After my visit to Premier a week ago or so, I got revved up to visit the other Russian markets. It's a little mistaken to say "Russian", but that's the primary clientelle, Russians, along with smaller numbers of Ukrainians, Lithuanians, etc, most of which have emigrated here after the fall of the Soviet Union. There are allegedly over 100,000 former Soviet immigrants in the metro area. And that doesn't include people from the Balkans, which are also served by these markets. I visited three markets: Premier, Anoush, and Roman Russian. For the full report along with lots of pics, visit the link. Here's a brief rundown:
Premier Euro Food: Already reported on this Vancouver store, but I've added a few pictures, been back a couple times, and done a little research. Nice people and good balance of products. The cold smoked trout I reported on last time are the worth the trip alone. They also are the only ones that make their own pelmeni and vareniki (the ravioli-like items).
Anoush Deli: Two locations, one in Vancouver and one in Portland. Different owners, but very similar stocks. They're Armenian-owned and have a more international selection of products. Good place to get feta and pita, eg. Also sell gyros. Best variety of meats. You can get Balkan/Armenian/Middle Eastern specialties like soujouk and basturma. The guys here are beyond nice. They practically force feed you samples of anything and everything. One of the guys was joking, asking if I needed models for my pictures.
Roman Russian: Two locations in Portland. Best selection of meats and fishes. The Foster store is amazingly clean and neat inside and the Ukrainian lady wraps pastries, meats, and cheeses into perfect little packages. It's the anal retentive's dream market. Big selection of pelmeni, all commercial. No English labels at the Foster store, only a few at the Division store. There are some English speakers at the Division store, though.
Had a lot of fun exploring and experimenting in the kitchen with my purchases. (Made baked cod topped with a Ukrainian salami tonight with a salad that included baked slices of rib bacon tonight, eg.) Looking forward to trying the Russian restaurant on Foster this week and getting to know my food heritage a bit.