Russian Tea Time Restaurant, Chicago IL

>> Thursday, December 22, 2011

Russian Tea Time Restaurant, Chicago

When Joe was awarded a dinner for two for an excellent sales week, we knew where we wanted to go: Russian Tea Time in downtown Chicago. It's one of our favorite, romantic restaurants in the city, especially in winter-time when we're craving rich, hearty dinners. Russian Tea Time is on 77 E. Adams, just around the block from the Art Institute on Michigan Avenue. It serves a mouth-watering variety of classic Russian and Central Asian foods, and the tea menu is larger than a wine list in an upscale restaurant (our favorite is the coriander tea, a fruity, fresh blend).

The decor is just the way I'd picture an old-world Russian restuarant, if the restaurant was located in a storefront in a big city. The glistening antique samovars, cushy red booths, and balalaika music set a romantic, comfortable mood, and all the staff we've met, except the busboys, are from Russia or the Ukraine. If you choose a vodka tasting flight, it comes with a piece of dark brown bread, a gherkin, and instructions on how to take a shot the Russian way. Na zdorovje!

Joe and I had visited the Art Institute on our engagement anniversary, December 20, and decided to make reservations at this restaurant afterwards. Everything is good, even their beet caviar, though ordinarily I treat beets like you'd treat toxic waste. Since then, we have been trying to re-create the items on their tasting platter, and I'll be posting our recipes here. Hope you enjoy them!

Russian Tea Time platter for two: appetizers.
Clockwise from top: Tashkent carrot salad, stuffed mushroom, beet caviar, cracked wheat (tabbouleh) salad, apple-beet vinaigrette salad, chick pea spread, beef dumplings (pelmeni).

 Russian Tea Time platter for two: appetizers.

Russian Tea Time platter for two: entrees.
Clockwise from top: chicken pozharski, beef stroganoff, stuffed cabbage, Moldavian meatballs, rice pilaf.

Russian Tea Time platter for two: entrees.

Related Recipes:


Santa's Whiskers Christmas Cookies

>> Saturday, December 10, 2011

These are my favorite Christmas cookies, and they’re also pretty easy to make. My mom taught me to bake these when I was a kid.
Makes about 60


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup red candied cherries, finely chopped
1/2 cup green candied cherries, finely chopped
3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup flaked coconut


In a large mixer bowl beat butter till softened. Add sugar and beat till fluffy. Add milk and vanilla and beat well. Add flour and beat until well mixed. Stir in cherries and pecans by hand.
Shape into three 7″ logs. Pour coconut onto two sheets of aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Roll logs in coconut to coat. Wrap and chill for several hours.
Preheat oven to 375F. Cut into 1/4″ thick slices. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes or until edges are browned. Remove and cool.

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