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Found 8 results

  1. DIShGo and I have decided to form our own book club and read Tolstoy's "War and Peace," and we invite any and all DR members to join us in discussing it. We did this with "Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida" several years back, and had a wonderful time doing so - we're hopeful this will be more of the same. If you're lurking, please register and contribute - we need all the help we can get with this beast! Other than, gulp, "Atlas Shrugged," this will be the first-ever 1,000+ word novel I've ever attempted to tackle, and "Atlas Shrugged," though an intriguing concept, doesn't really qualify as "advanced literature" - I've read some real bears in my life, but this will be the biggest bear I've ever attempted to ride. DIShGo read "Infinite Jest" a couple of years ago, so this will be her second. Interestingly, I've read Tolstoy's shortest short story: "The Three Hermits" - all of three pages long. "War and Peace" - a good version of it (a paperback of Oxford's World Classics) is available from Amazon for the incredible price of $12.50 - you can buy good, used copies for much less than that. I suspect that with my pencil, I'll end up going through two-or-three copies before finishing, so I'll save the leather-bound edition for my final purchase; for now, I just want inexpensive copies and good translations (Louise and Aylmer Maude are whom Oxford considers to be reference-standard for translating this novel into English, so that's who we're going with). Nothing would make me happier than for twenty people to join us - we're going to be going slowly, and this will probably take a year to complete. When will you ever, in your entire life, have a better opportunity than this? We're kind, patient, intelligent, curious, eager, open-minded, and will always have a "more the merrier" attitude - please join us? We'll be starting with the Introduction, which is thirteen pages long itself. The book suggests that it can be used as an afterward, but as with Shakespeare, I have no problem "learning in advance" about the story - it's the beauty of the writing I'm after (and I think I speak for DIShGo as well); not the arc of the story. We'll all (both?) try to make whatever cogent observations we can, while at the same time, hope to learn from what others have to say. Please join us! We're both plenty busy, and don't plan to get through this project quickly; we are, instead, planning to enjoy the intellectual challenge. DIShGo is super-smart with literature, and it will be a pleasure to discuss this with her and learn.
  2. Rus Uz deserves a mention here. The prices are moderate, the portions generous (3 huge lamb shish kabobs for less than $20), and the food is very tasty. They're getting more popular, though we've been able to walk in and get seated each time.
  3. A friend of mine and I finished reading "The Cherry Orchard" for the first time, and we both enjoyed it very much. Although Chekhov expressly states it's "A Comedy in Four Acts" on the title page, its first director, Konstantin Stanislavski, had it played as a travesty much to the ailing Chekhov's heartbreak: "He ruined my play," Chekhov lamented. If you're looking for a story arc, you'll be hung out to dry by The Cherry Orchard, as it's really something of a slice of life, as well as a portrait of various classes of aristocracy, at various points in their lives. Chekhov had grown weary of Russian plays all being 'noble and formal,' and tried to do something more realistic. That said, people, a few years ago, who declared the excellent Canadian playwright, Alice Munroe, "our generation's Chekhov," simply could not have been more wrong - Munroe is nothing like Chekhov, even though she's a fine playwright on her own terms. Summarizing "The Cherry Orchard" would be an exercise in futility, at least in a short post such as this - it would take at least two separate readings, along with researching critical analyses, in order to even understand it. Nevertheless, if you don't hope for an action-packed story, you may just find yourself charmed pink by the motley assortment of characters in this fine, groundbreaking work. Has anyone else read it or seen it? I'd be delighted to discuss aspects of it in depth.
  4. We went to the Russia House for the first time last night after a great deal of urging from some hard-drinking friends. We had Jonny Miles (of Shaken and Stirred) in tow, as he was in town reading from his new novel, DEAR AMERICAN AIRLINES. (Aside: the book is lovely, like his columns and sports writing.) We urged him to cross the river for some Todd Thrasher treats from the bar at Eve, but driving felt too complicated, so we stayed in Dupont. The main lounge at the Russia House was open last night when we rolled in after steak and chicken at Bistrot du Coin, which was reliable. The heavy red curtains and velvet appointments make the place cozy. Some lovely, high-kitsch artwork amused as more and more and the evening wore on. The drink menu is vodka, vodka, more vodka, cocktails made with vodka, infused vodkas, and some Russian and former former-Soviet Union beer and wine. We stuck to vodka, and first focused on the house-made infusions in three flavors: horseradish, strawberry, and pineapple-orange-mango. All were impressive in flavor, and the citrus blend was downright delish. We also ordered several plain vodkas, served on the rocks. The flavors ranged from "Christmas in you mouth" to "a new bag of those rubber fishing worms," both of which were remarkably tasty. We allowed the expert to pick for us, but we could not pass the Bogarduskya, which coincidentally bore the family name of one in the group. (Did it really taste like "the sweat of broken Norwegian dreams"?) The portions were large, served in tumblers, the service was prompt and friendly, and last call came gently at 1 a.m. The drinking crowd was very good for people-watching. Maybe we'll eat a little from the small plates offered in the bar next time. Highly recommend an evening here (even if, like me, you don't usually drink vodka).
  5. I walked into Troika Gastronom today, and noticed about a dozen different Russian beers for sale, most of them in single, 16-20 ounce bottles or thereabouts. I can't vouch for how long they've been sitting on the shelves, but I can vouch for the selection. If you're in Seven Corners, or around Pizzeria Orso in Falls Church, the little-known Hillwood Avenue (one of the "seven corners"), VA Route 338, is your secret pathway. Look at the tweet (is "tweet" capitalized?), and you'll see that cake, carrot mentioned that Halalco, a large Halal grocery store next door, is the best source for goat in the NoVa suburbs - I haven't been, but I trust Jake's palate. The two of these stores, in such close proximity, make this worth a detour, and New Grand Mart - putting three interesting ethnic grocery markets in a one-mile diameter - makes it worth a journey.
  6. Don, I've searched as best I can, but I can't find any Serbian Crown thread. If there is one, though, I won't be insulted if this gets moved. There's a coupon (GroupOn/AmazonLocal - one of those) for Serbian Crown today. My colleague perused the menu and commented to be about all the game. There's antelope, emu, venison, rabbit, boar....AND LION Is this even legal? Could it be "loin" of something and not "lion"? There are several typos and poor grammar throughout the online menu, so "loin" would certainly be more likely.
  7. Does anyone have suggestions on where is the best place to go for Russian food? I'm pretty fond of Russia House. It has a kindof weird James Bond feel to it and the food is surprisingly tasty for a place that has a vodka menu the size of a novel. But I know there are other places in the area that could be as fun or more. If you've been to any (or have a "friend" who went to one and hated it) I would like to hear what you or your friend have to say.
  8. My lovely and accomplished daughter came up to Philadelphia on Sunday. We celebrated my birthday just a block down 16th Street from Monk's at The Warsaw Cafe. Unusual place that has served Eastern European (yes, Polish) food with a continental flair since 1979 - borscht, chilled berry soup, Russian crepes (stuffed with smoked salmon and topped with caviar), wiener schnitzel, crab cakes were all delicious. After walking around the Rittenhouse Square area, we went to Old City for ice cream at the Franklin Fountain, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that serves homemade ice cream just down the block from the Continental. Wonderful way to spend a summer evening.
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