Michael's oldest sister took me out for a belated 50th birthday lunch yesterday. We went to a restaurant in downtown Chicago called Russian Tea Time. The room was decorated with samovars and lots of Russian posters. (I took only a few photographs because I didn't want to make a fool of myself.)
I ate borscht (shown below) and pumpernickel as appetizers.
For the main course, I had Uzbek vegetarian "layer" stew, or Domlama. This is the description from the menu:
A vegetarian must: a delightful and succulent stew of potatoes, carrots, turnips, beets, tomatoes, garlic, red peppers and cabbage and a touch of cumin. The secret to this great dish is that we put all the vegetables in layers, and while they simmer for quite some time, each of the ingredients fully absorbs flavors of all the other.
It was delicious. Very garlicky though. The portion was so large that I could eat only half of it, so I have the rest for lunch tomorrow.
Finally, we drank a ton of tea in these Russian tea glasses. It was a delicious, strong current-flavored tea, and they kept refilling the glasses as soon as you'd drink about an inch. I have no idea how much I consumed. Good thing it wasn't vodka!
Oh, and Rita made me eat dessert. I had Klara’s Homemade Apricot and Plum Strudel: Strudel with Fruit Jam, walnuts, lemon and our homemade crust; served with berry sauce. It was really good--not too sweet.
It was a wonderful treat, and except for the strudel, I was able to make pretty healthy choices. If you're ever in Chicago, you might want to check it out.