Drinking, Eating & Laughing With Owner Ike On The Virtual Happy Hour Food Show
I did not know I had any Russian in me but after eating and drinking my way through Pushkin restaurant in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, I am convinced there’s something missing in my family heritage.
That’s because the gregarious owner, Ike, kept telling me “first we drink!,” whenever I inquired about the food that he was putting down in front of me. And it’s not that you need to drink before having the food at Pushkin because it is excellent.
But it sure doesn’t hurt to have a few drinks, either, and Ike made sure I had plenty. That’s my kind of guy! I have a lot of that same zest-for-life attitude in my blood, too.
The food is so excellent that for the next three nights I kept waking up in my sleep thinking of its stuffed cabbage entree. It is crammed full of meat topped with a delicious heap of a perfectly-seasoned tomato-based sauce. Ymmm!
Ike was feeding and entertaining me as we went live for the #MenWhoBlog Virtual Happy Hour food and lifestyle show. Joining us virtually was co-host James Hills of MenWhoBlog.com, PubClubette Ashley, Virtual Happy Hour bartender Gabi Ione and Tom Fisher or BoubonBlog.com.
While the others were remote, I was in the restaurant, right there with my camerman being served up funny and informative stories about Russia and Russians; the restaurant’s food; samples of its flavored vodkas (of which there are a dozen); creatively-named cocktails; ice-cold large beers from Russia, the Ukraine, Poland and Czechoslovakia, and some of its outstanding wines.
But first, we started with shots. In frozen shot glasses. “All our shot glasses are frozen,” Ike said.
Speaking of frozen, Ike said that some parts of Russia are so cold that people run their cars 24 hours a day because they won’t get them started otherwise. He’s full of these kinds of stories about his homeland. But don’t worry if you don’t have Ike serving you as he did us on the Virtual Happy Hour show. All the servers have a quick wit and one even dresses in a full black suit with a top hat that, with his mask, makes him look like Abraham Lincoln.
One can tell by the funny and clever names of the cocktails that this is a fun restaurant experience. There’s the Sex in the USSR (rum, fresh orange juice, mint, strawberry, club soda); From Russia With Love (jalapeno vodka, lemon, black currant, ground pepper, bitter) and the Dirty, Sneaky Russian Martini (dill infusion, dry vermouth, olive juice) among many others.
But make no mistake, this is a place for vodka lovers. And for good reason.
“We drink vodka in Russia because it’s cheap,” Ike said. “You can buy a bottle of vodka – good vodka – for $2.”
Pushkin, located on the corner of Sixth Ave., and F Street. It is a restaurant with big, leather seats at its tables and weekends after 10 p.m., turned into a cool lounge with live music.
I could go on and on (and on) but the best thing to do is to watch the show. And just so you know, I liked it so much I went back as a paying customer and enjoyed it all over again. Even tho Ike was not there that night.
• To watch the show, click this link: www.facebook.com/pubclubber
• Pushkin Restaurant Website: pushkinrestaurantsd.com