Oh yeah, I no longer call this place "The Gorodok", because a few days ago I learned that the name of the cafe is actually "Chocolat" (yes, it's French) and it is a building in which it is located is called Gorodok. For all the locals in Newark, this is like BW3's at SouthGate in Heath. The place is BW3's, but the location is SouthGate. To further complicate you, the name "Gorodok" is actually the short name of the town that I'm staying in. The full name is Akademgorodok (or Академгородо́к for all the advanced readers out there) and it is a part of Novosibirsk. I guess it is very much like how Upper Arlington is a part of Columbus, Ohio. Anyway, quick lesson about Akademgorodok and how it relates to omelets. :P
The morning was rather uneventful at work. I was able to participate in a daily scrum meeting and must say that I wish I would have attended more while I was here. I found them to be very useful (as they are intended to be of course). We all basically stood up from our chairs stood in a circle (under the JetBrains bulb) and each talked about what they did yesterday, problems they had, and then discussed what they had planned to do today. Todays daily scrum meeting was held in English (thanks guys). However, I'm sure that it gets much more involved on days that I'm not participating. Regardless, it was nice to see how it all goes down over here.
At lunch I went to a very nice restaurant / bar called "Republica" with Maxim, Julia, and Semyon. It was a very "Americanized" restaurant, so of course I felt very comfortable and enjoyed listening to the 80's & 90's hit rock songs. I think this is the place that we are going for "live band" night on Friday, but I'm not sure... more on that in Friday's post. Anyway it was maybe 2 blocks from the office and I was surprised that I hadn't been there until now, for it was very tasty and had a great atmosphere. We all walked back to the office miserably full. :)
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So nothing else really happened too exciting at the office except for Scott's daily "tennis lesson". Yeah that's right... :) OH YEAH, update on the post cards... they got sent today. Thanks, Oksana and Scott! Apparently if you know the right people, things get done easier around here. Unfortunately I put my faith in a bunch of guys (like myself) and we, of course, don't know much about anything. Oksana apparently knew somebody at the post office that was trained in "Postcardese" and was able to send them fairly inexpensively. As much as I'm sure Scott might want to take credit for this, I thank you Oksana for sending these. :) My family and friends thank you too... Ok, you too Scott! Whatever... 1,800 p.??
After Scott's tennis lesson, I made the cold walk home and got ready for my evening with the Novikov family. They were taking me to an Armanien restaurant called Cafe Anaet (aka: Кафе Анаит) and this is where my opening statement gets fully qualified: I had an amazing night tonight! This is the place where Konstantin and Irrena had their wedding party, almost two months ago. When we walked into the place, it looked like an abandoned grocery store or something, but then we walked through another door on the inside and was presented with a very small eating area with low lighting. There were only about 7 tables total, but only 3 of them had people sitting at them. At the front of the small room, there was this guy playing a Duduk in front of the few guests that were eating. I had never seen this instrument before, nor had I ever heard any Armenian music before. Please take a minute to watch this and really listen to the beauty of this instrument:
Irrena said it best when she said that he was playing with his heart; he really was! Of course, for all of those that are giggling about his facial expressions, you really could not believe how peaceful and beautiful his music was tonight. Honestly, I felt that the facial expressions and his swaying movements added to the music very well; I was actually hypnotized a couple of times. At one point, when he was walking back to his table (remember there were only 7), I stood up and shook his hand... Unfortunately, the only thing I could think to say was "SPASIBO!" which was (at that time) Russian for "That was amazing!" Konstantin is actually on the case (right now) to find me more of this music. :)
I totally wish I could have brought Jennifer with me to this restaurant tonight! As I was explaining to Konstantin and Irrena (sorry if I'm butchering the spelling of your name Irrena), this is the type of place that Jennifer and I would love find in Ohio and become regulars. It was the best restaurant that I think I have ever been to. I confessed this to them at the restaurant many times, and then confessed it to Jennifer when I got home. The atmosphere, the food, the music, the company, the service, the "hidden" location, everything... It may be worth the trip back to Novosibirsk if only to visit this restaurant and see this guy playing the Duduk again.
Ok, so maybe I should get into what I ate too? After all it was a restaurant... We began with cheese bread (shaped and cut like a pizza) and little roast beef rolls that were filled with some yummy goodness. I ordered barbecue lamb for my dinner, which was absolutely delicious. I got to show Irrena my "Yummy Face" which is actually a face of total disgust with a hint of disbelief thrown in. You almost have to see it. Basically, I would take a bite, make this face, and Irrena would say "What? You don't like it?". :)
Our waitress treated us like royalty and actually brought me some special dipping sauce for my lamb. Apparently we were the "special guests" because I was clearly a foreigner (camera, dictionary, english... the whole package) and after our meals, she treated us with free coffee on the house. Irrena and Kostya could not have treated me to a better evening; this is a night I'll never forget. Honestly! Thank you Novikov's!!
It goes without saying that if you live in Novosibirsk, and have never been to this place, go. If you plan to travel to Novosibirsk (BTW: I can say that now that I'm linked from NovosibirskGuide.com... jealousssss), visit this restaurant and tell them that the Novikov's and the foreigner sent you... they'll know who your talking about I'm sure. :) Just look! --->
Again, trust me... they'll know who your talking about. :)