There's not much about San Francisco that I really miss, but one thing I wish they had here in Portland was a Russian market equal to New World Market in San Francisco. The deli case is amazing. There are piles and piles os sausages and salumi. There are tons of samples and usually someone behind the counter is ready to hand you a hunk of just-cooked sausage off the tip of a knife.
The cold salads and spreads look so appetizing and you can taste everything to help you narrow down what to buy. Not even the most well-stocked Italian delis in S.F. pale in comparison to the one at New World Market.
On my way to dim sum a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a sign on 82nd St. here in Portland. (82nd Street boasts lots of ethnic grocers and restaurants.) The sign was in Cyrillic and there was an arrow and I think I recognized the word "market." So today, Bunny and I went to check it out. It is a market and it's called Ril's European Market and it is in a new strip mall about a half mile south of Stark.
It doesn't have the selection of New World, but it is just fine. The deli case is small, but everything looked fresh and appetizing. The don't have hot foods ready-made (I miss New World's stuffed cabbage), but they do carry the nose-clearing Russian mustard that I love, as well as things like pomegranate molasses, pelmeni, and fresh-baked Napoleon cake.
I encourage you to seek out the Russian markets near you. Russian delis are often cheaper than their Italian and French counterparts. There are interesting things to see (like beautifully wrapped candies of all types), and you are encouraged to try everything before you buy it. We are not used to that way of shopping here in the U.S., but I think it is a smart way to shop. Why not know that you like something before you spend the money? I tried about 6 types of salami today before I chose the 2 that I liked best. And I tried two types of Brinza cheese (which I had never had before) and they were equally delicious so I bought them both. The guy behind the counter told me to serve it with watermelon and I will.
Bunny and I sampled everything and came home with a nice selection of cold-cuts and cheese for our dinner tonight:
Dinner this way is easy, simple, and most of all, tasty. And best of all, there is only one dish to clean. Dinner doesn't have to be hot!