Many of you have probably noticed by now that this is a Russian food blog. But it never hurts to state the obvious once in a while. And to drive my point home, I just bought russianfoodblog.com (note to Google: it spells Russian food blog).
Ingredient Matcher is a new web site (and app) that offers to compare a list of ingredients you already have to its recipe database, in order to figure out what you can cook for dinner without having to go to the store. It’s so new, in fact, that it hasn’t even officially launched yet.
While I would have a lot to say about offering recipes based on user inputs, what initially caught my attention was a series of contests that they recently started. In an attempt to gather recipes for the national dishes of all the countries in the world, the creators have been inviting food bloggers and other home cooks to submit their dishes for the illustrious title of Country Chef, plus some more material prizes.
That’s right, today is National Caviar Day. Once upon a time, New York City bars gave free caviar to their customers to keep them thirsty. Nowadays, of course, you’re unlikely to see restaurants handing over free spoonfuls of the black gold. Not even to mark today’s celebration (you can always try to persuade them; you never know…).
When I started this blog over two years ago, I never took the time to write a mission statement. So I’ll kick off 2013 by fixing this. Here is the Food Perestroika manifesto! I’m also adding it to my About page.
The word perestroika may be forever associated with Mikhail Gorbachev’s reformation movement in the late eighties, but in Russian, it simply means reconstruction. To understand what it is that needs to be rebuilt, I suggest we start with a brief look at culinary history in the former Eastern Bloc.
Just like last year, here’s a summary of the restaurants I reviewed in 2012, grouped into two categories: recommended (rating > 6), and not worth a special visit (rating between 5 and 6). As a reminder, I usually mention decor and service in my posts, but only the food is being rated. Luckily, no establishment made it to the third category (avoid, rating < 5). My ratings, especially below the 7 mark, are generous — I’m sure most people would feel that there’s no point spending over an hour on the subway to eat somewhat average food, when you can get so much better in so many closer places in the city.
Unlike most Best of/Worst of NYC lists coming out these days, which concentrate on places that opened or were trendy this year, I just list places that I happened to visit. A few of them did open in 2012, but it’s not that important.
You may notice that I reviewed significantly less restaurants this year, partly because my reviews became more thorough and required more visits, and partly because the 2011 round-up also included two months of 2010 reviews. I also started the year with two restaurant reports from Paris: La Maison Géorgienne and Boukhara. To make matters worse, Dacha has already closed, leaving many later customers with an aftertaste of bad service, watered-down vodka shots, and non-honored coupons.
As a holiday surprise, a program ad was placed for Food Perestroika at the Dalton Chorale Winter Concert by my partner (she’s an alto). They sang works by Franz Joseph Haydn, the famed Austrian composer (who, incidentally, spent the majority of his career under the employment of the wealthy Hungarian Esterházy family). It was a beautiful concert.
Thanks! And if you’ve found my site through the Dalton Chorale program ad, welcome!
I’m told that the Spring Concert, on 15 May 2013, will be titled “Music from Eastern Europe” and will feature Hungarian and Czech composers. If I play my cards right, maybe I’ll get another ad…