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SF - Gastronom Redux – Kvas & a third type of piroshki

rworange | Apr 29, 200603:05 AM

With a few interesting reports starting with Melanie’s cherry cheese pastries, I decided to check them out after reading they made kvas in-house.

The kvas at Gastronom is a drink that tastes like a slightly fermented good apple cider. Memories of sampling cider at apple farms in New England returned. It had that cider tang to it.

Actually, this Russian drink is a yeast-based beverage, often made with bread and spices. Why it tastes like apples, I have no idea.

Cinderella Bakery also makes kvas. At Cinderella it tasted like sparkling apple cider but with more yeasty notes. They are both good, but the edge goes to Gastronom. The apple taste was sweeter more with maple notes.

The Kvas is kept in the back and you have to ask for it. Don’t buy the pre-packaged or bottled kvas. The first time I had kvas, it was bottled and one of the most memorably vile drinks I ever tried.

As reported before, this bakery makes two types of piroshki – fried or baked. The baked is unlike any piroshki I’ve ever tried. Usually they are flakey like a turnover. This was like a sweet roll. In fact, while I was looking at them, I thought maybe they were some sort Russian take on a sweet cheese Danish.

It was lovely with a savory potato mushroom filling. Although the filling was on the bland side and the mushrooms were finely chopped so there wasn’t too much of that flavor, I thought it was tasty. I’d give it a try with other fillings. I’m going to microwave the rest for breakfast tomorrow and see how it tastes warm.

This is really a very nice Russian deli. If I wasn’t on other food searches, I would have bought more. They had these delicious looking mini babka-like breads topped with white icing and colorful sprinkles. These were getting snapped up as the tray was brought out.

I like this better than the ‘wall of meat’ place. The cold-cuts are unwrapped, the smoked fish looks like something I would buy (and probably will in the future). It doesn’t look like the old and unappealing fish sold at most Eastern European delis in the area. Nice selection of cheeses and dairy products as well as pelimi and blini. Good looking deli items too. If I wasn’t illegally parked, I would have spent more time looking around. Everyone, customers and deli clerks, was speaking Russian, but the lady who waited on me spoke perfect English.

I’ll definitely be back to see if they are in fact as good as they look. And, uh, I forgot to ask if they ever make rye bread ... I was rushed. I don’t think so, because I saw a lot of the usual brands of bagged Eastern European breads on one shelf.

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