It's Butter Week in Russia, a Mardi Gras-like holiday that takes place the week before the start of Russian Orthodox Lent. Eugene restaurant Party Downtown has a special Russian menu Friday and Saturday that embraces the celebration's decadence.
Party Downtown was approached by Eugene Opera to create a menu to coincide with Butter Week and the performances of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.
Tiffany Norton, Party Downtown's co-owner and chef, says this time of year in Oregon is a perfect fit for Russian food.
NORTON: "The fact that it's heavy foods even though it's early spring, it's still rainy and cold. And we are already using a lot of those things. We're already using sauerkraut, we're already using beets a lot, we're using a lot of horseradish all the time right now."
Norton says one of her favorite items is "shchi," a traditional stew. Party Downtown's version has sauerkraut, roasted pork belly and sour cream. The menu also includes blinis with roe and a crepe with loganberry syrup.
To your health or as they say in Russia, na zdravi!