Expedition 14: Little Russia

October 25, 2023. This neighborhood doesn’t have as many Russian businesses as it used to, but it’s still going strong. My first stop was Globus Books. It’s small and there were several people there browsing. I saw a handful of books in English and enjoyed looking at a book of street photos taken in Russia in the 50’s and 60’s. The Russian Renaissance Restaurant seems to have gone out of business recently. I really hope those groovy signs stay put!

Next I went to Cinderella Bakery for lunch. It’s been in business since 1953 and the borscht (served with black bread and butter) was fantastic! The first two churches I saw were pretty low key, The Slavic Baptist church and St. Tichon’s Russian church. Temple of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God on California Street is adorable from the outside.

Now for some shopping. I love going to grocery stores where I can’t read the labels and often don’t even recognize the food. Many jars helpfully had labels in English and Russian. I haven’t tried my can of kvass yet. The City Discount Market claimed to sell Russian items but all I saw was these giant bottles of kvass in the dairy case. The New World Market is quite elegant and more upscale than the others. 

The highlight of the expedition, of course, was a visit to the Holy Virgin Cathedral on Geary. Its gold domes were a little dim on this overcast afternoon but still lovely. I was delighted to find it open, unlike the other churches I saw. There was a woman reading to herself from a book on a lectern and a man cleaning, who greeted me. My pictures don’t do it justice; it’s really gorgeous inside. I was confused not to see pews and only a handful of chairs inside, but Marty told me people stand up for church services.

The plaque on the robe case says “Killed to the Great Governor Emperor Nikolai Alexandrovich His August Family and Like Them was Death. Union of Russian Cadet Corps” according to Google Translate. Nikolai Alexandrovich was Tsar Nikolas who was killed during the Russian Revolution. Is this really his robe??? 

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