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Today’s post is my last one to be written while I’m physically in New York for a couple of weeks. I leave Friday for SXSW and Techmunch Austin, where I’m moderating a panel on building your personal brand. After that, I’m spending some time at Sony’s headquarters in lovely San Diego.
Let’s take a look at some of the cool-weather comfort foods and different products we discovered while shopping the Russian grocery markets in Brighton Beach. Lots of food deals to be had in this neighborhood – I left marinated, pickled and covered with caviar.
Markets mentioned in this post:
M&I International Foods
249 Brighton Beach Avenue
Brighton 1st Place
New York, NY 11235
1007 Brighton Beach Ave.
Brighton 11th St
Taste of Russia
219 Brighton Beach Avenue
Brighton 1st St
Brooklyn, NY 11235
Net Cost Market
608 Sheepshead Bay Rd (between 6th St & 8th St)
Brooklyn, NY 11224
As with any cuisine, Russian food has its hallmark dishes and food products. Go to enough markets in an ethnic neighborhood, and you can start to get an idea of what defines their food culture. Look at ours (Americans): We keep the good, healthy food on the fringes of our markets and pack the aisles with junk.
Below are a few major food categories, as defined by my informal research over the course of two trips to Brighton Beach. If you’re reading this post in a feed reader, be sure to click through to the site so you can see today’s photos, or subscribe by email to get these posts delivered to you hot and fresh, photos included.
The markets had a lot of real estate dedicated to hot and cold bars of prepared foods. At M&I International Foods, the most visually appetizing part of the store were all of these trays of steaming hot food. Moreover, I couldn’t always decipher what I was looking at since some were labeled using the Cyrillic alphabet.. Good times!
Pickled and Marinated Vegetables
If you love marinated vegetables, then you need to devote some serious time and attention to Russian cuisine and markets, starting with the jars of things that have cute labels. Just kidding … but how cute is this kitschy label?
Meat and Sausage
Caviar and smoked fish. Can’t be Russian without it.
To round us out, we have GIANT MEATBALLS, pictured below. This, by itself, is not a category. I just wanted an excuse to show you how huge these are. I would need both hands to hold onto one – that’s how big these were. Seeing these back in December also gave me the idea for the next Midnight Brunch: Whisky and Meatballs from around the world. The tentative date is April 16, dependent on setting the venue.
This is by no means an exhaustive exploration as there are so many other major components to Russian cuisine, like the delicious stuffed pastas we explored here, rices and grains and, of course, root vegetables like potatoes. I encourage you to go out and explore Brighton Beach for yourself to see what I mean. You can eat like a king for pocket change in this neighborhood.
If you can’t get enough of this meaty Russian stuff, here are some other posts you may enjoy.
Eating Little Russia, Part 2: Getting Greasy with Ukranian and Uzbek
Something Fishy…in Brighton Beach.
Russian Fooding in Brighton Beach
Ear Breads, Get in my Face (AKA, Consider the Pel’meni).
Eating Little Russia, Part 1: Exploring Glechik
Happy eating! See you all back here in just a couple days.