Since I’m feeling better and my appetite has gone back to normal, it was time to do some food shopping. And since I enjoy weirdly entertaining food, I decided to revisit a store I discovered recently that looks like a gourmet food store from the outside but hides some unusual treasures within. The store is on Broadway near W. 190th Street (it’s mysteriously not on Google Maps, but I swear it exists). When you go in, you’ll find normal stuff like fresh fruits and vegetables. But then you’ll also find …
Hot Russian mustards! I’m not sure why one brand represents hot mustard with a chicken and one brand with … is that supposed to be a peasant wearing a babushka? And no, I didn’t actually buy these because these looked a little too fiery for me (and besides, we have enough mustard right now). However, I DID buy:
I always enjoy trying treats like these. I’ve bought stuff like this before at Polish shops in Greenpoint, and I’m always staring at the picture like … okay, I like chocolate, I like … wait, is that a blueberry? Is that a hazelnut? (ETA – Okay, we tried these for dessert tonight. It’s actually kind of like a Eastern European version of a Twix bar. It’s a cookie with a layer of caramel on top, covered by chocolate. But then there are also one or more extra ingredients. I think I taste fruit and nuts, but that might be because I think I see fruit and nuts in that picture. In any case, these were tasty but VERY sweet. I only had one, and it’s already made my coffee taste lousy by comparison).
Okay, I know that these are cookies, and that 33 cows were somehow involved in the making of these cookies. Oh, and that at least one of those cows had a heightened sense of style. But the whole “tvorojok flavor” thing was kind of confounding. The girl at the register spoke pretty good English, so I asked if she could tell me what that meant. She thought about it for a moment, and said, “milky … cheese?” So I bought them. Okay, I confess I would have bought them anyway, if only for the cute cow. We just tried these after dinner tonight, and yes, they do taste milky. They taste like cookies that were dunked in milk, without being soggy! And now I’ve just googled tvorojok and discovered that it’s a dessert farmer’s cheese. Neat!
I reached for this bottle because I saw a picture of a pear … but then I saw it was a variety of Georgian lemonade, and I was especially intrigued. This is now in our fridge, and we’re going to try it later this week. [ETA: Okay, we shared this bottle with dinner tonight — in case you were wondering, it’s a small bottle and we have big glasses. We can definitely taste the pear flavor, and the bubbles were making me taste pear all the way up into my sinuses! The lemon flavor was very mild, if it was really there at all. My boyfriend proclaimed it to be “curiously refreshing,” and I think I agree].
OMG. You see why I had to buy this, right? Even though I have NO idea what it is? Okay, I was able to piece together enough English words on the label to understand that it’s non-alcoholic, and I THINK it’s sparkling. I asked the girl what it tasted like, and she couldn’t narrow it down much beyond saying that it was kind of sweet and it tasted good. And apparently it might inspire me to dress like my ancestors (seriously, I have photos of family members wearing “traditional” peasant outfits like this). (ETA – Okay, I haven’t tried it yet, but I looked up the key ingredient I could read on the label, which is called kvass. According to wikipedia, kvass is a fermented beverage made from black or regular rye bread. This is sounding weird already!) (ETA: Okay, now we HAVE tried this, and honestly it’s one of the stranger things I’ve ever tasted. Here are some of the words and phrases my boyfriend and I used to describe it: odd, earthy, sour, curious, like a tonic, like some kind of root. I don’t know if that helps to describe it, but honestly it’s just plain weird!)