HAMTRAMCK: Pierogi And Fancycakes With A Side Of Theatre …

8 Mar

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It’s the weekend, time to play. During the winter months we do more indoor things; today we are having lunch and seeing a show, the pleasant 64 degree day is quite unexpected. We are just north of the Hamtramck border on Jos Campau, we are going to the “other” Polish restaurant, Krakus Restaurant & Bar, serving authentic homemade Polish food. The yellow brick building resides at the corner of Jos Campau and Meade, we park on the side in the designated lot. The interior looks as if time has stood still–a good thing in this case. 4-top tables wear tablecloths, framed paintings hang on the wall, paneling covers the lower half of walls. Our attentive, friendly waitress greets us with glasses of water and menus, we quickly place our order.

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Two cups of soup arrive, Kris has the mushroom, a creamy, velvety concoction of mushrooms and noodles, it’s out of this world. I’m having the dill pickle soup, the broth resembles chowder, there’s enough tasty shredded pickle for every spoonful. Just as we finish the Polish plate and potato pancakes are set on the table with two empty plates, we’re eating family style. The golden brown potato pancakes are crispy outside, tender and moist inside, we like ours with sour cream. The Polish plate comes with stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut, sausage, mashed potato and two dumplings (all for $9.75 including the soup and bread basket). Each Polish restaurant in Hamtramck has its own family recipes, every dish has its own distinct flavor and personality. Here the stuffed cabbage is served in a gravy style sauce instead of tomato sauce, potato pancakes are deep-fried, the sauerkraut is mild. It reminds me of  when I was growing up, we have many Polish relatives and each cook has their own way of doing things, all of them delicious.

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We drive over to Planet Ant Theatre on Caniff. The faded purple-painted building with the ant face painted on the side began as Planet Ant coffee house, it became a theatre in 1996. In time they created original theatrical and comedy works, formed the Improv Colony and opened a training center focused on teaching long-form improv comedy and comedy writing. Most importantly, the place is super cool! The performance space is small, I mean nano small; the first row of seats is just feet from the stage. A doorway with a curtain separates the lobby from the stage, the restroom door is barely off stage… that kind of small. We are seeing an original drama called The Aliens, the mood is serious, the emotion intense. The audience is drawn to the characters, we are caught up in the story unfolding before our eyes, it’s almost as if we’re eavesdropping. Planet Ant offers a very personal theatre experience, you should definitely check it out. If you are into comedy, check out Improv Mondays, it takes place each Monday at 8 pm for more than 15 years now.

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Every excursion deserves a sweet ending, New Palace Bakery on Jos Campau is just the place. A parking space is open right in front, the large window is filled with pastries, the aroma of bread, cookies, butter and sugar hangs in the air. In addition to the main front window, glass cases hold shelf after shelf of delightful pastries. I ask for a chunk of the poppyseed roll, it’s the best I’ve ever had, as the young lady is doing that I join Kris as he stares at rows of Maryann’s, shortcakes, snowballs and chocolate castles. The variety of treats runs the gamut from butter cookies to custard filled french fingers and marshmallow horns to cheesecake, donuts and the infamous chrusciki (angel wings). We leave the shop, smiles on our faces, with our poppyseed roll and caramel Maryann, life is sweet indeed.

 

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