Lublyou: Russian/American Life & Cuisine

life and cuisine

Wed, October 29 2014

A trip to “Little Odessa” – Brighton Beach, Brooklyn // Маленькая Одесса – Брайтон Бич, Бруклин

Brighton Beach subway stationBrighton beach Brooklyn

A few weekends ago Ben and I took the Q train down to Brooklyn, and after a little more than an hour, we arrived in the little neighborhood of Brighton Beach, which is like a miniature version of Russia. It’s nicknamed “Little Odessa” after the Ukrainian city on the Black Sea, and it’s the home to the largest Russian-speaking population in the U.S.

Brighton beach seagullsBrighton BeachBrighton beach Brooklyn housesBrighton Beach New YorkLublyou: Brighton Beach, BrooklynEmbroidered shirt

I couldn’t exactly pin down my overall impression of our trip to Brighton Beach. I felt like I wanted to share these photos and tell everyone how much fun it was going down there, but at the same time I was afraid I would be mistaken for one of “those” immigrants who simply can’t resist the magnetic draw of familiar culture … it wasn’t exactly the joy of “being at home” that I experienced.  Without my family there, it couldn’t really feel like home.

It took me a couple of weeks to discover my real feelings – nostalgia for a specific time in the past!  Brighton Beach reminds me of my childhood in the 90s, especially summers at the Black Sea. This shouldn’t really be a surprise, the neighborhood is mainly populated by people who escaped from the Soviet Union back in those days, but they took along many familiar details with them to New York.

Tatiana restaurant Brighton BeachTatiana Brighton Beach Brooklyn

As we got off the subway, Ben and I decided that the beach itself would be our main destination and walked out onto the bright, sunny, autumn boardwalk surrounded by the sounds of crashing waves, screaming seagulls, busy restaurants and loud conversations in Russian from the locals on the benches along the walkway facing the beach.

We were getting hungry, and the hostess from the beachfront Tatiana Restaurant successfully caught us walking by, handing us menus and offering us a table inside the plastic covered porch overlooking the boardwalk.  The menu was very scattered, and featured everything from sushi, to grilled meat, to festive cakes. We were spending a “Russian” day, so we opted for “mors” (a berry drink,) “pelmeni” (meat dumplings) and my favorite farmers’ cheese cakes with raisins “syrniki”.

Everyone at the tables around us was ordering vodka, which I found pretty amusing. I often hear the stereotype about Russians drinking vodka, and people ask me if it’s my favorite drink. The truth is, I’m not a big vodka drinker at all and constant vodka is very far from reality back at home, but the legend is alive and blooming in Brighton Beach oceanside restaurants, even in the early afternoon.

Syrniki Brighton BeachPelmeni Brighton Beach

Overall, Tatiana was quite pricey for a simple meal, (and they pretty much forgot about us after they set us and took the order, then they brought us the wrong meals… then forgot about us again!), but I still really enjoyed this lunch for the nostalgia feeling, the gorgeous sunny beach view and the amusement of the conversations being held around us.

I’ll be back soon with “Brighton Beach: Part 2″ about what we found after we left the boardwalk and went shopping along Brighton Beach avenue, which is full of cyrillic signs, fur coats, very tasty pirozhki and other Russian groceries!

Пару недель назад мы с Беном решили съездить в Брайтон Бич на берегу Атлантического океана. Этот район Нью-Йорка получил известность с середины 1970-х годов, как место проживания эмигрантов из СССР, в основном евреев из Украины и России. После развала СССР в 90-х в Брайтон Бич стали селиться выходцы из бывших республик.

Поездка на метро заняла чуть больше часа, и мы оказались на южном побережье с ароматами пирожков, шумом волн, криками чаек и занятными русскими речами. Я даже отправила сама себе смс с некоторыми отрывками разговоров вокруг нашего столика в ресторане Татьяна во время обеда:

- Да посидим чуть-чуть и возьмём ещё водки.
- На здоровье!
- Ну давай с клубничным вареньем блинчики.
- Всё, я пошёл за водкой и за компотом.
- При чём тут Газманов? И Алсу с Басковым?
- Дайте-ка мне щи кислые со шпинатом и салатик.
- Лысый пришёл? – Давно уже, он с двенадцати!

Во время нашей прогулки по набережной меня не покидало чувство, что вот-вот издалека до нас донесётся “Горячая кукуруза! Горячая кукуруза!”, или “Сладкая вата! Солёные огурцы!”, а мимо с брызгами и криками пронесётся очередной отдыхающий на надувном банане. Слишком уж сильно сходство этого пляжа со знакомыми с детства Коблево, Лазаревким, Ялтой и Сочи.

И ведь не зря же Брайтон Бич называют “Маленькой Одессой” – нужно будет обязательно сюда вернуться летом, вдруг и правда на пляже будут продавать жаренные семечки в кулёчках из газет и варёную кукурузу с солью? Я возьму парочку.

Wed, October 22 2014

A sweet date and a new header

Ladurée date in Central ParkLadurée on Madison avenueUpper East Side NYCLadurée Citron Gingembre

Per our new tradition, we spent Sunday afternoon in Central Park munching on a new Ladurée treat. This one was “Citron Gingembre” (Lime Ginger) and it was delicious.

Central Park can definitely be a busy place, which becomes more noticeable if you’re trying to take photos of something. In an attempt to avoid the rush, we chose a hill which appeared to be quiet. There weren’t many people on the nearby path and the lawn was clear, but as soon as we took the treat out of the box to shoot it, people suddenly became very interested in walking up the path and it was hard to take a picture in that direction without a forest of legs.

We waited for it to clear out for a few minutes, but instead I decided to just shoot the other direction, away from the path and up the (quiet) hill. As soon as I had carefully focused, as if they’d been waiting for the right moment, a whole elephant herd of kids appeared out of nowhere and started running up and down the hill. Ben and I looked at each other and started laughing, it was impossible! We wanted to finish shooting and eat the treat, so we managed to eventually get some pictures between the steady streams of kids and their pursuing parents. We packed the camera away and settled in to eat, and they all immediately disappeared, of course. At least it was quiet while we ate!


Notice anything new? When we came up with “Lublyou” to replace our blog’s first name (“Chestnut Mocha,”) Ben drew two different versions of the logo: a blue one and a red/green one, both referencing some common themes in Russian folk art. We decided it was time for a change and took the opportunity to tune up and refine the design of the blog as a whole. I’m really excited about it! Do you like it?

Сегодняшний пост перенасыщен всевозможными вкусностями и красивостями, мне не терпится скорее обо всём рассказать!

Начну, конечно же, с нашего воскресного свидания в Центральном Парке. День выдался самый чудесный дня посиделок на лужайке, травка зеленела, солнышко блестело, и наш выбор в бутике Ladurée выпал на полосатое лимонно-имбирное пирожное. Воздушный крем с кислинкой разделяют три полоски слоёного теста, которое крошится и тает на губах – мы как всегда не прогадали. Оно внешне очень напоминает кофейное пирожное, которым мы наслаждались пару выходных назад, но по вкусу их спутать совершенно невозможно.

А вы заметили что-нибудь новое во внешнем виде блога? Когда мы переименовали блог пару месяцев назад, Бен нарисовал два варианта логотипа Lublyou: голубой под гжель и красный с земляникой. С переездом в Нью-Йорк, сменой сезонов и настроения, мы решили, что пора и блог немного преобразить. Как вам новая ягодная иллюстрация для Lublyou?

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Sun, October 19 2014

The simplest “Ukha” (Russian fish soup) // Уха

Ukha Russian fish soup // Lublyou.comRussian fish soup Ukha //

We recently discovered that Chinatown is the place for great deals on fresh fish! I had been there once before, but earlier this week I took Ben to explore the sprawling fish markets in search of something tasty for dinner. As a huge seafood lover, I have a hard time not taking home a lot more than I should, but we managed to restrain ourselves to this delicious salmon … and a pound and a half of fresh clams. Fish soup is something that Ben hadn’t tried before meeting me, but it’s very common in Russia and I love it!

“Ukha” (Russian: Уха) started to be used as a term for fish broth in Russian cuisine in the late 17th to early 18th centuries. In the past, fishermen would prepare the soup over an open fire using whichever fish were caught that day. Nowadays, people use any fish, from salmon to cod, that they “catch” at a supermarket on the way home.

There are many ways to go about making this Russian fish soup, but I’ll share just the simplest one, which doesn’t involve making a separate pot of fish broth beforehand. This soup is great for fall. I make it when I crave something comforting on a cold evening and I want it sooner than later.

Ukha fish soup recipe


  • 1 small carrot, peeled, cut in circles
  • Salt, peppercorns, ground pepper, bay leaves, smoked paprika, parsley, onion, dill
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled, chopped in cubes
  • 1 lb. salmon, cut into bite-sized pieces (or any other fish you like: pike, snapper, trout, bass, etc.)
  • 2 quarts of water
  • Fresh scallions, dill, parsley chopped, for serving

Bring water to a boil. Add salt, peppercorns, onion, bay leaves, herbs, paprika and ground pepper. Boil on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Add potatoes and carrots, bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the salmon and cook for 10-15 minutes or until all vegetables are soft and fish is cooked.

Season to taste. Serve hot with fresh herbs.

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Sat, October 18 2014

Golden days + weekend sales

Russian // Lublyou.comRussian blue shawl // Lublyou.comRussian shawl // // Russian shawlAnn Taylor heelsNew York golden fall //
Silk Top // Nordstrom (similar) • Lace skirt // LOFT (now on sale!) • Heels // Ann Taylor (also on sale now!) • Owl pendant // a gift from Ben • Russian shawl // a gift from mama.

This is how I transition from summer to fall – I put on my Russian shawl! It’s perfect when it’s not cold enough for a coat, but at the same time the occasional crisp October breeze makes my silk top and bare arms look poorly prepared.

I love this wool shawl for sentimental and practical reasons and I could talk about it forever. It’s a gift from my mama and I wore it all the way though my university years, rainy Moscow November mornings, snowy February nights, I had it with me in Korea when Ben and I fell in love, and it kept me warm and reminded me of home during the long Idaho winters. It’s so versatile – I use it instead of a cardigan, as a scarf, sometimes on my head, I tie it around my purse or hips, and even snuggle with it on the couch with a book from time to time.

I came across this list of sales happening this weekend and thought I’d share them here, too:

J.Crew Factory – Extra 30% off Clearance | Code: YAY30
Kate Spade – 30% off entire purchase | Code: F14FFUS
Ann Taylor – Extra 50% off Full Price Tops, Accessories, & Shoes | Code: STYLE50
Saks Fifth Avenue – 25% Off | Code: FRNFAM
Old Navy – 25% Off | Code: TREAT
J.Crew – 30% Off Sweaters & Outerwear | Code: SHOPFALL
Madewell – 30% Off Sale | Code: PICKMEUP
Club Monaco – 25% Off Select Fall Styles | Code: FALLFAVES
Forever 21 – Extra 30% Off Sale | Code: TAKE30
Saks Off Fifth – Extra 40% Off Contemporary | Code: 40FORYOU
Lands End – Extra 30% Off Fall Essentials | Code: LEAF
Gap – Extra 25% Off Entire Purchase | Code: HAPPY

Мой любимый Павлопосадский платок, который я всегда и везде беру с собой, теперь тоже живёт в Нью-Йорке.

Он мне достался в подарок от мамы, и мы с ним не расстаёмся уже много лет. Этот платок согревал меня все университетские годы с их промозглыми ноябрьскими утрами на автобусных остановках, застуженными аудиториями на ВДНХ и снежными февральскими вечерами по дороге домой; он ездил со мной в Корею, где всё самое волшебное только начиналось, а потом я в него куталась и скучала по дому длинными зимами в Айдахо.

Каждый сезон я нахожу новое применение моему Павлопосадскому другу. Так этим особенно тёплым октябрём в Нью-Йорке он мне помогает преобразить мой летний гардероб в осенний в считанные секунды!

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