Hmm, the Internetz are not working at my dom today… We’ll see if this gets posted, or if the black hole that is cyberspace eats it up.
(Also, my upstairs neighbors recently decided that they want to listen to really loud techno at all hours of the night and day. I want to beat them up. They have been listening to the same song for about 3 hours againandagainandagain.)
One of my classes was canceled today, so I have extra time for blogging! Yay! Ready for birthday extravaganza time? It actually wasn’t that wild or crazy a day, pretty pleasant overall, but I did eat like a princess.
Saturday night I made my lengthy trek into Moscow to meet some friends at a pub. We just chatted for a long while, drinking brews. However, some of us got a bit peckish… And so we ordered wings and fries (and more fries) for our table.
We also had a chat about what is spicy. Russians don’t really do spicy-hot, but I say pour on the heat! Our Russian friend, Meddick (his nickname), tried the sauce served with the wings and thought it was hot. I thought it tasted sweet. It was a tomato-based sauce that had onions and garlic in it, maybe some cayenne, but it was DEFINITELY not hot. Poor Meddick. Do you like hot and spicy?
Anyways, after a few rounds, we went back to my friends’ apartment. Somebody made me this very thoughtful “birthday cake” out of a finger cake, and used the plastic wrapper from a hot chocolate as a substitute candle. Gee, thanks, guys… Whatever, it was cute.
The next day I started my 23rd year with a big ol’ bowl of cold muesli and milk. Alex could not get over the fact that I took a picture of my cereal bowl. This one’s for you, girlie-o.
After much hemming and hawing, I finally sketched out some sort of rough plan for how I wanted to spend the day. One thing was certain: I wanted to eat Georgian food. So the crew got ready, headed into the city, and we met a few others to go to Dioskuriya.
It was a close call, because I almost couldn’t find the restaurant! I had been there once before in January, but it was at night when it had been quite dark. AND, we happened to get incredibly lost looking for it that time. All I knew was that it was on the far side of the street from Arbatskaya station. We wandered a bit, asked a travel agency if they had heard of this restaurant or had a map (they said no to both. What kind of travel agency doesn’t have a map?!?!), and I was about to feel really stupid when out of the corner of my eye, I spied a sandwich board pointing the way to the restaurant. Thank you, Fate, for smiling down on me! (Also, it was about 100 meters from the travel agency. Like, literally in the building behind it. Sheesh.)
We went all-out for our “lunch” at 3 o’clock. The Chadster ordered a bottle of champagne in my honor, and I wanted a Coke. Here I am with my beverages, and the salad I shared with Heather to start. It has tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and herbs.
Then, of course, I had to have my beloved kharcho—a soup of meat, rice, tomatoes, plum/pomegranate juice, and lots of herbs and spices. So, so good. I love you, kharcho. This was rich and tasty and put a big smile on my face.
We got a couple orders of kachapuri—Georgian cheese bread—for the table. This stuff is so good. The closest thing I could maybe compare it to is pizza without the sauce, but it is really so much more. I am so jealous of Luke for getting to eat this every day when he lived in Georgia!
For my “main” I went with a Georgian classic, khinkali. These are dumplings filled with spiced ground meat and herbs. These unfortunately, were not that great, but it was nice to have them again at all. To eat them, you grab the little knob, bite the dumpling, and suck out the broth and juices. A little bit messy, but fun to eat!
After we were all stuffed to the gills (or at least I was!), we went our separate ways. Some friends headed back to the ‘burbs, but a few of us decided to stay in Moscow a bit longer. We walked along Novy Arbat looking for a Sephora, but we couldn’t find it… So instead, we decided to go to Biblio Globus, a fantastic bookstore next to the former KGB headquarters/prison. This store has a whole English-language section, and I treated myself to a new book for a present. I bought The Night Watch, which is part of a trilogy/tetralogy (I wrote about the movie here), so I will have to go back soon to buy the other two books!
For my final birthday fun, I wanted to go to the Starlite Diner, an American-style diner that has a few locations around Moscow. They have all the diner classics—huge burgers, baskets of fries, bacon and eggs, pancakes, and old-fashioned desserts. Not healthy, but it is like a taste of home. (Although I won’t deny that I love me a good burger… I will be returning for one, and inevitably, a big plate of bacon and eggs.) I decided that I wanted to get just a scoop of ice cream with strawberry sauce, but Heather and the Chadster talked me into going for the “Kitchen Sink.” It was a for SERIOUS beast of a sundae. We decided to split it among us, because, get this: it weighed 1600 grams. Yeah. 1.6 kilograms of ice cream sundae.
Here was the stuff:
- 12 scoops of ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and orange sorbet)
- Hot fudge
- Blueberry sauce
- Strawberry sauce
- A chopped banana
- Brownies (amazing, because they don’t really exist in Russia)
- OREOS (even more amazing. They must have been imported. I am sorry, carbon footprint!)
- Whipped cream
When we ordered, the waitress stopped and looked at us with wide eyes. “Are you sure?” she said. We were sure. Well, they were. I thought we were going to be sick if we tried to eat it all.
About half way through, we had to stop and take a breather. Our bellies were filling, but we decided that we should try to finish it! (I think I should enter—and win!—eating contests… apparently I am good at consuming huge amounts of food at once…)
So we rallied, and did everything we could. We left about 2 scoops of ice cream and some of the melty sauce, but I was quite impressed by our efforts. We all got serious sugar highs from eating this. Let me tell you, I slept like whoa that night. Probably a food-induced coma…
The next day was not very exciting food-wise, but I did have to go to the Central School for a meeting. My meeting was over at lunch time, so I took myself to cafeteria-style Vokzal for a quick and cheap lunch. I got a bowl of borsch with sour cream and dill, vinagret salad (beets, pickles, peas, potato, carrot, onion), a Caesar salad with a bit of chicken, and a roll with apple filling. Pretty good for $6, yeah?
And thus ended the birthday weekend. With a bunch of beets
Questions for you:
1. What is your favorite “traditional” flavor of ice cream?
I’m a strawberry girl. All the way.
2. What is your favorite “non-traditional” flavor?
Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby pretty much tops my list, but flavors that combine sweet and salty (most especially if there is peanut butter involved) are gnawsome.
3. Favorite sundae?
The best is peanut butter sauce on Oreo ice cream with whip, nuts, and a cherry (hot fudge is optional). My other favorite is the Ana sundae: bananas and strawberry sauce on strawberry ice cream, whip, nuts, and cherry. Nommin’ outrageous.