I had to escape the holiday leftovers, which we’re not even half way into. I was thinking of eating something I usually can’t get because of my daytime job, now that I have the week off. Maybe DiFara’s pizza way out in Brooklyn? I was thinking the lines could be better because its cold outside, but possibly longer with the holiday tourists in town. In the end I decided to drop off my laundry and head over to get some good Polish food in Greenpoint.
I went to my local laundry mat, The Bean & Clean. I was sad to see a flier that said Gloria (the owner of the family business) had recently passed away in a car accident in Aruba. That lady was amazing. She knew everyone’s name (and I never even told her mine), how much your bag would weigh before putting it on the scale, and had the correct change in her hand before I’d even pull out my wallet …to find I only had the bills that would make that change. Sometimes I tried to think of nothing, so she couldn’t read my mind. I was stunned to find out the news. I did have a weird feeling on the way over to the laundry mat. I thought about her mother and wondered why I haven’t seen her in at least a year. The last time, the mother had lost a lot of weight. I thought the worse. But in reality it was Gloria instead. Tragic. Life cut short so unexpectedly. The only happy part is that she was on vacation.
I hopped on the bus over to Greenpoint and went to Krolewskie Jadlo on Manhattan Ave. There’s several great Polish restaurants on that street. I went to the one with the armored knights outside. The restaurant looks sorta like a Polish Medieval Times with swords on the walls and what I assume are paintings of old kings. They played some cool contemporary Polish pop music that a table of hipster kids were making fun of. I was trying to decide if it was offensive. Say if it was Chinese music and they started singing along with “wang chang chui chui, chow chow ding…” I’m sure they didn’t mean to be offensive, just stupid.
I got the weekday $9 lunch special. Pick one of the soups, one of the entrees under $8 and a dessert. They brought out complimentary bread with cucumbers and smalec (pork lard spread …some reports online think it might be chicken). I didn’t know what this spread was when I was eating it. I thought it was some kind of fish and butter thing, but pork and lard makes more sense. This thing was so creamy and buttery. It was rich butter x3. Delicious. Better if you don’t know it’s lard.
The Ukrainian Borscht was awesome. Chunks of vegetables on the bottom. Creamy. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad Polish soup so far. All delicious, like the amazing split pea soup at S & B in Williamsburg.
I was quite satisfied already. Then they bring out my Roasted Hocks in Beer entree. I was expecting tiny 1-inch sliced hocks you get at the supermarket. This was a huge whole hock. I’ve never seen it like this. Even though the hock has a lot of bone, fat and skin, there was a definitely a hefty amount of meat in there. Very tasty. Well seasoned. Some parts tasted like roasted chicken, some like ham, some like pork shoulder …all very tender. It came with mashed potatoes and also a separate plate of sauerkraut and dill cucumber salad.
It’s not over yet. I got the cheesecake for dessert. Not a very big slice, but there is no reason for it to be after all the food I just ate. The cheesecake was a little gritty. I imagine it’s store bought from a local bakery. It’s cool that they give you a dessert at all, but not a must eat. Plenty of food before this. An amazingly huge and delicious Polish meal for only $9. I also got a large beer for $5 (probably 20 oz). I’m pretty happy.
I walked home to burn off a few of the calories. I thought about Gloria. I never knew her name before and she always knew ours. I’m glad the Bean & Clean is still open. Gloria and the family business has provided a great service to the neighborhood. It made me think of what I can do, what is my service, what is my calling in this life while I have it. I did just have a sudden urge a few days ago to work on my solo music once again. Perhaps that would entertain one or two people out there. Maybe that “wang chang chiu chiu” song I just made up is a good start.
Krolewskie Jadlo – 694 Manhattan Ave (@ Norman Ave) Brooklyn 11222