Disclaimer: this "cafe" is to test interest in
the concept. No real cafe. if you like what you see here you can visit me as a
private guest. so far the response has been quite discouraging (one enquiry
every 3-4 months) so I am not likely to go forward with this cafe idea any time
soon. nor will i scrap it altogether. the status of "uncle Pasha's vegetarian
cafe" will be that of a backburner project...
Uncle pasha's cafe
On this page I will be documenting some of
my more popular or fortunate culinary combinations in hope that they will
developed into a menu around which a real cafe may someday develop. At the time of writing this (May 14
2010) I'm in Moscow and it is entirely OK to invite yourself to my place for
a dinner. A few people already did! The location is by Metro Alexeyevskaya or
I'M PRESENTLY KEEPING MY EYES OPEN FOR A SUITABLE SPACE.
Here I'll try to share my thoughts on how I
see this cafe. Interest from potential partners is especially welcomed.
Rice, tofu, bean sprouts, and wild rice, all served on seaweed sheets. As a
beverage for this plate I recommend ginger tea.
I personally visit shops and markets to bring you the freshest and most
interesting products that can be found on the bland and boring Moscow scene
Rice noodles with lentil, pepper, and tomato sauce
Uncle Pasha's is the only vegetarian cafe in this part of the world where
drinking is entirely OK. House specialties:
Snejana's mildly intoxicating kvas in the summer, and contraband
Vietnamese rice vodka the rest of the year. The photo is from the
of my life.
There is something in me that revolts at the word
"vegetarian". Guess serving alcoholic beverages and even allowing to smoke,
despite my personal low tolerance of tobacco, is to serve as a statement to
differentiate my humble establishment from "vegetarian" cafes and the crowds
that populate them. There will be no word "vegetarian" on the sign in front of
my establishment. Just a note that we only use raw ingredients of plant origin.
is often used in this cafe.
Tofu for sale. Frozen
tofu is nearly always available. Write me a day or so ahead of time if
you want freshly made tofu. 30 roubles ($1) for a small brick, 80 (just
under $3) for a large one.
What have I done to deserve this fate of
being perhaps Moscow's only real tofu dealer?!
Chickpea flour patties are popular with the
My regulars quickly learn to appreciate avocado. They are usually served cut in half, with olive oil, a bit of crushed black pepper, with toasts.
Avocado cream soup is also common.
We'll probably use the fixed
"suggested contribution" system. I'm too lazy to count things up. I'll
aim at 300-450 roubles ($10-15) per person for a full belly and a bit of buzz
in the head.
Couscous, Beluga lentils, eggplant rogue, and marinated ginger
Another house specialty is ginger tea. Not for the timid.
There is no detailed menu
in the cafe. Just some samples. And a list of available ingredients.
Guests are asked to describe how they want their food: hot or cold,
solid or watery, with or without spices, crunchy or mashie etc. Food
is prepared and
put out on the table in the manner I've been practicing during the
rural exile part of
my life: one large pot of soup, one large wok with stir-fry, mostly
self-serve, with no "portions". What's left is handed out free
or nearly so at the end of the day. As in
Dubrovki, guests will be
encouraged to wash dishes and participate in time consuming such as
Warning: I make liberal use of hot peppers.
By default a couple of these goes into every plate. If you are a wimp be
sure to tell me.
I confess this dish has shrimp in it.
Only proper soya sauce from The Netherlands or Japan. None of the
caramel-and-glutamate stuff commonly available here. No diluted Chinese
palatable sauce for under $4 for a one litre bottle. Some of those asked to
assess it said it is even better than Kikkoman. No glutamated detected!
When buying coffee
I always check the roasting date. Coffee is usually
prepared Turkish style but on request French press can be used.
Sea salt only! The iodized nonsense is not allowed in my establishment.
I explore markets and identify sources of fresh yet inexpensive products.
This is the cubicle of my favourite nuts dealer. Location: Prospekt Mira,
near Metro Alexeyevskaya.
Another popular item is rolls stuffed with whatever happens to be around.
Stuff normally present in my
||ordinary cooking onions
small crunchy onions that are served whole
garlic (Russian, no tasteless imports from China or Holland)
tomatoes (I walk around the market literally sniffing out
tomatoes that actually taste like ones)
mango when I can find it
asparagus when I'm in real luck
||Thai or Indian long-grain
CHICK PEA FLOUR
SESAME SEED OIL
Spices and seasonings
||fresh hot peppers
whole black peppers
soya sauce (Kikkoman)
are not really my thing but as of recent I've started
serving coconut cream with brown sugar. A popular
combination that does not offend me either.
salt from Kostroma
urid? flour patties
||a variety of teas, including
bitter green tea
freshly roasted coffee beans
Snejana's mildly intoxicating kvas (only in the summer)
contraband Georgian wine
contraband Vietnamese rice vodka
(when given a choice I pick illegal sources out of my
built-in rejection of things official)
||Tobacco is somewhat discouraged although by no means
prohibited after a good meal. I will not mention other
smoke-related details for the fear of getting myself into
Urid flour chips
We are no health freaks. Quite to the contrary. Only
for the reasons of taste and style we refuse to use microwave ovens,
Teflon-lined pans, or MSG. I carefully check the ingredients label of
anything I procure, and personally taste it for hints of anything that
ought not be there.
Two old cast iron pans founds at Alla's
dacha. One classic Chinese wok brought from Canada by one of my guests.
These are my two main cooking aids.
Wild rice, Thai rice, lentil, and avocado soup
served with chick pea patties
Choice-fatigued? At our establishment we won't
force you to make any decisions. If, like me, you are fatigued with the need to
pick among an annoyingly large number of alternatives, here at my place
you can relax. Just say
"feed me" and leave the rest to me. By default I'll aim at slightly
overstuffing you and making sure you leave a bit tipsy. I may ask for
your preferences as to liquid vs. solid food or lots of pepper or really
lots of it. But no, there won't be a menu. Not according to the present
concept. And no one leaning over you with a notepad expecting you to
make a decision. The problem with this world as we have it at the moment
is an impossibly large number of decisions. Here you just get fed, not
asked to strain your brain.
[A PHOTO OF ANXIOUS LOOKING FELLOW LOOKING AT A
Beluga lentils dominate the landscape. Pink stuff may be ginger. White is
Another example of fattening stuff
misleadingly called salad
Found small young asparagus from Thailand. Not the huge overgrown stuff from
among rejects shipped here from The Netherlands. In this case it is served under
coconut sauce. Yes, the new addition is coconut cream that I use to make either hot
sauce or sweet dessert.
31 2011 About the worse has happened. Seen a doctor today. For the first
time in my adult life. Got a short but penetrating lecture on the details of
when and especially how I will die unless I change my eating and drinking
habits. Thus this oil-free creation. No pepper. Low-sodium "black" salt.
Extra-small servings. No fried chickpea patties I was planning for tonight.
Accompanied by herb tea with honey instead of the usual contraband rice vodka.
May 14 2010
February 22 2010
consider, with the greatest and most intense interest and enthusiasm a disillusioned old
grouch is capable of, offers of employment or partnership in a food
establishment in Moscow, where I'm sort of stuck, in Israel, where I am
seriously thinking of moving, or in any other livable place.
www.happycow.net to veg*n travellers
[Hint to guests to send their