|A play on words: победа = victory, еда = food.|
|This is a rather nice set-up for a столовая. The wallpaper and molding are fancy despite an old and cracked floor- and note the obligatory chandelier. Ukraine is crazy about chandeliers. I like it; it adds a touch of elegance to normal life.|
This столовая is also different in that it lacked a buffet line. In most such establishments you take a tray and grab whichever items interest you or pester the eternally-grumpy cashiers until they reluctantly lay down their hostility and hand over a dish of food.
Here's the kind of food you can expect from a столовая:
|Salads. Cabbage salad is the healthiest salad available and is usually available fresh or marinated (like sauerkraut). People seem to believe the marinated version is tastier and sometimes will try to argue with you if you pick fresh.|
|Pelmeni! (dumplings) in chicken bullion.|
|The items mentioned above, plus a cream of mushroom soup.|
|Жаркое, or a cross between a stew and baked meat and potatoes.|
|Mashed potatoes drowning in butter.|
|A popular dish- homemade кутлеты, meat patties/cutlets, and more delicious- guess what?- cabbage!|
|A fancy chicken dish D ordered. At $3 this was one of the most expensive dishes on the menu.|
Do you see the progression? You order from three courses at the столовая. First is the salad, then soup, then a main dish. Most items here cost between $1 and $3. If you're ever in Russia or Ukraine I recommend visiting several столоваяs!
|Тhe sign in the background: шашлык = shish kabob.|
Also, about meat: a couple years ago a Russian family moved to Alaska and I was assigned to assist them in their resettlement process. During their first weeks in America they were insistent on getting йод (iodine, for health) and a meat grinder and were then incredulous when I told them that those things weren't commonly used in the states. (Why use a meat grinder when you can buy ground meat at the store containing meat from over 400 cows, haha.) Needless to say, iodine is widely available here and relatively cheap and most families grind their own meat. You can buy a meat grinder at any home electronics store or- in some meat stores- ask them to grind the meat you buy. That's why I feel more comfortable ordering dishes with ground meat in Ukraine, knowing it probably came from one animal.
I'm curious to hear from Ukrainian readers- what do you think of the столовая? Do you enjoy eating there or is it too plain? Would you ever go there on a date or is it just a cheap place to grab a meal? Was it more popular during the USSR than now, or vice versa?