>> Saturday, October 01, 2005

It was Leia's first birthday yesterday :) The Tkachenko family came over for dinner last night; Elena and Grandma made a great chicken-basted-with-wine dinner and then we gave her the presents that Tkachenkos brought over. (We're still going to get her this tricycle/stroller we found, we were just shopping around for best prices/quality, etc since both can vary greatly over here) Leia enjoys all the gifts a lot; mostly musical-type instruments including one really, really, really LOUD toy piano that interestingly doesn't have an off switch! We then put her in front of the cake with her single candle lit, but she didn't really figure out what to do with it, even with coaching and two lightings. But she was probably just tired; she wasn't entirely interested in the cake for that matter, either.

Jumping back a few days to Feodosia, I wanted to touch on the dinners they had there in the pansionat. They don't give you too much food like they *always* do in America, which is a good thing because sometimes they pick a great menu while other times it leaves a bit to be desired. A couple of times the protein-of-choice for the dinner was either fish or liver. If I've witnessed enough good examples over here, I suppose that most Ukrainians enjoy that, but I could pass easily on both, pretty much every time. Liver is, I think most will agree, definitely an acquired taste. As I?ve found that my tastes change as the years go by, I?ll give everything a try once, but it still failed the test for me. (And they snuck it in a second day, too; the next day they made these meatball-things, but they ground up the liver & filled the meatballs with them. Herghk!)

Fish, on the other hand, is often (especially in restaurants) a much safer bet. But in Ukraine I?ve come to find that fish comes in only two varieties: Cold (meaning either dried & salted or preserved) and FISHY, or hot with all bones included. They just like picking out the bones every single time, and the way the fish is cut often tends to shatter the bones so you?re left with even tinier little pieces to pick out. Yay. (See, maybe I?m spoiled, but I prefer to do all my food preparation BEFORE the food comes to the table).

But enough complaining; there was a lot of good stuff on the menu, too, some things of which you just can?t prepare properly when not cooked in large batches (like this strange milk-soup/ pudding-like thing. I forget the name of it, but I could have just filled up only on it?) It?s kind of like the rice-pudding dessert at Bombay bistro (or insert your favorite Indian restaurant name)


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