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Alinka

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

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Now I have another question regarding the grocery stores. In Peter the small neighborhood shops were set up where all the grocery items were behind a counter and each counter was run by a different woman- you paid each one seperately. Is that just a step below the larger grocery store? Do you have that set up in Moscow also?

Peter is beautiful Alinka, you and your husband should go for a weekend!

[emphasis added]

Jeez, even the Russian cities are referred to with diminuitives?

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Now I have another question regarding the grocery stores. In Peter the small neighborhood shops were set up where all the grocery items were behind a counter and each counter was run by a different woman- you paid each one seperately. Is that just a step below the larger grocery store? Do you have that set up in Moscow also?

Peter is beautiful Alinka, you and your husband should go for a weekend!

[emphasis added]

Jeez, even the Russian cities are referred to with diminuitives?

I'm sorry, is this rude to do? When we were there the locals referred to the city as Peter so I thought it was common??? I certainly didn't mean to offend.

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As one who is fascinated with all things Russian (I was briefly a Russian Studies/Language major in college, but gave up that idea after only learning how to say "Hello. How are you? I am six." after 3 semesters of study. Although, it's possible that too much partying got in the way of my studies. :hmmm:), I have to say fascinating blog so far, Alina. Thanks!

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? (As a completely off-topic aside, the upstairs landlady absolutely forbade any additional people from taking showers each day, particularly not water-hogging Americans, so my boyfriend and I had to go to the Base gymnasium to bathe each morning!!)

Thanks again! Your photos and the food look fabulous!

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Now I have another question regarding the grocery stores. In Peter the small neighborhood shops were set up where all the grocery items were behind a counter and each counter was run by a different woman- you paid each one seperately. Is that just a step below the larger grocery store? Do you have that set up in Moscow also?

Peter is beautiful Alinka, you and your husband should go for a weekend!

[emphasis added]

Jeez, even the Russian cities are referred to with diminuitives?

I'm sorry, is this rude to do? When we were there the locals referred to the city as Peter so I thought it was common??? I certainly didn't mean to offend.

Sorry, I should have added a wink to my post. Alinka was commenting upthread on the widespread use of diminuitives in Russian, and I noticed your use of the word Russians themselves use to refer to the city I grew up calling Leningrad.

Nice of them to give it back its original name.

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Now I have another question regarding the grocery stores. In Peter the small neighborhood shops were set up where all the grocery items were behind a counter and each counter was run by a different woman- you paid each one seperately. Is that just a step below the larger grocery store? Do you have that set up in Moscow also?

Peter is beautiful Alinka, you and your husband should go for a weekend!

[emphasis added]

Jeez, even the Russian cities are referred to with diminuitives?

I'm sorry, is this rude to do? When we were there the locals referred to the city as Peter so I thought it was common??? I certainly didn't mean to offend.

Sorry, I should have added a wink to my post. Alinka was commenting upthread on the widespread use of diminuitives in Russian, and I noticed your use of the word Russians themselves use to refer to the city I grew up calling Leningrad.

Nice of them to give it back its original name.

excellent! I thought that is what you were referring to but I wanted to check!

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Wow, Alinka, this is awesome...I cannot wait to watch the week unfold.

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

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Wow. Moscow is a totally different place than what I remember it being in the late 1980s.

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


Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

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kiliki   

What a fantastic blog already! And I second the request for the plov recipe.

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Abra   

Holy cow! I was in Moscow in 1993, and I saw nothing, and I do mean nothing, at all like those shops and malls. Incredible what a transformation can happen in such a short time.

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.

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Alinka   
Could you share the recipe for that plov, please? It looks delicious and comforting.

It is comforting, but it’s very simple. It really helps to have a special mix of spices. I’m not sure what’s exactly in it; I usually buy a packet “Spices for Plov” in the Russian store in Houston, or at the market from Uzbeks here. I suppose you can make it without them.

PLOV

1 large carrot, julienned or grated

1 medium onion, diced

2 tablespoons oil

2 chicken thighs cut into smaller pieces

salt

1 1/2 cups rice

3 garlic cloves

Sautee onions in oil until translucent. Add carrots and sauté until soft. Add chicken, 1 cup boiling water and salt; simmer 5-7 minutes, covered. Add rice and 2 cups boiling water, bring to boil. Cover and let simmer on low heat until rice is done and water is absorbed. Stick peeled garlic cloves into rice, cover, remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes.

[Edited to replace wrong photo with right photo. :hmmm:]

Is that halvah on the upper right corner?

Yes, it is halvah.

gallery_28661_3386_55642.jpg

It's dried salted fish. Good with beer :biggrin:.

That is interesting! Looks good with sake too. :biggrin: Could you tell us the name of the fish? Is it the only fish dried and salted in your country?

One more question: Ikura is one of the few Russian words I know. How do you eat ikura (I mean salmon roe) in your country?

Unfortunately, I don’t know what that fish is called. Maybe I’ll ask next time :smile:. No, this is not the only kind of fish that Russians prepare this way.

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

gallery_34224_2175_28280.jpg

Now I have another question regarding the grocery stores. In Peter the small neighborhood shops were set up where all the grocery items were behind a counter and each counter was run by a different woman- you paid each one seperately. Is that just a step below the larger grocery store? Do you have that set up in Moscow also?

Yes, those still do exist here, and they are pretty common, too. (Note to self: take a picture of a small store for the blog :smile:)

The only Russian word I learned was bap!  :raz:

That’s a good one to know!

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nakji   

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:

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Alinka   
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? 

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?

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.

gallery_34224_2175_88293.jpg

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.simplepleasures.ru/spring_eng.html

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Alinka   
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:

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

The cherries made it to Moscow!! :laugh:

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.

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.fotki.com/a_june_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?

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.

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:

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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.

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Cadbury   

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?

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Rehovot   
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:

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Alinka   
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.

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?

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:

gallery_28661_3386_10896.jpg

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?

gallery_28661_3386_121159.jpg

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:

gallery_28661_3386_97828.jpg

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:

gallery_28661_3386_36878.jpg

gallery_28661_3386_113034.jpg

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

gallery_28661_3386_67321.jpg

These are tart!

gallery_28661_3386_15811.jpg

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

gallery_28661_3386_44521.jpg

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

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Alinka   

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:

gallery_28661_3386_88702.jpg

gallery_28661_3386_60928.jpg

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

gallery_28661_3386_84740.jpg

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:

gallery_28661_3386_49703.jpg

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

gallery_28661_3386_57948.jpg

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):

gallery_28661_3386_23383.jpg

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:

gallery_28661_3386_38400.jpg

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:.

gallery_28661_3386_11602.jpg

When cut, the cheese oozes out, like this:

gallery_28661_3386_39186.jpg

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.

gallery_28661_3386_42849.jpg

gallery_28661_3386_77834.jpg

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

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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 (log)

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Pille   

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.

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:.

gallery_28661_3386_57948.jpg

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:.

gallery_28661_3386_11602.jpg

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..

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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?

gallery_28661_3386_121159.jpg

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

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:

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Pille   
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 (log)

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

gallery_34224_2175_28280.jpg

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?

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

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:

gallery_28661_3386_144990.jpg

(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)

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.

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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?

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      Welcome to “Tales from the Fragrant Harbour”!
      In the next couple of days I am hoping to take you to a little excursion to Hong Kong to explore the local food and food culture as well as maybe a little bit more about my personal culinary background. I hope I can give you a good impression of what life is like on this side of the globe and am looking very forward to answering questions, engaging in spirited discussions and just can share a bit of my everyday life with you. Before starting with the regular revealing shots of my fridge’s content and some more information on myself, I’d like to start this blog and a slightly different place.
      For today's night, I ‘d like to report back from Chiba city, close to Tokyo, Japan. It’s my last day of a three day business trip and it’s a special day here in Japan: “Doyou no ushi no hi”. The “midsummer day of the ox”, which is actually one of the earlier (successful) attempts of a clever marketing stunt.  As sales of the traditional winter dish “Unagi” (grilled eel with sweet soy sauce) plummeted in summer, a clever merchant took advantage of the folk tale that food items starting with the letter “U” (like ume = sour plum and uri = gourd) dispel the summer heat, so he introduced “Unagi” as a new dish best enjoyed on this day. It was successful, and even in the supermarkets the sell Unagi-Don and related foods. Of course, I could not resist to take advantage and requested tonight dinner featuring eel. Thnaks to our kind production plant colleagues, I had what I was craving …
      (of course the rest of the food was not half as bad)

      Todays suggestion: Unagi (grilled eel) and the fitting Sake !
       

      For starters: Seeweed (upper left), raw baby mackerel with ginger (upper right) and sea snails. I did not care for the algae, but the little fishes were very tasty.
       

      Sahimi: Sea bream, Tuna and clam ...
       

      Tempura: Shrimp, Okra, Cod and Mioga (young pickled ginger sprouts).
       

      Shioyaki Ayu: salt-grilled river fish. I like this one a lot. I particularly enjoy the fixed shape mimicking the swimming motion. The best was the tail fin
       

      Wagyu: "nuff said ...
       

      Gourd. With a kind of jellied Oden stock. Nice !
       

      Unagi with Sansho (mountain pepper)
       

      So, so good. Rich and fat and sweet and smoky. I could eat a looooot of that ...
       

      Chawan Mushi:steamed egg custard. A bit overcooked. My Japanese hosts very surprised when I told them that I find it to be cooked at to high temperatures (causing the custard to loose it's silkiness), but they agreed.
       

      Part of the experience was of course the Sake. I enjoyed it a lot but whether this is the one to augment the taste of the Unagi I could not tell ...
       

      More Unagi (hey it's only twice per year) ...
       

      Miso soup with clams ...
       

      Tiramisu.
       

      Outside view of the restaurant. Very casual!
      On the way home I enjoyed a local IPA. Craft beer is a big thing in Japan at the moment (as probably anywhere else in the world), so at 29 oC in front of the train station I had this. Very fruity …

       
      When I came back to the hotel, the turn down service had made my bed and placed a little Origami crane on my pillow. You just have to love this attention to detail.

    • By KennethT
      OK.... here we go again!!!  While this post is a bit premature (we don't take off until around 1:30AM tonight), I am extremely excited so I figured I'd just set up the topic now.  As in previous foodblogs, I may post a bit from time to time while we're there, depending on how good my internet connection is, and how much free time I have... but the bulk of posting will really get started around July 9th - the day after we get home (hopefully without too much jetlag!!!)
    • By Ian Dao
      Hi everyone, 
       
      Recently, I just found this paradise for Foodie and it is my pleasure to be here. My name is Ian and I am from Salzburg. I love to eat but have to hold myself back before I could roll faster than walk. Last month, I started my own food blog (mostly about restaurant, travel and stories). Reasons I want to be here are to improve my knowledge about food/wine and to learn more how to describe ingredients around me. 
       
      Thank you and have a great week =D 
       
      Guten Hunger (German)
      Mahlzeit (Austrian) 
      --> Enjoy your meal =D 
       
      www.iandao.com
    • By sartoric
      We're 50 something Aussies who enjoy travelling, eating, cooking, markets, kitchen shops, cooking utensils, animals & plants (often food related), architecture & photography (both kitchens and food) and exploring different cultures (of which food is a big part). The trip was January 14 - February 6, it was just marvellous. My favourite meal is now masala dosa with sambar, I had many. Here's some highlights of the food.
       
      A late afternoon snack of Sichuan pepper squid was washed down with a beer at the Ajantha Seaview Hotel on the promenade in Pondicherry. It's a colonial building with a first floor terrace overlooking the colourful display of women in their finest, and the Bay of Bengal. We're here on a Monday public holiday for the Pongal festival, a four day celebration of the harvest, with many different ceremonies and traditions.
       
       

       
      A visual bonus, cows (and sometimes goats) get their horns painted and wear flower garlands or other decorations.

       
    • By Christy Martino
      Ciao!
       
      I'm Christine and I'm a born and bred New Yorker. I’m an Italian by blood (and at heart, of course) since my parents actually came from Italy. My father was from Sciacca, Sicily while my mother was from Sondrio, Lombardy. Despite coming from different regions, or because of it, love for food and cooking has been one of the mainstays in my family home life growing up. And I’ve always loved the dishes my parents prepared during special occasions, and even on regular days.
       
      And of course, I love cooking (and eating) Italian food and I have a few recipes from my mother, but I'd really love to collect some more, especially the traditional ones. And if anyone can contribute some historical background to each dish, that would be really great.
       
      Grazie mille!
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