One of the long-held New Westminster traditions that I had never personally participated in is the perogy dinners offered by the Holy Eucharist Cathedral of the Ukrainian Catholic church (separate archbishop system, same Pope, not Orthodox). Last Friday night we decided to change all that so we loaded up the minivan and took our hungry selves over to 5th Street and 4th Ave for an Apostolic good meal. Perogy night is always a Friday, once a month. The next dinner is October 30.
The set up is classic church basement. Folding tables and stack-able chairs are laid across the hall, enough to seat one hundred perogy-loving residents easily. The laughter and cheery clatter of grandmothers, families and neighbours fills the room and the atmosphere is welcoming,warm and, well, religious. It is a church basement after all. The potions are generous and there are a variety of good Ukrainian staples to choose from. We had the classic perogy dinner with a side of borscht. As the sign near the kitchen says, the food is all 100% homemade and it tastes like it.
The taste of cabbage rolls can easily fall flat when stored. The cabbage can get bitter and the stuffing tasteless. Not here though. The cabbage was full of crisp grandmotherly love and the rice filling springy and fresh. The borscht was accompanied with a generous side of sour cream and was fresh and tasty. Briana, who does not usually go for the sweet red beet soup, loved it and gobbled it up. Perogies can be accompanied by fish cakes, sausage or ‘meat’. We did not find out what the meat was but the sausage was classic and the fish cakes good too. I leave the perogies for last, dear friends. Large, plump fresh perogies with no hint of over-boiled pasty starch are filled with an onion cheese potato filling that has just the right balance. I could go in for more fried onions but a few came with the plate so I was kept happy. Help yourself to coffee, tea and conversations with your tablemates. It is good value, a good time and a worthy tradition. An image of the menu is included below.
At $11.00 per plate, this is no church soup kitchen, and it shouldn’t be. It is a wholesome meal, faster and cheaper than a restaurant and a great place to take a family. Kid-friendly, simple, delicious and quick. Sign me up. I am sure it is a great fundraiser for the diocese and a place for citizens to come together. Buy a package of perogies to go and you have a meal plan for later in the week. It’s an accessible, bloggable, good time for all.