Twin Cities Metro magazine recently highlighted a host of local haunts in its Hole in the Wall guide, which is how I ended up at Ziach Polish Foods in Northeast Minneapolis. It clearly lived up to its name because everyone in the store was speaking Polish, except me. Nearly all the groceries were labeled in Polish with very few English translations. It was like I’d transported to a European neighborhood market.
Somehow I missed the Polish experience when I lived in Chicagoland, aside from pączkis and Pulaski Day, a Polish holiday observed by Illinois public schools. I love that even in Minneapolis, I’m still discovering pockets of culture and new experiences that awaken my senses.
I have an insatiable curiosity and appetite for ethnic foods. From the shelves, I picked up and turned over each dry good, canned and jarred vegetables and fruits, and of course, the candy, cookies and chocolate. I eyed the extensive pierogi options in the freezer and limited myself to three flavors. My last stop was the deli case where I bought Polish ham and kielbasa, carefully selected and wrapped in butcher paper. Quite frankly, it’s the first time I’ve bought kielbasa that wasn’t Hillshire and I’m really excited. (Thankfully, the family running this store also speaks English!)
If you listen, keep your eyes open and make time, you’ll gradually identify the nuances of what makes a city great.