Lublyou: Russian/American Life & Cuisine

life and cuisine

Sun, August 2 2015

Lublyou New York City


Summer in New York City… I’m spending a whole summer in NYC this year, and not just spending it IN the city but more like WITH the city!

I complain about heat and humidity just like everyone else here, celebrate short bursts of rare storms, hate MTA and scroll through my Twitter feed to see where other New Yorkers are currently stuck and if there is any hope. Sometimes I give up and leave to walk above the ground, marveling at the evening sun reflecting on glass buildings and closing flower shops.

Summer in New York is also a synonym for guests and it was definitely on our “reasons” list for choosing to move here, even if sometimes that means sharing a twin bed with Ben in the kitchen. I love being able to show the bits and pieces of the city to my favorite people and to create memories of them here. Summer and the city itself might physically be a little uncomfortable, but I do love what it does for my soul.


After a few visits from friends and family, I feel like I know the routine. We all change to comfortable flats, pack bottles of water and 2-3 cameras, and set out for long walks up and down the New York city streets and avenues together, stopping for brunches, photobooths, doughnuts, ice creams in the parks, and then escape into various shops with air conditioning. Speaking of AC, it’s also smart to carry a cardigan or a summer shawl in your bag — the temperature drop between the sunlit streets and the subway cars is no joke.

Last week we did some major touristy New York City activities when my mama was visiting: The Empire State Building and The Staten Island Ferry (….and more) all in one day! We got lucky with The Empire State, at 11 a.m. on a Sunday it wasn’t all that crowded, though still a bit confusing. If you’ve been there, you know there are lots of halls, rooms and escalators slowly leading to the top. It took us about half an hour to make it to the observation deck. It’s touristy, but glorious. I’ve visited it at night before and honestly, I can’t pick a favorite, both views are amazing. I wish they had a yearly pass or membership so I could come more often in different weather and times of the day.


Later that day we took a ferry to Staten Island that goes past the Statue of Liberty and offers fabulous views of Lower Manhattan. I took this ferry 7 years ago at sunset, all by myself. I took a picture of my lonely reflection in the ferry window with the Statue in the background and the setting sun. Being there this time with my mama, husband and best friend felt especially meaningful and moving.


Tips for taking the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty:

  • It’s free, there are no tickets, you just show up at the Whitehall Terminal (right next to South Ferry 1 train subway station.)
  • There is no line at the terminal to board the ferry, just join that big crowd in the room, the direction most people are facing is probably the right gate. A ferry comes approximately every 30 minutes, the gates open and everyone rushes in.
  • GO RIGHT and upstairs. The ferry doesn’t turn around as it leaves the dock, it’s double-ended, which means the Statue of Liberty will always be seen from the same side of it. When you board in Manhattan – right side after entering; from Staten Island – left.
  • If you want photos of the Statue (of course you do!) take them on the way to Staten Island, on the way back to Manhattan the ferry passes further away from the Statue.
  • Wind-proof your outfit — watch out for your hat, skirt and cheetos while on board.

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In Lifestyle, New York City, Travel


Tue, July 14 2015

Lublyou this week

Recently I started making lists, featuring some of the things and moments I loved the most over the past seven days. I’ve called it “Lublyou this week”, because “lublyou” is Russian for “I love”.

This week I loved:

1. Blueberry-Peach Pie.
Peach blueberry pie slice

I baked and shot a delicious summer pie for Tastesbook’s new column. The blueberries didn’t have a strong flavor in my pie, I added them mostly for color, but the baked sweet peaches were insanely flavorful! // Summer peach blueberry pie

2. Summer berries.
Red currant gooseberry greenmarket

One of the things I really miss about summers in Russia is berry abundance. Last weekend I got lucky and spotted red currants and gooseberries at the Union Square Greenmarket. I can’t wait to have a garden again in the future where I can plant all kinds of sweet and sour goodies.

3. Guests in the city.
Diner Brooklyn

Our friend Katie was visiting from France, and of course we went to have a Sunday brunch at Diner! This bus-shaped sun-lit cafe with cracked tiled floors and comfy booths along the windows has become a traditional weekend venue for us. On Saturday we strolled through farmer’s markets, picnicked in Prospect Park and stayed up till late enjoying an open air concert and watching fireflies float around. It was my first time seeing lightning bugs and it felt like magic!

4. This peach cocktail. // L'Ecole NYC cocktail

I’ve been taking a lot of photos at work this week, and this is one of my favorites. I’ve mostly been shooting events and people lately, and when I got a chance to play around with this colorful drink it felt extra special.

Also…I ordered a new camera! It’s a Canon 5D Mark III and it should arrive tomorrow, I can’t wait!

5. Hallie the dachshund.
Dog artist Momofuku

We saw art by this cute dachshund at the Williamsburg Momofuku Milk Bar where we stopped for the new pink lemonade soft serve. How adorable and ridiculous is an artist dog sitting on a pillow with a red beret on her head and a paint brush in her mouth? I secretly want some of her colorful pieces, and at the same time I’m also wondering if there’s a way to convince Sonya the bunny to be creative, too. Probably not. Check out Hallie’s bio and artwork on her website.

6. New York City view.
New York City night view

I took this night iPhone shot of the city from the V.K.Rees roof more than a week ago, but I can still clearly remember the warm night breeze and the twinkling lights across the river whenever I close my eyes.

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In Food, Lifestyle


Tue, July 7 2015

Fourth of July picnic

I couldn’t wish for a better way to spend Fourth of July this year! The city was quiet, allowing us a few extra hours of sleep in the morning, followed by a picnic in a park. This is exactly the kind of day I’ll be looking back on with the best kind of nostalgia in the winter.

Fourth of July picnicPicnic hot dogs

I’ll be remembering squinting in the sharp sunlight reflecting off the leaves, buildings and lawns, juicy red watermelon bites, the vibrant colors of our new picnic blankets, and the line patterns on my legs from sitting on the grass because we brought too much food and it took over those blankets. I’ll remember the peach-and-blueberry pie that Ben and I had just enough willpower not to eat for breakfast and saved until Emma arrived.

July picnic New Yorkinstax miniFourth of July summer picnicPicnic instaxSummer New York park

Later in the evening, we made a trip to the East River Promenade and watched the fireworks with other New Yorkers and visitors, cheering, taking selfies and trying to catch the grand finale on video while admiring the twinkling lights from the bridge above us reflecting in the water below, and enjoying the light breeze on our skin which was still glowing with daytime heat.

Lublyou Fourth of JulyFourth of July

Fourth of July is significant for Benjamin and me for one more reason: 3 years ago we arrived in New York from Russia with a few suitcases, lots of dreams and eyes still wet with good-bye tears. On this anniversary, it’s truly amazing to look back on the many adventures we’ve had since. Thanks, blog, for keeping all of our memories!

Here’s how we spent 4th of July in the past:

  • 2014 driving to Seattle to pick up my family from the airport for our Grand West Road Trip!
  • 2013 in Sandpoint watching the parade and later that night shooting fireworks on the beach in Hope.
  • 2012 in New York City as a stop-over on our big transcontinental move from Russia to Idaho.
  • 2011 celebrating in Moscow with an American flag ice cream cake and a diner date.

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In Lifestyle


Tue, June 30 2015

Forest to table: Lamb’s Quarters and Barley Salad // Lamb's Quarters and Barley // Lamb's Quarters recipe

Forget kale and arugula, go foraging for lamb’s quarters, stinging nettles, chickweed and dandelions! Or just buy some at the farmer’s market like we did last weekend. Yes, we got a bunch of weedy plants at the Union Square Greenmarket and I made a salad with them! The forest-to-table trend is on the rise! // Lambs Quarters and Barley salad recipe

Nothing is new here, of course. We used to forage and eat all kinds of plants when I was a kid. But actually buying wild weeds in the middle of Manhattan is quite an experience for me. I couldn’t wait to call home and tell my family that “I just paid $3 for a bunch of lamb’s quarters in New York!” // Lamb's Quarters salad

I tossed our farmer’s market lamb’s quarters in a salad with barley, cucumber, baby radishes, cherry tomatoes, onions and bleu cheese. I also enjoyed playing with the leaves and making collages (as you can see). To my surprise, Sonya bunny wasn’t as interested in lamb’s quarters as I expected. She still prefers kale and parsley.

Have you cooked with any wild plants lately?

Foraging forest-to-table Lambs Quarters

В субботу, прогуливаясь по фермерскому рынку в центре Нью-Йорка, я увидела на нескольких прилавках давнюю знакомую. Мне вспомнилось название “лебеда”, но интернет мне сейчас подсказывает, что правильное название этому растению – “марь”. При виде этого сорняка меня настигают воспоминания из детства: прополка грядок в саду у бабушки, прогулки по пролеску за школой, поиски грибов в оврагах около дома…

Теперь же этот сорняк можно купить у фермеров и собирателей (сейчас их очень модно называть foragers) на Манхеттене примерно за $3 за пучок. Вам расскажут, что это почти дикий шпинат, только полезнее, конечно же. Употреблять нужно в сыром виде в салатах или тушить с другими овощами для гарнира. Заодно на том же рынке можно приобрести свежую крапиву, мокрицу, зелень одуванчиков, васильки, календулу, и много других хорошо знакомых и давно забытых “ингредиентов”.

Я решила поэкспериментировать с lamb’s quarters, марью, и у меня получился вот такой салат с ячменем, помидорками черри, молодым редисом, огурцом, свежим луком и голубым сыром. Действительно, по вкусу очень похоже на любую другую салатную зелень, особенно шпинат. Только вот кролик Соня почему-то отказывается есть мою модную зелень, она предпочитает кейл и петрушку.

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In Food