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.
Finally, I’ve published a number of Red Alerts that are well worth checking out: Almayass, Kutsher’s Tribeca, Moscow 57 Under The Tracks and Iron Curtain.
What restaurants would you like me to review 2013?
Dear readers, I wish you all happy holidays, and a lot of success in the kitchen for your dinner plans! Of course, this is the perfect time of the year to try some of my most festive recipes!
Happy Holidays 2011
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…
Happy Thanksgiving, Americans!
If you haven’t made a dinner plan for Turkey Day, it’s not entirely too late:
As for your leftovers on Black Friday, you should be able to adapt some of these recipes:
- The Turkey plov will help you repurpose both your gobbler and your butternut squash.
- I could see the Guinea Hen Rillettes working with turkey leg and thigh meat.
- The Kurnik can be done with white and dark meat, and will move a lot of leftover turkey. But of course, you may find yourself with leftover kurnik the next day
A few month ago, I was announcing that this is a Russian food blog — and it worked. But, as you’ve certainly noticed by now, this is more than that. For example, this is also a Georgian food blog. The Georgia we’re talking about here is the Republic of Georgia of course, in the Caucasus; and I dedicated many posts to its food, its dishes, its cooking and its cuisine.
Seriously, Google, look at the top results when one queries “Georgian food blog”! The first one is an excellent blog that I encourage everyone to read (it’s in my blogroll), but it’s essentially about Estonian cuisine. The third one consists of 50 or so Georgian recipes, all posted in December 2007 (five years ago); it’s interesting, but it’s not exactly a blog. Which brings us to the second one, a single picture from the aforementioned recipes, re-posted on some other site; this certainly wins the Palm d’Or for lamest search result. And so on…
… in one piece, ready to tell the tale. Stay tuned!
Only today did I realize that if you google “russian food blog”, Food Perestroika doesn’t appear in the first 10 pages (I didn’t look beyond that). Moreover, all of the blogs on the first result page, though sometimes quite interesting, only post a handful of articles a year, when they haven’t stopped all together. Don’t I deserve my 15 minutes of fame, too?
Sure, neither my blog title nor my tagline explicitly use the words “Russian”, “food” or “blog”. It’s also true that this is not only a Russian food blog, in that I write many posts that talk about other topics (such as food-serving establishments and travel) and other countries (such as Hungary, Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, all of which are only so far from Russia). I guess I’m being too subtle for the world’s foremost search engine, and I apologize.
So Mr Google, please take note. I’m going to spell it out for you: this is a Russian food blog.
It is a blog that talks about Russian food. A food blog, with an emphasis on Russia. A blog with posts on Russia and food, or if you prefer, on food and Russia. A blog that looks at Russia through the prism of food. Russian food, aka the food of the Russia, is discussed here, using blogging as a medium. Russian. Food. Blog.
And if this is not enough, here are some posts to convince you:
We don’t have palm trees here in New York (the stamp above represents the botanical garden in Sukhum), but the heat wave that’s befallen us for several weeks now makes it clear that summer’s in full swing. Here are some of my past recipes for the season.
You may be working today (I am), but I wish you a happy May Day all the same!
And now that spring is more or less here — the first ramps, asparagus, and strawberries have made their appearance at New York’s farmers markets, but it was snowing in the Finger Lakes on Friday — here is a selection of recipes for the season: