Just when I thought the adventures in eating would be the most strangely interesting part of our first day in Sochi, I got a surprise. Chip Scoggins and I came back from dinner at the hotel restaurant (which did not take credit cards OR make change), and I unlocked the door ... only to turn the handle and have it fall off in my hand. And here I was feeling so great about having hot water and a working toilet.
Oh, well. Back to the food. The Main Press Center (MPC) has a food court that specializes in boiled everything. I did find a decent salad of tomatoes and sweet corn, but I immediately regretted the microwaved slab of pizza with indeterminate toppings. Still hungry, I checked out the general store on the MPC's "Main Street'' (which offers shops, a bank, a post office, a laundry, etc.) Here are some of my favorites.
--This is some kind of snack food called "rye bread dried crusts.'' They also carried "dried crusts with raisins'' and just plain "dried crusts.'' I was hoping for a variety pack but didn't see one.
--The shelf label calls this "sterilized milk.'' Somehow that sounds much less appetizing than "pasteurized.''
--Shelf-stable, warm yogurt. No further comment necessary.
--These are called "Barny cakes.'' I think Barny is the name of the bear. Not sure if he is listed among the ingredients.
--You and I know these as pretzels. The shelf tag calls them "salt sticks.''
--Waffles! I might have to try these.
--Angry Birds meet the Nesquik bunny in cereal form.
--Various forms of Cheetos, complete with mascot Chester Cheetah, who looks suspiciously like the hipster snow-leopard mascot of the Sochi Games. Next to the Cheetos: bags of a snack called "corn balls.'' They don't seem to spend a lot of effort on marketing here.
At this rate, I will go through all the granola bars, almonds, crackers and other food I packed before the first week is done. Care packages welcome. Send them to Russkiy Dom hotel, Granat 508. It's the room with no door handle.