A Trip Home // Moscow, Part II

I forgot to mention in my previous post that we were blessed with the most beautiful weather! Dry, clear skies (all except one day), and 60s-70s. Walking around all day, we picked up a little sun.

Tuesday morning started with breakfast at Cafe Pushkin with a family friend from when we lived there. I’d never been to Cafe Pushkin before and loved the atmosphere, service, and food! I didn’t take pictures of the food because I was engrossed in conversation, but it was delicious. Blake and I shared an order of blini with cream and berries and an omelet with herbs, veggies, and cheese. We sat for hours reminiscing and catching up on life.

We spent the rest of the day at Red Square, seeing St. Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin’s tomb, and walking through GUM before grabbing a quick lunch at a coffee shop and walking through the Kremlin armory. It was a warm, sunny day and everyone was eating ice cream (Russian’s love ice cream), so after the armory, we bought some ice cream and sat on the curb to enjoy it.

We were both ready to put our feet up and have a relaxing evening. So we swung my the store on the way home to get food for dinner. I was craving something fresh, so we made big salads with lots of herbs (dill and parsley), tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzarella balls, and chicken, served with bread on the side. I can see this type of meal being a staple over the summer. Finished the evening with cribbage (Blake won, per usual), tea, and Russian cookies and chocolate.

Wednesday was another busy day – I took Blake to the last two apartments I lived in and my school. Honestly, I was pretty tired, so I didn’t take many pictures. Being back at my old school was surreal. That school and community had shaped me so much and it brought back so many memories. The highlight of Wednesday were shawarmas for dinner and the Moscow circus. I was blown away by the circus – it was even better than I remembered.

By the time Thursday came around, we were tired. All the walking (lots of miles) we’d done since Monday was catching up with us. So we planned on a very chill day, especially because we had special dinner plans that night. I wanted to go to a good patisserie I remembered going to, but when we got to the metro stop, we couldn’t find it. Instead of getting back on the metro, we found unique coffee shop close by – Jeffrey’s Coffee. I’ve never been to a coffee shop like this. Instead of paying per order, you pay for how long you’re there and you can get as many drinks as you want. Blake and I spent a while talking about this business model because it was so different. They didn’t have any real food options excepts some snacks, so thank goodness I had some protein bars in my bag which we ate for breakfast along with cappuccinos.

We stayed a Jeffrey’s for a couple hours and then walked along the streets of Kitai-Gorod, one of the older neighborhoods in Moscow. We stopped for a light lunch at a monastery-run cafe for homemade soup (schi), bread, and carrot salad. It was so Russian, and I loved it! We went home early afternoon to rest (naps were appreciated) and get ready for dinner.

When planning our trip to Moscow, we wanted to have one really nice dinner. If you have watched Chef’s Table on Netflix, you may have seen the episode on White Rabbit – that’s where we went. It was one of the best meals I have ever had, and the conversation made it so special. Again, I didn’t take pictures of the food, but some of my favorite dishes were a black bread with coconut “lard” and black caviar, roasted cabbage with a creamy sauce and 3 caviars, and lamb shashlik with the most amazing accompaniments I can’t remember. All with a bottle of wine and beautiful views of the city.

Friday was another relaxed day. After breakfast at home, we swung by Double B for coffee on our way to Izmailovsky Market (a large souvenir and flee market). I should have checked the schedule before hand, because when we got there hardly any stalls were filled. Later I learned you need to go on the weekend. We still were able to get delicious shashlik for lunch, complete with Georgian bread, and sweetened black tea. Since we didn’t find the souvenirs we were looking for, we made our way back to Old Arbat where I found some gzhel tea cups.

We went back to the flat for dinner and made pelmini (we picked up some frozen ones from Lepim I Varim), sauerkraut (so good), and a salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, dill, and parsley. We were pretty worn out, so even though we planned not to watch any TV while we were there we felt like a movie night was in order. We watched Bourne Supremacy, which was fitting because it takes place in Moscow.

Our last day in Moscow started with coffee and pastries at Il Pittori. This Italian bakery was a favorite of ours growing up. They have phenomenal croissants and real Italian cappuccinos. After breakfast, we ventured to a rinok. Russian rinoks are like open-air food markets, except under a roof. These used to be everywhere in Moscow, and this is where my mom did most of our shopping. Sadly many of them are gone, but I was able to find one to take Blake to. We bought dried apricots that were amazing and stocked up on teas and chocolate to bring back with us.

In the afternoon, we took a boat tour along the Moscow River. It was a perfect way to see the city and wrap up our trip. I was reminded how beautiful and vast this city is.

Our final dinner was at a Georgian restaurant. My family would eat at Georgian restaurants often and I love the food. The restaurant I initially picked was full, so we had to find another one nearby. Thankfully, we found a good one not too far away and had a delicious meal of salads, shashlik, and khachapuri.

Early Sunday morning, we were out the door to the airport. Everything went so seamlessly and we had plenty of time to grab coffee and breakfast before our flight.

Phew! If you made it this far, I commend you. It was a very full trip and one I will remember forever. Blake now has a picture of the place and culture where I grew up. We made our own memories, and I cannot wait for our next trip together!


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