"Look, she's gonna take a photo."
I paused for a split second, but didn't look up. The commentary was coming from the table of three young men diagonally from us. These things rarely happens, but when they do, I generally feign deafness and continue with my excessive photo-taking. I turned the plate of fried pierogies around for a better angle, and then the commentary continued.
"Yup, she took a photo."
This time, I looked up. Just a smidge. "Um, I can hear you," I said.
Monday night's dinner at Lomzynianka with Sarah marked the first time someone else in a restaurant noticed me taking photos and said it with the intention of me hearing, but seemingly not with the intention of engaging in conversation. Or maybe I was too taken off guard to do the "conversing" part. And I was. Because, in addition to lacking basic social skills, I'm not really sure how to react to a stranger who is stating the obvious. "Yup, this camera I'm holding...I'm taking photos with it...and you are looking at me doing it...and um...I'm going to eat these pierogies now." Later in the dinner, they did ask us how the blintzes were, but aside from that, I was mostly sort of befuddled.
So to address the oft-brought up question, "Do you ever feel weird when you take photos in restaurants?" my answer is, "Only in the rare case that other people point it out to me in an awkward way." I acknowledge that my photo taking might be distracting; I just stopped giving it much thought years ago. Hope y'all can live with that.
Sooo back to food. The meal started with a complimentary plate of pickled salads/slaws, of the carroty, cabbagey, and lettucey sorts. A tiny buffet of shaven vegetables. STAMP OF APPROVAL, IT HAS.
When we weren't sure if we wanted our potato and cheese pierogies ($5 for 8 pieces) fried or boiled, our waiter immediately said, "Get them fried; it's always better." True dat. When people ask me what a pierogi is (not that I'm an expert on pierogies), I say, from my Asian food-centric perspective, that it's like a dumpling, but with much thicker skins and different fillings and accompaniments (sour cream and sautéed onions). Which is not a very specific description, but whatever. Mashed potato wrapped in a thick dough with just a lil' bit of crispness on the edges makes for a hearty meal—duh, they're carb-stuffed-carbs. It doesn't take long to feel full, but you'll keep eating because the slathering every bite in sour cream makes it go down more easily. We slathered until there was no more cream to slather on.
We split an order of the Polish platter in addition to our plate of eight pierogies unaware of how much food they were going to give us for a mere $8. It's a lot: three different pierogies, a fat kielbasa, a fatter cabbage roll stuffed with rice and beef and onions and stuff, a plop of bigos, and a pile of sort-of-mashed-potatoes, not creamy like pierogi-innards but resembling a potato that had been mashed with nothing added to it—if anything, possibly with moisture sucked out of it. Skip the bland potatoes, eat everything else. Although I couldn't tell you how good this stuff was compared to other Polish food (of which I've eaten very little of), I liked everything aside from the potatoes. It's "gutbusting comfort food," one of my favorite food groups. As usual, I fail at recalling flavors, but this time I can partially blame that on my stuffy nose. ...And I might just use my perpetually clogged nasal passages as a scapegoat for the rest of the winter.
We were too stuffed to finish the pierogies or Polish platter, but we plodged on to dessert. It goes into another stomach. The magic stomach. That's what I tell myself. I can never pass up blintzes when I'm at an Eastern European restaurant.
Under our waiter's suggestion, we ordered the chef's blintzes ($5 for 2 pieces) filled with fruit jam and cottage cheese, in our case one blueberry, one strawberry. Both blintzes had light, crisp outer layers and soft inner folds sandwiching the jam and cheese bits. Sarah had a better description, calling the blintz a cross between a funnel cake and a crepe and...some other delicious sweet carby thing. You can get blintzes that only have jam, but our waiter was right to get us the ones with cheese. Even though it's sort of similar to a French-style crepe, blintzes have always tasted way better to me—if the blintzes have that golden, crispy outer later, at least. Or maybe I've just never had a great crepe.
For almost $10 per person, we got way more food than we needed. SCORE! I don't know how they can afford to give so much food for so little, but as long as the restaurant stays in business, I'm down with that. And considering how packed it was on that Monday night, I figure they'll be around for a long time. I'm ashamed that it took me so long to eat Polish food in Greenpoint considering that I used to live in Williamsburg. No more of that foolishness; I shall return to Greenpoint next week for more Polish fooding.
Sweet jesus, I'm sleepy. And I think it shows. And that's a shame because Sarah can inject caffeine into anything with her effusive personality. As soon as I walked up to her when she was waiting outside Lomzynianka, she picked me up in a tight hug while squealing, "ROBYNITISSOGOODTOSEEYOU!" Alas, Sarah is not right next to me, watching over my should as I write this entry, or else I would sound way more exciting. :( "Eating Adventures with Sarah" will continue next month when she moves to Brooklyn from Kansas City, but I worry about the day when the excitement is knocked out of her and the "jaded New Yorker" personality sets in. I DON'T WANT KANSAS CITY-SARAH TO CHANGE!
And maybe she won't. Although I'm sure much has changed since the first time I met her nearly four years ago, her core Sarah-ness has not. That enthusiastic, excited-to-eat-and-do-anything attitude that got us to stuff ourselves with Indian bread, eat through Jackson Heights, and snack on Bouchon Bakery goodies—man, I sounded way more excited about life back then—is prepared to come back at 200% power come January 1.
OH GOD, SARAH, COME BACK! I feel like a better person around you.