Bang! Pow! Krakow!

February 16, 2010

The ER

Ah, the ER. Complete with panic button.

I’ve been in and out of commission pretty regularly for the past three weeks, and still am to some extent. During this extended recovery period, I’ve been told by my doctors (separately) “drink lots of caffeine” “avoid caffeine” and “the amount of caffeine you drink shouldn’t matter.” Thanks, that’s very helpful. It’s strange. I’ve discovered that when you have a stabbing headache for eight days straight, suddenly not having said headache can be a frightening and disorienting experience. Granted, I still wasn’t thrilled when it came back.

Anyways, in times of suffering, you remember the good times. So let me share one with you that I had last month.
Krakow Café and Pub on Urbanspoon

Reuben sandwich with coleslaw.

Reuben sandwich with coleslaw, just like Call of the Canyon used to make...better.

Under the gaudy neon of the Safari Casino, Krakow Cafe and Pub chills right off of Interstate Avenue. Effortlessly eclectic, Krakow is both “not merely a coffee shop” and “entirely a coffee shop.” It also wears the New-York-style-café-and-bistro hat, complete with European cuisine including kielbasa, pierogis, spinach caprese, italianos, and an assortment of desserts as well. Along with the international food selection, Krakow serves up an international beer selection for the alcohol-inclined. Incorporating the best of the Polish deli experience, it actually evoked memories of the New York deli (not delicatessen, mind you) but managed to satisfy my ever present longing for a Northwest coffee shop (but not a café, mind you).

Travel map.

Where in the world have Krakow customers been? I put my pin in Mandalay, Myanmar.

For all the praise, you’d think we’d be talking about some kind of sleek low-grade Panera. Truth is, while Krakow has a laundry list of good points, it passes with flying colors while not necessarily excelling at anything in particular. The food was appetizing, but not fantastic. Prices were reasonable, but not cheap. The coffee was good, but not gourmet. The staff was friendly, but not chipper. The atmosphere was cozy, but not chic. The layout was roomy, but not expansive. The décor is quirky, but not off-beat. They give you a vibe, but not an experience.

Yes, you're reading that right: a Katarina Witt look-alike contest flyer. Krakow, where have you been all my life?

The buzz around the interwebs seems to indicate the Krakow isn’t more than a few years old, which surprises me since the place seems so well-adjusted. It’s like that guy in high school who got elected Homecoming King purely by virtue of being “a really nice guy.”  Offering live music and comedy nights, a big-screen tv to watch the Blazers game, and a discount for customers with laptop computers represent the kind of accommodations that make Krakow such a swell place. The Katarina Witt look-alike contest, on the other hand, well that’s just awesome.

(UrbanSpoon rocks!)

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