Russian Birthday Cake

My oldest son Mischa hung up his chef’s hat at age 23 to open a communications company.  Mischa is a popular Russian (and German) nickname for Mikhail.  Misch’s great grandfather left Russia on his own at the age of 12, escaping the pogroms of the early 20th century in order to make a better life as an attorney and music impresario in New York City.

Even though Misch is no longer officially a chef, he has not given up his love for the food culture.  In honor of his birthday (I forget which one); this entry will be about our food experiences here in Russia. 

The Birthday Boy!

The Birthday Boy!

The first morning after we arrived in Moscow, we walked out of the apartment building and found a woman in a ruffled pinafore selling a freshly slaughtered (shall I say it?) pig!  The next morning she was back again but luckily we haven’t seen her since.

Moscow Piggy

Our neighborhood has many small markets but these stores have very little produce and what they do stock is not very fresh.  The neighbors buy fresh fruit and vegetables from a truck which is also in the parking lot and open early each day.  

No middle man!

No middle man!

 

In the city center there are many gourmet food markets.  One can buy almost anything for a price.  Still the fresh produce is limited but certainly more available than in our neighborhood.  The broccoli is delicious.  Fresh and smoked fish is plentiful and no more expensive than in Jerusalem or New York.  The cost of a whole salted fish and one small avocado are the same (40 rubles).  We have not found a market that sells kosher meat so fish, omelets, soups and pasta are keeping us fed very well.

It was fun to find a Starbucks coffee in one of the fancy new pedestrian malls.  There are Macdonald’s, Sbarros, and Fridays all over Moscow and St. Petersburg.  America sharing its bounty! 

Starbucks and Russian Tea

MacDonald's

Sushi is very popular here.  We enjoyed some in a restaurant with a glass floor over water.  Good but very pricey.  

There are many restaurants offering delicious pastas, pastries, coffees, and teas, whatever.  Many have menus in English, no-smoking sections and  waiters who speak English. 

Pass the wasabi!

Pass the wasabi!

 

The festival of Maslenitza, Russian Mardi Gras, is celebrated this week.  One of the major aims of the week is to fill one’s tummy.  The traditional food is pancakes or blinies.  Many restaurants offer a special menu of various pancakes.  We’ve tried pancakes served with Salmon, sour cream and caviar.  We had them stuffed with potatoes and mushrooms and ones stuffed with cheese.  Dessert pancakes that we tried include ones served with dolce de leche and ones stuffed with cherries. 

Russian Mardi Gras features pancakes of every kind.

Russian Mardi Gras features pancakes of every kind.

By far the best restaurant that we’ve eaten in was in St. Petersburg.  After spending the whole day in the Hermitage we decided to find an early dinner in the area. 

Edwin had seen an advertisement for the Armenian restaurant Erivan (named after the capital of Armenian) that was not too far away.  It was snowing and cold but walking along a canal in one of the most beautiful districts of the city was a lovely start to the evening. 

The maitre d’ was happy to show us a menu on which we found a large selection of vegetarian and fish dishes so we asked to be seated.  The furnishings and table settings are classy rustic. The service was excellent and while our server spoke English, the restaurant was not touristy.  The first thing served was very cold, delicious Armenian beer.  We decided on several appetizers:  a soup, flat Armenian bread, a yummy eggplant dip, spinach something or other, and burekas rolled like cigars and stuffed with Armenian cheese.  We ordered, at the suggestion of the server, a grilled trout which came perfectly prepared, garnished with pomegranate seeds and capers.  Dessert?  Of course!  Again the server suggested a tasting platter of Armenian specialties with Armenian tea.  The dinner was outstanding. 

Armenian food par excellence.

Armenian food par excellence.

Grilled trout with pomegranate seeds and capers

Grilled trout with pomegranate seeds and capers

Armenian sweets.  Yummy!

Armenian sweets. Yummy!

 As a bonus, a birthday was being celebrated in the next room.  An Armenian dance band with clarinet (excellent) and synthesizer had been hired.  As our room had emptied out, and not wanting to let a good band go to waste we took to the dance floor for several numbers.  The ladies at the birthday party danced the traditional circle dances while the men sat like logs around the room.  

 If you find yourself in St. Petersburg, dining at Erivan is a must.

Armenian band and traditional dancing.

Armenian band and traditional dancing.

  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISCHA!

Traditional Georgian Apple Cake

 

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One Response to “Russian Birthday Cake”

  1. Car Equalizers Says:

    ‘*: I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives up to date information ~:~

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