Sunday, December 4, 2011

To Russia and back for five bucks

This time last Sunday TLOML and I were in deepest darkest Russia. Or so it seemed.

This was the scene on the street:
video
(Dear ipad viewers, you can't see this, but it's a man and his mother performing Russian folk music)

The liquor stores were packed with an incredible range of reasonably priced vodkas...
...some obscure Georgian wines...
And of course, brandy in a bottle shaped like a gun.
Forget buying snow clothes in the discount stores on 6th Avenue - these Russians know how to dress when the temperature drops.


There were stands selling caviar in the street. And many strange smoked fish and meats for sale in the grocery stores. We ate blintzes and knishes in a cafe with terrible decor and a filthy toilet. The disgusting, grimy loo and the general low rent vibe were actually a bit depressing - just like, as a child in Thatcher's Britain, I would imagine Soviet Russia to be.

It wasn't all bad though. That smoked sausage TLOML selected made an excellent appetizer. And the next day I used it in a cod-and-chorizo-stew inspired grouper-and-strange-Russian-sausage stew.
This is Little Russia, aka Brighton Beach. It's a quick ramble along the boardwalk from Coney Island, about an hour on the subway, and yet about a million light years away from West Chelsea.

We enjoyed our visit, but won't be hurrying back. Till the next time we are in the market for caviar, furs or vodka, that is.

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