Russians may not necessarily be known for their fairy tales, but they certainly know how to create a fairy tale setting – or so is the case with the Russians running a cozy restaurant tucked away in New York City’s Flatiron District: Mari Vanna.
Walking into Mari Vanna’s is truly like stepping into a fairy tale setting: adorned with old photographs, worn flowered wall paper of another era, Matrioshka dolls, porcelain figurines, crystal chandeliers, a library full of Russian literature and comfortable linen tables decorated with fresh flowers, it is as if you are entering your “babushka’s” house – the Russian equivalent of “grandmother.” Read more
Social commentator Will Rogers once said, “Nobody in the world knows what vodka is made out of, and the reason I tell you this is that the story of vodka is the story of Russia. Nobody knows what Russia is made of, or what it is liable to cause its inhabitants to do next.”
How fitting that the national drink of Russia – a country famously deemed “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” – is also a mystery, defying any concrete understanding.
Indeed, the origin of vodka – which comes from the Russian word “voda”, meaning “water” – is highly disputed. While some believe that it was first mass-produced by the Muscovite monks in the 14th or 15th centuries, others claim it originated in Poland around the 8th century. Still others say it comes from Sweden. Read more