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Custard, Fruit & Glaze: Indulge in a Paczki on Fat Tuesday

By: Toni Cunningham | March 3, 2014

Fat Tuesday, or as I like to call it, Tuesday, is today! You know what that means. It’s once again that time of year to indulge in those luscious, sugary, not-so-low-calorie paczki filled with custard or fruit.

A Polish tradition, paczki are supposed to be enjoyed as a “last hurrah” before Lent season kicks in. If you ask me, Paczki Day (or Fat Tuesday) is a great excuse to enjoy something that is definitely more special than a plain ‘ol jelly donut without the usual amount of guilt and self-loathing.

If you enjoy both fatty pastries and alcohol, a) we could be friends and b) you might want to find your way to Small’s, 10339 Conant St., Hamtramck. In case you’re unaware, Hamtramck is the southeast Michigan hotspot for all things paczki, and there’s plenty of fun to be had at Small’s. The bar is home to the, wait for it, paczki bomb. That’s right! A delicious better-than-a-donut injected with booze. Yum!

The doors at Small’s open at 10 a.m. and there is no cover charge all day. In addition to the paczki bombs, Polish food and limited edition 2014 Paczki Day t-shirts will be available for purchase. If you stick around until 4 p.m., that’s when the party really starts, as live bands will perform in both the front and back room of the bar.

Have you ever dreamed of a world where paczki meets ice cream? If so, your fantasy has been brought to life, courtesy of Treat Dreams, 22965 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. The ice cream/donut shop, also known as heaven, will serve both regular and vegan paczki, in addition to Blueberry Paczki, Raspberry Paczki and Vegan Strawberry Paczki ice cream.

Paczki will be available in the following flavors: Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Apple Cinnamon with Crumble Topping, Salted Caramel Apple with Bacon and Pecans, Lemon White Chocolate Gingersnap, Boston Cream, Custard with Caramel Glaze and Toasted Coconut, Blueberry with Cinnamon-Nutmeg Glaze and Crumble Topping, and Blueberry with White Chocolate Ganache and Fruity Pebbles.

The only way this could possibly be made any better is if they were all accompanied with a shot of Jack Daniels.

Perhaps you’re looking to celebrate the occasion in a more mature manner. If that’s the case, give the Arbor Brewing Company, 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti, a ring and reserve a seat for the Fat Tuesday Beer Dinner! Beginning at 7 p.m., chef Brian Guerriero will whip up a four-course meal full of New Orleans flavor, and each course will be paired with a beer. The menu is as follows:

  • First course: New Orleans Crab Cake with spicy slaw, paired with Barrel Aged Mango Pale Ale
  • Second course: Charcuterie Muffaletta, paired with Buzzsaw American IPA
  • Third course: Pork Belly “Po Boy,” paired with Phat Abbot Dubbel
  • Fourth course: Galette Des Rois (cake topped with cinnamon and sugar glaze, served with vanilla ice cream), paired with Barrel Aged Dirty Love

Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased at the brewery or via phone. What better way to celebrate Fat Tuesday than with some Louisiana style grub and craft beer?

Should you choose to attend the beer dinner but feel just a little cheated out of the day since you didn’t get a paczki, some of the area’s best can be found at New Palace Bakery, 9833 Joseph Campau Ave., Detroit. The family-owned Polish bakery has more variety than one could possibly dream of. They’ve obviously got the traditional paczki, like lemon, custard, raspberry and butter cream, but they also have several unique concoctions.

Specialty fillings have been introduced for years at New Palace Bakery, and last year it was the Caramel Cream paczki, which is what dreams are made of. This year, it’s the all-new Strawberry/Chocolate Delight, a paczki filled with strawberry and chocolate, topped with strawberry glaze and milk chocolate drizzle. I’ll take roughly a dozen, please and thanks.

If you decide to take part in any Paczki Day/Fat Tuesday activities, allow yourself to do so free of guilt. The treadmill will still be there on Wednesday. And that’s a good thing, because after these festivities, you’re going to need it.