What do Poles eat during the summer? The Polish fare familiar stateside is heavily skewed toward cured meats and root vegetables—foods that are hard to imagine enjoying on Baltic beaches. I can't speak about a warm day in Warsaw, but the pierogi at the Polish Kitchen cart at the Q-19 pod tasted great on a shockingly bright and balmy Groundhog Day. Fat, pan-cooked kielbasa with mildly spicy brown mustard is the cart's main protein option, either as a big sandwich on a hoagie roll ($4.75) or as the centerpiece of the combo plates. Go for one of the plates with pierogi, as this cart's impressive potato-and-onion and vegetable-stuffed versions topped with a dollop of sour cream and a few slices of cucumber are the sort of thing you might want to order as a plate. And you can—nine for $6.50. The stuffed cabbage ($3.50), filled with rice and ground beef and topped with a thin tomato sauce, is also respectable if not deliriously good. Ditto the Hunter's Stew, a sauerkraut dish with big hunks of sausage cooked until it was a little too soupy for my taste. Cabbage tastes better with a little crispness, especially on a warm day—it might be worth returning to on a gray, drizzly afternoon. Portland will surely have a few to come, if Phil was right.
- Order this: Combo plate No. 1 ($7).
- Best deal: Kielbasa sandwich ($4.75).
- Iâll pass: Beef-stuffed cabbage ($3.50).
EAT: Polish Kitchen, Q-19 cart pod, Northwest Quimby Street and 19th Avenue. 11 am-3 pm, Monday-Friday. $.