Friday, February 24, 2006


My friend LoTus turned me on to the delightful seasonal treat called Paczki last year. This was just before she and her husband and their exquisite daughter Sunny moved to LA. We consumed them at the very old-school (since 1922) Dinkel's Bakery, about an hour before I recorded my first public radio essay. I brought a box of Paczki to the radio station, which is probably why they let me keep coming back.

The Dinkel's website describes them thus:

Paczki is not just another jelly donut. It's a premium sweet good that is super rich, filled, yeast raised pastry. It is a Polish tradition and is traditionally the item eaten to mark Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. It is the last blow-out before the fasting period of Lent.

I'm not Catholic, but that's OK. Pretty much every day is a fat day for me.

Paczki is pronounced "POONCH-key", but I like to call them Ed Paschke's.

Like LoTus, Paschke was a painter from Chicago. Like Paczki, he was Polish. Chicago likes to claim it has the largest Polish population outside of Warsaw*.

We're also one of the fattest cities. And have the worst traffic. Not to mention the massive artist-drain to the coasts....

But I digress.

At Dinkel's, the Paczki come in the following flavas:

Fresh Strawberry
Custard & Chocolate (mixed)

My favorites are the Custard-and-Chocolate and the Prune (yes, I'm getting old).

So far today I've had three.

I was hoping they'd ease the pain of Tuesday's $550 mechanic bill for a new distributor and today's no-show class at 10 and the $50 parking ticket I found stuck to my car this morning (apparently it's now legal to tape a white, barely-visible "no parking from 7AM to 2PM" sign to a tree and put a handwritten "please move or you will be towed tomorrow" note under the windshield wiper of a legally parked car the night before you move and the police will enforce it. Yet upon closer inspection I learned that A) Enforcement is selective, since the car behind me didn't get a ticket and B) The affluent, well-connected whatchamacallits had also commandeered the alley, where another large moving van was piled high with their stuff. But they certainly got a fright when they saw me taking pictures of it all [to boost my defense when I contest the ticket]).

But I digress.

I gave two blueberry Paczki to Dorian Black, who took them home and exclaimed, "They're especially good if you suck out the blueberry filling and put a brownie inside."

Ack! I just read that Paczki are deep fried!

I'm still standing.

For now.

But Dinkel's has them til Tuesday.



*Chicago is also considered to be the second-largest Serbian city in the world after Belgrade (which has a population of two million). I know this is true because I went on a date with one of 'em. The brilliant Chicago-based writer Aleksander Hemon is a Bosnian who came here from Sarajevo in 1992. Dorian Black is Italo-Croatian.