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Travels in Russia

Russian Remonts
Stop Theif!
Almost Worth Staying For
Offshore Your Rubles in Swiss Accounts
Russian Women
You Can Buy Anything in a Russian Kiosk!
What Did Russians Eat Before Potaotes?
Nothing Like a Birch Branch Beating!
Anything Can Be Scrap Metal
Serious Soviet Pollution
Day-Tripping Around the Garden Ring
The Russian Poezd
Yeltsin's Family
Soviet Photography
Happy Times in HTML Hell
Road Runners Rule!
Piva is Good!
A Subaka Says What?
Soviet Swimming
Manly Russian Men
And Peter is a Distant Second
Invest in Russia?!
The Zen of the Line
But He Went by the Name of Lenin
That Looks Just Like My Dom
Russian Adoptions by the Dozen
Internet Cafes Are Everywhere
Going to See Mama Russia
Going to the Movies
Russian Visas
Eta Notebook Batteria, Durak!
Fidelity is Not a Brokerage
Soviet Suburban Living
Taking the tramvai
Cash Transfers Across Russia
Time to go...
Do Your Spring Cleaning Now!
Reclama Nation
Russians Do Tours
Going Local
Pecktopan = Restaurants
Yevgeniy Primakov, Who?
101 Reasons Why NATO's War Sucks
A State Secrect: Women's Ages
Russians Blew up the US Embassy!
It's Dacha Time Again
Anything Goes at Night
Yesho Piedesat Gram Vodkoo
Shock Thearpy
IMF & Reform
Zoos Should Be for Politicans
There Was Giligan, And the Skipper Too
The Regions Exist?
Do You Believe the Media?
What is Russian Feminism?
Russian Music Rocks
Bye Bye Fast Food
Yest Klooch?
Addicts Are Addictive
Racism in Russia Too
An Education in Russian Politics
Orphans Are Lonely
Making Bliny
Nasty Newspapers
#51 If you get the jokes
Sick as a Dog
Those Crazy Russians
An Open Road Ahead
Iron Felix
You Can Buy (Almost) Anything in a Market
Education Makes Elections Happen
Ice Cream in Winter
Superstitions Are Sneaky
The Adventures of Flat Jon
Ice Fishing in Sibera
Death is Painful in Any Culture, Anywhere.
Lenin is Alive
Every Thing is Leaking
New Russians
Go Dollar!
Corruption is Endemic
The Joe-Cool Moscow Crew
Taxes Will Find You
I'm Driven Mad
Holidays Last and Last
It's All About Location
Taxies Take You Everywhere
Russian Religion Re-emerges


Russia, March 20, 1999

I Love Me a Starlite Diner

If you visit Moscow, you will wind up here at least once!

Ya know that scene in Pulp Fiction, where John Travolta and Uma Thurmon are sitting in JackRabbit Slim's, and Uma orders the "Five Dollar Shake"? Remember how Travolta was shocked at the price, then tried the shake, and said "That's a good shake, but I don't know if its worth five dollars"? Well welcome to Moscow's Starlite Diner, where the shakes are eight dollars ($8)! The shakes are good, and the cheapest in Moscow, but definitely not worth eight dollars. Too bad, I still get one every time I go.

Mmmm!The Starlite Diner, know to expats as "The Diner", is a Moscow institution, opening up in the early 90's as one of the first "Western" restaurants here that had decent service. The original at Mayakovskaya is still there, with a second Diner at Oktabraskaya. There was supposed to be a third, but that dream disappeared in August 98. Apparently, the diners are shipped from a factory in Florida, complete with pictures for the walls and napkins in the holders, and ready to be bolted down on a foundation anywhere in the world.

I'm just glad that they are in my little world. Every Sunday I like to go out for brunch, and usually it's to the Diner. I've had pretty much everything on the menu, but I keep going, just as we all do to good places, cuz it isn't just the food.

The Diner is a foreigner oasis here, with the likelihood of English, Finnish, German, or French being spoken more often than Russian is. Every time I go, I see someone I know, whether I want to or not, and we all give each other space. No one wants the Diner to be a war zone; we deal with enough poop on the street.

Most Sunday's find me in a booth with a group of my expat friends, slurping a shake while trying to figure out what I want to eat. They have an amazing breakfast menu, filled with blueberry pancakes, Belgian waffles, "bottomless" bowls of cereals, and interesting egg-based breakfast foods. The only problem is that the breakfast menu ends at 11am. Yes, 11 am! I have yet to get up and outta the house early enough to partake in the good eats! Every time I look at the breakfast menu, filled with all those yummy American delicacies, I get annoyed at the time limit. One of these days, I'm gonna have to grab the manager by the arm and give him or her and earful about realistic weekend rise times!

Well, not too much of an earful, I want to be allowed back! Moscow without the Diner? Ah! The horror! The horror!

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