Russian food, what do I know about Russian food…. ?
After this Tuesday, much more than I did. The limited response of “um, caviar?” eradicated completely with a flood, a kaleidoscope of britesome and pickly-sweet & peppy flavours! Russian tapas – the only way to be – at Restaurant Troika, the third and most fancy stop on the Dishcrawl train.
As soon as arranging ourselves along the stark black and golden-lit bar, the tiny plates arrived fast and with each one a new curiousity – could we recognize it? Was it a familiar temperature or spice? Was it authentic? I think more than it might seem, yes, the plates were well Russian, AND well
taken, at least by me. I suppose the best way to describe the effect of the assortment of dishes (well over 15 in all) is to emphasize what was explained to us outside of the restaurant – this is food designed to be eaten with vodka, to keep the drinker going well into the night. And friends? This is fabulous vodka food. Much of it cold and vinegared and cut in such a tiny way as to relate somehow to wee shots of the crystal clear spirit. Beets in obvious attendance, as well as cream, onions, carrot, cucumber, fish, eggs, olives and garlic – food to survive long winters, things that can be preserved. A serious toughness emanating from the cuisine, but with no lack of sparkle!
And my favourite dish of the evening turned out to be a most giddy-making surprise. What I
thought was just one more piece of beet in a pink mayonnaise dressing turned out in fact to be a large and meltingly tender bit of smoked herring. HERRING! Yums. Yes, I like oily fish. SO yummy, I stole a piece off of an untouched serving dish as we were leaving, not even believing my good luck that there were any left (the fact we were walking towards dessert momentarily forgotten). The name of the dish is even totally whimsical – seledka pod shuboy, “herring in sheepskin coat”. *grins*. Want more….
Alas there is a moment of head-hanging here as I admit to not charging my camera batteries properly enough to last through a whole dinner through the OBVIOUSLY most important part… the sweet stuff, the end, the thing you wait through all that other munching to get to, to dive into, to gently (we’re adults here, after all) regress to the child self gleefully lost in a candy store with a pocket full of couch-found change and a tooth bent on gummie bears. It is regretfully iPod resolution from here on in, at the gates of the carefree Swurl Frozen Yogurt. Is this where I say something disarming like “Rock on!”? Something like that. :)
And rock on one must, when faced with a wall full of sci-fi styled giant pulleys emitting frozen and ethereal gooey whipped fro-yo! With a flavour assortment so assorted and so possible – Irish baileys, blood orange, chai, peach, chocolate, vanilla, cookies & cream, Original and pomegranate – I just had to try them all. My favourites were definitely the blood orange (bright, rich, intense), the cookies & cream (super creamy, with that “ice cream sandwich” balance of chocovanilla), and the Original (just perfectly slightly tangy and smooth). Of course, that’s just me, and I do suggest sampling them all if you get to do that.
Unlimited toppings (!!) include assorted soft gummies, sugar cereals (cookie crisp and golden grahams, lucky charms among them), strawberry pop tarts, licorice bits, waffle cone pieces, smarties, white and dark choco-chips, potato chips, fresh fruits (strawberries, banana, kiwi, peaches and more!), syrups of all kinds, fruity caviar orbs that burst, aaaaaand…..
Just for Dishcrawl, Ramen Squares. (think Rice Krispie treats but with uncooked ramen noodles and chocolate bits – chewy, saltysweet and super interesting). *dies of awesome*
It’s only criminal that I was so stuffed at this point that I could only eagerly sample each flavour and topping once and then leave my yogurt cup aside to (thankfully) bicycle, ie: exercise all the way home. Have I been thinking about returning to Swurl practically every day since, though? Yes. With the emptiest of stomachs, oh you’d better believe it.
Also… does this remind me of some sort of flipped version of the toppings-select procedure involved with Taiwanese shaved ice? Yes. Oh yes. Deliciously so. God I love having a myriad candy in front of me with a little scoop. /sweet tooth.
Thanks again to Kristel, for making this Dishcrawl possible, for putting so much effort into it’s smooth proceedings, and for the free ticket which I did not expect to get. I do plan to attend many more Crawls in the future, bolstered by the enjoyment of this one! Cheers and here’s to surprise eats!