Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Russian Underground Dinner

If you're a foodie, maybe you've heard of "underground dinners"- an event that turns someone's home into a temporary restaurant. I'd never heard of the idea, but the combination of "Russian + dinner" will lure me anywhere ;) Luckily, Lena from Lena's Kitchen had that exact idea in mind last weekend-

A dozen of us gathered in Lena's backyard- Portland locals, a Hungarian entrepreneur, and several Americans born in Ukraine- for six amazing hours of eating and drinking under a walnut tree. Enjoy : )

Закуски / Starters

Shuba (herring-beet-mayonnaise salad).
Lena (in motion) and her super-sweet mom.
L: the piroshki didn't survive long on the table. R: BEST cheese spread ever.
Olivie salad.


The blini (which get their own special section- they were that good!)

Oladi with sour cream, smoked salmon and red caviar!
We had a lot of Instagrammers at the table : )


Moving on to the main courses...

Eight delicious pelmeni each... no sharing here!
Lots of kvas, kompot, beer, and wine (and a hammock!) to be had while waiting for the plov.


Lena's father- aka the King of Plov- made the plov right in front of us. It was a lengthy process involving shocking amounts of:

boiling oil
carrot sticks

 ... but resulting in the most addictive plov this planet has ever seen. Seriously, it was like ice cream. Lena heaped it on giant platters and topped each plov-pyramid off with an entire head of garlic.





The end

Turkish coffees, tea, and sweets rounded out the evening.

Despite being stuffed and not having the tiniest bit of space left for more food, I was sad to pay our tab and leave. The evening air was still fresh and everyone at the table had become friends over the meal. It had been a huge treat to spend the evening there : )

If you're into food or food photography, Lena's Kitchen Instagram or website = enough inspiration for the rest of your life, take a peek.

Have you ever been to an underground dinner?
Would you like to go to one in your city?


  1. OMG I WANT THIS. Can she come to the other coast next?!

    I am flashing back hard to my FIL's wedding gift - 60 liters of plov!

    1. Polly, this is so your scene, you'd love it!! Also, can I just say you have the BEST father-in-law EVER? That's a pretty epic gift!

    2. Also, Lena does parties, so if you guys ever move to this coast and decide to have a house party... : )

  2. Replies
    1. It's only fair, Slava ;) You get this kind of food at home for free!

  3. Awe, Thank you so much got posting this, I loved seeing and reading your post and the lovely photos. Thank you for all the love and so great meeting you two... I might be going to florida this winter... so maybe a dinner on the east coast can happen for sure..

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Lena! I've still got awesome memories of your cooking :)