FAT Tuesday

February 14, 2013

A simple suggestion to go out to lunch turned into being introduced to a local favorite and a holiday tradition.

After a short day at work, I decided to try out a Korean restaurant in town and called up my friend Loren to see if she wanted to join me. She said, "Sure," but only if I wouldn't mind joining her and her man friend to get some Polish doughnuts later.

I didn't think much of the trade off but then I soon learned that these weren't just your ordinary doughnuts. These were Paczki (pronounced POONCH-KEY or PUNCH-KEY), a Fat Tuesday traditional indulgence. The story goes that before Lent season begins, the lil ole Polish grannies/moms/ladies would use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house since they were prohibited during Lent. The final result: a deep-fried, jelly or cream-filled, glazed or powdered sugared, baked with a lil bit of booze, decadent pastry!
Loren's man friend, a Buffalo native, took us to a local favorite bakery known for their Paczki. Pumpernick 'N Pastry Shoppe sells over a thousand paczki on Paczki Day (aka Fat Tuesday). They even proudly announced the blessed holiday all over their windows.
These doughnuts met all of our high expectations. Soft, sweet (but not too sweet), a lil boozy and I loved their black raspberry filling (can also be filled with traditional plum filling) that oozed out in every which direction with each bite. There was also a hint of banana flavor from the dough, not distracting, totally delicious. Love. 

located at: 2059 Clinton Street, Kaisertown, Buffalo, New York
And what else was behind the display cases at Pumpernick? Cupcakes! They had four varieties that day: chocolate, vanilla, raspberry and strawberry. I decided on a strawberry and Pumpernick wins the award for the CHEAPEST cupcake I've seen thus far: 80 cents. You read that correctly, eighty cents, less than a dollar. Whoopee!
Well, can't say the cupcake was as good as my paczki. The cupcake was fluffy but dry. While I saw specks of strawberries in the frosting and cake, I couldn't help but think it tasted a lil artificial, along the lines of Froot Loops. Ok, maybe not quite to that end of the spectrum. Not a bad cupcake, but not a great one. I'll stick with Pumpernick Paczki. Can't wait until next year if I still live here!

On a side note: they had a contest to guess the weight of a giant paczki in the store. My guess is around 25lbs.

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