During Maslenitsa, Russia’s “butter week,” large, round blini (similar to pancakes) are eaten to symbolize the round, golden sun that signals spring. In its origins, Maslenitsa is a Pagan sun festival, which bids farewell to winter and welcomes the return of warmth and light. Chef Bonnie Morales’ team will be serving up a festive blini feast at Kachka next week at lunchtime in celebration of Maslenitsa, as well as selling blini and accompaniments at Kachka Lavka to enjoy at home.
When: Feb. 24-March 1, a blini feast will be added to the lunch menu at Kachka (except Feb. 26th when the restaurant is closed for a private event), and blini will be available to-go on all days from Kachka Lavka.
What: At Kachka, the lunchtime special features three 8” yeasted buckwheat blini with with smetana and smetana butter, and a choice of three of the following house-made accompaniments for $20:
beet cured salmon
hot smoked black cod
smoked chicken roulet
beef tongue pastrami
ajvar pepper spread
black currant jam
At Kachka Lavka, the grocery will offer packs of 1 dozen 8″ yeasted buckwheat blini to take home for $15 per pack. Staff will be happy to help shoppers select accompaniments, such as many of the items above. Preorders are encouraged but the shop will also have blini on hand. Orders can be emailed to [email protected]. Kachka Lavka is open daily from 11:30am-8:00pm (9pm on Fridays and Saturdays.)
Kachka sparked a Russian food revolution when Bonnie and Israel Morales opened their Portland restaurant in 2014. In the summer of 2018, Kachka expanded to a new location in Southeast Portland’s Goat Blocks development, and the original location became Kachinka, a more casual restaurant/bar where it’s happy hour all night long. James Beard Award nominated Chef/Co-Owner Bonnie Morales cooks the food of the former Soviet Union, including many dishes inspired by those she grew up eating in her Belarusian family. Meals at Kachka begin with a table filled with zakuski, Russian drinking food paired with vodka. The warm and lively atmosphere at Kachka turns dinner into an event, fueled by a parade of dishes marked by deep and vibrant flavors such as dumplings, cured fish and pickled vegetables. Kachka serves over 50 different vodka selections, as well a list of house made infusions, craft cocktails, and a curated list of beer and wine with a focus on Eastern European producers. Kachka is considered by many to be the best Russian restaurant in the country, and is the only Portland restaurant to be included in America’s Essential Restaurants of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 by Eater, inducted into their restaurant “Hall of Fame.” Kachka was named one of GQ’s Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2015 and Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurant nominees in 2015, and was a semifinalist for 2015’s James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. A cookbook of recipes, Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking by Bonnie Frumkin Morales with Deena Prichep, was released in November, 2017 from Flatiron Books to critical acclaim, winning Food 52’s annual cookbook competition, The Piglet. In fall of 2019, the Morales’ opened Kachka Lavka, a deli and grocery upstairs from Kachka, which Eater National called one of the most anticipated openings of the season. Kachka and Kachka Lavka are located at 960 SE 11th Ave., Portland, Oregon in the Central Eastside neighborhood, and open daily for lunch, dinner and happy hour. Follow Kachka on Instagram and Twitter @KachkaPDX kachkapdx.com