Life in Moscow has it's ups and downs. But after a fantastic dinner at one of my all time favorite restaurants, Хачапури, I found myself completely in love with this city yet again. Apparently food is the best way to inspire such emotions within me...
Funnily enough, though, the real source of said love is not even Russian. It comes from one of our neighboring countries to the south, which is now near the top of my list of countries to visit: Georgia! While there are many reasons for wanting to visit, I feel no shame in saying that my love for their food is primary among those. If you haven't tried Georgian food and live anywhere near a city that offers it (Brooklyn friends!!!)...go! Eat! Be blissfully happy! Fall in love with food all over again!
Here would be my list of loves:
Pkhali. This version is spinach but I've had an eggplant variation as well. Fabulous. What is it? A vegetarian delight: spinach, walnut, and spices galore! A recipe I might actually attempt on my own...
Eggplant rolls filled with a garlic-walnut paste. Oddly enough I'm normally not a walnut fan. But in this context...yes please!
This is the dish for which my beloved restaurant is named: khachapuri. Georgian cheese pizza. There are different variations of this classic...one that is shaped like a boat and has an egg in the middle...but this version is my favorite. Why? LOTS of cheese!
In my excitement, I may have dived in a bit too enthusiastically and ruined the beauty of this photo op. But please meet khinkali, another Georgian staple and personal favorite. You can get these large dumplings filled with a number of things...potato and cheese, mushroom, salmon, and meat. I opted for the latter. There are a number of sauces to choose from, but I always opt for the side of sour cream. It's the Russian coming out in me I suppose.
The key to eating these is the handle pictured here...it's designed to be held, so dive in and get a bit messy. (I generally use a spoon in the opposite hand for assistance. And to make for easy sour cream distribution.)
My goal over the next 4 weeks? Be able to make all these dishes on my own. My relationship with Georgian food is one I'm determined to keep intact, no matter the distance!