Anybody else partial to McDonald's? It's a great place to meet people. And besides that, their country-fried potatoes with cheese sauce on the side are simply yummy. Say, does your McDonald's have Caesar Wraps? Well, welcome to Russia!
In Russian, it's just called Caesar Roll. (Click image to enlarge.) It's breaded chicken with salad ingredients and dressing. Pretty good, actually. Oh, and about that green neon sign on the right. As you see, it says РИС, pronounced reese. It's the Russian word for rice and that's a little suchi restaurant. Not that I have an intention.ever.of trying that any time soon. But we digress. . .
Back to our Mickey D's billboard here, let's zoom on in. The black word in the upper left says Caesar. In Russian, it's pronounced very close to the English. But the first letter represents a sound that we don't have in English. *Ц* is pronounced ts which is so close to the English s sound to my ear. But I'm often corrected to get the t sound in there too. The Russian ear can really hear the difference. And this is the land of the Russian ear, after all.
The next consonant is *З* which is like the English letter z. And then the last major letter, the *р* makes the r sound. The little squiggle after that, much like a small b is the soft sign. And we won't even start talking about the soft sign, now will we? Nyet! ;)
Hey, while we're here in the neighborhood, just beyond this Caesar Roll sign is a major supermarket. This is where I find exotic stuff such as peanut butter and celery. Say, how about a stroll in the freezer section. Because there in the freezer section we will find a classic Russian fast food, pelmeni!
These are little dough dumplings that need only to be boiled in water. A serving might be 8 to 10 of these. Pelmeni can be filled with ground beef or potatoes or cabbage. And then there are sweet ones filled with cherries and such. As I recall, the sweet ones are called vareniki. (Now please don't make me look that up. I'm already past my look-it-up quota for the day.)
Looking down the aisle. The whole array of dumplings. Your mouth watering yet? These little pelmeni can be ho-hum. But they're easily jazzed up. Hold on, I recall a photo of jazzed up pelmeni here somewhere on this very computer. . .
Ah yes, here we go. . .
Here's a bowl of your basic ho-hum pelmeni. Usually served with a dollop of sour cream and a spring of parsley. And that works. Those garnishes - sour cream and greens - are nearly requisite here in Russia. So these are the bare bones pelmeni. But hold on, there's more. . .
Here we go. Looks like red peppers, celery and. . . oh yes. My personal chef remembered mayo - which will do in the absence of sour cream - and something green. Oh yeah!
You know, much as I like the McDonald's Caesar roll and country-style fries and meeting new people there, I can be happy as a clam with a quiet dinner of pelmeni while watching the all-news channel out of Moscow.
How about you dear blog reader? McDonald's in Russia? Pelmeni - ever make it yourself? How 'bout Russian garnishes? Want to hear about your experiences!