6 July 2008

Jamais vu

July 2, a day when I made my first appearance to the world, or, if I now try and employ a tiny bit of modesty, simply my birthday. An undisputable excuse to play hooky and treat your smart (oldish) self to a memorable experience, which is what I did. And loved so.

In all respects, this day was bright and colourful, especially at the moments when sun and thunder clouds secured Moscow with an unforeseeable weather. Gusts of wind, downpours and sunrays alternated each other in a city’s heartbeat. And just as I was halfway through my leisurely walk about Arbat* neighbourhood, the clouds zipped open and it started (again) to rain. In no time moscow turned into a big swimming pool with shower facilities. I did not fancy either.


To look around, spot a small cozy terrace hidden in the luscious greenery, read a signpost and rush to the premises immediately.


First, it is raining cats and dogs and everything else in between.
Pre-first, it might be another bona fide hidden gem Moscow has to offer to a seeking eye.

And it is indeed. It is. It is. (Here you should hear my loud applause and incoherent exclaims). Let me just tell you that in my continuous quest for things and places I shall love (in Moscow and everywhere else), I got a new find. And luckily so, it happened on my B-day.

[On the side note, I shall also remember this day (I humbly believe that a moderate self-promotion wouldn’t do any harm, so i’ll repeat the date of my birthday, which is July 2) as a stretch of time when I experienced both jamais vu and deja vu. Though on this a bit later.]

So, the place I intend to give a speech about bears a charming name of Gogol Mogol (a russian for egg nog). Its founders idea was to capture (in what they did succeed) an atmospheric aura of a french bistro of the early XX century (please look here if you wish). Posh (but not repulsively so), enchanting interior of two (only) rooms, the infused in the air bitter leatherly aromas of ground coffee entwined with liquors, swooping and disarming odours of dark belgian (I swapped a few words with a very well-informed bartender, you know) chocolate; all these veied for my heart and won me over. One minus though: there is no area for guests with no-smoking preferences. What, in my humble opinion, is sort of a drawback, as smoke fumes might considerably hinder your experiencing chocolate diva (I agree, when it comes to chocolate, or more exactly, disturbing me from my chocolate, I get that ferocious and bitchy). For that matter, I headed outdoors, took a seat at one of the terrace tables (tented to protect all types of individuals, bitchy included, from rain), ordered things I was craving for, and rested. Truly rested. Idly observing people vs. rain battles, hearing and listening to the thunder roars, enjoying a good book, being purposefully lazy. And I’ll tell you what, my hooky was splendid.

Now, a few words on my vu’s (in order of their appearance).

Jamais vu. In opposition to the physchological term, I only intend to refer to one of the cafe’s signature desserts, where major roles are given to grated carrot, hazelnut and lemon juice to star in. And since I have a big thing about carrots, I couldn’t help but trying it. Now, a drop of critique, or is it criticism? Anyways, I loved the idea of a light carrot dessert, and the way it was presented also appealed to me.

Moroccan coffee with chocolate, water and dessert

But then again something lacked, which I failed to fathom on the spot (truth be told, I did not want it either, for I preferred to initially enjoy things, rather than review them right away). Later, however, I got my humble share of enlightenment to grasp the thing that escaped me earlier: carrot must be freshly grated. The more it sits, the more cartoon-y mouthfeel it’s most likely to give.

Deja vu, the psyche thing in all its glory. After tasting the featured dessert, I found myself thinking I experienced something similar before. I briefly lived through my childhood memories to recall how my mother used to trick me into more frequent vegetables consumption by throwing together a very simple dessert of juicy grated carrot mixed with crashed walnuts and honey, for good measure. Since then, I am a girl who knows her carrots*.

The day was a great gift in itself, as any other day, too.

Although the photo below has no particular relation to all said above, it's smileworthy. I hope you are with me on this.

*Arbat area means to Moscow quite the same as what Montmartre does to Paris.

**I have now set myself a mission to come up with my own interpretation of the jamais vu carrot dessert. Once happy with the results, I’ll let you know.

Gogol-Mogol cafe
Gagarinsky side-street 6
Tel: 007 495 203-55-06


Cinnamonda said...

Belated Happy Birthday, Anya! It seems you had a great day!


anya said...

Tiina - Thanks a lot! The day was gorgeous indeed.

Cookiemouse said...

Many happy returns. That looks like a lovely cafe.

Astra Libris said...

Happy, Happy Birthday! I love your story of the unexpected cafe discovery! May the coming year bring you endless joy and delicious memories...

Michelle J said...

Happy Birthday Anya!

Love your blog!!!

Michelle J said...

Me again, sorry i failed to mention that i loved how you spent your birthday day!! Lovely! Moscow must be quite a city huh? I am very interested in visiting someday soon!!!

Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog! I feel humbled that you want to write out that list! Makes a girl feel good!!!

stephanie levy said...

Happy Birthday!!
I am also a July child :)

anya said...

Michelle - Moscow is so many-faceted city. She is tough (mostly), and yet gorgeous (rich in history, eye-catching architecture, etc). Anyways, definitely visitworthy. :)

Stephanie - thank you! It feels good and warm (!) to be a July child, doesn't it? :)

White On Rice Couple said...

OMG, happy belated B-day to you Anya! It's been a while since we've been here. Hope all is well and hope your B-day was a special one ! XOXO