Today a group of us were in the center of Moscow and decided to go to the food court in the mall that we had been to many times before. Sister L said she wanted to try the buffet at the Chinese restaurant. None of us have had Chinese here in Russia so it sounded like a great idea.
We went to the restaurant and saw some yummy choices, but learned after being seated that it was not cafeteria or buffet style. The menu was totally in Russian and there was no English speaking waiter. Oh boy. Then we learned we were not even in a Chinese restaurant at all, but a Turkish restaurant.
The four couples were able to recognize a couple of words on the menu. Dave and I ordered rice and vegetables. The O's ordered chicken and vegetables, which turned out to be a little like a chicken soup with juicy chunks of chicken, a few veggies, to include french fries as the potato. That is right. French fries. They said it was good. Our rice dish was tasty too, with lots of spinach, carrots and a vegetable we didn't recognize. A couple of them ordered borscht, which they recognized on the menu. Anyway, we survived just fine. The restaurant was lovely, but we probably (definitely) will not go back.
The B's shared that when their children were visiting them here a few months ago they were hungry and looked for a snack in the cupboards. They came across some microwave popcorn. As they started munching, they made faces and said it tasted fishy.....Fishy popcorn? Well, it just so happens that it was caviar flavored popcorn. Wow. Sounds like something I want to go out and buy! (just kidding).
As I've mentioned before their bread is wonderful and fresh baked and so inexpensive. You can get a huge loaf of fresh bread for under 30 rubles (one American dollar). Fruits and veggies are still in abundance in the little fruit and vegetable stands and I still get my eggs, 10 in a baggie from my friends at the productee next to the vegetable stand and pay 30 rubles for those as well. These are fresh eggs. Grapes in all varieties and watermelons are everywhere right now. The nectarines are WONDERFUL.
We have found it necessary to eat out a lot. Wednesday and Thursday we are away at the dinner hour. We enjoy the Hoky Poky (our pronounciation) and the waiters know us there as we go almost every week for good traditional Russian food at very reasonable prices. They have the most wonderful dessert. It's called honey cake and it is many layers of grahm cracker tasting cake (they don't have grahm crackers in Russia that I have found, but this sure does taste a lot like grahm crackers) with a light fluffy filling. They have a buffet that doesn't interest me because there isn't that much of a selection. However, they do have 3 different kinds of holadeyets, which is a meat jello, Beef, chicken, and pork (I think). I can't begin to tell you how gross it looks. This light brown jello w/ chicken or beef as the bottom layer. YUMMY! Other tasty choices on the regular menu include beef tongue with greens. The Russians do love their meat and also have many different kinds of salmon and chicken dishes.
Fortunately, they also love potatoes. One of our favorite meals is the "Grandma's dumplings, which is homemade pierogies filled with potatoes and onions served with a light creamy white sauce,and of course, just good old fried potatoes.
A week or so ago the three couples went to a Japanese restaurant in our area within walking distance and it was WONDERFUL. There just wasn't enough of the food . Servings were small and our Japanese waiter, so friendly and knowing a little English, didn't bring everything we had ordered. BUT we liked it enough to want to go back. We will just know to order more food.
So, so far we have had traditional Russian food, Japanese food, Turkish food, good old American food at the Starlight Diner, which looks like a Fifties diner in America, we have hit the potato bar wher eyou can get a baked potatoe with anything on it you want (and a few things you wouldn't), Sharma, which I think my son Michael would LOVE. It's a big piece of beef or pork, roasted all day and sandwiches are made fresh. The missionaries have been warned to stay away from Sharma stands though and to make sure to get it only from reputable places where you can see that there is electricity and running water.
If nothing appeals to you, you can always find a Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken or McDonalds or Burger King. No thank you! We will continue to experience Russian food. (except for the holadeeyets).