We hadn’t been dining exceptionally well during our time in Russia, and I’ll be the first to admit that this was probably largely our own fault. I mean, perhaps if we had been more savvy we wouldn’t have been ripped off by that first cab in St. Petersburg… and to recover the difference of our loss to our travel budget, we ate mostly from hotdog stands for that week.
We then ventured further inland to Moscow, where we discovered Teremok! It was like an oasis in the wilderness. I thought I could hear angels singing every time we were near it. Or maybe that was just my happy stomach.
And we were near Teremok a lot. Turns out it’s more popular in Russia than McDonald’s. Weird we didn’t see any in St. Petersburg… but in Moscow, there was a Teremok located about two convenient blocks from our hotel, it was right on our walking route to the nearest metro station, so needless to say, we were there a lot. It came to the point that the staff would hand us the English menu as soon as they saw us step inside. This caused me to be further charmed by the whole experience.
Oh Teremok… you call to me like the most alluring siren imaginable. How I love you.
Oh! I also love Andrew. So, being with Andrew at Teremok = bliss for me.
So! Teremok is Russian fast food. It’s blinis. That is say, crepes. To my ignorant way of seeing things, a blinis is the same thing as a crepe. If you’re in Russia or Finland, you’re eating a blinis. If you’re seemingly anywhere else, you’re eating a crepe. So… these seemed an awful lot like crepes to us. But hey, when you’re in Russia it’s a blinis. So okay, it was blinis that we fell in love with. And how!
Blinis, cabbage & buckwheat, and that dark drink? That ain’t Pepsi. It’s kvas!
You can probably well imagine what the blinis was like, because I keep saying it’s like a crepe. Cabbage and buckwheat is also pretty explanatory. But the kvas perhaps is something you haven’t heard of.
It’s funny, people seemed unsure of how to explain kvas to us. Maybe they thought we’d be grossed out. It’s started with Russian brown bread, fermented, barely alcoholic, and… um they just love it there. And you know what? We did too. We didn’t expect to like it so much… but soon we were pursuing kvas as eagerly as blinis during our time in Moscow. It was… refreshing! Nourishing. The recipe dates back to medieval times, I do believe.
Side-note: We have a fair bit of Russian and Ukrainian immigration to our area here in Manitoba, and there’s a Russian grocery store in town that I sometimes visit. When I discovered kvas there, I was PUMPED. I brought home a 2-litre of the stuff. Somehow… it wasn’t the same, drinking it here, as it was drinking it in Moscow. Still good, decent I guess… but not the same. *sigh*
Anyway, back to the BLINIS!
Each of these pictures were taking during different visits to Teremok. I wrote about it several times in my journal:
July 8: “On our way back to the hotel, we stopped for our first blinis. I had a mushroom one and Andrew had a ham & cheese one. So delicious! We plan to eat there a lot more.”
July 9: “Woke up and went to our favourite blinis place for breakfast. Andrew had Nutella & banana, and I had cottage cheese & apricot.”
July 10: “Slept late, left the hotel around noon, went straight to Teremok for breakfast. I had the Nutella/banana one, Andrew had a Greek one. Both delicious, of course. Man that place is the best.” Later that day… “Found a Teremok stand and had some kvas.” (Of course we did.)
July 11: “Had an earlier start than yesterday, stopped at Teremok for breakfast again… this time I had buckwheat porridge with cabbage and eggs. Sounds strange, but I loved it! Andrew had two blinis this time, one strawberry jam, one ham & cheese. Oh and we had kvas! We love it! They looked pleased that we ordered it. It’s their traditional drink!” (I use a lot of exclamation marks.)
July 12: “Left the hotel around noon and went straight to our beloved Teremok. I had a mushroom blinis and an apple & caramel blinis, and Andrew had a ham & cheese blinis and a wild berry & cottage cheese blinis. And we had kvas.” (Yes: “Beloved.”)
July 13: “Slept late again, then went to Teremok for our last visit. I had buckwheat porridge with cabbage and eggs again — I really like it — and Andrew had a caramel/apple blinis. We both had kvas. So glad we were introduced to that drink.”
So there you have it. We visited Teremok six times. We still talk about it. It was like our best friend while we were in Moscow.
Teremok, we love you.
Me with my Russian true love, Teremok. That is the look of true joy on my face.