Kachka celebrated Maslenitsa with a one time brunch a few months ago on Feb. 26th, 2017. Maslenitsa is a Russian folk holiday that marks the end of winter. During Maslenitsa, or “Butter Week,” large, round blini made with butter (similar to pancakes) are eaten to symbolize the round, golden sun that arrives with spring. So Kachka’s Maslenitsa special brunch was focused on blini, served with a bounty of traditional sweet and savory accompaniments. The $45 per person for the Kachka Maslenitsa Brunch included coffee, tea and a “vitamin shot” as well with proceeds going towards for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oregon.
I’m a huge fan of Kachka – it’s always among the top restaurants I recommend to visitors here and whenever they have a special event I am among the first there (see last year during the Horseradish Vodka bottle launch and the ensuing Bloody Mary Crawl). Throw in it being for a good cause and I was among the first to buy tickets. It’s finally starting to feel like spring now that we are getting more sun breaks between the rain (and hail… :O ), and that reminded me that I need to share these photos on my blog for posterity (they were already on my Instagram @pechluck, where you can get a faster scoop if you follow me there). But Instagram posts aren’t easily searchable and I want this to be, so here’s a look at the sweet and savory accompaniments that I got to enjoy.
Guests were welcomed to the Kachka brunch celebrating Maslenitsa with a vitamin shot called Triple Sunrise with horseradish vodka, apple juice, beet juice, and celery bitters. Then guests had an option of ordering more a la carte as well as two other cocktails, options of Bloody Masha with horseradish vodka, caraway, coriander, dill, garnish, or Alix of Hesse with bergamot vodka, sparkling wine, orange bitters, and sugar cube, or Triple Sunrise with horseradish vodka, apple juice, beet juice, and celery bitters. This is the Triple Sunrise – looks healthy right? I loved the flavors of earthy beet juice with the horseradish vodka and sweetened a bit with the apple juice. I have to say I prefer this over the Bloody Mary!
We were also then given a crudite plate with dill butter. How beautiful is this? Although man that’s a lot of butter ha ha… ha… I totally finished it all. The plating and colors and shape made me hesitate to ruin it, but I do love dill and I love butter.
Then the blini first emerged! A platter of sweet and savory accompaniments for the regular and buckwheat blinis included chocolate butter, gooseberry jam, lingonberry jam, farmers cheese with green onion, cultured butter, and housemade sour cream. You could ask for refills of more blini whenever needed, though I quickly learned by the next course I had to start saving stomach room and not fill it on blini. It was fun putting together the Blini with the individual spreads and then playing with combinations of spreads.
Of course I had to try the other two cocktails too. And multiple other vitamin shots – for my health.
Next was a truly staggeringly impressive and generous tray of filled with cured fish, smoked salmon, caviar and the traditional accompaniments, pate of meat and then another pate of mushroom, egg, duck with Lingonberry, all sorts of stuff that unfortunately I can’t recall all the delicious details of but it was quite a smorgasbord as you can see. I don’t mind going to these events alone when my friends’ schedules or tastes don’t align so while others were sharing these in pairs I had this all to myself!!
But there was still more to come – Machanka, a Belorussian gravy of braised meats. But this was so melt in your mouth tender and rich which was perfect to dripping blini, and then you had bites of the crispy pork and bursts of fruit. Soooo good, and made me sad this wasn’t on their regular menu. I had no room for tea or coffee even – just staggered home soooo full.
If you haven’t been to Kachka yet, I implore that you do give it a try, it’s a food adventure that is worthwhile and rewarding. The next time there will be a special event, you can be pretty sure I will be there if I can. I mean look at what an embarrassment of riches were created by the kitchen, kicking ass and taking names, for this one time brunch for a cause, and think about what talent is there every day available for you to order and eat!
Have you ever had blini? What would be your preferred accompaniment to the blini? My favorite is the machanka and dunking that stuff to get all the sauce, though I don’t know when I’ll get to experience that again… then second place is roe with the chopped egg, followed by the farmer’s cheese or mixing up the sour cream with some of the fruit preserve.