So, I was just minding my own business, enjoying a day off of work. My wife went to the fitness center, and I headed for the sofa. Such a perfect day, I was even listening to Lou Reed, and later we were going to go to the Mardi Gras celebration at the local Indian Casino. (I love taking their money).
Well, she came home from the gym, my little Polish Princess she did, and said "We should have some Poonshkies." I usually have the Poonschki Day poonschkies on hand. I get up at 5 am on the day that the rest of the world calls "Fat Tuesday" or "Mardi Gras" (which means "Fat Tuesday"). But this year, I had a day off of work, and, I "forgot". . .
So, I put on my coat, and headed out to the National Bakery. It's right across the street from the St. Francis Hospital Emergency Room, on 16th and Euclid. (yup, it's named after the Geometry guy). There was no parking for a two-block radius. I already knew that. From a distance I could see the upraised antennas of the mobile media trucks. Today, National Bakery is the eye of the storm. We can go back to the bucket-beaters at the State Capitol tomorrow. The line was a half-block long. People took it in stride. They had, after all, not phoned in their orders in advance, so they could not proceed to the express line.
After a half hour in line, I reached the door, and was allowed inside. The entire customer area was chained off into waiting lines, one for the pre-orders, one for the walk-ins, and one for the checkout. An overwhelming "international" aroma overwhelms one. There are multiple holidays going on here. There are King Cakes for Mardi Gras, Frosted horse-shaped cookies (for the Kentucky Derby?), An overpowering aroma of cooking Corned Beef (for St. Pat's Day), and in a glass case, there were squares of brown cake with white frosting and shamrocks on top, with a sign that said "French Pastry". Perched on a bar-stool was a man playing German songs on his accordion. The media was doing their "live from National Bakery" spots, and there was merriment in the air.
And down at the end, at the altar, was the Paczki section. Paczki is pronounced "poonschka" (because it's Polish, and they love to correct your pronunciation of Their words.) It's a filled donut, you have a choice of two different doughs, regular or Butter. Once you've chosen your dough, there's the filling: raspberry, raisin, or the REAL punshka filling - Prune. And once you've chosen the filling, what do you want the outside to look like? There's frosted, powder sugar, or the REAL punshka lamination - Glazed.
Poonshkas look like glazed potatoes, and the taste is indescribably delicious. Although each one weighs about three pounds, and provides the body with a brazillion calories of usable food energy, you'd better take two right away, because you KNOW you'll be back for more!
This year, the National Bakery offered Paczki T-shirts. They all come in Extra Large.
Let the good times roll!
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