Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chocolate and Cheese Pie

Behold the wonderfulness of Chocolate and Cheese Pie from the Lviv Chocolate Cafe in Kiev.  

Here you can see the sedimentary layers of chocolate and cheese that built up over millennia and the last layer of molten chocolate that cascaded over the side sometime in the last century..

I've found that Ukrainian restaurants [and most of Europe as well, I assume] take much more enjoyment and fun in providing the customer the bill.  You'll often get a stylized envelope or something more extravagant holding the bill at the end of the evening.  Without a doubt the best one of these we've seen so far was this treasure chest that was presented to us after or chocolate and cheese pie was eaten.

Inside, you've got your bill slip and you leave your hryvnia inside.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Deli

The amazing deli at Smack just down the street from us in Kharkiv.  

Bonus points if are from America and can identify any of these dishes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Feast For Latvian Independence Day

November 18th was Latvian Independence Day and so to celebrate we had made a Latvian feast the best way we could while being in Ukraine.  Laura speaks fluent Latvian and I asked her to marry me while we were in Riga so Latvian culture and tradition is a significant part of our life.

We begin with the"before" photo of ingredients to our feast, many of them courtesy of our friend Vanessa who brought them for us on a visit from Latvia recently.

The potatoes were fried with a Latvian spice called piedeva kartupelieum [potato spice in Latvian] made by a company called Santa Maria.  Each time Laura goes to Latvia a packet or two of these spices are in her bag headed back to America.  

These shashliks are from a local deli called Smack which is a great name for a store.  They come on-the-stick ready to go.

Balsams is a traditional spiced drink that clears up your sinuses nice and quick on a cold winter day.

We mixed a shot of it with blackcurrant juice which is pretty difficult to find in America but flows freely in Eastern Europe.

Lastly, as a side dish we had some cabbage with oil and vinegar called kaposti.

The finished product.


And for dessert some Latvian Laima chocolate...

As I've been trying to piece something together that resembles a proper American Thanksgiving dinner we've had difficulty finding a turkey.  We finally found this at the upscale shopping center [called Class appropriately, I guess] but when we spoke to butcher behind the counter they said they were out of turkeys.  So maybe this one was a plastic decoy...Ukraine can be a weird place sometimes.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cheese Cake and Death Threats

Looking back on our six days in Kiev, some of the best food highlights were this lemon cheese cake  at a restaurant in the Radisson hotel lobby.

A hotel restaurant you ask?  That's not typically our style I will admit.  We were there attending a Rotary International meeting which is part of Laura's fellowship.  It was the first meeting I've been too that was all in  English and there were members from Belgium, Sweden, and Germany.  And if you think that a night at a Rotary Club would be dull and a waste of an evening then you would have missed tales of assaults, embezzlement, and a threat by a Chechen to cut members "into little pieces."

Let me explain.

It turned out that the previous treasurer of the organization...a Canadian!  [they always are, aren't they!] had embezzled $50,000 dollars from the club and the group was in the process of trying to get it back.  They had been able to retrieve about $43,000 of it and some of the members went to the ex-treasurer's house the day before to see about getting the rest of it back.  There they were met with fists of fury and the treasure's Chechen friend who promised to cut them into little pieces.  The gentleman in the photo was punched in the face and had his jacket ripped but escaped to joke and tell the tale the next day.  Only in Ukraine!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Close, But Not Quite #2: Dunkin' Donuts

I've highlighted before the products in Ukraine that may look like famous products but have a little twist.  We've had Capri-Sun Capri-Sonne and today we have Coffee Donuts [seen in Kiev] which has a nearly identical logo as Dunkin' Donuts.  

While their donuts looked tempting, our hearts were attached to a little shop in the Kiev Metro called "світ донатс" which in Ukrainian is "World Donuts."

They have this wonderful class window showing you what is available.  I don't believe it is possible to walk past this window more than three times without turning around and buying something.

I normally wouldn't dedicate a post on Marvel With A Mango to some donuts but these were the first proper donuts we had seen since arriving.  Sure, they have pastries galore but it's just not quite the same and so we were happy to have this little piece of America.  Laura went with a white glazed donut with strawberry filling.

I went with a chocolate and peanut sprinkled one which I assumed would have custard inside...

...but it had a little surprise inside instead...liquid peanut butter...and let me remind you about my current feelings about peanut butter.  Score!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Best Pizza We've Found

This restaurant, Bellagio, is located up a block up from our house and we always pass it and experience its wonderful smells each time we pass by.  That plus a few word of mouth recommendations and we decided to give it a try.

We decided on a pizza called  "Four Seasons" with the pizza being divided in to four different types of toppings.

Our favorite was what we imagine was the "Summer" version with some great black olives as the main topping.

All the other "seasons" had types of meat but one thing we haven't come across yet is a piece of pepperoni.  The ham on the pizza looks to have been sliced right from a ham roast like you might have for an Easter dinner.

We ended up with more pizza than we could handle and so we got our first Ukrainian pizza box.  The bag says "Thank you!  Always Glad!"