Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pierogi, Barszcz, Underground Cafes

In the midst of my frustration at the radio set last night, I forgot to mention a couple good things: food and drink. First up, I had been demanding Polish cuisine, especially pierogi, the wee dumplings that are a lot like the buttery pelmeny I adored back in Russia. So last night Marcin ("Duze Pe"), one of the guys helping book the Polish leg of the tour, took me out for pierogi, and in a very weird coincidence, the restaurant ended up being one I had walked right by and even looked at their menu. In fact, it's on the left in this picture right here from yesterday. I had turned down this street in my wanderings, almost as if drawn there: It's like I have a sixth pierogi sense. So anyway: yum. I got a kind of garlic/spinach/cheese filled thing, and then a big steaming thing of borsch, or "barcz" or whatever it is here. Plus: kompot, syrupy fruit drink! The restaurant itself was just a couple small tables with a window into what looked like somebody's kitchen at their house, and the adorable little 3- or 4-year-old girl running around the place added to that feeling. Of course it wasn't without international incidents: after all the salty borsch, I went up and asked for a glass of water, proud that I could say it in Polish; they asked me something in return I didn't understand so I just nodded. They hand me a thick glass cup and I go to take a drink and recoil in pain: it's boiling hot. Marcin is like "Yeah i heard them ask you if you wanted it hot but I didn't know if you understood." I was like, why would i want hot water?

Afterwards we walked back down the main street in Warsaw's historic district, past the presidential palace with news crews parked outside, and Marcin goes "oh yeah let's go to this bar where I know people," and we duck into a stairwell I would never have noticed in a million years to find the coolest little underground dungeon of a hipster hangout. "Indeks" it was called, and with its multiple tiny little smoke-filled vaulted-ceiling rooms and a tiny stage for performances, it was exactly my image of underground Warsaw. Since it was before the radio set I was desperate to wake up and only indulged in a sludgy coffee, but still.

Anyway I forgot to take pictures of either of these places (I'm terrible about that) so here's a picture of the sun coming out this morning from the hotel window.

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