Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why did no one tell me about this place?

I apologize for the bad photos as my smart phone camera sucks
 I was walking down Johnson Street and thinking I needed to do something about lunch when I stumbled on Skinny Tato.   I saw that it was Polish food and given my background as a Baltic German, Polish cuisine is a cousin of the food I grew up with.

I have been dreaming of having a Russian restaurant in this city, the Baltic German food experience is most heavily influenced by the Russians.   In the absence of Russian food, Estonian, Finnish, Swedish or Polish is the next tier of home cooking for me.  To suddenly find a Polish restaurant made me stop and walk in.

The owner is a friendly woman originally from Poland 25 years ago.  She spent 24 years in Edmonton and has been here for the last year and opened the restaurant seven months ago.   The space is nothing fancy but that does not matter where there is good food.  There are only seven tables and total seating for just over 20 people.  My fear is we will be seeing lineups soon enough here.

The menu was short but what I expected.  Potato pancakes, cabbage rolls, perogies, and goulash were all there on the menu.   I happen to love a good potato pancake and I will never get bored of goulash, so I ordered the goulash filled pancake.   It came with a cup of soup to start which was wonderful, though I can not remember exactly what it was now!  It was a tomato soup with orange in it, sounds a bit off, but works really well.  I am going to have to consider the orange/tomato combo in cooking.

The funny thing is I just made potato pancakes and goulash for dinner on Sunday night so ordering it for lunch today allowed me a very good comparison.   The meal is a single large pancake with the goulash inside it.   It reminded me of the look and feel of meals I have eaten in Poland, Finland, and Estonia.

The pancake was light and crispy, better than most of the ones I made on Sunday.   The goulash was mildly spicy but reminded me that a good goulash has a bite to it and I have been keeping mine too mild.   The goulash was also light, though that is the wrong.  My goulash on Sunday was bordering on stodgy, this was the opposite.

The potato pancake with goulash came with two small salads out of a choice of four on the menu.  I chose the potato salad and the Skinny Tato salad, which is a light white cabbage based slaw.

The potato salad was the best I have ever had in my life, period.   It has all the stuff I would put in a potato salad, but the results are amazing.   Light and refreshing are words I would never connect with a potato salad, but that is what comes to mind when I think of it.

I am not a fan of cabbage based slaws.  Whenever I get them I simply give them to Sheila but since I was alone I ate it.   It was light and refreshing (yes I am repeating myself) and I could have eaten a whole bowl of it for lunch.  It was the perfect rendition of a Polish style cabbage salad/slaw.

Sharlotka Cake
I had to have the desert as it was a Sharlotka cake.   It is very reminiscent of the sort of cakes my Tante Nata used to make.  It was good and not overly sweet and something I do not think I could make

Once again to my question of every restaurant, could I do better at home or would it be easier?   No.  I might be able to equal the pancake and goulash, but the soup, salads and cake are beyond what I could do.

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