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St. Priscilla of the Pierogie

David Hammond | Jun 21, 200202:26 PM

Late yesterday afternoon, I got in step with the goon parade at St. Priscilla’s annual carnival (Addison and Sayre). It was wild; growing up on the Northwest side of Chicago, I get a molecular-level kick walking through crowds of sweaty guys with destroyer-class beer bellies, women with massive hair and stubs of Salem or Newport tucked in their smile lines, and noisy kids who seem dipped in dirt. My people! Anyway, the food at the carnival was (probably predictably) not very interesting, though there was a good range of “ethnic” choices (Mexican, Asian, Italian, Polish). All of it seemed kind of humdrum – though there was a stand selling Italian Beef Footballs, which were beeves loaded into large, hard and crusty rolls. After a few minutes spent drinking a beer and watching some very enthusiastic Flamenco dancers, I headed out to check on the local markets.

Joseph’s Finer Meats was closed, so I stopped in Miara’s. This relatively large store is billed as a “bakery/deli,” and although pastries do not usually move me, they have a very long display case filled with good looking pies and cookies (I bought four kolachky – 50 cents per, strawberry and apricot, and they were pretty good). My guess is that the early morning would find the case filled with fresh polish-style breads.

The real standouts at Miara’s, though, are the pierogie. I bought 3 each of the sauerkraut, mushroom/sauerkraut, meat, and plum. They were $3.69/pound, and four or five make a good entrée. They’re precooked, so they can be miked, steamed, baked or fried – I miked last night and steamed for lunch and both ways seems to work pretty well (as you might expect, the microwave toughed the dough, but just a little, and I like them chewy, anyway). The stuffing was mild but flavorful – I liked the sauerkraut/mushroom best, but the plum was somewhat interesting, with a whole purple fruit squirting out the pastry shell. Even the sauerkraut pierogie, simple as they are, were yummy – next time I have them, I’m going to fry or bake them for an extra special pickle en croute appetizer. I think the meat was chicken (the counterwoman didn’t know and did not seem curious), but whatever it was, it was lightweight and good. Overall, I feel that if you can get dinner for two, with a homemade feel, for $3.69, you’re doing all right.

I will go back for the pierogie, and Miara’s also has a good selection of Eastern European prepared foods, like about 30 types of tinned and bottled herring and a big array of Spam-equivalent potted meats.

As an added bonus, the counterwomen are militantly unfriendly, so when you shop at Miara’s, you get to be abused by tall blonde women at no additional charge.

7051-53 W. Addison

Incidentally, on the subject of Prill’s carnival, tomorrow night, Saturday, the locally famous Buckinghams (“Kind of a Drag,” “Hey Baby, They’re Playing our Song,” “Don’t You Care”) will be performing on the main stage.

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