Where to get Russian food & drink in “Sactown” during Olympics

Russian cuisine is comfort food, with dishes such as borscht, piroschki and beef stroganoff, so the Winter Olympic Games at Sochi are an ideal time to sample the ethnic fare. And some Russian delights, from caviar to vodka, are being made in the Sacramento and Sierra Foothills region.

Russians visited California before the Gold Rush. Its fur hunters were drawn to California to exploit its sea otter and fur seals. Examples included Fort Ross in Northern California. California’s fur trade opened up the west to world trade.

In 1841, John Sutter purchased Fort Ross from the Russian American Fur Company. Sutter’s Fort on the Sacramento was his biggest outpost. It became the hub for parties crossing into the Sierra.

Russian cuisine is scarce in our region, at least compared to Italian, Asian and other ethnic food with local roots, but we found some examples:

Firebird Russian restaurant in Carmichael.

Firebird is the one of the best Russian restaurants in the Sacramento area. It offers a dining experience that reflects the extensive knowledge of and passion for Russian art and cuisine.

“Firebird is the brainchild of Svetlana Kumansky, who decided to open the restaurant in 2010, 20 years after she landed in the United States to begin a new life,” wrote the Sacramento Bee. “The restaurant is her way to celebrate her Russian heritage and love of the varied cuisine with others.”

The menu includes salmon caviar, borscht, blinis, Chicken Kiev, Beef Stroganoff and more.

Firebird presents fine Russian art performed by local and foreign artists from all of Russia. “Many of Firebird’s regulars are not necessarily Russian, as the food here is easy to enjoy no matter where you’re from,” the Bee said.

•Sterling Caviar in Elverta, Sacramento County. Sterling is the pioneer on sustainable sturgeon farming and caviar production, having been the first producer of farmed caviar in 1993. It is the largest U.S. producer. Farming sturgeon is a commitment to raise the fish with no impact on wild stocks.

It supplies restaurants including Per se in New York, the French Laundry in Yountville, and Ella, Mulvaney’s and the Supper Club, all in Sacramento.

” We select the best of our caviars from fish we have raised to take to our clients from the farm to your table with the absolute confidence that it will be a memorable experience,” according to Sterling.

•Corti Bros. Market Sacramento. Founded in 1947 by Frank Corti and his brother Gino Corti, Corti Brothers’ mission is expand the culinary experiences of Sacramentans by offering delicacies not readily available elsewhere in the Sacramento area.

Corti Bros. now is carrying a vodka made in the Sierra Foothills, in Angels Camp, called Vista Vodka. Inspired by Rocky Cozzo’s trips to Eastern Europe, the vodka uses all natural spring water and corn to create a smooth, sophisticated flavor that celebrates the “beauty and majesty” of California.

Vista has already won its first Gold Medal at the 2013 Beverly HIlls Worlds Spirits Competition.

If you’re traveling to New York, check out the famous Russian Tea Room for authentic Russian cuisine with flair:

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