Food Stuff

Illustration By Marianne Mancina

The phrase “Russian food” might make you think of Soviet grocery lines and borscht, but Sacramento’s growing emigrant population has given rise to intriguing shops. For foodies, the easy-to-miss Odessa European Market and Bakery conceals more treasures than St. Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum. You’ll find elaborate cakes sold by the pound; tea biscuits and innumerable teas; lavash; rye bread; kefir; smoked fish; cream cheese; pelmeny (think little Russian ravioli); and a breathtaking array of jewel-like fruit syrups and preserves in flavors like sour cherry, young walnuts, quince and fig. It’s all bargain-priced, as are the poppy-seed sweet bread and brightly wrapped bulk candies. This festive combination of offerings could make Odessa the perfect place to stock up for an out-of-the-ordinary Easter brunch this weekend. Luckily, Russian Orthodox Easter falls on May 1 this year, so if you go now, odds are you won’t have to battle any Soviet-style lines. 7307 Fair Oaks Boulevard in Carmichael, (916) 972-9582.