Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Russian Tea Time

While in Chicago, it was recommended that I have afternoon tea. After perusing through the art museum, I could think of nothing better to do (plus the restaurant is literally 100 feet away) and headed over with Em. We walked into a warm, bright place with fantastic eastern European music playing over the speakers. While the place offers a full menu, they also offer tea service every day from 2-4:30 pm. Which is what we opted for on a cold afternoon.

First and foremost, the tea. They serve a Russian house blend (which is sadly the only one they do not sell as loose leaf) which is fantastic. If you get a meal you get unlimited tea refills, which is nice considering how good it is. The food comes out in three tiers, bread, savory, and sweet. The top tier was scones with jam and whipped cream. Tasty. The savory consisted of quiches, sandwiches (of salmon or corned beef), a crepe, and a veggie finger sandwich. The sweets were numerous, from cookies and cakes to a brownie and an apple tart. They also included fresh cheese blintzes to go with the meal. So imagine yourself as they put this tower of good in front of you. It was incredible. The food was delicious (I now want to eat blintzes all the time) and there was just so much of it, there was no way we were going to finish it. Excellent meal, and really great service.

Speaking of great service, this being a Russian place, of course they have vodka. And not just any. They make their own. I got a flight (don’t judge, it was almost 4) called the "Molotov cocktail". It consisted of three shots: pepper, honey pepper, and horseradish. I was unaware that the custom is to smell a piece of pumpernickel bread, take the shot, and then eat a pickle (after savoring the vodka). But my waiter was more than happy to teach me some Russian and explain the custom. Awesome. And really good vodka! I never would have thought, but horseradish vodka is great.

Overall this was a fantastic place to eat, and I would happily dine there again. Next time you are in Chicago, I suggest this place for a great experience and really good food.


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