Starting Paczki Day with sausage in Hamtramck

Feb 17, 2015 at 11:09 am

It took a little arm-twisting, but Painted Lady owner Andrew Dow convinced us to motor over to the Moose Lodge in Hamtramck this morning for breakfast. And what a breakfast it was! For $5, we were given a plate piled high and offered a paczek. First, they proffered some sort of massive slice of quiche or something eggy. I said no to that, so I got a plate piled with sausage, both kinds: fresh and smoked. (The fresh was OK, but I wish I'd leaned more toward the smoked.) We got some coffee and walked out into the main room, with plenty of gray hair but a few younger faces as well. We saw Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski, Hamtramck City Council candidate Susan Dunn, and local volunteerist and booster Kevin LaPointe. We settled down into a table with Beehive Recording Company guy and Kresge Arts in Detroit fellow Steve Nawara and former Mexican Knives and current Radio Burns guy John Salvage. It's a strange thing to try to eat so much meat for breakfast, but given that most people in the room were about to embark on a full day of drinking, it's probably not a bad idea. 

The joke in town is that the place is so small you can't throw a fistful of rice without hitting somebody involved in running something. As in, "This is a serious problem. We should talk to the mayor. Hey, Karen, get over here!"

Sure enough, the mayor dropped by near our table and said hi. Recalling the latest tempest in a teapot, a sudden controversy over whether Hamtramckans can hold the parking spaces they've dug out with chairs, I told her I agreed. Majewski, having found a sympathetic member of the pro-chair camp, repeated the argument that people who have dug out a parking spot deserve to keep it. Dow hastened to disagree. "I hate those chairs," he said, laughing. "They get stuck under my car." Always a card, that Dow.

Then it was up to Family Donut at Conant and Caniff to get a few dozen paczki to bring into the office for the day. I know, I know: It's not the same as the old-line bakeries in town, such as New Martha Washington and New Palace, but there was no line. Still, for two dozen paczki, did it really need to be $28? I think they soak you a little more every year. Next year, we'll deal with cottage industry bakers like Erica Pietrzyk! No lines and probably cheaper still.

For anybody out there enjoying the festivities and not at the office, the Paczki-Eating Contest takes place at Post 10 at noon. Don't miss it. If all goes like we think it will, the smart money is on Matt Holowicki of Plymouth, who should win handily.