If the weather is still nice in the next few weeks, pack a towel, sunscreen, and your adventurous appetite and get out there. The subway drops you off onto bustling Brighton Beach Avenue, and a block from the boardwalk. Before you hit the beach, wander up and down the main drag to work up an appetite. The street is chock-a-block with enticing Russian and Eastern European gourmet shops, fruit and vegetable stands, and a grand supermarket called Brighton Bazaar, which has a massive hot and cold food bar by the pound. The only catch is if your Russian is rusty, you will feel like a foreign tourist. Much of the signage is in Russian, so are product labels. And even communicating with store staff can involve a lot of hand gestures and confused smiles. But what the hell. This is the time to sample and be adventurous.
Armed with an excellent Brighton Beach food guide from New York Magazine, I set off on my culinary adventure. Here are some highlights:
|Gold Label Deli's winning baked goods|
Brighton Bazaar (1007 Brighton Beach Ave.) - This supermarket is packed with not only an enticing produce section, but also rows of specialty goods from around the world, pickles galore, breads, smoked fish and meats and lots of boxed chocolates. The hot and cold food bar by the pound is impressive and extensive.
|Honey poppy seed roll|
M & I International Food (249 Brighton Beach Ave.) - This expansive two-floor food emporium features extensive deli counters of sausages and smoked meats, smoked fish, a bakery, and freshly prepared food. Brighton Beach's version of Zabars, it's an ideal place to stock up on Russian and Eastern European delights. I found some Turkish sesame coated simit bread, which is so delicious.