After you’ve raced to try the borscht and perogies (yawn), stop by a kartoshka stand. The cute stalls sell baked potatoes with your choice of toppings. And we’re not talking sad simulated bacon bits and sour cream.

Start with the basic potato with butter and cheese (24 rubles). Then pick from hot or cold toppings (8 rubles each) that include tuna, corn with mayonnaise or marinated mushrooms. The final treat is served in foil on a plastic tray.

Baked potatoesI can’t remember if the stall we visited was a franchise, but Kroshka-Kartoshka has capitalized on this simple offering and grown into 80 cafes in mega-malls and trade centres.

For the full experience, eat standing up at one of the tables street-side, and wash it down with kvass.

A traditional homemade drink that can be mildly alcoholic, kvass is made of fermented grains like rye or barley and sometimes flavoured with sugar or fruit like strawberries.

Russians consider it a refreshing drink in the summer. These days, the dark brown beverage is sold in plastic bottles alongside pop and beer at any market.

Kvass is quite distinct. Kind of like a tangy weak beer. But not really.

If you get thirsty for anything else, drop by any metro station in Moscow. The beverage booths will have more than what you seek. Especially beer. (Sorry no Canadian import though.)

Beer kiosk