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chefmd

Three days in Moscow

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I went on a quick trip to Moscow to visit my father who is now getting older and needs help (but still very healthy thank God).  Here is a few pictures from my trip.  

 

Here is a grocery store which is very different from the empty shelves that I remember when I left Soviet Union 20 plus years ago.

 

For the reference, Dollar to Ruble ratio is about 38.

 

 

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There is no shortage of fast food places, mostly American but local as well.  These joints are very busy.

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I let my husband out of sight for a few hours while dealing with Russian bureaucracy and he promptly ate at McDonalds.

 

Sign on the door says that it is open 7 AM to midnight and MacExpress is open around the clock.

 

Cost of fries, drink, and Royal Cheeseburger is about 6 dollars.

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Snack at the Domodedovo Airport.  Chebureki which is  deep fried pastry traditionally filled with spiced meat and onions.  It is a common street food in former Soviet republics.

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We also ate in a Russian chain restaurant elki palki.  You can order from the menu or can eat variety of traditional dishes from the cart.  Daily special three course meal is 259 rubles.  Beets are rather popular as you will see from other posts.

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Dinner in a place named "Country that does not exist".  They serve dishes from former Soviet republics.  All presented on gorgeous Jars ceramics.

 

Cranberry infused vodka shot.

 

Sacivi: georgian chicken in walnut sauce.  Recipe can be found on this website http://georgianrecipes.net/tag/georgian-food/

 

Chebureki again.

 

Manti: Uzbeki dumplings.

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Georgian dumplings restaurant chain Chinkali.  These dumplings are steamed and very juicy.  You hold them by the little stem on top and drink the juice first.  No fork and knife.

 

Also spicy Georgian beet salad.

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And the view from out Hotel (thanks to my husband's SPG points).  Apparently Lenin stayed there too and they still kept the memorial plaque.

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Those are fascinating photos. I can't make out the prices on the dairy products enough to be sure, but I get the idea that the staples are roughly the same price - maybe slightly higher - than in the US, but that the luxury items are astronomically higher. Is that all caviar in the refrigerator case?

The restaurant meals remind me that there are cuisines of which I know nothing (yet). I love the looks of that cart lined with dish after dish for your selection. It appears they haven't come up with 'sneeze guards' or whatever we call the clear barriers one sees at a salad bar in the US. Did your husband gravitate to McDonald's because it was familiar, or just convenient and fast?

Thank you for posting this.

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Prices are all over the map.  Supermarket tomatoes are about a dollar a kilo (40 cents a pound).  A small container or imported yogurt is 3-4 dollars.  Loaf or bread is about a dollar.

 

It is indeed caviar in the refrigerator.

 

Not sure what was going through my husband's head, was too busy to ask at the time.  He does gravitate to fast food.  When we first started dating he called me a "food snob" when I refused to go to a certain restaurant and he meant that as a mild insult.  Now he calls me a food snob as a compliment.

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Thank you for sharing all of this ChefMD.  I love seeing places that I am sure I will never get to visit.  That last beet salad is simply beautiful in color.  And I want to slurp one of those dumplings.  I hope you snuck some good caviar home ;)

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Very interesting chefmd, thanks for posting.  The caviar is indeed expensive.  Yes, I understand this is in a "gourmet store" and there are lots of rich folks around nowadays - but I am just curious --- how frequently would the "general populace" (and the percentage of it) in Moscow buy these nowadays?

 

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 And I want to slurp one of those dumplings.

 

Shelby, have you had xiao long bao or tang bao before?  :-)

 

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Very interesting chefmd, thanks for posting.  The caviar is indeed expensive.  Yes, I understand this is in a "gourmet store" and there are lots of rich folks around nowadays - but I am just curious --- how frequently would the "general populace" (and the percentage of it) in Moscow buy these nowadays?

 

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Shelby, have you had xiao long bao or tang bao before?  :-)

No :sad: , but I would like to 

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I lived in Moscow for a couple of years during the Gorbachev era. What a change since then.

 

Back then, the supermarkets were filled with nothing but bottled cabbage in vinegar. The whole city smelled of cabbage. And Gorby had banned the sale of vodka to try to cut down the admittedly horrific alcohol-related death rate.

 

I could buy pretty much everything in the so-called Friendship stores which the locals couldn't even enter. You had to show your passport to the armed guard on the door. High ranking communists could, of course, get in.

 

I spent one night in that hotel, but then moved into an apartment in the north of the city near the Yuri Gagarin monument.

 

My memories of an otherwise happy time there are certainly not food related. The food was, to be honest, deplorable.

 

I'm glad things have changed. Can't stand Putin, though.
 

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I was born and raised in Moscow, lived there till 1992.  Life was tough.  I was one of the natives who were not allowed to the Friendship stores (what an oxymoronic name!).  My memories of that time is empty shelves in the stores tempered by the happiness of youth.

 

Area near Yuri Gagarin monument is now super expensive.  Center of the city area is beyond expensive.

 

Food choices are only limited by your credit card limit.

 

Nostalgic before Perestroyka food items are few and far in between. May be it is a good thing.  I paid tribute to those times by eating the brand of ice cream that was available back then.  It is called Lakomka (meaning little gourmet) and is minimally sweet and very fatty which is fine with me. 

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Very cool.  Thank you for sharing ChefMD.

 

Question: In the first set of pics, specifically the last picture - after the Burger King, with the sign that says "You will never drink alone" - ... what kind of food are they selling...?

 

Just as an aside, some of the comments remind me of how lucky I am to have been born and raised in Canada (Thanks Mom and Dad!).  It's hard to imagine (at least for me) supermarkets with bare shelves and food stores with armed guards.  Talking and debating about food, is indeed, a luxury.

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"You will never drink alone" is a beer joint.  They advertise breakfast for 109 rubles and "home style" dinner for 249 rubles.  Russians eat their main meal mid day and call it dinner.  Evening meal is supper and it is generally lighter.  Breakfast is hearty, almost always includes protein.

 

Talking about food as a hobby instead of simply trying to procure enough food to eat, is indeed, a luxury.  

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Is that expensive caviar Caspian?  I know that international trade in Caspian caviar is banned... are the Russians still harvesting sturgeon for domestic  consumption?

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I am back in Moscow for a few days.  This time with my son.  I flew Aeroflot from Washington DC.  It is my first time on Aeroflot in a very very long time but non stop flight won over my allegiance to United.  It also did not hurt that I was able to buy business class ticket for only a little more than the price of a coach ticket on US airlines.

 

Menu

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Food on the plane.  It all tasted great except for terminally overlooked steak.  I briefly regretted not ordering fish but the passenger next to me ordered it and it did not smell good if you know what I mean.  Everything else was delightful.

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An interesting announcement right after we took off: you can only consume alcoholic beverages served on board.  Hmm, I guess that bottle from duty free should stay unopened.

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Snacking at Sheremetevo airport while waiting for my son to arrive.  This is the first time both of are together at this airport after leaving USSR 22 years ago!  Siberian crown beer and couple pieces of toast were about 4 dollars.  

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The place is called little potato and is a Russian chain.

 

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@JoNorvelleWalker you are right. Over cooked steak at least smells good.  In general, there are many places where one should not order fish ;)

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