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Wednesday, November 25,2009

Café makes Eggcredible pierogi dumplings

By Clay Fong

Nestled inside the Days Hotel (formerly Inn) off South Boulder Road, Boulder’s Eggcredible Café, which serves only breakfast and lunch, features a cozy log cabin interior suggesting wide open Western spaces. But look a little more closely, and you’ll also notice walls dotted with Eastern European folk art and scenic photographs of Polish cityscapes. This juxtaposition of East and West also carries over to the menu, which not only highlights omelets, pancakes and sandwiches, but also a unique assortment of pierogi dumplings.

Visiting on a snowy day, friends Jackie and Wayne and I began brunch with Silver Canyon coffee drinks, which arrived at the table promptly, thanks to our exceedingly polite server. Jackie opted for a $3.79 latte, while Wayne enjoyed a $2.49 double espresso. I ordered up a $2.89 Colorado Kawa (Polish for “coffee”), which blended coffee with hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. While these beverages lacked the fullbore taste of specialty coffee shop drinks, they held their own against those served at other breakfast joints. One couldn’t fault the jumbo size of the beverages, and watching Jackie grapple with her oversized mug resembled something straight out of Alice in Wonderland.

Wayne requested the $9.89 Benedict de Mare, a well-presented composition of all-natural eggs and smoked salmon atop the obligatory English muffin. The weak link in the chain was the Hollandaise sauce, marred by a watery texture and consequently wanting in flavor. On the plus side, the poached eggs were perfectly prepared with silky whites and a touch of runniness in the yolk. Chopped bits of smoked salmon felt velvety in the mouth without being overly salty.

Expert preparation also marked Jackie’s $8.29 Florentine Omelet, filled with tomato, mushroom, cream cheese and namesake spinach. The eggs were tender and fluffy, complemented by vegetables that had been heated enough to maximize their flavor, but not to the point of overcooking. The side of seasoned fried potatoes, which also accompanied the Benedict, possessed a pleasantly thin crust and sensually soft interior. Wayne astutely observed that these tubers were not from the steam table and had obviously been cooked to order.

I ordered the $9.89 Polish Pierogi Platter off the lunch menu. Bathed in a pungent garlic cream sauce and dusted with paprika, three varieties of homemade dumplings surrounded a scoop of potato salad. As a garlic lover, I was delighted by the sauce, and Jackie mused that it would have been a superior alternative to the Hollandaise on her omelet.

The first of the dumplings was the zakopane, a tangy mix of sauerkraut and mushrooms that were surprisingly hefty without being overwhelming. Similarly, the richly flavored potato and cheese variety was filling, while still retaining a light texture. The three-meat version was a subtly accomplished blend of pork, chicken and beef with each flavor supporting the other. I would certainly return for these dumplings, and I’m also eager to sample the sweet fruit and cheese breakfast pierogi.

As we concluded our meal, Wayne observed that if he was a guest at the hotel, he would be pleasantly surprised by the quality and breadth of the Eggcredible’s menu. I concurred, and it’s also clear this unpretentious eatery is a worthwhile destination for the local resident seeking a hearty breakfast or lunch prepared with considerable care as well as memorable pierogi.

Clay’s Obscurity Corner: Mr. Pierogi and Miss Paczki

In America, the most significant celebration of Polish dumplings occurs at the annual Whiting, Ind., Pierogi Fest. The 2010 edition will run from July 23–25, and it features an International Polka Parade, a pierogi toss, and a (gulp!) pierogi-eating contest. Mr. Pierogi is the mascot of this event, and this individual, dressed as a dumpling, serves as the city’s goodwill ambassador, posing for pictures and presumably keeping the Dancing Pieroguettes in line. Accompanying him is Miss Paczki, the personification of a traditional dessert resembling a jelly donut. As the fest’s website proclaims, “She’s the queen of jelly-filled bismarks!”

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