Tea Time in Russia

Posted: January 10, 2017 in Personal
Tags: , , , , ,

When Christmas comes, we’re blessed in that we don’t need anything, sometimes even having trouble thinking of things we’d like, and certainly don’t need more “stuff.”  But both our girls came up trumps this year with the gift of experiences.

Our younger daughter had me pencil in a date weeks in advance for a gift shrouded in mystery and we caught an early afternoon train into Chicago a few days before Christmas, the gift still unknown.  When we got into our Uber car, she told the driver not to mention the location, as it was a surprise.  Rounding a corner near the Chicago Art Institute, I saw the sign for the Russian Tea Time restaurant, a place I’d never been. Was that it?? Hurrah!  Our 2:30 pm reservation was for afternoon tea.

The restaurant was the dream of Klara Muchnik, born and raised in Ukraine. In 1967, Klara moved to Tashkent, Uzbekistan but in 1990, she and her family moved to Chicago in search of a better life.  This restaurant was the delicious result.

We chose the “house tea”, a Darjeeling Black Current blend served in beautiful cups.

© janet m. webb 2016

Our small bites came in three layers, the top comprised of scones, whipped cream, and jam.

© janet m. webb 2016

Layer two was the savory layer, my favorite.  I would have been happy if the savory layer had been the largest, bottom plate.

© janet m. webb 2016

Finally there were the homemade desserts, none overly sweet.  After eating all we could reasonably enjoy, we took home two scones and some of the desserts.

© janet m. webb 2016

Now remember, we were in a Russian restaurant.  Still, when our daughter suggested we end with a shot of vodka, I was completely surprised.  However, when in Rome (or Russia)…  We selected a flight of three, three ounce shots of fruit vodkas, sharing each one.  They were delicious as were the pickles and rye bread that accompanied them!!  Click on the highlighted link to see an example.  I took a picture, but it was out of focus. I hasten to add that was before the vodka.  🙂

As I said, a delicious gift and a wonderful memory. Our older daughter’s gift?  You’ll have to wait to find out.  In the meantime, cheers!

© janet m. webb 2016

  1. oh I would love that… I made a note to ask my mother for the samovar and the tea set… think it’s perfect to have russian tea time in winter… even when we have no snow… but the temperatures are like siberia :o)

  2. nowathome says:

    How marvelous!! Now that is the kind of gift that I would like too!

  3. Sue says:

    Wonderful! I would enjoy that, too!

  4. What a fabulous gift, something really memorable and yet simple, j’adore! It sounds as if you have very wise daughters!

  5. Helen C says:

    Looks delicious, Janet. What a great idea your daughters came up with. I will definitely tell my daughter about this. Thank you for sharing.
    Have a wonderful day.

    • It was delicious, Helen, and we sat there for a long time enjoying food and conversation. Both gifts were perfect, although every different and so thoughtful. You have a wonderful day as well and thanks for stopping by to share the morning.

  6. I. Greenwald says:

    Such a wonderful and delicious gift.

  7. macmsue says:

    A fantastic imaginative gift. Daughter No. 2 would have been struggling to top that!

  8. How does one spell ‘perfect’ gift of all times for Mom. 🙂 What a thoughtful daughter to give such a great gift and also participate in the adventure. I can see it was a wonderful time had by all. 🙂

  9. What a great afternoon you had! I would love this too.

  10. joey says:

    Oh fun! And YUM! That’s like ten gifts in one! The food looks wonderful, and I’m with you on the savories 🙂 I, too, would rather have experiences than things, so this looks like a real winner to me.

    • It was delicious in all ways, Joey, and the fact that it was a surprise was the topping on the goodie stand. The vodkas were amazingly good, too, but as far as alcohol content, they made no headway against all the food we’d eaten. I imagine they were soaked up almost immediately. 🙂


  11. Dan Antion says:

    That sounds like a wonderful time, Janet. The food looks delicious. I’m not a fan of Vodka, but, as you say, when in… I’d give it a try.

  12. What delicious memories and such a perfect gift for all of you…

  13. bythebriny says:

    What a fun experience and a great idea for a gift.

  14. Joyce says:

    I drank Russian tea too from glasses like that while on my trip to the former Soviet Union in May, 1989 when I visited there on a tour of Moscow, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa and Leningrad (St. Petersburg now). We were on the Tran Siberian train between Kharkov and Kiev when we were served the tea at night, but we did have some very delectable pastries when in their restaurants. It was a very wonderful experience in all, and I was able to taste and experience some new things like Sturgeon, black caviar, blintzes and real Ukrainian borscht. The disappointing thing though was not being able to explore areas on my own as I wanted, but braved a two block walk without the group. We were monitored everywhere we went by the then KGB Intourist agents.

  15. Joyce says:

    I forgot to add too that I did indeed also have a taste of their vodka at the closing last night party, but it burned all the way down my throat and into my stomach so I promptly gave my shot glass almost full to my roommate which she downed in one gulp. She was not a novice or inexperience to drinking hard liquor I found. I, the daughter of a protestant minister however could only just watch amazed at how everyone in our group could down their booze. 🙂

    • I don’t drink a lot, Joyce, and I don’t do shots. But these were quite tasty and didn’t have a burn at all.

      • Joyce says:

        Maybe they were a bit on the lighter side. 🙂 The vodka offered us in Russia was a straight whiskey brand. Schmirnov’s (sp.) maybe, or something like it. I don’t pay attention to labels, etc. since I drink so little. I like a few of the fruity wines, wine coolers, etc. My daughter brought me a wonderful Rhubarb wine II love anything made with Rhubarb) from the Dakotas when she was there on a trip last year. It was awesome. Loved it, but can’t get it anywhere except the winery up there where they got it.

  16. Laura says:

    Food plus experience is the perfect gift 🙂

  17. Anne says:

    WHAT a wonderful gift!

  18. Su Leslie says:

    Fabulous Christmas present. We have stopped trying to find “things” to give each other and now make gifts of experiences. I think that’s twice as good as we share the giving and often the receipt of the gift as you did with your daughter.

  19. marianallen says:

    Wow! What a fabulous gift! Not just the treat itself, but the surprise of it, and the thoughtfulness of it, and the precious time with your daughter. I love this SO MUCH!

  20. Leya says:

    What an absolutely enjoyable gift! Wonderful shots of it all too. And those cups – I remember something like that from a ride on the Transsiberian railway when I was young. 1986 I believe it was. I understand if you all had a great time at this place!

  21. jgousseva says:

    Great post! The beautiful tea glasses reminded me of a much simpler version of these kinds of glasses from Russian trains. All long-distance train journeys in Russia had these kinds of glasses/holders. Maybe, they still do.

    • I’ve never been on such a trip in Russia, but if the glasses were fancier than these, they were quite something. You must have been on one or more of these journeys. Thanks for commenting and I’m glad you enjoyed the post.


  22. jgousseva says:

    Sorry, I didn’t phrase it right: the train ones were simpler :). Great post :).

  23. How charming! Russian restaurants are still so scarce out in the states, it’s a real treat to find one – and with such a stellar tea service, no less. Those platters look fit for royalty!

  24. nastiavotson says:

    That’s such a great idea!

  25. Allan G. Smorra says:

    What a wonderful day/gift, Janet. The black currant tea sounds devine.

  26. […] Christmas, our younger daughter and I enjoyed her tasty gift of afternoon tea at Russian Tea Time.  Sunday night, my husband and I enjoyed watching the Chicago Blackhawks live […]

  27. I love experience gifts. And this one was super thoughtful – and delicious.

  28. Those glasses are so fancy looking! I love its style. The cakes and finger sandwiches do look to much different ot the British ones but I’m sure there are subtle differences 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂

    If you have time, please check out my latest post about Brick &Liquor Cocktail bar – https://tootinghustle.wordpress.com/2017/05/24/brick-and-liquor-in-review/ and let me know what you think!

    Happy blogging! x

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