It’s a Polish Christmas

I would like to tell you that I have remained positive and unbreakable for 44 years.

Didn’t happen, but, I came very close.  I’ve always tried to look at the other side of disappointments; what I can learn, how I can get out of a mess, and all of that good bullshit you tell yourself.

I came to a shattering point with my divorce.  This is the first time I am admitting it.  Maybe I can admit this now because of my last relationship.  I don’t think he ever recovered from his divorce.  He is still in the “I don’t need anyone else but myself” phase. It’s hard to watch a good man think he can’t be happy.  That was me, and thank goodness, I woke up.

I don’t remember the first year I left my husband.  I can’t tell you what I did, where I lived, who my friends were; there is nothing.  By accident, I climbed out of this hole of depression.  And what got me there was food.



Christmas time is a disgusting vomit of happiness.  When you are not happy, you can’t welcome this display of cheer into your life. After a sad attempt at shopping, my best friend took me to the only Polish restaurant in the area open for lunch.  I don’t know if it was an attempt to lighten the mood, or if he was just hungry, but something happened.  I was comforted.  I remembered I had good things around me, and that I came from a good place.  I realized that there was a Susan deep down inside that had to come back to life.


It has been eight years that we have been returning to Royal Warsaw in Elmwood Park for our “It’s a Polish Christmas” dinner.  This is a coveted invitation.  I don’t think any of my friends really jump for joy when they get this invite though.  Polish food is heavy, farty, sour, bitter, and at times, makes no sense if you haven’t grown up eating it.  Easy now, don’t judge; I don’t make fun of your seven fishes, or your weird “salad at the end of the meal” thing, so just leave this alone and let me enjoy my pierogis!

Wine choices?  Drink beer.  Wine will be over powered by anything on the plate.  What we did drink was a Pinot Noir.  Lyric by Etude Winery has a voluptuous fruit quality to it, as well as a pretty earthiness that paired nicely with kielbasa.  We started with Sterling Chardonnay, which is a really pretty wine, but not a great choice with the meal.  Sauerkraut does not scream “Pair me with light notes of green apple and lovely acidity”.  We finished a bottle before the food even got there, so we were safe!


Royal Warsaw, 871 River Drive, Elmwood Park, NJ, 07407


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About Me

It doesn’t take magic to transport yourself through flavors and stories. This is what keeps me up at nights; what narrative does wine have to reveal to me, and how does your experience begin a journey I can help host. My name is Susan, and I am just like you; curious, full of nothing but love, and ready to learn more.

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