A New Ghost Kitchen Is Delivering Loaded Baked Potato and Everything Bagel Pierogi

Zofia’s Kitchen’s everything bagel pierogi are stuffed with cream cheese, scallion, and everything seasoning. Photograph courtesy Zofia’s Kitchen.

Chef Ed Hardy was playing a lot of video games and felt in need of a challenge after Cookology Culinary School in Arlington, where he was an instructor, shut down at the start of the pandemic. So when his friend Nate Reynolds, a Chicago native who works in telecom, asked if he could make pierogi for a socially distanced barbecue, Hardy went all out. Flaunting tradition, he stuffed his pierogi with creative fillings like loaded mashed potatoes with “an unreasonable amount of bacon” or a Chicago dog with all the fixings. 

They were such a hit that Hardy and Reynolds, who became friends through the Northern Virginia Foodies Facebook group, decided they should sell them. They’ve since launched Zofia’s Kitchen, a ghost kitchen operating out of Cookology that specializes in twists on the Polish dumpling alongside deli fare. 

“We can go for Ethiopian here. We can go for kabobs. We don’t really know a good spot where we can get pierogies,” explains Hardy, who shut down his food truck Bacon N Ed’s last year. They chose the name Zofia’s Kitchen because it “sounded exactly like a Polish grandmother who would be making pierogies,” Hardy says. While Reynolds did have a Polish grandmother, her name wasn’t Zofia.

Maryland crab rangoon pierogi. Photograph courtesy Zofia’s Kitchen.

The loaded mashed potato pierogi are already on the menu, and the Chicago dog version will be live next week.  Slightly more traditional-leaning options include sauerkraut-and-brat pierogi or mushroom-and-herb pierogi with a choice of beef stroganoff sauce or mustard cream. And then there are the “dangerously experimental” pierogi flavors like everything bagel (cream cheese, scallion, everything seasoning) or crab rangoon (Maryland blue crab, cream cheese, scallions, Old Bay). Still in the works are some Thanksgiving-themed duck and fig specials as well as pumpkin “pie-rogi.”

All the pierogi come in sets of eight—although larger platters are also available—and can be ordered steamed, toasted (sautéed with a bit of butter), or fried with a choice of sauces. Hardy says he’s also taking special requests for frozen pierogi for anyone who wants to stock up their freezer.

Ed Hardy’s latke doughnut is made of fried shredded potato. Photograph courtesy Zofia’s Kitchen.

Zofia’s Kitchen also sells a handful of sandwiches, including a house-braised pastrami reuben and Italian beef. Hardy is also working on a schnitzel sandwich on a pretzel bun and a Swedish meatball sub. (He counts Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson as a mentor.) There’s also chicken noodle soup, New England clam chowder, and most intriguingly, savory latke doughnuts—crispy shredded potato molded into a ring shape.

“Everyone’s got to be Dominique Ansel these days,” says Hardy, referring to the creator of the cronut. “I’ll be honest with you, this is one of my finest potato creations.”

Zofia’s Kitchen offers pick-up from Arlington and delivery via DoorDash and UberEats. Hardy is looking to soon expand operations to DC and into other parts of

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10 Best Potato Mashers and Ricers of 2020

cooking a mashed potatoes

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Potato mashers may seem like kitschy, one-use products, but they’re actually the secret to making soft, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes that aren’t sticky. Some can double as a meat tenderizer and pound chicken cutlets to make mouth-watering chicken breasts and can mix up egg salad, guacamole, hummus, baby food, pie fillings, refried beans and anything else you might reach for a fork for.

Do you need a masher? “Their large heads and long handles make them easier and faster to use than a fork,” says Nicole Papantoniou, Senior Testing Editor of the Good Housekeeping Kitchen Appliances Lab. “They also help prevent overworking your potatoes, like a food processor or mixer would, which causes potatoes to get gummy.”

In the Good Housekeeping Institute, our experts test hundreds of kitchen products a year, from chef’s knives to meat thermometers and hundreds of other kitchen gadgets. We leaned on our expertise and hundreds of hours of categorical testing to round up the best potato mashers you can buy. Though we haven’t formally tested potato mashers in the Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab, our experts weighed in on what makes a great masher, considering things from each masher’s construction to its ease of cleaning and special features to make mashing any number of foods easier.

What’s the difference between a potato masher and a ricer?

  • Potato mashers are handheld tools that are used to press and mash potatoes manually. The heads vary: Pick from perforated or tined designs for a finer and smoother consistency, or single-wire, which makes a more coarse, rustic mash.
  • Ricers use a plunger to push the cooked potato through holes in a perforated basket (think giant garlic press). They produce a fluffy mash, which means airier mashed potatoes – just don’t overmix and you’ll get a very smooth, even consistency.

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Best Overall Potato Masher

Stainless Steel Potato Masher

This potato masher’s perforated head has smaller holes in the center and larger ones around the edges, which the manufacturer claims makes mashing faster. It has a wide handle with soft grips so you can get a good, comfortable grasp and a scraper along the side that can clean the bowl as you go. 

  • Various sized holes makes mashing faster
  • Built-in silicone scraper
  • Large holes may leave some lumps

Best Value Potato Masher

Stainless Steel Masher

Mainstays
walmart.com

$2.72

This is a good budget option, or a good starter masher, for a low price under $3. Unlike many cheap mashers, this one has a stainless steel body. It also has a substantial handle to make mashing easier, and it’s dishwasher safe. The head is a bit smaller than other models, so the job could take longer. 

  • Inexpensive, but has a stainless steel body
  • Soft, heatproof handle
  • Head is a bit small for larger batches

Best Single-Wire Potato Masher

Stainless Steel Good Grips Potato Masher

OXO
amazon.com

If your hands need ergonomic design, but you’d rather have a single-wire masher, OXO has another option with

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