Posted by: Tommy | October 18, 2010

The Return of Ruslan Kim!

If you remember from our blog last week, Ruslan Kim was the helpful Marriott employee who had helped us on our very trying first day when we couldn’t work the ATM.  We had given him one of our blog cards and promised to write about how much we appreciated his help.

Fast forward to Friday – we got back from Suzdal and had an email waiting for us…from Ruslan Kim!  He was wanting to know if Anna and I were still in Moscow, and if so, if we’d go to dinner with him and a friend.  Of course we’d do that!  He was the nicest guy ever and we have a hard time translating menus written in Russian.

So we arranged to go out to lunch on Saturday.  Ruslan told us he’d pick us up at the hostel and arrived promptly at 11:45.  We got in the backseat of the car and were whisked away to a place called Cafe Uzbek, which serves Uzbeki food.  Ruslan is from Kyrgyzstan, near Uzbekistan, so he goes to eat at Cafe Uzbek about once a week.  We let Ruslan take absolute control of the ordering and he didn’t disappoint.

We started with some noodle soup.  The noodles were interesting, much thicker than spaghetti noodles, but just as long.  You ate the soup with a spoon, so there was no twirling the noodles.  I asked Ruslan how to eat the soup: “Put them in your mouth and bite bite bite.”  There were also some huge rolls, shaped like puffy bagels, that were fluffy and delicious.

After the soup, the waiters brought skewers of grilled veggies (tomatoes, peppers, onions and zucchini), a plate of lamb and rice and some delectable dumplings.  The dumplings were filled with a liquid fat that squirted out when you bit into it.  I’m not sure what the meat inside was (Anna thinks lamb) but I know it was good.  Anna couldn’t finish her share of the rice dish, so I ate way more than my portion.  It was probably the first time in Russia that I’ve been full.

And then came dessert.  After making sure we had room (of course we did!) Ruslan ordered baklava and chak-chak.  Chak-chak is an Uzbeki dessert that looks like a Rice Krispie Treat.  It tastes like sugar, but has a pleasant, crispy texture.  The baklava was freshly made and very tasty.  In keeping with his current status as “Nicest guy ever”, Ruslan apparently had the meal taken care of with no check and no chance for me to pay for my own, much less the whole meal, which was my plan.


Baklava and Chak-Chak


After lunch, Ruslan drove Anna and I around Moscow for about an hour, showing us landmarks and telling us about certain buildings.  We saw some of the “7 sisters” – 7 skyscrapers that were built in Moscow during the Communist era and dominate their respective skylines.  We drove by the Russian White House, which dwarfs the American White House in size.  The American Embassy is close by…and is accompanied by an impromptu shrine to the King of Pop.  Apparently when it was announced that Michael Jackson had died, music-loving Muscovites came to a corner just outside the US Embassy to pay tribute with flowers and pictures.  There were still remnants of the tributes there, which Ruslan pointed out.


The Return of Ruslan Kim!


In this picture, you can see the Glass Bridge in the background.  I wish we had taken the time to explore it…it looked really cool from the road.  But my favorite thing we saw with Ruslan was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  It’s housed in one of the 7 sisters and was a very elaborate, decorative building.  The facade reminded me of a cross between the Empire State Building and  Notre Dame with it’s detailed carvings and stairstep silhouette.

Lunch on Saturday was certainly a unique experience, one that we were very excited to have.  We are hoping Ruslan will let us repay his hospitality on a visit stateside in the future.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs




  1. I just wait for your posts. I am learning so much and miss you a little less when I get to experience it with you. Thanks so much for that!!

    Rusian I hope you are reading this — you are a very attractive guy — like a movie star!! Please come to Dallas or Texas anywhere and I will be sure to treat you like visiting royalty. Anna and I both are good cooks and will do our best to repay all your hospitality. Thank you for all your kindness towards Anna and Tommy. You definitely would be made to feel at home in Texas!!

  2. i cant believe how nice that guy is!! shows you that there are still such nice people in this world!! food sounds amazing!! cant wait for the next blog! and yea he is pretty cute… if i werent married..haha

  3. Jenny, I will fight you for Ruslan. Miss you guys!!!!

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