Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next.
-Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

On Saturday, it really was like I found myself in another world when I went to the Legion of Honor to see the exhibition on Japanesque (or Japonisme) before it closed on Sunday. San Francisco, particularly the northern part of it (Richmond, Lincoln Park, the Presidio, etc.) is often shrouded in fog; this day was no exception and was perhaps even worse than normal. The sun didn’t even make an appearance….

It reminded me of Russia and probably not coincidentally. You see, Richmond just happens to be a Russian neighborhood and, in the few hours the Greek and I spent there, not only did we hear plenty of Russian in the street and even go into a little shop that could easily be found on a side street in St. Petersburg or Moscow, but we also found a Russian restaurant to eat at, Cafe Sadko.

The menu included the usual Russian dishes–salads, dumplings, soups–and we went about things traditionally, ordering tea with lemon, having soup “на первое” (for the first course) and then something heavier and more filling “на второе” (for the second course). It took a little time for the waiter to warm up to us and to speak Russian freely; was it when I asked him for a лимончик (lemon slice) for my tea or when he saw that my last name was vaguely Slavic? Or maybe it was even when he saw his 20% tip? Whatever the reason, by the end of the meal, he was suddenly telling us to come back, to take care, etc. And the food was lovely: rich, warm and filling. I really felt like I was back in Russia, but, fortunately, I was firmly on American soil.

Tea and bread (Lipton, but of course!):

Delicious borshch (beet soup) with dill and a big dollop of sour cream:

Vareniki, thick Ukrainian dumplings stuffed with potatoes and cheese; naturally, topped with caramelized onions and served with sour cream (a staple in the Russian diet):

As you can see, since I’ve returned, I’ve had little time to cook; I’ve been so busy cleaning, organizing, buying a bike (a cute red one with a 14″ frame; it was advertised as being perfect for somebody cute, so I had no choice but to buy it! I even successfully biked home today–all 4 miles! As one friend joked, “Cycling with Sologub” should be my next blog venture!), getting books for my work and meeting up with friends I haven’t seen in ages, but new recipes will soon be on the way!

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