With a roar, a clatter, a whimper and a bang, the Z-Cycle came to a halt at Clement and 32d, and I instintively looked up to see what would be good to eat in the immediate vicinity. European Foods (alternately billed as Imports and Deli) had quite a few people wandering in and out, so I figured something must be happening in there. Indeed there was! "European," in this case, would seem to refer to foodstuffs from Russia and Poland (and to a lesser extent Latvia, and other Eastern regions). This place is packed with offbeat packaged foods (I can't wait to tear into the Riga canned smoked sprats), frozen commestibles (Pelimeni! Blintzes of all kinds!), Eastern European candies; jars, boxes and other vessels of un-translated things that look good, and, most noticeably, a prodigious variety of salami, smoked sausages and other smoked/dry cured meats! Almost two refridgerated walls of them! I've never seen this many types of salamis, let alone wursts of different sorts, bologna-looking things, and other sausages, all gathered in one place. Some labels vaguely interpret the items, while others simply give you the phonetic English spelling beneath the Cyrillic. My god, the flavor that comes pouring out when you open the refridgerated cases!
Anyhow, with limited carrying capacity (and a lingering doubt as to my transport home), I chose a good looking salami, a dense, hard beef sausage, some Bulgarian feta, tinned smoked sprats (what _are_ sprats?), two varieties of frozen blintzes, and a bag of random Russian candies (you can buy bags of them individually, or pick and choose from bins). Oh, if only I could carry some of the house marinated anchovies (complete with the heads) without them leaking all over the everything!
At the checkout counter, I realized that there was a full variety of deli foods and Russian baked goods. I thought I would remember the names of the some of the items, but I can't. One colorful item, full of ground beef according to the deli matron, weighed in at over a pound apiece -- too much to eat in the parking lot... For the road, as it were, I settled on a fried thing full of chicken and mushrooms, figuring I'd better build up my strength for the long walk home. Excellent, though clearly not healthy. Russians aren't big on spices, but they sure do know how to pack plenty of meat into their delicacies. As luck would have it, the z-cycle started, and I've been enjoying bites of salami and sausage all evening. The salami is nothing like the usual Italian salami we experience -- much more fatty, I would say, but extremely flavorful, with a smoked flavor. The beef sausage is even more smoke flavored. I see no way around a heart attack should I return to European Imports, but I don't see how I can resist either...
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