Why? Paczki and Fish Fry!

It’s probably wrong to say, “Happy Lent,” but there’s certainly a lot of good, traditional eating that goes on around this time of year. Tuesday was not just Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, it was also Paczki Day! Paczki are a Polish bakery treat that are similar to donuts, but puffier and traditionally have poppyseed or fruit filling.

When I lived in DC and Denver, you never heard the word paczki. In fact, when I was living in Denver, it took a lot of Google searches to find one small Polish bakery in a somewhat suspect area of town just to track down paczki. And there were no crazy lines to buy them!

Not so in Cleveland, where our Eastern European heritage is strong. I started my Paczki Day with some traditional paczki from Michael Angelo’s Bakery.

Grandma giving Jeffrey his first “taste” of paczki

An Italian bakery that makes traditional paczki? Yup, they are delicious! I liken it to my mom and I being two nice Eastern European girls who make good lasagna. There’s some cultural crossover.

But, like anything else, Cleveland has also put it’s own twist on paczki. Rudy’s Strudel in Parma created savory paczki and beer paczki this year. And Mitchell’s Ice Cream teamed up with Rudy’s to serve up ice cream paczki. Amazing!

PicMonkey Collage

You could choose any Mitchell’s flavor for your paczki (I had the toasted hazelnut), topped with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. I hope these tasty treats come back around next year!

But now that the paczki indulgence is done, it’s time for Lenten fish fries. It seems like every church, dive bar, and even fancy restaurant wants in on the fish fry action.

Image Source - cleveland.com
Image Source – cleveland.com

Cleveland.com has a great Fish Fry Guide of local non-profit fish fries, including times, prices, and offerings (for me, finding a fish fry with both mac ‘n cheese and pierogi is hitting the jackpot).

And my inbox is already filling up with restaurants offering fish fries, too, including Lure Bistro and Grovewood Tavern. Cleveland Magazine’s Fish Fry Guide includes restaurants, as well as non-profits, so check it out!

Paczki and fish fries are huge parts of Cleveland culture this time of year, so be sure to enjoy where you can! Did you have paczki on Paczki Day? Where is your favorite fish fry?


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