Somewhere my love, it’s Ritz at the Winter Palace

Privet. Ya haschoo vebit vodka? Da? 

Ochen horosho.

Hello. Would you like to drink vodka? Yes? Very good. Dust off your old Russian primers, mangle Cyrillic transliterations, put on a big fur hat and get ready for the 27th annual Ritz Art and Experience Auction with this year’s theme, “Ritz at the Winter Palace.”

“Think Dr. Zhivago,” said Pratt Museum Development Director Michele “Misha” Miller. 

Think white nights, clear skies, onion dome buildings and a sleigh ride bundled up in furs. It’s Homer’s big, fancy gala dance where everyone puts on their fancy duds, Homer style. Dressing to the theme is optional, though.

“We always say you don’t have to pay attention to the theme, but if you do, think the Winter Palace and Omar Shariff,” Miller said. “If you’re not into themes, it’s a good excuse to get dressed up, dressed up Homer style.”

Usually held at the Pratt Museum, this is the first time in a while its been at another venue. Wasabi’s owner Dali Frazier is pulling out all the stops for a Russian themed evening, starting with a vodka fountain and Wasabi’s signature cocktails. The menu includes a choice of appetizers, including classic pickled salmon served with marinated Bermuda onions and Russian rye bread crostinis, mini scallion biscuits stuffed with smoked sable fish spread with cucumber slices, green chili potato cakes topped with Tobiko caviar, finely chopped Bermuda onions and creme fraiche, and crab stuffed mushrooms served with a lemon tarragon sauce.

Dinner is a choice of roulade of Beef, rolled with fine herbs and pork sausage, topped with hunter sauce and served with sautéed mushrooms and braised purple cabbage; chicken Kiev, served on bechamel sauce with roasted potatoes and sauteed asparagus; and red quinoa-stuffed bell peppers, served with mixed greens tossed in beet vinaigrette, followed by dessert, an assortment of fruit tartlets, such as mixed berry, lemon and apple caramel.

As a fundraiser, the highlight of the evening is an outcry auction of select art and experience items, now on display at the Pratt Museum. Some amazing experiences available include a two-day, two-night Hallo Bay adventure tour led by award-winning guide Simyra Taback-Hlebechuk and a natural history tour led by naturalists Carmen and Conrad Field. The Fields offer a choice of tours across the bay for hiking, fishing, bird watching or tidepooling. Tina Day is the emcee for the evening and Kathleen Gustafson is auctioneer.

Johnny B provides dinner music and then Johnny B and Bunny Swan, a Native American Music Award winner, entertain with dance music.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.

Crystal Sunrise, by Don Henry.

Crystal Sunrise, by Don Henry.

Trumpeters IV, by Shirley Timmreck.

Trumpeters IV, by Shirley Timmreck.

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