Just about everything that involves my husband is baffling to me: his name, Waldemar Kalinowski, his native Polish (which sounds like the buzzing of bees) and his unique twist on English syntax peppered with malapropisms. Added to that is my cultural confusion when he weeps with nostalgia for his childhood blood sausages, slimy pickled mushrooms and sour milk soup.

So now, 35 years since our first date, two children and a house later, I’m returning Waldemar to his Mothership, Poland, so we can unravel at least some of the food mysteries that surround him. We’re here for TRANSATLANTYK –  POZNAN INTERNATIONAL FILM AND MUSIC  FESTIVAL  – POLAND 2012 (, invited by Founder and Director Jan Kaczmarek to lead Master Classes on Film and Design. When we weren’t teaching, we were eating; and the surprise is that we weren’t eating  jellied pig’s knuckles or mystery meat borscht. Polish food has fully arrived in the 21st century, even if Waldemar hasn’t.

 One of our favorite restaurants around Poznan was WERANDA for  fresh seasonal juices, and Alice in Wonderland style salads served in gigantic lettuce heads. 

Stop and smell the paper flowers.

Weranda in two locations:  at Świętosławska 10,  Poznan 61 +48 853 25 87 and at Stary Browar Dziedniniec ( Old Brewery Mall) ul.Pólwiejska 32, 61-888  – +48 (61) 850 69 69

Refreshing chilled Lithuanian style borscht with sour cream and a chopped hard-boiled egg.
Lettuce head filled with a salad of pear, gorgonzola, honey and walnuts
Even the water was filled with seasonal fruit.
Jet lag makes you do strange things. Waldemar exchanged fresh juices for a coffee milk shake.

CONCORDIA DESIGN RESTAURANT was the festival sponsor with the heavy responsibility  of throwing all night parties, every night, as well as the after-parties for both the opening and closing galas of the festival. They  generously kept their kitchen open deep into the night when many of us went hunting for food.

Concordia Design Design
Zwierzyniecka 3 60-101 Poznan, Poland
61 667 44 00
Concordia’s pan-roasted Cod with delicate red pepper sauce.
Waldemar ordered this contemporary version of an old Polish dish: pork with barley.

Why, you might well ask, did we create a mother/daughter double portrait in the ladies room of the Concordia Design Restaurant? The answer is, we don’t know….

Poznan’s OLD TOWN SQUARE is a rich texture of historic bright townhouses served by cafes and restaurants.

BROVARIA (the Brewery) is one of dozens of restaurants on the old town square.
Flight of beers at Brovaria. Unanimously, we voted for the honey beer in the middle.
This duck with dumplings and red cabbage resembled an old Polish dish except the dumplings tasted distinctly Chinese. Marco Polo dropped them off on his way back from China.
Duck breast salad with citrus was divine.
Salmon salad with peppers.

COCORICO is another contemporary breath of fresh air and fresh vegetables at Świętosławska 9,  61-001 Poznan
61 852 95 29

Goat cheese and grilled vegetable salad.
Here is it – Polish Gazpacho!


It’s a pub/club. There are 100’s of them in Old Town Poznan, but you have to be under 30 to get in.

Typical Polish girl holding a typical Polish food. Alexandra Kalinowski with a giant fungus found at Jan Kaczmarek’s château, Instytut Rozbitek.

 It looks like Waldemar will just have to haul out his treasured 1958 Polish cookbook to find the old country dishes from his childhood.  The kids and I loved the new Polish cuisine, but we’re doing our best to be brave about eating his old-fashioned duck blood soup when we get home.