It’s not just “super Tuesday,” you know; it’s also Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, etc., etc., and around here, that means it’s time for one of the few foods I think of as being at least kind of unique and/or a “specialty” of the greater Detroit area, the jelly doughnut confection known as the Paczki. (BTW, the other food I associate with metro Detroit is the coney island hot dog and the restaurants that serve them, the diners known as “Coney Islands.” With foods like these, it’s shocking that Detroit has long been considered one of the fattest cities in America, isn’t it?)
I read a nice entry on the local food blog Kitchen Chick, one that even includes audio for the proper pronunciation of the Polish word “Paczki.” Her first recommendation for the best in local/ Ypsi-Arbor Paczki was the restaurant Amadeus, but considering that this was a bit out of the way and it sounded like special ordering was involved, I took the next best option and went to the Copernicus European Deli in downtown Ann Arbor. They get their Paczki in from some bakery in Hamtramck, which is a town completely within the boundaries of Detroit and known for its Polish population.
I went on my Paczki run before going to the gym (no kidding). If nothing else, it was nice to visit the Copernicus Deli, which was connected to a bulk food place and a Brazilian food place on Main street in Ann Arbor, and it was clearly a very local and very Polish-immigrant-run business. At least I think they were speaking Polish. Nice little shops.
The flavors available were plum (aka prune), strawberry, raspberry, cream, and rose. I asked about the rose one first, and the woman explained to me it was a kind of jelly that had a sort of floral taste. So I ordered a couple plum/prune and a couple rose, and I ate one of each on my way to ride the stationary bike and lift weights. So I figure I didn’t gain any weight today, but I sure as heck didn’t lose any either.
The details here are all in the filling. The plum/prune one reminded me of these things my Grandma Krause made once in a while called Kolaches, which is another one of these East European pastries, so I guess that makes sense. The rose one was interesting, kind of like a strawberry or some other smooth and red berry jam with a flowery smell and aftertaste. And I mean that in a good way.
But I have to say, with apologies to Detroit-city purists/loyalists, you can call ’em what you want, but they are still jelly doughnuts, ones with really good filling, but jelly doughnuts nonetheless. They were sugary and doughy and heavy and– dare I say it?– nothing that special.
Don’t get me wrong– I’ll probably have one next year, and I may very well get mine from the Copernicus Deli again. But it’s not like I’m going to start a calendar count-down to next year’s Paczkis.
Oh PS: Will likes ’em too.