I have plenty of topics I *could* blog about. I’m trying to expand the scope of things I write about here, and I’m curious as to what those of you who read this blog want more of! So if there is anything you’d like to know more about (my writing, my recent trip to Russia, archaeology and/or my academic pursuits, my chinchilla, or whatever), ask me a question in the comments section of any of my posts, and I will write a post to answer.
In the meantime, here is a post about how awesome the food is in Russia.
St. Petersburg has so many good restaurants – and even the pub grub is fantastic – I can’t even scratch the surface of all there is to try. There are more sushi bars than you can shake a stick at, too – and apparently it’s a big thing to have pizza and sushi in the same meal…which I didn’t try, although it sounds like a great idea to me!
My favorite Russian dishes were probably the pork & potato stew (which was called different names on different menus – if you know the “official” name of this dish, let me know!), pelmini, and beef Stroganoff (which Americans always serve with noodles, but Russians serve with either mashed potatoes or fries). Speaking of the fries, they MUST be fried in lard or duck fat or something over there, because they’re too good not to be horrendously bad for you. I could happily die 20 years earlier than my natural lifespan if I could eat fries that good on a daily basis! Who needs unclogged arteries???!
On the other hand, I felt like I was eating much healthier while I was abroad, because the meals are more balanced. You don’t get a whopping huge portion of meat and starch at a Russian restaurant. You get a pretty reasonable portion for one human to eat, and you get about an equal portion of veggies, soup, or a roll (stuffed with veggies or fruit jam). Since I absolutely love fruit and fruit juices, the fact that there was an incredible selection of fruit juices on every menu and at the grocery didn’t hurt, either…pure strawberry or cherry juice with any given meal is my idea of heaven. There’s also mors, which is berry juice, and kompot, which is juice with fruit and cucumber slices in the bottom of the glass. And then there’s kvass, which is a drink made from bread (somehow), and which tastes like bread, tea, and beer had a lovechild together and then took the alcohol out (mostly). It’s a weird flavor, but oddly crave-able.
And as long as we’ve mentioned alcohol…the first thing most Americans think of when they think of Russia is, of course, vodka. And yes, the low-end vodka in Russia is about 100 times better than the medium-end vodka in America. My hostess explained to me that the tradition in Russia is to toast, take a drink, then eat a little something – a bite-size cube of cheese or a fresh strawberry – to make it easier on the stomach. Even as strong as the vodka was, though, it was pretty damn smooth. In the past year, I’ve finally acquired a taste for beer, and St. Petersburg restaurants and pubs have some pretty extensive selection of world beers! Mostly, I’m a stout fan. I like beer so dark that it develops an event horizon around the glass. Found some good stouts in Russia, including a double chocolate stout, and THEN discovered Delirium Red, a Belgian cherry beer that’s somewhere around 12 or 13 % alcohol per volume. Thought I’d died and gone to heaven…
If I even BEGIN to talk about Russian pastries & desserts, that’s going to need a whole post to itself, because it DESERVES its own post. I’ll save it for later, but I’ll tantalize you with this photo of a single case of cookies in a St. Petersburg bakery:
Now hit me up with some questions! GO!
What can you tell us about the great Alexander Pushkin? As a Russian writer is he considered more a contributor of, or a product of, the European romantic movement?
Well, I’ll have to look into the last part of your question to really answer it properly! I’m pretty sure Byron had already made his stamp on the world and was influencing others into the romantic movement before Pushkin, but I will research a little and post a response to your excellent question soon.