2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

A visit to a typical, down-home Russian diner

Published: February 15, 2014, 11:39 am, by David Ramsey

Many of my sports writing friends seek to recreate home when they travel far from home. I’ve been told several dozen times during my Olympic adventures where to find food that tastes just like food back home in the United States.

I have a different goal. I want to try something new.

A few blocks from the Olympic Media Center, I’ve found a diner that serves basic, tasty, reasonably priced Russian food. I have yet to encounter another English speaker in the restaurant.

That’s good news,  at least most of the time.

A few days ago, I went through the line at the diner, where food is served cafeteria style. A Russian woman at the cash register looked at my selections and pointed toward the total, which translated to about 13 American dollars.

I paused for a moment, trying to decide if I wanted to pay in rubles or with a credit card.

She thought I doubted her math. She speaks no English. I speak no Russian. This led to her adding up my total again while she talked in a loud, excited, irritated voice.

We made up today. I gave her one of the Gazette Olympic pins designed by our photographer Mark Reis.