Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

eG Foodblog: Alinka - Not Just Borsch: Eating in Moscow

Foodblog

  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
153 replies to this topic

#61 nakji

nakji
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,659 posts
  • Location:Shanghai

Posted 07 August 2006 - 10:55 PM

Wow, everything looks so surprising! Being Canadian, I also miss the late summer sunshine! The sun goes down at 6:30 where I am now. When I was in University, my roommate was a Russian language major. She spent a lot of time in St. Petersburg, and couldn't stop raving about ice cream bars that she described as "frozen cream cheese covered in chocolate". Which sounds extraordinarily delicious. Have you tried anything like that?

It's very interesting for me to see the MacDonalds and other trappings of modern life in Moscow. I've travelled in China as well, and know how much they love their western chains! But stubborn old Hanoi refuses to join in. (One of the many reasons I love it here). They only recently gave permission to open the first Kentucky Fried Chicken. (Unlike decadent Ho Chi Minh City, which has many). But all over town, you can still see traces of the Russian (Soviet?) influence. There are still some of the old buses that came from Russia used as military transport buses, and one of the most popular items purchased at my corner store - Hanoi Vodka!

Is vodka popular even in the summer in Moscow, or is it more of a winter drink? :biggrin:

#62 Alinka

Alinka
  • participating member
  • 371 posts
  • Location:Houston

Posted 07 August 2006 - 11:08 PM

One question about your kitchen:  Your cabinets look very much like the ones I saw in Germany.  It seems that in the area I visited, it was common to supply your own kitchen cabinets, counters, and appliances, along with closets and even, in some cases, interior walls, when renting an apartment.  Is this the case there? 

View Post

Um… No, we were not required to supply our own walls :biggrin:. The apartment came fully furnished, complete with a TV, VCR, kitchen appliances, dishes, etc. I did buy a couple of colorful plates to photographing because all the dishes were white.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Moscow?  How does it compare to your favorite restaurant from your time in the States?

View Post

Well, we’ve been here only slightly over 2 months so we did not have a chance to really explore the restaurant scene. When compared to Houston, it’s a lot richer and more fun. In Houston most restaurants are chains, depressing in its sameness, menu- or interior-wise. Here, it’s much easier to find, say, a small cozy Italian restaurant with fabulous thin-crust pizza just like I had in Rome a few months ago. For example, just recently we walked to a restaurant near our office for lunch, and I got prosciutto with melon.

Posted Image

To get a similar thing in Houston, I’d have to get into my car and drive drive drive. Of course, it depends on where you live :smile:. I’m sure in Manhattan you can do the same. Overall, Moscow restaurants are more European, I don’t know how to explain. I don’t feel prepared to talk about Moscow restaurants, really. Most of the information I get is by reading Time Out Moscow in the evening because I am too exhausted to go out :biggrin:. I’d say out of the ones I’ve been to, I liked this one the most:

http://www.simplepleasures.ru/

(Wait for the page to load, then click on ENGLISH on top.)

Their lunch menu in English:
http://www.simpleple...spring_eng.html

#63 Alinka

Alinka
  • participating member
  • 371 posts
  • Location:Houston

Posted 07 August 2006 - 11:29 PM

When I was in University, my roommate was a Russian language major. She spent a lot of time in St. Petersburg, and couldn't stop raving about ice cream bars that she described as "frozen cream cheese covered in chocolate". Which sounds extraordinarily delicious. Have you tried anything like that?

Yes, they are called “Eskimo.” It’s rich vanilla ice cream on a stick, covered in chocolate.

Is vodka popular even in the summer in Moscow, or is it more of a winter drink? :biggrin:

View Post

There is always time to drink vodka, no matter what the season is :biggrin:.

Posted Image

View Post

The cherries made it to Moscow!! :laugh:

View Post

Well, actually, the season for sweet cherries is almost over; these are sour cherries which apparently NEVER made it to the States as in the 10 years I lived there (on different coasts) I never saw them fresh :raz:.

Your photos are so colorful. Seems like most of the pictures I've seen of Moscow are so depressing. I'm glad to see all the color.

View Post

It’s too bad that you only saw depressing pictures. I can share more photos of Moscow. As I mentioned, we like to go for walks in the city. A very nice change from Houston where there is nowhere to go and no places to walk. One June day I took my camera with me, and here’s what came out of it:

http://silverbelle.f..._day_in_moscow/

Supermarkets, LOL. I take it that GUM no longer functions as a state department store and the usual Beriozkas no longer exist?

View Post

In fact, back then when I took the overnight train to Helsinki, I almost fainted on arrival from the amount of food that was available in Finland, as compared to Moscow or even worse, Peterburg, as it was called at that time.

View Post

Come on, your guys’ surprise is starting to become a little disconcerting. The fact that Russians shop in supermarkets probably is hilarious, but surely you’ve heard that the country has been transitioning to a new economic system over the past 15 years? :hmmm:

#64 Swisskaese

Swisskaese
  • legacy participant
  • 1,951 posts
  • Location:Hod HaSharon, Israel

Posted 07 August 2006 - 11:53 PM

I went to Russia on an exchange program with university and was hosted by a lovely family in St. Petersburg. The mother made a very nice lemon pie, but I haven't tried making it. She made some sort of short crust pastry and then chopped up lemon, including the peel, added some sugar and covered it with more short pastry. It was delicious.

Are you familiar with this Alinka?

BTW- I was in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the month of February. I had icicles in my hair! :shock: It was really cold. My feet didn't thaw out until I went back to Switzerland.

#65 Cadbury

Cadbury
  • participating member
  • 190 posts
  • Location:Western Australia

Posted 08 August 2006 - 12:11 AM

Alina, congratulations on your pregnancy and on your terrific blog.
I am curious as to the instuctions that pregnant women are given about what foods should or shouldn't be eaten (whether given by doctors or "old wives tales"). For example in Australia we are warned to avoid soft cheeses, pate, prosciutto, salad ingredients unless prepared at home and deli meats eg. salami, ham etc. Take out is a no no unless it's served really hot. This is all to avoid contracting listeria. It makes for a fairly boring 9 months. Do you have anything similar?

#66 Rehovot

Rehovot
  • participating member
  • 466 posts
  • Location:New York City

Posted 08 August 2006 - 01:09 AM

When I was in University, my roommate was a Russian language major. She spent a lot of time in St. Petersburg, and couldn't stop raving about ice cream bars that she described as "frozen cream cheese covered in chocolate". Which sounds extraordinarily delicious. Have you tried anything like that?

Yes, they are called “Eskimo.” It’s rich vanilla ice cream on a stick, covered in chocolate.


We have these here in Prague, too. They're highly addictive. :biggrin:

Great blog, Alinka! It's fascinating to see Moscow from your perspective. Have fun settling in. :smile:

#67 Alinka

Alinka
  • participating member
  • 371 posts
  • Location:Houston

Posted 08 August 2006 - 01:32 AM

I went to Russia on an exchange program with university and was hosted by a lovely family in St. Petersburg. The mother made a very nice lemon pie, but I haven't tried making it. She made some sort of short crust pastry and then chopped up lemon, including the peel, added some sugar and covered it with more short pastry. It was delicious.

Are you familiar with this Alinka?

BTW- I was in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the month of February. I had icicles in my hair! :shock:  It was really cold. My feet didn't thaw out until I went back to Switzerland.

View Post

I've seen this pie in Russian cooking forums, but I've never made one myself. I could try to find the recipe for you if you want.

I dread winter, I just hope it never comes :biggrin:.

Alina, congratulations on your pregnancy and on your terrific blog. 
I am curious as to the instuctions that pregnant women are given about what foods should or shouldn't be eaten (whether given by doctors or "old wives tales").  For example in Australia we are warned to avoid soft cheeses, pate, prosciutto, salad ingredients unless prepared at home and deli meats eg. salami, ham etc.  Take out is a no no unless it's served really hot. This is all to avoid contracting listeria.  It makes for a fairly boring 9 months.  Do you have anything similar?

View Post

Yes, I am aware of the instructions for pregnant woment not to eat soft cheeses, cold cuts, etc. I go to the American Clinic for my check-ups and I read books in English. Just sometimes I deviate from this strict regime :wink:.

Breakfast was strawberries with sugar and milk. When I was buying them from a woman on the street the day before I whined a little why they were so small and not very pretty. She said, this being the end of the strawberry season, what did I expect? “Look at you, at eighteen, fresh and pretty, and me, at sixty, are you surprised?" :biggrin:

Posted Image

Breakfast was fairly small, but do not fear: I will more than make up for that once I get to the office. It takes a normal person about 20 minutes to walk from our house to my office; it takes me about 30. I’m on a mission: along the road, I collect snacks for the day :smile:. First, I stop at this kiosk. I was going to tell you what I get here, but Bruce, aka C. sapidus asked to give you all a chance to translate the signs. So, Bruce, here’s you chance! What is it?

Posted Image

If you can't guess, I can show you a close-up of the kiosk window.

Then I stop at the fruit/vegetable stand to get some fruit to snack on:

Posted Image

Further down the road there are two ladies also selling fruit. But they also have something the stand never does: berries. Whatever is in season. Earlier this summer I used to buy strawberries from them, wild and cultivated, then sweet cherries, raspberries, black currants and blueberries. Now they have sour cherries, crab apples and gooseberries I might be interested in. Not all of them we willing to have their picture taken apparently :biggrin:

Posted Image

Posted Image

So by the time I made my way to the office, my loot looked like this:

Posted Image

These are tart!

Posted Image

Eating fruit alone makes me nauseous, so I supplemented it with some protein:

Posted Image

This is kefir, buttermilk-like dairy product that I drink with sugar.

#68 Alinka

Alinka
  • participating member
  • 371 posts
  • Location:Houston

Posted 08 August 2006 - 01:40 AM

The morning was very busy, so by the time I could take lunch, I was starving. So I ran down to a nearby store I got some bread, cheese, and vegetables. The sun-dried tomatoes bread was freshly baked, still warm, and I was hungry, so before I knew it by the time I got back to the office a big portion of bread and even a few slices of cheese were gone. To compensate for being naughty, I made a large healthy salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives and a simple vinaigrette of EVOO, lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground pepper:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Midafternoon snack was coffee with lots of milk (okay, okay, decaf :rolleyes: :biggrin:) and bread with cheese.

Posted Image

After work I went to get a pedicure and a haircut (the have the same chain Toni&Guy here I used in Houston) so when dinnertime rolled around I was too hungry to go home. We met with Shawn at a Georgian restaurant called Genatzvale. Georgian cuisine is one of the most popular in Moscow; the dishes here are fresh and spicy, with lots of herbs. The restaurant is located near the Arbat street (a very touristy pedestrian street; busloads of tourists are dropped off at this street every day). Despite its location, the food is really good here. The décor is interesting, too: outside the restaurant looks like a typical old-style Georgian house, and inside it is large and cavernous, with live fish swimming under the transparent floor and a stream of water falling on the mill wheel. The restaurant was dark, so I did not take too many pictures:

Posted Image

We ordered lavash which came hot from the oven. Those cute long tails were the first ones to be torn off, of course :smile:.

Posted Image

Lavash is good to dip into the chicken satzivi (sauce made with walnut paste; I could probably eat a bucket of it, it’s so good):

Posted Image

That alone was enough to satisfy hunger, but as we were there, we HAD to order more. I got some kharcho – thick and very spicy soup with tomatoes and a big chunk of meat:

Posted Image

We also couldn’t skip ordering out favorite khachapuri – bread baked with salty soft Georgian cheese. This time we decided to try something new and ordered khachapuri Adjarian-style, with an egg. When they brought it, it turned out the egg was almost raw, so I had to eat around :smile:.

Posted Image

When cut, the cheese oozes out, like this:

Posted Image

Full. No room for dessert. On the way out, I snapped a couple more photos.

See the samovar – isn’t it cute? These days, they are only used for decoration. I do remember, however, an electric one in my grandparents’ house. I think now even those I are replaced with electric kettles.

Posted Image

Posted Image

So, this was my Monday. Thanks for spending it with me!

#69 Swisskaese

Swisskaese
  • legacy participant
  • 1,951 posts
  • Location:Hod HaSharon, Israel

Posted 08 August 2006 - 01:48 AM

My maternal grandparents were from Lithuania and my mother has their beautiful silver samovar. She never used it.

I would love a recipe for that pie.

It is nice to see that there are so many "local" restaurants to choose from instead of chains. And, I am happy to hear that you can find good pizza there. I have a very funny story about "authentic", and I am using that term very loosely, Italian pizza I had in St. Petersburg in 1996. The owner was Sicilian and my fellow Italian students and I decided that he was kicked out of Sicily for being the worst pizza maker in all of Italy. :laugh: I have a feeling his restaurant has not survived.

I really like Georgian food. We have some Georgian restaurants here. I really like to make Georgian chicken which is stuffed with rice, pine nuts and dried cherries. :wub:

Edited by Swisskaese, 08 August 2006 - 01:51 AM.


#70 Pille

Pille
  • participating member
  • 330 posts
  • Location:Tallinn, Estonia

Posted 08 August 2006 - 02:32 AM

Such a great blog, Alinka!

couldn't stop raving about ice cream bars that she described as "frozen cream cheese covered in chocolate". Which sounds extraordinarily delicious. Have you tried anything like that?

Yes, they are called “Eskimo.” It’s rich vanilla ice cream on a stick, covered in chocolate.

We have these here in Prague, too. They're highly addictive. :biggrin:


These were one of the very few ice creams available when I grew up - very, very rich & tasty :raz: Haven't seen them in Estonia for ages, though there are many other delicious ice creams available, so I don't get much chance to miss Eskimo-bars :rolleyes:

Further down the road there are two ladies also selling fruit. But they also have something the stand never does: berries. Whatever is in season. Earlier this summer I used to buy strawberries from them, wild and cultivated, then sweet cherries, raspberries, black currants and blueberries. Now they have sour cherries, crab apples and gooseberries I might be interested in. Not all of them we willing to have their picture taken apparently :biggrin:


Crab apples!? Gooseberries? Sulk... I had gooseberries (not too tart, luckily) at home in July, but haven't seen them anywhere in Edinburgh. My last bet is the farmers market this Saturday, but if I cannot find them, I must satisfy my gooseberry pie craving in some other way :sad:

Eating fruit alone makes me nauseous, so I supplemented it with some protein:
This is kefir, buttermilk-like dairy product that I drink with sugar.

View Post


Kefir and buttermilk are wonderful. Sour milk products is one of the things I'm looking forward to when I move back home in a few months. Who needs all those expensive tiny Actimel etc drinks, when you can get all the friendly bacteria by drinking natural sour milk products? :hmmm: During the last few years, Estonian shops have started selling various flavoured sour milk products, e.g. raspberry kefir or blueberry one. Very tasty. Have you got these in Moscow?

Georgian cuisine is one of the most popular in Moscow; the dishes here are fresh and spicy, with lots of herbs.

We ordered lavash which came hot from the oven. Those cute long tails were the first ones to be torn off, of course :smile:.

Posted Image

We also couldn’t skip ordering out favorite khachapuri – bread baked with salty soft Georgian cheese. This time we decided to try something new and ordered khachapuri Adjarian-style, with an egg. When they brought it, it turned out the egg was almost raw, so I had to eat around :smile:.

Posted Image


Aaaah - lavash, kharcho, khachapuri, chakhohbili - all make me drool! Food from the food in general, and Georgian food in particular, is very popular back home in Estonia, too. I used to have a Georgian neighbough who made some great dishes from her homeland, and invited me to eat every now and then. I recently bought Darra Goldstein's "Georgian Feast: The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia", and I'm looking forward to cooking from it when I go back home. I can't get Sulugun cheese here in Scotland, and khachapuri wouldn't be the same without it!

And you're right about the generous use of herbs in Georgia. I made chicken chakhohbili few months ago, and used coriander/cilantro, tarragon, basil, dill & parsley. The shopkeeper gave me a very weird look, to say the least :biggrin:

Thanks again for the wonderful blog, I'm really enjoying this..

#71 C. sapidus

C. sapidus
  • participating member
  • 2,583 posts
  • Location:Maryland

Posted 08 August 2006 - 04:45 AM

First, I stop at this kiosk. I was going to tell you what I get here, but Bruce, aka C. sapidus asked to give you all a chance to translate the signs. So, Bruce, here’s you chance! What is it?

Posted Image

If you can't guess, I can show you a close-up of the kiosk window.

View Post

Hmm (consulting trusty Russian-English dictionary), does the kiosk say something like “poured-out products” (drinks) and “milky rivers”? I would guess milk, kefir, etc. and ice cream, maybe (reaching here) ice cream floats (because of the Pepsi)? I’m much better on words that Russian borrowed from English :rolleyes:

I knew kefir, though. No fair giving us the hard ones. :wink:

#72 Pille

Pille
  • participating member
  • 330 posts
  • Location:Tallinn, Estonia

Posted 08 August 2006 - 04:55 AM

Hmm (consulting trusty Russian-English dictionary), does the kiosk say something like “poured-out products” (drinks) and “milky rivers”? I would guess milk, kefir, etc. and ice cream, maybe (reaching here) ice cream floats (because of the Pepsi)? I’m much better on words that Russian borrowed from English :rolleyes:


Don't worry, C. sapidus. I was taught Russian for 11 years (note that "I was taught" and not that "I learned" :rolleyes: ) and although I recognised the 'products' and 'drinks' straight away, the best I could do with the front sign was 'milky rivers' as well. And that doesn't make any sense, does it? :wacko: On the other hand, there's an expression in my native language that translates "milky rivers and porridge mountains" implying the land of plenty and riches - maybe we're not supposed to read the kiosk sign too seriously? :wink:

(Just to apologise for my poor Russian - I was taught it in 1980s, and since 1990s I have lived mostly in places where I have had no contact with Russian (Denmark & Scotland), so my Russian has been pushed to the meagre 5th place on my language repertoire)

Edited by Pille, 08 August 2006 - 04:58 AM.


#73 C. sapidus

C. sapidus
  • participating member
  • 2,583 posts
  • Location:Maryland

Posted 08 August 2006 - 04:57 AM

Regarding your question about ikra (caviar or salmon roe), it is eaten with blini or, more  often, with bread and butter. Something like this:

Posted Image

View Post

Ooh, delicious. Your picture immediately conjured memories of a dinner outside Murmansk, where our translator taught us to drink vodka properly (with orange caviar, bread, and butter; first toast to the sailors at sea). We were slow learners, and required much practice :wink: Also, our hotel in Moscow had all-you-can-eat red caviar at breakfast. Mmmmmmm.

The Georgian food looks delicious. We have heard wonderful things about it, but didn’t get a chance to try any during our visits. We have also heard good things about Georgian wines -- have you tried any?

#74 Alinka

Alinka
  • participating member
  • 371 posts
  • Location:Houston

Posted 08 August 2006 - 05:13 AM

Hmm (consulting trusty Russian-English dictionary), does the kiosk say something like “poured-out products” (drinks) and “milky rivers”?

View Post

Show me, show me the dictionary that translates napitki (drinks) as "poured-out products"! Now throw it away :biggrin:.

You kids are very close though. Here's the promised close-up:

Posted Image

(Just to apologise for my poor Russian - I was taught it in 1980s, and since 1990s I have lived mostly in places where I have had no contact with Russian (Denmark & Scotland), so my Russian has been pushed to the meagre 5th place on my language repertoire)

View Post

No need to apologize - Russian was probably shoved down your throats in school :smile:. You know more Russian than I know Estonian (which is none).

And, Bruce, how could you ask whether I had any Georgian wine if I'm not even allowed to drink coffee! :biggrin: Shawn does not drink any alcohol at all, only takes a sip from my glass every now and then. And anyway, there is some problem between Russia and Georgia so now you cannot buy Georgian wine in Moscow from what I understand.

#75 Susan in FL

Susan in FL
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,838 posts
  • Location:Daytona Beach

Posted 08 August 2006 - 05:36 AM

I am enjoying this so much, and the way your time zone is ahead of us, it's a real treat to get up in the morning and know there will be really good posts to read! My morning routine this week includes reading your blog while I drink my coffee.
The restaurant has a cool website. Thanks for the links.
Do you and your husband have a favorite brand, or favorite brandS, of vodka? Not now obviously, but do you drink it straight mostly?
Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

#76 Swisskaese

Swisskaese
  • legacy participant
  • 1,951 posts
  • Location:Hod HaSharon, Israel

Posted 08 August 2006 - 05:47 AM

Hmm (consulting trusty Russian-English dictionary), does the kiosk say something like “poured-out products” (drinks) and “milky rivers”?

View Post

Show me, show me the dictionary that translates napitki (drinks) as "poured-out products"! Now throw it away :biggrin:.

You kids are very close though. Here's the promised close-up:

Posted Image

View Post


I am pretty sure the kiosk is called Milky Rivers or Rivers of Milk and the side says " Drinks; Products"

The second row, right side of the picture above is tea and milk. I have never heard of 6% Milk. We have 0%, 1/2%, 1% and 3% milk.

The two yogurty containers on the third row, right side say "Miracle"?

Edited by Swisskaese, 08 August 2006 - 05:49 AM.


#77 Swisskaese

Swisskaese
  • legacy participant
  • 1,951 posts
  • Location:Hod HaSharon, Israel

Posted 08 August 2006 - 06:00 AM

Rehovot asked me to put the recipe for Georgian Chicken in RecipeGullet. I found a link for the recipe. I use Nigella Lawson's recipe:

Georgian Chicken

I also add toasted pine nuts to the rice mixture. Since I keep Kosher, I use goose fat and chicken fat, if I want to be decadent, instead of butter. If I want to behave myself :rolleyes: , I use olive oil.

#78 nakji

nakji
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,659 posts
  • Location:Shanghai

Posted 08 August 2006 - 09:30 AM

Yes, they are called “Eskimo.” It’s rich vanilla ice cream on a stick, covered in chocolate.


Hey! As a person of Inuit origin, I object to that name!

:biggrin: Kidding.

Are they the same things as the American "Eskimo Pie"? Because if they were originally an American product encountered by my Canadian roommate in Russia - who then assumed they were Russian - well that could be kind of humourous.

I guess it's one thing to hear in the news, "Russia's economy is expanding and becoming more westernized" and then another thing to see it in photos. It's so rare to get a glimpse of people in other countries' day-to-day lives...that's what makes reading these food blogs such a treat, I guess. Also, if you've ever been to a place once, and then never returned - well, your mind tends to freeze it in that one time. I remember visiting the UK with my father in the late eighties. He left in the late sixties and couldn't get over how it had changed. He kept counting the McDonalds out loud.

#79 Abra

Abra
  • participating member
  • 3,186 posts
  • Location:Bainbridge Island, WA

Posted 08 August 2006 - 09:55 AM

Beautiful, Alinka. Don't be disconcerted - it's not that change has occurred, it's how fast and thoroughly it seems to have occurred that's astounding. I wonder how far out into the countryside the changes have spread.

I love Georgian food. Half of my ancestors were from Georgia, although I didn't know them and so didn't get to taste their cooking. But I do have a great Georgian cookbook, and now that you've posted that khachapuri I'm going to have to whip it out and make some at home.

I see that you made a salad at work - so there's a kitchen you can use there? What sort of work are you and your husband doing in Moscow? Anything involving food?

#80 Alinka

Alinka
  • participating member
  • 371 posts
  • Location:Houston

Posted 08 August 2006 - 10:02 AM

I am enjoying this so much, and the way your time zone is ahead of us, it's a real treat to get up in the morning and know there will be really good posts to read!  My morning routine this week includes reading your blog while I drink my coffee.
The restaurant has a cool website.  Thanks for the links.
Do you and your husband have a favorite brand, or favorite brandS, of vodka?  Not now obviously, but do you drink it straight mostly?

View Post

Glad you like the blog, Susan. See what you got me into! :smile: Simple Pleasure's upstairs patio is very nice. You seat under this nice canopy with a cool breeze flowing through. Their burgers are excellent.

Regarding vodka: as I said, Shawn does not drink any alcohol at all. And I don’t drink vodka; I prefer wine or cocktails. Come to think of it, none of our friends actually drink vodka; wine seems to be the beverage of choice. I probably need to point out that unlike Americans, Russians never drink alcoholic drinks without food. So nobody just sips vodka like thee do in the States. You quickly down a shot and follow it with some food; eat and enjoy the conversation. Repeat :biggrin:. And, cocktails are not big in Russia; I've noticed they are becoming more popular, especially in trendy bars, but not at home.

I am pretty sure the kiosk is called Milky Rivers or Rivers of Milk and the side says " Drinks; Products"

The second row, right side of the picture above is tea and milk. I have never heard of 6% Milk. We have 0%, 1/2%, 1% and 3% milk.

The two yogurty containers on the third row, right side say "Miracle"?

View Post

You are right about Milky Rivers and Drinks. The word produkty actually means groceries or food. Unfortunately, for some reason I can only see about half of the photos I’ve uploaded. If anyone has the same problem, please tell me. But yes, this is the kiosk that sells mostly dairy. It is 6% milk there. You'll probably notice on packages that dairy comes in all kinds of weird percentages here, like 1.5% or 3.2%. I usually buy yogurt, milk, or kefir in this kiosk. So you guys are sharp!

I will post the photos of the day now as I might not have the time to do it tomorrow.

Breakfast was whole wheat bread and milk. The bread had just finished baking by the time I woke up (thank goodness for the time-delay cycle!):

Posted Image

I put some butter on it and let it melt. My mom bought the butter at the market, so it’s not factory-packed:

Posted Image

Here is something interesting. This milk is not plain milk. It’s baked milk. It’s got this rich creamy, buttery flavor. I tried to duplicate it once by “baking” milk in a crock pot overnight, but it wasn’t the same.

Posted Image

Shawn, of course, had cereal:

Posted Image

For lunch I was meeting some of my co-workers at an Italian restaurant. Since I was running late, I called them and asked to go ahead and order for me. I wanted something sea-food-y.

Coming up:

Posted Image

Open kitchen inside:
Posted Image

Bar:
Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

You get to choose the type of pasta you want and the type of sauce. (Here’s a chance to practice more Russian!):

Posted Image

The type of pasta the guys ordered for me was not my favorite (I prefer angel hair), but it was fine:

Posted Image

One of my companions had quattro formaggio pizza:

Posted Image

The other one got prosciutto e fungi:

Posted Image

I had some herbal tea after the meal.

Posted Image

It is customary in Russian restaurants to put gum in the book with the bill. As we were sitting there chatting, one of us built this nice structure. Everyone decided that since I was out of my mind enough to photograph everything I see, this construction was surely picture-worthy.

Posted Image

#81 mukki

mukki
  • participating member
  • 479 posts
  • Location:Miami Beach

Posted 08 August 2006 - 10:09 AM

Yes, they are called “Eskimo.” It’s rich vanilla ice cream on a stick, covered in chocolate.


Hey! As a person of Inuit origin, I object to that name!

:biggrin: Kidding.

Are they the same things as the American "Eskimo Pie"? Because if they were originally an American product encountered by my Canadian roommate in Russia - who then assumed they were Russian - well that could be kind of humourous.

View Post

Are these similar to the chocolate-covered cheese confections that can be found in the frozen section of Russian markets? Or are they pure ice cream? The ones I buy are about 2 inches x 1 inch and taste like sweetened cream cheese -- really, really good. I always forget which brand is the best, so I end up having to buy a few to get the good one. In Anya von Bremzen's Russian cookbook, she says they're called Glazirovanniye Sirki and that they're made with a mixture of farmer's cheese, cream cheese, sugar and egg yolks.

This is a wonderful blog, Alinka; I was really excited when I saw that it was going to be based in Moscow! I visited in 1991 in high school (as part of one of the Eisenhower exchange programs); my favorite food memory is grilled meat served with a tomato sauce purchased from a kiosk in Gorky Park (a full plate cost the equivalent of 25 cents at the time).

#82 nakji

nakji
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,659 posts
  • Location:Shanghai

Posted 08 August 2006 - 10:14 AM

Regarding vodka: as I said, Shawn does not drink any alcohol at all. And I don’t drink vodka; I prefer wine or cocktails. Come to think of it, none of our friends actually drink vodka; wine seems to be the beverage of choice. I probably need to point out that unlike Americans, Russians never drink alcoholic drinks without food. So nobody just sips vodka like thee do in the States. You quickly down a shot and follow it with some food; eat and enjoy the conversation. Repeat biggrin.gif.



I've noticed this to be true across Asia as well. It's a much more sensible way to drink when you think about it. All that food cushions the booze! Although I do eat more this way!!

I've seen baked milk like that here in Vietnam as well. I just assumed it was UHT milk that had changed colour. It has a really unique taste. I sometimes miss fresh milk. Do you miss anything from the U.S.?

Mukki: Yes! My roommate said they were smallish squares...are they the same thing?

#83 Alinka

Alinka
  • participating member
  • 371 posts
  • Location:Houston

Posted 08 August 2006 - 10:17 AM

On the way home, by popular demand I photographed pastry kiosks. Here they are strategically lined along the street that leads to the metro station. So all these hungry office workers sneak a pirozhok or two before their long commute home.

Posted Image
Anyone wishing to read what the sign says?

Posted Image

Here these guys are eating blini at one of those blini kiosks I was talking about.

Posted Image

Photographing the actual pastries turned out to be difficult because of the reflection. But I tried to take pictures at several kiosks:

Posted Image

pies1
Posted Image

pies2
Posted Image

And since I had my camera out, I also snapped a picture of the outdoor area of a chain restaurant called Il Патио as I was passing it.

Posted Image

Now, this one is especially for Wendy aka little ms foodie – a traditional store where you tell the saleswoman what you want, pay her, she gives you the check and your purchase:

Posted Image

And this one is for MarketStEl – the inside of our fridge (by the way, that beer is non-alcoholic!):

Posted Image

That's it. See you all tomorrow!

Edited by Alinka, 08 August 2006 - 10:19 AM.


#84 Catherine Nash

Catherine Nash
  • participating member
  • 109 posts

Posted 08 August 2006 - 10:46 AM

Bozhe moi, Alinka, I am FLABBERGASTED by all the changes in Moscow! I moved there 10 years ago and lived there for a year, and the city I lived in barely resembles the one you live in. I bet the metro is the same and the architecture, but very little else.

Thank you for your insightful look into Moscow today. I am enjoying it even as I walk down memory lane, recalling shopping exclusively at outdoor markets for fruit and veg, and at indoor markets for baked goods, cheeses and bread (yes, the kind where you had to get a ticket, pay, and take your ticket back to the grumpy ladies to get your food. The kind where if you didn't have exact coin change -- and who did, given that the exchange rate was 5,000 rubles = 1 dollar? -- they would yell at you. Yeah. Don't miss that!)

Now, one recommendation I have is to eat at Mama Zoya's. That, along with the American Diner near Mayakovsky Square, was one of the few restaurants that was operational when I lived there. It's great Georgian food, and I hear from my sister (who just visited Moscow two weeks ago for work) that there is a 2nd location on a boat out in the river. Perhaps more scenic than the original. (Can't remember the location, sorry! I know it's near one of the central metros but cannot for the life of me remember which one.)

Cannot wait to tune in tomorrow for more of this fascinating look at Russia. Bolshoe spasibo!

#85 dsquare

dsquare
  • participating member
  • 29 posts
  • Location:Orlando, Florida, USA

Posted 08 August 2006 - 10:50 AM

Thank you for taking the time to share your life in Moscow. I am enjoying your blog immensely.
Dave

#86 Kouign Aman

Kouign Aman
  • participating member
  • 2,653 posts
  • Location:San Diego

Posted 08 August 2006 - 11:18 AM

We have the saying "Land of Milk and Honey" - similar to those milky rivers and porridge mountains.

I love the picture of the fireboat on the river. I've seen them doing the same in Long Beach harbor. Its a beautiful photograph (moscow13).

Thanks for blogging, Alina. Its fascinating.
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#87 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 08 August 2006 - 12:02 PM

Random comments without quotes for reference--I'll just assume you all are following along and know what I'm referring to:

--"Il Patio": Is the fare at this chain Italian (given the use of the definite article here)? It looks kinda-sorta-Californian-crossed-with-Scandinavian in design.

--"Eskimo bars" and the confection that was described as "frozen cream cheese" sound like two different desserts, judging from a subsequent post. If the "Eskimo" bar is not the same thing as the American Eskimo Pie, it sure sounds like it is. But this frozen cream cheese dessert sounds delightful. Wanna take one for the team and try one and tell us what it tastes like? Frozen cheesecake, perhaps?

--The traditional stores, it appears, are also much better stocked than I imagine they must have been in Soviet days. (I remember a bunch of jokes that Russians used to tell back in Communist days; the most relevant one here is probably "When Communism comes to the Sahara Desert, there will be a shortage of sand.") And the produce looks gorgeous! Locally grown or shipped in from some distant point?

--The proliferation of kiosks, I imagine, is also an outgrowth of the economic transformation. But I can't recall any other large city where they appear so plentiful. How did they come to be so common? That street leading to your Metro station resembles a carnival midway, there are so many kiosks. Do they all sell foodstuffs? (I thought the "Milky Rivers" place was a small drugstore in the distance shot you first posted.)

--Do any Russians grumble about the explosion of Roman-alphabet lettering all over the place?

--As someone else also mentioned the Moscow Metro in passing, I will simply note that for any of you who have never seen pictures of a station (I have), the Moscow subway is like no other on the planet. Begun in 1935 as a Stalinist showcase, its stations are palatial, with ornate chandeliers, marble walls and elaborate mosaics celebrating Soviet achievements.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#88 cocoagirl

cocoagirl
  • participating member
  • 70 posts

Posted 08 August 2006 - 12:17 PM

Wonderful blog- taking me to a place I might else never see. Since I started reading these blogs (current and starting with earliest and making my way through- long way to go) - I have been to Africa, Japan, France, Israel, Amsterdam, Canada, plus lots of towns and cities in the USA, etc. I have done my share of travel and yet this deskchair (government job, lots of free time) travel has let me into the lives of people and seen sites that I could not imagine. Thanks to all the wonderful bloggers and thanks e-gullet.

Edited by cocoagirl, 08 August 2006 - 12:20 PM.


#89 tino27

tino27
  • participating member
  • 831 posts
  • Location:Akron, OH

Posted 08 August 2006 - 12:43 PM

I agree with cocoagirl ... this is an amazing look at the cultural shift that has taken place over the last decade and a half. I am especially interested in a lot of the dishes that you have been so kind to photograph and describe. I've added about a half dozen things to my list to try and make myself at home. I did have one question: I got your recipe for Summer Borsch from the Dinner thread and you mentioned earlier that if you want to add beets to the recipe, simply add them with the sauteeing vegetables before adding to the stock with the potatoes. My question is, how much (or how many) beets do you use for your Summer Borsch recipe?

Between the Plov, the Borsch, the Georgian Chicken and the Kachapuri (I'm hoping my local cheese shop has the traditional Suluguni), I'm going to be eating well for a while.

Keep up the excellent work! :biggrin:
Food Blog: Exploring Food My Way: Satisfying The Craving -- Exercising my epicurean muscles by eating my way through everything that is edible.
Flickr: Link To My Account
Twitter: @tnoe27

#90 ruthcooks

ruthcooks
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 1,100 posts

Posted 08 August 2006 - 01:01 PM

Since there is no apparent basis for the love I have of all things Russian, I just say that I was Russian in a former life. My fairy tale vision is of a beautiful lady wearing a green velvet hooded cape and riding a horse through a gorgeous icy winter forest like Vanessa Redgrave in a scene from "Camelot". (Unfortunately, I'm closer to the Russian peasant woman in her babushka!)

So this blog is all fascinating, Alina, and thank you for doing it.

Russian cuisine is very tempting to me with all its rich heavy foods, dairy products, mushrooms, breads and my favorite herb, dill. I even like kissel. Some of my favorite recipes come from "The Best of Russian Cooking" by Alexandra Kropotkin, published in1964 and first published in 1947 under another name. The Foods of the World Russian volume is inspirational.

Do you have any favorite Russian cookbooks that are printed in English? How about a good recipe for Kurnik?

Looking forward to reading more...
Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Foodblog