Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When the Alcoholic Sleeps

I know I've been somewhat negative in my last few posts, and I make no apologies or excuses.  Spring is here now and there are various things bringing me joy in life:

1) I went for a run last Saturday morning, and I was pretty sure I found a time without people drinking everywhere.  But I went on Sunday morning too, and there was more than one group of drinking men.  So, I'll have to try again to be sure.  I still think I might be onto something here.

2) I saw teenage boys picking up trash, which was a refreshing change from the babushki (old ladies) and central asian/caucasian immigrants usually doing it.*

3) I bought a whole lot of strawberries for 115 rubles ($4).  I ate many of them with Polly on a park bench (outdoors!  in a t-shirt!), along with chocolate cake. 

photo stolen from Polly, fork stolen from Sbarro

4) It's light past 8 pm.

5) I adore my husband

*I'm positive they were forced to do it, but it doesn't change my opinion

Monday, April 16, 2012

OM Thai: a Moscow restaurant review

Last year Polly and I patronized Baan Thai and loved it, which I blogged about here. I, neither being Thai nor having visited Thailand, can't attest to the "authenticity" of any Thai food I may consume. Nevertheless, I know what I like when it comes to eating Thai food, namely: good spice/flavor variety and fresh noodles.

A friend discovered a great food blog based here in Moscow, called Pinch of Cinnamon. One of the more valuable aspects is a lot of detailed Moscow restaurant reviews. Eating out can be difficult here for a number of reasons: there are a lot of similar chains (not dissimilar to what we can find in the US) with equally average and semi-expensive food; total unpredictability when it comes to trying independently owned restaurants (in price, quality); and considerably less zeal for reviewing such places on the internet (as on yelp, for example).

After reading the review for OM Thai, I was enthusiastic about trying it. Spicy? Check. Expected Thai ingredients? Check. Good atmosphere? Check. So yesterday, we finally went. All I can really say is that I found a lot of the experience disappointing. After scouring the menu and not finding classic Thai dishes such as Phad Thai or Pad See Ew (my favorite!), I ordered vegetarian spring rolls (3 for 300 rubles), which were fine, and a bowl of Tom Kha soup (400 rubles), medium spice, which wasn't spicy at all and overall fairly average in taste. I can't say my food was bad, but it didn't leave any kind of lasting impression. Everyone had a similar experience regarding their food: it wasn't bad, but it left something to be desired, and the prices (as in all Moscow restaurants) are high enough to warrant avoiding it in the future.

The worst part was the service. One of the girls in our group ordered (via pointing) a bowl of soup and a side of noodles. Somehow she received a bowl of soup and a noodle-based entree. We tried to talk with the waitress, who insisted that it was what she ordered, but ultimately it was pretty disappointing that she got something she didn't want, and due to the language barrier was pretty much forced into paying for it anyway. I was doubly disappointed by the fact that we had a Russian girl in our group who did little to nothing to help with the situation. Usually Russians are great at demanding some kind of service, but she just meekly replied to our unlucky friend that there was nothing they could do. I should've spoken up, and it will definitely be a lesson for next time, but I still feel that it was the restaurant's responsibility to take the unwanted food off the bill instead of bullying their customers into paying for it.