Sasha Kogan, salami consultant at the Russian General Store

Picnic Platter at the Russian General Store

You can put together a picnic lunch for two at the Russian General Store for a pittance. The gourmet meats are sold for less than half the price that upscale grocery stores charge. And the General Store has the best selection of salamis in the city.

The fabulous rustic Alpino salami is $8.99 a pound, the Russian smoked ham is $6.49 a pound, and the ready-to-eat hunter’s sausage called kabanosy is $4.79 a pound. Pastry-filled meat pockets (pierohi) are $.70 each.

The entire spread cost me $6.66 total.

If you speak Russian, you’re all set. You can also muddle through by pointing at the cold cuts, as the counter help does speak a little English. But if you want some culinary advice in English, ask for the owner’s daughter, Sasha Kogan, 23. She is an aspiring classical music composer who sells salami by day -- let her compose the picnic platter of your dreams. – Robb Walsh

The Russian General Store, 9629 Hillcroft, 713-721-7595. Open 7 days a week, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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