Friday, June 15, 2007


Can't wait to get back to Georgia tomorrow, to get some real, fresh, crusty, tasty bread I can sink my teeth into! (And then presumably, a week later, in Australia, too). Will stop and pick some up on the way home from the airport!

The bread in Moldova is factory-made and cling-film wrapped. There are different kinds of bread from white to brown, to filled with sweet things like dates, but it's seriously bland. Have not seen a baker anywhere - there was one shop which sells 'piine calda' but that might just have been hot pies, and it was no longer functioning anyway.

Having said that, in Vilnius there are also few fresh-bread bakeries, though you can get fresh bread in most supermarkets - even the mini supermarkets; the large supermarkets usually have an instore bakery.

Restaurants in Moldova have their little quirks, too. Went to Dacu La Varta, a tiny restaurant in Vasile Alecsandri street, and ordered a shashlik. Leaving aside the fact that the meat came with nothing apart from a lettuce leaf, not an onion, a tomato, a little coleslaw from a bucket, nor a piece of bread (which I had to ask for as a paid extra), the price was also, suddenly, double the price it said on the menu. Why? The price on the menu was per 100 grams, and my portion had been 200, they told me (the fact that I had only eaten about 130 grams was probably not a good negotiating point). The price did have a little star beside it pointing to a footnote stating that the portions could have different sizes. Last week's 300 grams of goulash lasted me for four meals...
I thought it was a foreigner rip-off but people in the office said that this could be the case. Be careful out there!

Dinner last night at the Leogrand hotel; very nice, but don't be in a hurry! That applies even to ordering - no-one rushes to your table, on a sticky summer's night, offering you cool drinks - or any drinks....It only lasted 3.5 hours for the six of us.... If you have a life, there are lots of advantages to staying in a flat - where you can do other things while your dinner is cooking! But it was nice to go out for a change.

Here's a recipe for a filo-wrapped mars bar. It's a few millimetres away from a deep-fried one, but only very few millimetres.....

Noticed a few older men with faces that would have graced the back of a bus, accompanied by young women whose mothers had clearly run out of fabric while making their daughter's dresses.