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


Alinka
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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:

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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 (log)
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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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"?

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!):

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

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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.

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Shawn, of course, had cereal:

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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:

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Open kitchen inside:

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Bar:

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

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

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One of my companions had quattro formaggio pizza:

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The other one got prosciutto e fungi:

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I had some herbal tea after the meal.

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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.

gallery_28661_3386_24856.jpg

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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.

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).

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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?

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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.

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Anyone wishing to read what the sign says?

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

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

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pies1

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pies2

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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.

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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:

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

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That's it. See you all tomorrow!

Edited by Alinka (log)
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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!

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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.

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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

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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 (log)
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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:

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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

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Does Russia have Pocky? :wink:

Thanks for blogging, Alinka. I am enjoying being an arm-chair traveler, seeing Russia through your eyes.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Thank you Alinka!! that shop looks just like the ones we frequented. Great photos of everything!

I noticed that the Italian place had items listed in Russian and English, is this for tourists or is that becoming more common in general do you think?

The weather just looks great! and you mentioned your mom, she is living in Moscow also? sorry if I missed that somewhere.

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--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.)

Playing off MarketStEl's question, what happens to the kiosks in the winter? Are they still there? Do they take their business indoors somewhere?

Edited by SuzySushi (log)

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Wonderful blog Alinka. Now I can visit Moscow vicariously through you.

I had Russian student from Ekatarinaburg bord with me for a year, so I was introduced a little to Russian food. We would hop in my car and drive to an area near York University in Toronto where there is a large Russian immigrant population and he would go nuts in the Russian grocery/bakery/deli stores buying for all his favourite foods which I would then have to prepare. The deli foods were fabulous....meats I would die to have again but unfortunately I have no idea what he bought. However I do remember in particular pelmenyi.

Would you please have some pelmenyi for me?..... pretty please!

"Flay your Suffolk bought-this-morning sole with organic hand-cracked pepper and blasted salt. Thrill each side for four minutes at torchmark haut. Interrogate a lemon. Embarrass any tough roots from the samphire. Then bamboozle till it's al dente with that certain je ne sais quoi."

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Alina: Thanks for the pastry kiosk pictures. We were in Russia in winter, so the kiosks were located in indoor malls. One could see (and buy) the pastries as they came out warm from the oven. For the outdoor kiosks, are the pastries baked nearby?

Anyone wishing to read what the sign says?

Пироги слойки = flaky pirogis (he asks with trepidation)?

Sorry about the wine question. I meant pre-pregnancy (more trepidation).

By the way, you are absolutely right about throwing away that particular Russian-English dictionary. My favorite is a smaller, Russian-for-tourists paperback. It includes lots of food terms, and two pages of colorful slang and insults :biggrin:

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.

Alina alluded to this above, but Russia is a huge country and Moscow is not exactly typical. In many ways, Moscow has more similarities with New York and London than it does with Novisibirsk or Murmansk. As of 5 years ago, going farther from Moscow was like going back in time.

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Caveat: I lived in Moscow 10 years ago.

Regarding the question of kiosks asked above -- they are not a recent proliferation. They were just as plentiful a decade ago, and they were definitely open all year long, winters be damned. Outdoor markets, too, were where everyone bought fruits, vegetables, and many other things -- even as it was snowing outside. (It was more miserable for the poor vendors, I imagine, who were out there most of the day.) In the section of town near my apartment (Prospekt Vernadskovo) I only knew of one indoor/enclosed produce market. Suffice it to say we happily toodled off to it every weekend, taking 3 separate buses and spending 2 hours in round trip transit, for the privilege of shopping with our gloves off.

Back to the kiosks. Some sold beer, wine and even individual shots of vodka (in plastic cups) or single cigarettes; others sold fresh baked bread, cookies, Ramen noodles. Anything and everything.

I am not enough of a cultural historian to explain why kiosks are so ubiquitous in Moscow; perhaps someone else has a reasonable explanation?

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[...]I noticed that the Italian place had items listed in Russian and English, is this for tourists or is that becoming more common in general do you think?[...]

I'm interested in her answer, too, though it looked to me like that restaurant showed items in Russian and Italian, not English.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Very interesting blog! And congratulations on your pregnancy. I am also expecting (my 2nd child) at the end of September.

This blog is timely too -- for my parents that is. They are leaving for Russia on Friday and will be in Moscow for 4 days and St. Petersburg for 4 days.

I have been researching restaurants for them to visit so that they don't get caught up in tourist traps. I am planning to give them the name of the Georgian restaurant that you visited since the food looks so delicious and I would love to give them the name of the Italian restaurant as well. What is it called and where is it located?

I know that they are planning to see the Bolshoi Ballet one evening. Do you have any recommendations for restaurants in the vicinity of the theater? Thanks!

Edited by Cleo (log)
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Wow...just...wow.

Thx for doing this, Alina...the photography is incredible and I appreciate your giving us a glimpse into life/society/food in a place that is so different, yet similar to the States.

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      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By shain
      It's been more than a year in which international travel was challenging to impossible, but gladly this is changing, as more countries are able to vaccinate their population.
      Greece had managed to return to a state of near normality, and opted to allow vaccinated individuals to enter. And so I decided to go on a slightly spontaneous vacation (only slightly, we still had almost a month for planning). To the trip I was joined by my father, to whom I owed some good one-on-one time and was able to travel on a short-ish notice.
       
       
      Many people are yet unable to travel, and many countries are suffering quite badly from the virus, and therefore I considered if I should wait some time with this post. However, I hope that it will instead be seen with an optimistic view, showing that back-to-normal is growing ever closer.
       
       
      We returned just a few days ago, and it will take me some time to organize my photos, so this is a teaser until then.
       
       
       
       
    • By Drew777
      I'm a Brit. I'm also a closet Frenchman.  To cap it all, I'm happily retired in Bangkok, the city of a street food culture that's second to none. The Thais are healthy and slim. I'm just this side of alive and far from slim. Lockdown has me fantasizing about my days working in London, Paris and New York, an existence, if one could call it that, revolving around gastronomy of one kind or another. They paid me, not so very much as it happens, to do what I enjoy doing most in life. We all get to do it, but I was one of a fortunate few who made it his metier. Well all that's in the past now, but I still dream of my time in Paris when lunch was a tad short of 2-hours, little-known local bistros remained affordable until the day they were discovered by La Bible (Michelin Guide) and the students were revolting - this was the summer of '68, for heaven's sake. Someone should open bistro here in Bangkok with a table d'hote of Soupe a l'Oignon gratinee, Blanquette de Veau, a stinky Epoisses and Tarte Tatin to finsih with creme fraiche. Ah, it's back to lockdown and pad Thai. 
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