Because I was being feted on my birthday by being taken to a Polish restaurant in Płock (the line through the “l” makes it pronounced as a “w”), I ate sparsely at lunch. Besides tomatoes and bread (not shown), there was an assortment of kielbasa (Polish sausages) and discs of the famous smoked cheese from the Tatra mountains, oscypek (lower right):
Płock is a 35-minute drive from Dobrzyn, and is situated on the Vistula. Although we arrived at about 4 pm for some sightseeing, the sun was already setting:
The Płock Cathedral, or the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Masovia, is one of the oldest in Poland, founded in the 11th century and reconstructed in the sixteenth after a fire. It’s a lovely Romanesque structure, and we were allowed to go inside, but it was too dark to photograph.
Meanwhile, in front of the town hall there was a skating rink. Many of the skaters were quite skilled; the sport is obviously common in this wintery land.
On to the important stuff: birthday noms! We went to the Karczma pod Strzecha restaurant, highly recommended for its Polish food (menu here, conversion is about 3 zlotys to the dollar; see also TripAdvisor recommendation here). Here’s a shot from its website. It’s a homey and welcoming place:
We began with a traditional and complimentary appetizer, smalec (pork fat mixed with onions and apples), it’s like non-kosher schmalz, and is to be spread on bread. It was delicious, especially with the pickles:
My first course was bacon-wrapped prunes, which were fantastic. The bacon was much thicker and chewier than American bacon. (Food police: do not criticize my diet here; I eat like this only on vacations and special occasions. Critical posts will be deleted!)
Then a delicious bowl of Polish borscht, or beet soup. This one was Lithuanian style, with meat-filled dumplings.
And the pièce de résistance, potato pancakes with goulash. Potato pancakes are a staple of Polish and Jewish cuisine (Jews know them as latkes), and one of my favorite foods. These were hot, crispy, and scrumptious. I liked that they put the meat on the side; too often it’s ladled on top of the pancakes, which then become soggy. This was all washed down with a mug of cold piwo (beer).
Małgorzata had mushroom-filled pierogi (dumplings) which I photographed and also sampled (they were excellent):
Oy, was I full: no room for dessert! It was a great birthday meal, and thanks to my hosts for the treat.