Ever since I was little, I always looked forward to going grocery shopping with my mom. I remember picking out a pack of cookies stuffed with chocolate from our favorite store in Belgium and being allowed to open them before we'd even checked out. I'd have to let go of them for the cashier to scan, always a sad moment, but one quickly resolved with them being handed back to me most promptly. Nowadays, I still find the same joy in food shopping whether it be at the local Trader Joe's or Moscow's Eliseevskiy.
It's a luxurious grocery store that sells everything from meat and cheese to gourmet coffee and chocolates. It's easy to be swept up in the grandeur of it all, but we satisfied ourselves with a bottle of jalapeño Tobasco and a bar of chocolate (odd combination, I know).
With our tastebuds yearning now more than ever for something delicious, we happened upon a burger joint we'd just read about. In the back of an unassuming building, there were half a dozen nice-looking men flipping burgers and pouring drinks. One of them came around the counter to help us decide by giving recommendations both of the burger and beer persuasion. While all of their interesting combinations sounded great (bacon and jam being one of them), all we wanted was a good cheddar cheese burger slathered with jalapeños and so they happily obliged.
The burgers were cooked perfectly and the fries were amazing, dipped in their homemade ketchup. Pass on the mozzarella sticks...I don't know what kind of cheese it was, but it wasn't mozzarella and it didn't work.
Stuffed and happy, we continued through the streets, lit up in every direction until we found a bookstore just past a small produce truck.
Tyler found a few great books and gave them a new home in our ever-growing library.
The next day was our's to do with as we wished, so we wasted no time in heading right for the New Tretyakov Gallery, but not without perusing the neighborhood.
The metro came in handy once more, dropping us just down the road and across the bridge from the museum. The ship in the distance was supposedly made to commemorate Columbus' 500 year anniversary of his first voyage, but Russia was unable to find an interested party in the US, so they got creative and turned it into a monument for Peter the Great. It's massive and kind of Peter Pan-esque, off in the distance.
This painting by Yuri Pimenov (1903–1977) entitled "New Moscow," was one of my favorites. I managed to find a print in the museum shop and can't wait to get it home and frame it.
Here are some of my other favorites.
After a couple of hours we headed outside to the "Graveyard of Fallen Monuments." This is where some of Moscow's Soviet-era monuments are displayed.
Just as we were passing Peter, the sun even came out for a few minutes.
The next stop for the day was VDNKh (Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy). It's filled with impressive, yet vacant buildings, once meant to showcase the bounty of Soviet agricultural and economic achievement.
And as seems to be the trend here in Moscow, there was a winding and rather large skating rink.
We popped in for a lunch at a small restaurant that we passed on our way to another restaurant that was sadly closed.
After lunch, we just walked and took in the city before our feet began to ache and we decided that a little rest at our hotel needed to be had before dinner.
We stopped by the park on our way to the hotel for a little selfie op.
Our plans for our next meal included finding some GREAT Georgian food, and we did. We went for a very late dinner, which everyone else in Moscow decided to do as well. We had to wait for half an hour before being seated, but the manager at Khachapuri gave us free wine while we stood drooling over everyone's meals.
We started with pickled vegetables and eggplant stuffed with a walnut spread.
We also split a huge khachapuri filled with cheese and topped with a beautiful egg. It was exactly what we'd been waiting for.
For dessert we ordered their homemade baklakva that was really unique, resembling a crab rangoon more than a baklava, but so tasty. It went like a dream with their homemade vanilla ice cream.
Our walk back to the hotel had already been planned out. As we'd been walking to the restaurant, we noticed a tunnel of lights in the distance and decided to check it out after we'd eaten.
It made for an absolutely magical stroll "home."