Saturday, 27 December 2008

Where Can I Find Rakia in New York?

There was a Rakia topic on a forum back in 2003. The title of the topic and article was:

Where to find Rakia?, Banitza and a moral

Where Can I Find Rakia in New York?There are supposedly places in New York where one can find Rakia, an amazing Bulgarian spirit that is similar to grappa (but much better!). I have been hunting this stuff all over NY...unsuccessfully. A waitress at Mehanata, the only Bulgarian restaurant in NY, tipped me off to a Bulgarian deli in Queens called Black Sea Delicatessen (39-39 47th Avenue, "open seven days 8am-10pm" according to their card). I called and confirmed that they have rakia and were open before trekking out there. The lady assured me that they are open until 10 and have 3 varieties, but when I arrived they were closed! (And I looked around for the Candid Camera truck and people laughing before giving in). Did this 3 or 4 times before giving up. Once, I was in the neighborhood for Romanian food and just dropped by but it was closed. When I called the next day, the lady told me that they are always open but that day they were closed. I have tried contacting distributors in CA and producers in Bulgaria but have come up dry (literally!). Does anyone here have any other leads or interest in rakia? Thanks in advance. Roger PS. On one trip, however, the Romanian-Armenian deli next door informed me that Black Sea Delicatessen was out of business. Perhaps worried by my forlorn gaze, they notifed me that they had just pulled a wonderful, fresh banitza out of the oven. Def worth a return trip. And from this I have extracted the following moral : when chowhounding (or boozehounding), if you can't satisfy one urge, chances are some other delight is to be discovered nearby.

The replies to this article were:

What is Banitza? I don't know where you can find it, but I can suggest you try looking for palinka (hungarian - transilvanian specialty). It's even better than rakia.
Palinka is great too but where would I find it? I have only had it once in NY, straight out of the suitcase of a Romanian friend. I'm guessing it's going to be even harder to find. Banitza (also Banitsa) is a fillo pastry with egg and cheese filling, sometimes also filled with spinach. Plenty of recipes if you search in google, or just go and get a great one in Queens.
Palinka is only sold in one store in Manhattan, as far as I know. Crown Wines and Liquors 1587 Second Ave. at 82st. They have apricot palinka $20 for 1L and 750g for the same price made of cherry, apple, or peach. I am replying to your question because it is my favorite liquor and it would be good for more people to know about it.

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