Saturday, May 02, 2009

Friday, May 1st - Ukranian Homemade Perogy

When my friends invited to go to perogy night at an Ukanian church I was skeptical. It's Friday on a sunny Vancouver spring day and I'm being invited to church. Was I going to be indoctrinated with some chemically convincing church concoctions? Well, the man said perogy, I thought it was worth the risk. Hand made perogy are not easily come by in this town. Good home cooking has been pushed aside by a proliferation of mediocre sushi restaurants and fusion fare. I like the latter but not at the expense of the hearty real goods.

There is a perogy place on Granville island but it is run by a nice family from entirely another continent. Actually, they look entirely factory made, the perogy not the family. They have a freezer in the back of the counter you see they source them from.

When I first visited Vancouver years ago while I was living in Montreal, there was still remnants of the pre-Atkins age. Yes. Let's face it. Perogies are Carbs mixed with fat, wrapped in carbs, steamed in fat, served with fat. OOOOOOOOOOO. On Denman where there is now a sushi restaurant, on the same block as Vera's burgers, was a cute little perogy place run by the maker. There were at least a dozen flavours. I was only there for five days for work and a weekend and I went there at least three times. MMMMMM It's gone now of course.

Hence, Friday evening I found myself in line in front of an Orthodox Ukranian church in Mt Pleasant. Legend apparently. Line ups are known to wrap around the block which is why P and E wanted to meet at 5h30!! So I arrived first and there was a line up for the take away and a longer line to sit in. It was 5h30! When my friends arrive a short while later, it was in a mild panic that we'd be in line forever. You walk into your typical church rec room, gym sized with florescent lighting and a stage. Folding tables are set up and little pieces of paper and pens are spread everywhere. You have very particular meal choices. I think I remember them vaguely..

Perogy Dinnner: 12 Perogy, Sauerkraut/Caesar salad, Coffee/Tea
Regular Dinner: 6 perogy, 2 cabbage rolls, kielbassa, salad as above, beverage as above
Super Dinner: 10 perogy, 2 cabbage rolls, kielbassa, salad, beverage
Vegetarian Dinner: 6 perogy, 3 cabbage rolls, salad, beverage

All about 11 bucks except for the Super. They also had borscht, soda and cake but we passed. We filled out our little menus with golf pencils and waited in a snaking line for easily 20 minutes and it wasn't even 6! You get your tray and you hand someone your highlighted paid ticket. I almost went for the vegetarian because I cannot remember the last time I had a cabbage roll since they normally come with beef. But in the end I went for what I came for.... Perogy! You slide along and you're given each portion of your dinner by a kindly smiling ukranian church lady who you know had a hand in the meal. The perogys were clearly hand made, unctious looking and definitely fresh!

You're topped off with onions and sour cream. I went over board on the sour cream. I always go over board on the sour cream. They were SOOOOO good. We sat in our plastic folding chairs at the table set up on the stage and dug in. All our plates were all but licked clean. I will definitely start tracking Pergoy night at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Ukranian Church.

After that, I dashed off to catchup with D at the exclusive Terminal City Club for a highschool reunion. Strange I know but they do them semi annually. He went to UCC, a posh and eerily "Dead Poet's society-esque" school. It was so odd when we had to go around the room and intro duce our selves and as each gentleman called out their name and then the name of their "House", they were met with singsong echos from housemates. There were grads from 1929 all the way to 2007. The former was a professor ameritus at UBC med school ad the later was a drunk UBC student filling up on the free bar.

They had some sushi going around as well as chicken tikka on sticks. D said the food was quite good. I was too full from the Perogy. I did have a few glasses of the chardonnay and 1 sip of a HORRIBLE merlot, Terapaca from Chile. I took one sip and put down the FULL glass. See photos and reviews here:

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