A Russian Dinner Party
The setting was southeast Portland, in a side yard beneath the canopy of a walnut tree and a string of warm, yellow bulbs. It was a beautiful setting to match a beautiful dinner. I was treated to an evening with Lena (of Lena's Kitchen), her Mom, Dad, and guests. Lena and her folks prepared beautiful, colorful, Russian dishes served over the course of several hours.
At top: the visual highlight of the evening, Lena has made the most beautiful shuba I have ever seen. Okay—it's the only shuba I have ever seen. In person anyway. But even after researching it, hers is still the most beautiful. Immediately above: beautiful samplings of beet cured trout, sour cream, salmon roe, and dill on top of a homemade mini pancake (a blini). An absolutely gorgeous presentation.
Most at the table are strangers to one another, though everyone has come with at least someone they know.
This really is a team effort. Food is a central part of culture for this family. Before the last dish is served, guests have some time to spread out through the yard and relax.
Dinner is over. It's time for coffee and dessert. Lena's mom prepares turkish coffee for the guests. Lena runs a supper club throughout the summer. If you're looking for a lovely way to spend a summer evening, there's an open seat at the table. Check out Lena's schedule here.