli on University Avenue around the corner from Kramarczuk's? This place is amazing as well, and while I often have been accused of throwing out more superlatives in this blog than BP has lawsuits, the spinach pies, the tabouleh, and the kibbi are second to none in this town. My wife has been insisting I go for years, and I finally did . . . once again, she was right.
So with Punch, Nea, Fugaise, Rachel's about to open, the Modern, Surdyk's, the new Lunds, Kramarczuk's, Emily's, Whitey's, Nye's, Erte . . . what else is there in good ol' Nordeast for me to try? any thoughts . . . . What am I missing? I feel like I am forgetting some places . . . .