but in between buying an inflatable shark and being assailed with our own empties by a gang of six-year-olds, i had a chance to compare the Café St-Petersburg (corner Sherbrooke & Marcil, south side) pierogies with Wawel‘s, just down the street, out of which comparison i arrived at the undeniable conclusion that the former’s are vastly superior.
granted, since St-Petersburg recently halved their size, thus losing their kitchen, our order of forty-two pierogies took approximately 45 minutes to prepare. had we not been in the park across the street i would have been seriously galled, and the man was certainly very nice about it.
Wawel’s, in contrast, took all of 4 minutes, but that’s because the poor little things were merely scooped out of the cooler and microwaved – insufficiently, i might add. wawel’s were also more expensive for fewer pierogies, despite their slightly greater size ($5.50 for ~10 v. St-P’s $4.90 for 12), and didn’t come with either sour cream or the delicious lightly spiced julienned carrot salad.
what it really comes down to though, is that St-Petersburg’s are just better, and part of this i’ve realized is that, like (Chinese) dumplings, they really impart to one a sense of eating a dough pocket filled with discrete and delicious ingredients, as opposed to a mostly homogeneous mass of starch wherein the distinction between pastry and filling is ambiguous to the point of imperceptibility. it is this sense of an undifferentiated mass that i believe contributes to an indifferent gustatory experience. not that a diversity of tastes and textures is essential to all eating experiences (uh, hello regular chips), but in this particular case, it wasn’t until i had pierogies that provided this complexity that i realized how much they can suffer from its absence – and as i’ve previously stated, it is eye-opening.
in addition to my previous recommendation – mushroom and sauerkraut – i can now vouch for the deliciousness of the cheddar-potato-jalapeño option as well, who are surprisingly and recognizably peppery, although by no means challengingly so.
their deli counter also features an assortment of exciting eastern European cheeses and a cold kefir-based soup about which i am curious (okroshka, and having just looked it up on wikipedia, i am now shit-eating more interested in trying it made with kvass holy shit.).
i also think i may have been bitten by a small shark.
note: the St-Petersburg pierogies are also vegan, unless obviously not (ie: cheese-filled), so long as you request that they not douse them in melted butter, whereas Wawel’s mysteriously contain both eggs and milk.