Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My weekend: Part II - Russian Samovar

Ok, so after spending time at the museum walking all these floors and looking at all this art we all got very hungry. Luckily, my brother picked us up and we all went to Russian Samovar restaurant on 52nd Street (yes, the place from one of the "Sex and the City" episodes).

Our motley crew must have projected an air of slight cashlessness or rather of unwillingness to part with too large a chunk of our fortunes. Plus we didn't have reservations. And so we did not get to see the upstairs private rooms (damn you, Kerry from "Sex and the City" for getting it all!). Instead we were shown to a small and rather rickety table downstairs, opposite the grand piano and handed the menues.

And now I have a bone to pick with this place. A 4-dollar glass of hot tea?! Gimmieabreak! I understand, this is not a girl-scout lemonade stand we're talking about, but 4 bucks for a SMALL glass of tea with a SMALL slice of lemon and a TEASPOON of cherry preserves seems a bit too much. At least through in a little dry vanilla сухарик in the package! Lesson learned - don't waste money on tea when you can waste them on vodka.

Let's move on... The whole point for us Russians to order Russian food is to eat something that Mom either doesn't cook because it's too much pain in the butt or that she doesn't cook too well or that can't be bought 10 times cheaper on Brighton Beach. Follow our example. Don't waste your hard-earned dollars on a small 8-dollar plate of vinegrett salad when a pound of it can be bought at a deli for half as much.
Don't go for exotic-sounding pelmeni that would cost you roughly a dollar each when your friend's wife or mother makes them every Sunday (not to mention a great little вареничная on Brighton where 50 of those cost $4.95). Admittedly, the food there, at Samovar, is excellent in quality. And yet, if you are looking for a taste of exotic Russia on a budget, try to get some appetizers instead of entrees and skip the desserts (a 10-dollar piece of cake anyone?). This way you don't just save a lot of money, but will also stay in great shape. And that, ladies and gentlement, is becoming more and more of an exotic thing in this country! (And later on you can always grab a 2-dollar hotdog from a street vendor. We did it and survived!).
To be continued...