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Tropical Butterflies Expo (open till March 31, 2013)

This expo is a great place for a kid (but there were also couples on dates there, somewhat a romantic atmosphere LOL)… Butterflies run wild, the assistants help them ‘land’ on your shoulders and arms so you can take a closer look while biologists tell their story (that includes bizarre facts such as that the majority of butterflies die from overeating and alcoholism…) The Tropical Butterflies expo is open until the 31st of March and it’s at Revolutsionnaya, 10 (close to Bistro de Luxe). Tel: (017) 321-24-30; (017) 321-24-26

P.S. Dress lightly as it’s very humid and hot at the expo. Also there are four hilarious little African birds there (PICTURED BELOW) that make the most ridiculous Angry Birds sounds - Bible!

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Cat Expo in Minsk - Feb 16 2013

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Would you like to write smth for the top english nightlife website? (minsknightlife_net)

Anonymous

sure. let’s talk here https://www.facebook.com/sviatlana.piatakova

Aug 2

Oede.by - 1st Minsk Cooking School

Oede.by is the first cooking school in Minsk. It is a cozy kitchen in the center of the city where the best chefs share their secrets with wanna be gourmands. Here is a photo report on ‘Making Pasta at Home' master class with Anton Kalenik of Bistro de Luxe.

Semolina for pasta (ма́нка - in Russian)

Eggs

More eggs

This is hard work - you need strong hands, like Anton’s

Kolobok ))

Keep it warm and cozy - or it will run away

Pasta machine (20 euro, can’t buy in Minsk; closest vendors in Lithuania and Russia)

Virginal leaf of pasta

Varieties - you can do pretty much anything you want with it

Students help

Frutti del Mare

Wine (white, dry, cheap)

Cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil, parsley

To get that garlic taste just crush the clove (without peeling it) and throw into the pan…

… like that - no need to slice, dice, squeeze, etc and no burned garlic in your dish! just throw it out once it’s shared all its goodness.

The last stages - this smells amazing…

Add vegetable broth to keep the ingredients stewing gently.

Fresh hand made pasta cooks for about 2 minutes - no more!

The miraculous cheese grater for the finishing touches.

THE DELICIOUS RESULTS

Frutti del Mare Linguine with Tomato Sauce

Pappardelle with Meat Ragoût

Tagliatelle with Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes

This was so much fun. Thank you, Oede.by!

La Crete D’Or, Minsk

The funny thing about restaurants in Minsk recently has been the way diners are greeted at the entrance, or, more specifically, NOT greeted at the entrance (and I am not just talking about the cheap cafes). In the past, every respectable place had a hostess waiting on customers to arrive, check their reservations, invite them in, find them a table and just be generally welcoming. If a place had no administrator, the first waiter who spotted the guests would rush to take care for them. This is no longer the case (Grand Cafe, News Cafe and Bistro de Luxe are exceptions, you understand).

In La Crete D’or, of all places, NO ONE greeted us at the entrance. The waiters who saw us, and were not busy with anything, because we were the only people in the place on a Saturday night, just stood there staring at us (and yes, we had a reservation). It was the first time I was in the place so I was really unsure where the cloak room was, what the deal was with the entrance, etc. Not the best start of the evening, and surely doesn’t match the elegant style of the restaurant.

South of France Salad (22$)

It looked nice with pine nuts and cheese on top of a variety of salads.

Marinated Pear Salad (10$)

Very light, tasty and the best dish of the ones we tried: pear, grapes, cheese, salad, apple, pine nuts.

Soupe a l’oignon (5$)

A few words on this traditional French dish. The ingredients are beef broth, Swiss Gruyère, French bread, preferably sourdough and a ton of onions (preferably red), cooked slowly for an hour to caramelize (but nor burn). French onion soup is sometimes presented as gratinée, a baked onion casserole. The crusty feel of the bread and cheese on top is achieved by slow baking individual soup crocks.

The soup in La Crete D’or was just sour, and the bread was a lump floating in the narrow crock, obstructing the access to the soup itself. After trying to break my head wondering how I can fish out the log of bread, cheese crust surrounding it, or cut through it, or bite through it, or drill through it, in order to get to the soup, I just squeezed in as much as I could on the spoon, enough to state here it was oniony and sour, and that was the end of it. (Toasted cubes would be so much more manageable for rusty illiterates like me.)

Duck breast (14$)

The duck was actually tasty (to prevent a fit of hysterics from the child I obscured the fact that she was eating a beautiful bird that she loves to feed so much and said it was ‘chicken’, but please don’t ask me what chickens have done to be deemed ‘edible’ by eco-friendly preschoolers as opposed to ducks who are a definite no-no – I have no explanation). The duck had that amazing flavour, complimented by the lovely cherry sauce, and completely unnecessary and unattractive mashed potatoes.

Sole (25$)

The sole looked lonely on a plate of sauce but the waiter insisted it needed no garnish – insisted vehemently, which should never happen, even if he has a PhD in French cuisine.

Duck pie (13$)

This dish was a complete disappointment. Well, first of all, me the dumb rookie thought it would be somewhat like English pie (please, do not murder me for comparing the two world-known cuisines, my French and English friends) but it was nothing of a kind. It was greasy all over, as if it had been DEEP fried, and the meat was sweet in a bad way. I took a few bites and that was it.

Verdict: The atmosphere was chilly and the wonderful pianist playing soft interpretations of famous Jazz standards didn’t manage to warm it up; the interiors were fabulous if you like tall ceilings, large windows and classic decor; the service was reserved but lacked heart – in short, I am not coming back. A friend confirmed to me that only ‘regulars’ are treated well in La Crete D’or and first timers are neglected, if not made to feel ‘less than’. Unacceptable, if you ask me. Au revoir.

Terra Pizza Metro Partizansky

Terra Pizza Metro Partizansky is the best Minsk cafe with democratic prices (as they put it) where lots of foreigners from the nearby hotel Tourist like to have a cup of coffee or two. The service in Terra Pizza is really good, whether down to the constant presence of foreign guests or simply because of good management. There is a kiddy menu, the prices aren’t biting, and there are chains in Uruch’e and Kuntsevshina, a menu in Russian and English, and a good website, for a change.

Grape Juice )))

SPINACH CREAM SOUP (chicken filllet, spinach, milk, Dziugas cheese, onions, dried crusts)

UKRAINIAN BORSCH (beet, bacon, beet, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, sour cream)

SALMON PANCAKES (pancakes, processed cheese, horseradish, slightly salted salmon, lettuce, dill) – these are really a Russian answer to sushi, very enjoyable

GREEN SALAD WITH HAM AND “PESTO“SAUCE (ham, tomatoes, sweet peppers, salad mix, “Pesto“ sauce, salad dressing, dried crusts)

FARFALLE SALMONA (farfalle pasta, ceps, champignons, onions, cream 33%)

PENNE BUONO (chicken fillet, champignons, sweet peppers, green peas, cream 33%) - disappears in a kiddy’s tummy time after time

CURD AND POPPY SEED CAKE (sponge cake, whipped cream, cottage cheese, poppy seed, chocolate, mint)

HONEY GLAZED BANANAS WITH ICE CREAM (bananas, honey, cinnamon, ice cream, chocolate sauce, fried peanuts, mint)

BANANA SPLIT (bananas, ice cream, cream, chocolate sauce, mint)

DESSERT “NAPOLEON“ (puff pastry, custard)

Verdict: the service in Terra Pizza is very good without being all over the place or trying too hard. (If you are with a kid and ordering one desert the waitress WILL bring two forks; if you are with a girlfriend ordering one desert, she’ll split one portion of the cake for the two of you – who needs those extra calories?). Not surprisingly, Terra Pizza is always busy, so best of luck to this Minsk cafe and thumbs up to the owners.

Movies Minsk

PRO cafe Minsk

Sporting Club Minsk

Feb 9

Freski Cafe, Minsk

Freski is another cafe right in the center of Minsk that is always full of visitors and disappointments. A few years back, the place was swimming in warm orange light, the cosy atmosphere was relaxing. Many of the reviewers on relax.by (Freski reviews are mostly negative, and the positive ones seem to have been written by the same copywriter who likes exclamation marks, a lot!!!!!) say it has changed for the worse. Has the number of goers diminished? Not at all. When we enter, on a work day evening, the only place offered to us (by a waitress, hostesses are extinct in Minsk) is the tiny table next to the entrance, where the frequent opening of the door bathes us in gusts of December air. Nice…

Spinach soup 21800


The soup is a standard pack of frozen spinach but nothing else could or should be expected at such prices (the only plus of Freski cafe).

Grilled chicken fillet with potatoes 44400


Grilled chicken in Freski is eagerly gulped down by the child, together with the fries, with the veggies virginally intact, but if anyone is listening, it would be really nice to find a truly healthy meal for a Minsk kid, because it seems that at the moment all Minsk chefs and restaurateurs are serving the young generation are fried food, and even if it’s broccoli or cauliflower, it has to be fried. This comes from the wrong assumption that kids only want McDonald’s fried food, and creates the vicious circle: because there nothing BUT fried food, kids surely WILL eat only fried food, because there is nothing else BUT fried food, get it? Nota Bene: kids are in love with cheat sheet meals like good puré soups; pasta with yummy sauces, bits of meat and boiled/steamed veggies; steamed cutlets with potato pure (where spinach or broccoli can be stealthily added). Of course it’s more work, but isn’t it worth it – to have a healthy nation?

Sander fillet with tiger prawns 72900


The fish is edible but the ubiquitous parsley as well as the presentation in general leave much to be desired (as Renato Cucinotta mentioned in his Freski review). The dish is on the priceier side and could have been presented better.

Beef steak  77450


The meet is ok-ish (no one bothered to ask how well it needed to be cooked) and the potato triangles are tasty.

Ice cream with fresh strawberries 26250


Ice cream from the box, cream from the can, strawberries from the plastic container – once again, why bother go out if all can be conjured up at home?

Three chocolates cake 31900


Standard Belarusian desert that most Belarusians will find marvellous because that’s what they make at home. It is ok with the not-so-great coffee but it ain’t no Falcone delight.

The service in Freski cafe is unbearably slow. Judging from the state of the chairs, tables, toilets the place is busy at all times, and it seems like either there isn’t enough staff to keep it at least cosmetically clean, or the staff and the administration simply don’t care because of the prevalent, and unfortunately correct,  ‘people will come’ confidence.

Why did we come to Freski in the first place then? Our intention was to go to Grand Cafe, but when we entered the venerable place, two fake tanned girls at the entrance told us it was full, and instead of offering a place the next day, or offering ANYTHING BUT to walk to Grand de Luxe in the freezing weather with a small child, just looked at us and smiled. We went across the road to the officially lauded hotel ‘Europe’ and when we came in instead of being greeted with warm welcomes (or any welcome, at this point) and escorted to the table of OUR choice (the place was bare except for a bored violinist) were stared down as if had three heads each, and fire was coming out of our asses.

If you are in the area, even if it’s for a cup of coffee, I would suggest Renaissance, Biblos, or better still La Crete d’or coffeehouse. Maybe Freski staff will think twice then. 

Feb 4

Cafe Berezka used to be a place where MSLU students had champagne in between lectures in the times when students could afford champagne (back in USSR). In my student years it was a cheap looking self-service canteen pricier than the similar canteen inside MSLU itself (and Sancho Pansa was a place where students had quick cocktails in between sit-ups during Physical Education). Today, after the renovation, Berezka pretends it’s something else, and the photos on relax.by looked so promising that I decided to give it a chance. Once again, thumbs up to the relax.by photographer because Cafe Berezka looks nothing like the beautiful yet misleading photos of it. With its three-meter high ceilings and classic decor in tasteful contrasts of dark and light, it almost looks like La Crete D’Or on relax.by. In reality, nothing like that – it’s all plastic, the Christmas decorations (in the middle of January) are WOEFUL, and the door to the women’s toilet won’t lock, so you have to hold the knob all the time you are doing your business, nothing extraordinary if you wake up at 6 every morning to do yoga, but still… The menu is full of ubiquitous mayo salads that make me fat(ter) just by looking at them. The desert ‘Three chocolate’ was nice, a huge portion too, but I will not be rushing back. P.S. 'Soviet' champagne is about the store price, so if you want a quick glass of (cheap) bubbly, cafe Berezka is still a place for that. But not much else.

News Cafe is known as the best (and probably most expensive) breakfast in Minsk. The very small, intimate place is always teaming with foreigners, drinking fresh coffee and reading fresh papers. News Cafe is owned by the same wonderful people as Grand Cafe and Bistro de Luxe,  and boasts austere, virginal decor of dark and light shades in delightful contrasts. The waiters show off pretty uniforms, immaculate makeup, tanned skin and foreign language skills. News Cafe reviews are positive regardless of the small menu and the high prices because the quality of food, good service, central location (close to the British embassy) and unmistakable European flair are all its selling points. It’s perfect for a cup of coffee, quick drink or salad, if you find a place: at lunch hour, this little cute cafe is PACKED. It’s all in good taste, pun intended.

Дом Природы г. Минска найти достаточно тяжело - вывески никакой нет, ориентация по скульптуре девочки с совой. Вывески нет, так как скудная кассовая прибыль уходит на содержание и ремонт дорогостоящих экспанатов. Со слезами на глазах работница дома говорит, что приходиться выходить на порог, зазывать пробегающих мимо мам с малышами. Вывески над Домом природы нет пока не будут ходить люди - финансирования кроме кассы просто нет. А как же будут ходить люди, если ни рекламы нет, ни вывески, ни гламура, которым окружены дельфинарии, цирки, концерты и выставки престижных кошечек.

В Доме природы, г.Минск, Богдановича улица, д.9, корп. А, вашим детям расскажут о животных, растениях и насекомых так, что им захочется приходить снова и снова. Входной билет для взрослого с ребенком - 5000. А еще рядом речка и утки, которых можно и нужно кормить.

there was a military university at kalenovskova st and looking for the adress

Anonymous

sorry, i wouldn’t know, but i will look it up. cheers.

Vasilki Minsk, Nezavisimosti 16

Vasilki is the place to be, in terms of middle-of-the-road cafes. It looks like a peasant hut, a very very clean peasant hut made of plastic. It is always busy, especially on weekends. Long lines of people waiting to get in are customary – not a pleasant thing if you are sitting near the entrance. The waitress may offer you to share the table with other visitors, or nice visitors, like a polite shopping tourist from Moscow did for us, can offer the arrangement themselves.

Chidlren’s Menu

Chidlren’s Desert Menu – cocktails almost the same prices as Mom’s and Dad’s – not complaining, just saying

Crayons and paper on the menu

‘Wooden’ utensils

Mulled wine (without the wine – a non alcoholic version)

‘Little Vitamin’ Children’s cocktail

‘Little Star’ Children’s French Fries

‘Fresh From The Garden’ salad – really yummy with sunflower seeds, onions, tomatoes and a variety of salads; arguably the best salad at Vasilki cafe

A la Caesar’s

Boletus Mushroom soup plus yummy bread

Frying pan of sausages and pork rind – really, really satisfying (4 hours on the treadmill)

‘Happy Tree Stump’ chicken chop with potatoes - children are welcome in Vasilki

Pear pie – errr, skip it

Cappuccino

Vasilki cafe is right in the center of Minsk. The service can be slow during the lunch hours and weekends so try to look for a ‘clear’ spot to enjoy this chain cafe of national Belarusian cuisine and the Vasilki shop next door.