This past weekend, we were driving over to my mom’s house when we saw a giant Matryoshka cardboard doll on the side of the road, advertising a Russian festival. My husband and I were both very intrigued and quickly decided that we had to go. I loved my visit to Russia a few years ago, and one of my dearest friends lives in Moscow now, so I would go back in a heartbeat. If only visas weren’t such a pain!
We quickly found the festival and were pleased to discover that it was largely centered around food and drink. Polish sausages and socially acceptable vodka drinking at noon? Sign me up! Outdoors, there was a long line for BBQ and other items, while inside there were hot orders being taken at Babushka’s Kitchen.
Mr. Feather and I quickly split up between the two food stations to cover the most ground, and when we converged it looked like this. From the center top, going clockwise: Georgian chicken and rice, traditional zakuski, peach pirog, pelmeni dumplings, and cabbage stuffed pirozhki. Amazing no? I want to say all of this was almost exactly $20.
First up were the zakuski – which were made with rye bread and Moscow salami. I thought zakuski was the name of this specific dish, but Mr. Feather who is fluent in Russian informed me that it simply meant “appetizer”.
Another favorite dish of mine? Pelmeni – boiled dumplings filled with pork and beef with sour cream on the side. I had this in Moscow (with salmon instead) and loved it! I missed it so much I came back the next day for a second helping.
This was peach pirog cake – a very tasty treat that had a custardy peach filling inside.
After eating all of our food we were pretty stuffed, but there were so many other items to try. I had an image lingering in my mind of the Polish sausages I had seen stacked up when we walked into the festival.
So of course we had to get one of these too. With lots of sauerkraut on top. This is after having had eaten our dessert already, while sampling many different kinds of vodka.
By this time, our bellies were FULL! We sat in a food stupor and happily listened to the entertainment – a Balka Balalaika group. Balka Balalaika is a Russian string instrument and as soon as I heard the first few seconds of playing, I recognized it. It’s very unique.
And, this is what I wore (though I had some flats in my bag). It was unseasonably hot last weekend (when we got to the car, the dash thermometer read 100F), and heels in hot weather just drive me crazy after a while!
Have you all had Russian food before? Any favorite dishes that you’d recommend?