Thursday, November 27, 2008

Montreal's Best Eastern European Delis - Part II

3. Slovenia, 6424 Clark

Slovenia is part charcuterie and part lunch counter. Like Chopin, they have a wide selection of meats and sausages and a variety of canned goods and similar to Euro-Deli, they had an assortment of pickles, sauerkraut and pickled “every vegetable you could imagine.” Seeing as though we had already eaten, we only looked at the lunch counter which seemed to be serving up hot meals of kielbasa, cabbage rolls (the tomato sauce kind), pierogies and maybe some potato pancakes? While my friend ordered some head cheese and a few sausages, I took the time to look for pickled cabbages, but alas, they were nowhere to be found. On our way out the door, I stopped the deli lady and asked her if they had any pickled cabbage heads; she smiled pointed to a spot behind the counter and mentioned that a bunch had just arrived from Poland (!) earlier that day. Sure enough, she emerged from behind the counter with a vacuum-packed head of brined, wilted cabbage. What a delight! And a bargain too!

4. Bucarest, 4670 Decarie

Even though our search for pickled cabbage had ended, we still took the time to head to Bucarest - a Romanian deli and grocery store located near Charcuterie Chopin on Decarie. Bucarest is enormous and carries a huge variety of canned and frozen goods from Eastern Europe, as well as Turkey, Lebanon, Morocco, etc. Besides a tasty-looking baked goods section and a wide variety of imported chocolate, we were most drawn to a number of large plastic vats, which looked like rubber oil drums. Lifting the lids, we found one vat to be filled with large pickles floating in brine and another vat filled with what looked like big rib bones floating in some kind of pickling liquid. Much to our delight, the last vat was filled with pickled cabbage heads! Rather than vacuum-packed in Poland, these cabbages appeared to be pickled on the premises.

While our search for pickled cabbages may be over, we are still looking for the city’s best kielbasa. Both Charcuterie Chopin and Euro-Deli Batory have good contenders, but all on-line banter points to one Charcuterie Felix Mish in Verdun. I’ll keep you posted.

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