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 Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison)

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Pancho

  • Total Posts: 915
  • Joined: 10/20/2004
  • Location: Madison, WI
Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Mon, 08/5/13 7:02 PM (permalink)
I had a wonderful lunch here today. The pic is the half portion which I had, and it was ample. $4.50 for about 20 of those delectable little treats. They are cooked to order, and then sprinkled with some curry powder, cilantro and a sriacha mixture. Sour cream is included. I had the potato/meat mixture. The beef is from Black Earth Meats here in WI. I will be back! Here's a pic and a little description.
 
http://www.madcitygirl.co...s-to-downtown-madison/
 
#1
    BuddyRoadhouse

    • Total Posts: 4074
    • Joined: 12/10/2004
    • Location: Des Plaines, IL
    Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Mon, 08/5/13 8:01 PM (permalink)
    A lovely write up and pictures.  Those Pel Meni look fantastic.  Too bad The Contingent did their Madison tour ( http://www.roadfood.com/F...71092&high=madison ) during that period when Paul was in between businesses; he would have been the hit of the day!
     
    The name of your blog is "madcity girl".  So is Pancho a girl?
     
    Buddy
     
    Paul's Pel'meni
    203 W Gorham St
    Madison, WI 53703
    (608) 354-1713
    https://www.facebook.com/PaulsPelmeni
    <message edited by BuddyRoadhouse on Mon, 08/5/13 8:06 PM>
     
    #2
      Pancho

      • Total Posts: 915
      • Joined: 10/20/2004
      • Location: Madison, WI
      Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Mon, 08/5/13 8:25 PM (permalink)
      BuddyRoadhouse


      A lovely write up and pictures.  Those Pel Meni look fantastic.  Too bad The Contingent did their Madison tour ( http://www.roadfood.com/F...71092&high=madison ) during that period when Paul was in between businesses; he would have been the hit of the day!

      The name of your blog is "madcity girl".  So is Pancho a girl?

      Buddy

      Paul's Pel'meni
      203 W Gorham St
      Madison, WI 53703
      (608) 354-1713
      https://www.facebook.com/PaulsPelmeni
      Pancho is all man. I just discovered the link on google and thought it was a great article. I'm already making plans to return with my wife this week.

       
      #3
        ScreamingChicken

        • Total Posts: 4723
        • Joined: 11/5/2004
        • Location: Stoughton, WI
        Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Mon, 08/5/13 8:26 PM (permalink)
        Nice review, Pancho!  Paul's looks like an interesting place.  I've never had pel'meni; are the sour cream and cilantro inside as part of the filling?
         
        #4
          Pancho

          • Total Posts: 915
          • Joined: 10/20/2004
          • Location: Madison, WI
          Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Mon, 08/5/13 9:04 PM (permalink)
          ScreamingChicken


          Nice review, Pancho!  Paul's looks like an interesting place.  I've never had pel'meni; are the sour cream and cilantro inside as part of the filling?
          Hey SC...once again, that is not my review. I just found it on google. Thanks, though! The cilantro and sour cream are simply garnishes on the outside. Filling is either meat or potato (kind of a coarse ground, good flavored beef with a touch of onion, and the potato is just kind of an airy, mash mixture). I preferred the beef by far, but got a combo of both.

           
          #5
            BuddyRoadhouse

            • Total Posts: 4074
            • Joined: 12/10/2004
            • Location: Des Plaines, IL
            Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Mon, 08/5/13 10:15 PM (permalink)
            Sorry Dude (emphasis on the "Dude").  I just assumed the review was yours.  No offense regarding your gender.
             
            Buddy
             
            #6
              Pancho

              • Total Posts: 915
              • Joined: 10/20/2004
              • Location: Madison, WI
              Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Tue, 08/6/13 7:21 AM (permalink)
              BuddyRoadhouse


              Sorry Dude (emphasis on the "Dude").  I just assumed the review was yours.  No offense regarding your gender.

              Buddy
              No problem, Dude.

               
              #7
                BuddyRoadhouse

                • Total Posts: 4074
                • Joined: 12/10/2004
                • Location: Des Plaines, IL
                Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Tue, 08/6/13 10:39 PM (permalink)
                Well, whaddaya know...
                 
                So, Milwaukee Contingent member quijote and his husband, informally known to the group as sancho panza, took a mini vacation down here among the Flatlanders the last couple of days.  They had their own extraordinary dining experiences, which I will leave to quijote to describe should he so choose, then joined Mrs. Roadhouse, abe_froeman, Mr. Maki, and myself for dinner this evening.
                 
                After a gut busting Middle Eastern meal at the Pita Inn location in Niles, we worked our way north up Milwaukee Road to the Farm Fresh grocer in Wheeling for Gelato.  After indulging in Gelato and three slices of cake (Flourless Dark Chocolate, Drunken Cherry, and Champagne Truffle) purchased in the store's bakery by abe_foeman, we wandered the store to see what international delights it held.
                 
                The first big find was a tub of fresh Kajmak (Kye'-mack) which, in spite of the area's high population of Eastern Europeans,  is tough to find around here.  For those unfamiliar, Kajmak is an Eastern European bread spread, best described (and simplified) as a combination of cream cheese and butter.  It's commonly served alongside Ajvar (Eye'-var), another regional spread made of roasted red peppers, with a basket of crusty bread.
                 
                Further wanderings took us to the reason you're (I hope) reading this entry: An entire freezer case full of Pel'Meni.  Two days ago, I'd never even heard of this Russian dumpling, despite growing up in a family that came from the area, and even spending close to a month in the old Soviet Union back in the late '70's, eating the local food.  Now, here I am faced with at least four different brands, offering close to a half dozen varieties between them.  Beef, Pork, Veal, Chicken, (Oddly though, nothing with potato in it) and any number of combinations of them, all bagged up and ready to go into my cart.  I settled on the Beef & Pork combo.
                 
                The packages call them "Russian Ravioli", I suppose to make them more familiar to the uninitiated.  They don't especially look like ravioli in the picture linked in Pancho's first post, but as I sit here gazing at them, frozen in the bag, I suppose that's the best way to describe them.
                 
                Next step: Pick up some curry powder, cilantro and sour cream (hmm...I wonder how they'd taste with Kajmak?) and figure out the "Sriracha mixture" Pancho is referring to.  After that, it's Pel'Meni Party Time!
                 
                Thanks Pancho for the Pel'Meni tip!
                 
                Buddy
                <message edited by BuddyRoadhouse on Tue, 08/6/13 10:47 PM>
                 
                #8
                  Pancho

                  • Total Posts: 915
                  • Joined: 10/20/2004
                  • Location: Madison, WI
                  Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Wed, 08/7/13 7:41 AM (permalink)
                  That is pretty cool, Buddy. Kind of like shopping for a car you aren't familiar with and all of a sudden seeing them all over the roads. That Sriacha mixture is simply the full strength cut with a little rice vinegar (per Paul). Just tames it a bit, but I don't think it would matter just to use it full strength. Also, did you know that sriacha (sp) increases in intensity the longer in the fridge? Hope you enjoy. If you are ever in the area we'll go to Paul's and it's on me.
                   
                  #9
                    BuddyRoadhouse

                    • Total Posts: 4074
                    • Joined: 12/10/2004
                    • Location: Des Plaines, IL
                    Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Wed, 08/7/13 2:18 PM (permalink)
                    Are we talking about the Vietnamese garlic hot sauce with the rooster on the bottle?  Mine says "Sriracha" with an "r" in the middle.  On the other hand, seeing as Pel'Meni is a Russian specialty, is this in fact a totally different sauce, of Russian descent, I'm not familiar with?
                     
                    Cutting it with the rice vinegar sounds good.  The menu board photo in the blog review referred to the sauce as  a "sweet chili sauce".  My initial thought was to mix the sriracha with some Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce.  If Paul is using a Vietnamese sauce on his Russian dumplings, it sounds like all rules are off the table and we are free to experiment.  A balanced combination of all three ingredients sounds appealing to me.  I'll let you know how it turns out.
                     
                    Pancho, your offer of dinner at Paul's sounds like a winner.  We don't get to Madison often, but we get there oftener than you'd suspect.  I'll bet we could even lure HolleringPoultry to join us.  No need to treat though, good company is all that's required.
                     
                    Buddy
                     
                    #10
                      Pancho

                      • Total Posts: 915
                      • Joined: 10/20/2004
                      • Location: Madison, WI
                      Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Wed, 08/7/13 7:30 PM (permalink)
                      Done deal...sounds like a GREAT event. Looking forward to wherever we might meet. Is his name derived from the proverbial, "Choking the Chicken?" We'll have to get to the roots of that. And yes. we are talking about the same sauce. BTW, I served in Vietnam, and we had plenty of Russian MIGs and plenty of sriracha.
                       
                      #11
                        BuddyRoadhouse

                        • Total Posts: 4074
                        • Joined: 12/10/2004
                        • Location: Des Plaines, IL
                        Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Wed, 08/7/13 9:52 PM (permalink)
                        The derivation of ScreamingChicken's screen name is territory I don't walk into.  His name, his business.
                         
                        Buddy
                         
                        #12
                          ScreamingChicken

                          • Total Posts: 4723
                          • Joined: 11/5/2004
                          • Location: Stoughton, WI
                          Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Thu, 08/8/13 9:53 AM (permalink)
                          This video provides a good explanation.  Possibly NSFW if your boss drives a Prius.
                           
                          #13
                            BuddyRoadhouse

                            • Total Posts: 4074
                            • Joined: 12/10/2004
                            • Location: Des Plaines, IL
                            Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Thu, 08/8/13 1:37 PM (permalink)
                            Were you a Firebird owner at one time, or just an admirer?
                             
                            Buddy
                             
                            #14
                              ScreamingChicken

                              • Total Posts: 4723
                              • Joined: 11/5/2004
                              • Location: Stoughton, WI
                              Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Thu, 08/8/13 2:44 PM (permalink)
                              Admirer for many years ("Smokey and the Bandit" is one of my favorite movies) and back in the '90s I owned a beat-up black Trans Am that was eventually sold for parts when the engine died.  I never used it to run interference for a truckload of illegal Russian dumplings, however.
                              <message edited by ScreamingChicken on Thu, 08/8/13 2:45 PM>
                               
                              #15
                                Pancho

                                • Total Posts: 915
                                • Joined: 10/20/2004
                                • Location: Madison, WI
                                Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Tue, 08/13/13 9:07 AM (permalink)
                                Returned yesterday for more dumplings. I got the "all meat" this time. Fantastic. I just got the 1/2 order for $4.50 (about 20 dumplings). Returning tomorrow with Mrs. Pancho for dinner. Where else can you spend $9.00 for two and get stuffed? No pun intended. BTW, business is booming....I walked in at 11:15am and the place was packed. Just shows you how a positive review in the newspaper can either make or break a new restaurant. In a way it irritates me that "food critics" are able to wield all that power.
                                 
                                #16
                                  BuddyRoadhouse

                                  • Total Posts: 4074
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                                  • Location: Des Plaines, IL
                                  Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Tue, 08/13/13 1:54 PM (permalink)
                                  There was a big family get together over the weekend celebrating an aunt's 90th birthday.  Among the guests were some cousins from Madison.  I said to them, "Listen, you've got to try this new restaurant up your way.  I've been reading about it online for a few days now.  They serve these little Russian dumplings called Pel'Meni..."
                                   
                                  "Oh you mean Paul's?' they interrupted.
                                   
                                  Don't ya just hate it when someone else has already discovered your latest "discovery"?  Turns out, Paul's is their grown son's favorite restaurant in Madison, and they've been going there since before the place closed and reopened.  They also said, there are several more Russian Dumpling houses in town.
                                   
                                  Now I'm thinking we need to do a Dumpling Day in Madison.  Not sure when we'll be up there next, but Pel'Meni are etched onto my radar.
                                   
                                  Buddy
                                   
                                  #17
                                    Pancho

                                    • Total Posts: 915
                                    • Joined: 10/20/2004
                                    • Location: Madison, WI
                                    Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Tue, 08/13/13 2:23 PM (permalink)
                                    That's great! I don't know of any other dumpling places (Russian) here in town. There used to be a Russian restaurant called Arbat that is now closed. Also, Paul used to serve his dumplings at two different coffee houses here in town. Now he just has the downtown location. Great spot....one block radius of the Plaza (home of the Plaza Burger, one of my favorites), a great pizza joint, and Parthenon Gyros (best in town). I had a Plaza Burger the other day for dessert after my dumplings. Almost too much.
                                     
                                    #18
                                      ScreamingChicken

                                      • Total Posts: 4723
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                                      • Location: Stoughton, WI
                                      Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Tue, 08/13/13 8:15 PM (permalink)
                                      Pancho


                                      That's great! I don't know of any other dumpling places (Russian) here in town. There used to be a Russian restaurant called Arbat that is now closed.
                                      A number of years ago there was a Russian restaurant in the mini-mall on the (roughly) northwest corner of Fish Hatchery and PD/McKee; it was between Cousins Subs and Great Dane.  At the time all I knew of Russian food was beets and vodka and neither was enough to entice me.
                                       
                                      #19
                                        Pancho

                                        • Total Posts: 915
                                        • Joined: 10/20/2004
                                        • Location: Madison, WI
                                        Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Tue, 08/13/13 8:51 PM (permalink)
                                        ScreamingChicken


                                        Pancho


                                        That's great! I don't know of any other dumpling places (Russian) here in town. There used to be a Russian restaurant called Arbat that is now closed.
                                        A number of years ago there was a Russian restaurant in the mini-mall on the (roughly) northwest corner of Fish Hatchery and PD/McKee; it was between Cousins Subs and Great Dane.  At the time all I knew of Russian food was beets and vodka and neither was enough to entice me.
                                        That was Arbat. It was actually quite good and I had lunch and dinner there a few times. Great borscht and they had the dumplings as well. Tough location for a restaurant in that mall with the Great Dane right there. Here's an old link with some great pics!
                                        http://www.madisonatoz.com/2006/12/arbat.html
                                        <message edited by Pancho on Tue, 08/13/13 8:54 PM>
                                         
                                        #20
                                          Pancho

                                          • Total Posts: 915
                                          • Joined: 10/20/2004
                                          • Location: Madison, WI
                                          Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Thu, 08/15/13 6:00 PM (permalink)
                                          Well, return visit number 3 for dumplings. Took my wife, and now she is enchanted as well. Both had 1/2 orders=$9.00. Still a bit hungry so we split a large slice of fresh eggplant, buffo mozz, fresh basil and garden tomato pizza at the adjacent pizza place. Lo and behold there is a new gelato place four doors down from there. For less than $20 we had a fantastic evening. To top that off, I drove over to Jefferson today for 2 double cheeseburgers at Wedl's. Hitting the gym extra hard tomorrow.
                                           
                                          #21
                                            BuddyRoadhouse

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                                            • Location: Des Plaines, IL
                                            Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Fri, 08/16/13 12:59 AM (permalink)
                                            What the heck is a "gym"?
                                             
                                            Buddy
                                             
                                            #22
                                              CajunKing

                                              • Total Posts: 6317
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                                              • Location: Live at Saint Clair
                                              • Roadfood Insider
                                              Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Fri, 08/16/13 4:43 PM (permalink)
                                              BuddyRoadhouse


                                              What the heck is a "gym"?

                                              Buddy

                                              Budreaux - It is the place you pass between the dumpling house and the gelato place.
                                               
                                              #23
                                                BuddyRoadhouse

                                                • Total Posts: 4074
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                                                • Location: Des Plaines, IL
                                                Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Sat, 08/17/13 2:41 AM (permalink)
                                                I thought that was the donut joint.  Is "gym" the French word for donut joint?
                                                 
                                                Buddy
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  Pancho

                                                  • Total Posts: 915
                                                  • Joined: 10/20/2004
                                                  • Location: Madison, WI
                                                  Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Sat, 08/17/13 8:32 AM (permalink)
                                                  BuddyRoadhouse


                                                  I thought that was the donut joint.  Is "gym" the French word for donut joint?

                                                  Buddy
                                                  That would be "beignet". What a couple of comedians. All seriousness aside I actually used to go to the gym after eating a few at Cafe du Monde while in NOLA.

                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    CajunKing

                                                    • Total Posts: 6317
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                                                    Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Sat, 08/17/13 3:44 PM (permalink)
                                                    Why on earth would you want to eat sweaty donuts??
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      chicagostyledog

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                                                      • Location: Hot Dog University Chicago, IL
                                                      Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Tue, 09/24/13 10:10 PM (permalink)
                                                      Nina and I had the opportunity to eat at the original store on State Street. The place was a hoot. The dumplings were stored in a freezer and cooked in a pot on a hot plate. All the furniture was mismatched institutional design and the walls were bare. To call the place spartan, would be an understatement. However, the dumplings were fabulous! After ordering at a table, used as a counter, you grabbed a bottle of  pop and hunted for a table without wobbly legs. Now I could be wrong, but if memory serves me correct, the person or owner making the dumplings was either from or living in the Pacific northwest, possibly Washington state. Happy to hear of the reopening. We'll be back!
                                                       
                                                      CSD
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        BuddyRoadhouse

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                                                        Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Wed, 09/25/13 3:56 AM (permalink)
                                                        We just had lunch at Paul's Pel'Meni on Tuesday!  Apologies to Pancho for not attempting to arrange a meet-up, but our "Wander Wisconsin" vacation has been a real seat-of-the-pants affair.  We started our day in Madison, and I'm sitting in a hotel room in Duluth as I write these words.  And we still don't have a plan for tomorrow!
                                                         
                                                        Anyway, our lunch was outstanding.  Knowing we'd be nibbling all day, we went light with a 1/2 order (about 20 pieces), mixed with beef and potato Pel'Meni.  It was totally delicious.  The dumplings were plump and well stuffed without any air pockets between the dough and the filling.  Paul's version of the sauce was slightly different from the one I made for the frozen Pel'Meni I mentioned up-thread.
                                                         
                                                        He calls it a "sweet chili sauce", but there's not much sweet to it.  Don't get me wrong, it's excellent, but it relies more on vinegar and garlic notes than sweet.  A light dusting of curry powder, a soupcon of melted butter and a sprinkling of minced cilantro complete the dish with a small cup of sour cream on the side.  What a lovely balance of flavors!
                                                         
                                                        The new location is only slightly less "eclectic' and spartan than what CSD describes above.  Nonetheless, the small, bright space has its charms.  We got there at the end of the lunch rush.   There were three other parties already there, ranging in social status from poor university student to upscale, local business folks.
                                                         
                                                        Paul himself was on hand to serve us.  He says he makes all the dumplings by hand, as taught to him by an old Russian immigrant acquaintance.  He is a craftsman in the same league with Doug Sohn (Hot Doug's) and Burt Katz (Burt's Place).
                                                         
                                                        If you're ever in Madison, you need to make Paul's Pel'Meni a priority!
                                                         
                                                        Buddy
                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          Pancho

                                                          • Total Posts: 915
                                                          • Joined: 10/20/2004
                                                          • Location: Madison, WI
                                                          Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Wed, 09/25/13 8:10 AM (permalink)
                                                          Hey Buddy....so happy to hear you enjoyed the dumplings. I'm never disappointed and eat there at least once a week. What a great, tasty value for a scant $4.50. Beats a Big Mac for sure.
                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            BuddyRoadhouse

                                                            • Total Posts: 4074
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                                                            • Location: Des Plaines, IL
                                                            Re:Pel' Meni (dumplings in downtown Madison) Thu, 09/26/13 3:25 AM (permalink)
                                                            I should mention that upon arrival at Paul's Pel'Meni I discovered it's practically next door to another of my favorite MadCity restaurants, Vientiane Palace.  I wrote about Vientiane years ago, here on Roadfood.  It is my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Madison.  How nice to have it so close to another top notch joint.
                                                             
                                                            Buddy
                                                             
                                                            Vientiane Palace
                                                            151 W. Gorham St.
                                                            Madison, WI 53703
                                                            (608) 255-2848

                                                             
                                                            #30
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