Lublyou: Russian/American Life & Cuisine

life and cuisine

Mon, May 25 2015

Getting lost in the blooming city

I’m really happy to have a long weekend. The past few weeks have been really busy, and it’s nice to have a chance to go outside and spend time in the sunshine. These photos are from a few weeks ago when the flowers were still blooming. At this point, most of the trees have lost their petals, but now everything is green, the wind is warm and it feels like the middle of summer.

cherry blossomslublyounew york cherry blossoms

We’ve had company in town the past week, and most of the evenings were spent dining out around the city, strolling through the parks, catching up, and visiting the museums. My favorite was the Met again, and “China: Through the Looking Glass” exhibit, which explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion. Curiously, some of the showpieces resembled traditional Russian costumes in their motifs, shapes and fabrics. I learned that I prefer red gowns, lace, fur, floral embroidery, and long sleeves. If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, this shouldn’t surprise you.

ben lublyoucherry blossoms squirrel

Before leaving the Met we went a few flights of stairs up to the roof garden — the last time we’d been there was back in October, before it closed for winter. The timing was perfect, we watched the setting sun’s rays kiss the fancy Upper East Side rooftops and the green clouds of Central Park good-night.

harlem cherry blossoms

Speaking of Central Park, with the hotter days rolling in and the evenings staying light longer, it’s really become our backyard. Benjamin and I can often be found on a bench in the Italian or French gardens, reading, jotting down thoughts in our notebooks, listening to the birds, and watching people passing by. The highlight of this weekend was spotting a chubby raccoon, who was exploring the contents of the nearby trash basket. I got it on video!

Marcus Garvey Park

We’re going out now to soak in some more long weekend sunshine, and I want to invite you to join us via snapchat! I finally gave up and got it, and so far it’s been incredibly fun! My username is also lublyou there — let’s be friends!

lublyouMarcus Garvey Park cherry blossoms

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Mon, May 18 2015

Lublyou this week

I make weekly lists, featuring some of the things and moments I loved the most over the past seven days. I’ve been calling it “Lublyou this week”, because “lublyou” is Russian for “I love”.

This week I loved:

1. My American Anniversary

Montana Bozeman Hilton Garden InnMontana

Exactly 7 years ago I stepped onto this continent for the first time. It’s the 7th anniversary of my landing in New York City! It all feels like last week: my school friend and I, both 20, on a summer break, heading to Montana with wide-open eyes, point-and-shoot cameras, and zero idea about the kinds of adventures that were waiting ahead of us. I couldn’t possibly imagine how much my life was going to change and how 7 years later I’d be writing about it from New York City, where it all started back in May 2008.

2. Russian Forest Pizza / Purple Pizza

Russian Forest pizza

Ben’s newest invention – Russian Forest Pizza/Purple Pizza with chicken, dill, beet leaves, sour cream sauce, eggplant, red onion, white cheese and blackberries! He also made the dough from scratch with a little bit of honey. The dill sprigs remind me of trees, and I love the purple details! It’s the most delicious pizza I’ve ever had, and it was the best dinner aroma to come home to.

Russian Purple pizza

3. Georgetown Cupcakes

Georgetown cupcakes

One of my co-workers had a birthday and we celebrated with these famous cupcakes! I’m not usually a cupcake person, I think there is too much dough in them, just like in cakes, muffins and other baked goods. It was my first ever Georgetown cupcake, and I can certainly see the appeal! The frosting on top was worth the struggle through the dough.

4. New and old coffee shops

Irving farm coffeeamerican two shot

The best in the category of “short break, coffee run” award goes to Café Integral this week. It’s a tiny coffee bar inside the American Two Shot store on Grand street. The interior is a mixture of white, pastel and neon, their coffee is strong and the clothes on the racks are gorgeous yet totally impractical for my lifestyle. I wish I could prance around in a see-through baby blue cloud-like dress covered in daisies, but it will have to wait, since I’m currently only looking to expand my office wardrobe.

My “favorite chai latte spots” list welcomed a new member this week, too. Congratulations to Double Dutch Espresso in Harlem! Lots of exposed brick, vintage mirrors and gold frames, thick and smooth chai, just like at Lenox Coffee and The Chipped Cup… oh, they are all by the same owner! They are like identical triplets hiding throughout Harlem and pretending not to know each other. But the delicious chai foam gave them up.

We also revisited Irving Farm on UWS, discovered Max Coffee near Columbia University, and I finally convinced Emma to try a Starbucks frappuccino. She survived. She had a mini one without whipped cream!

5. This SoHo view


I love you, New York City!

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Thu, May 14 2015

the time I secretly conspired

Ramen class at ICCRamen chatsu porkRamen and gyoza classInternational Culinary CenterRamen class making noodlesRamen class at ICC noodlesRamen class

It seems unbelievable, but last Friday I got to play spy photographer! One of the students at the culinary center where I work planned a secret proposal during an upcoming ramen and gyoza class, and it was my job to pretend to be one of the students and take photos and film a short video of the surprise!

To be honest, I was a bit scared. Not only is this my second week at my new job, but it was a very special moment for the couple that I felt super responsible for. When I was asked if Josh (the groom-to-be) was worried before the class, I commented “I think I’m more worried than he is!” And it was not too far from the truth.

My favorite part of the class was frying and steaming gyoza. Ben and I always have frozen gyoza from Chinatown markets or Trader Joe’s in the fridge, because they make a great, quick appetizer. But all these months I’ve been cooking them wrong! They are supposed to be fried in oil at the bottom first, then you add water, close the lid and steam them without stirring or turning. When they are done, you cover the pan with a plate and flip it quickly.

But back to the fun part: the proposal! I posted more sneaky photos from the class and the proposal video on ICC’s blog — check it out!

В прошлую пятницу мне выдался случай немного поиграть в шпиона с фотоаппаратом. Один из участников кулинарного мастер-класса планировал сюрприз-предложение для своей девушки. Мне предстояло заснять всё это действо, но при этом изображать из себя такого же любителя японской кухни, как и остальные участники занятия, чтобы девушка ни о чём не догадалась, и сюрприз удался. Притворяться мне не пришлось, так как готовить я очень люблю, а ещё больше я люблю кушать, особенно рамен и пельмени.

Я опубликовала фотографии участников и небольшое видео, где Джош опускается на одно колено и вынимает из фартука кольцо, в блоге Международного Кулинарного Центра — всё это можно посмотреть по этой ссылке.

Вкусных всем выходных!

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Mon, May 11 2015

Lublyou this week

I’ve been very busy with my new job for the past few weeks, and I’m glad I created these lists to help me keep up with updates. But I feel like once the craziest first weeks of changing my schedule and lifestyle have passed, I’ll be able to pay more attention again to my favorite online corner.

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

This week I loved:

1. Ramen and gyoza class

ICC ramen gyoza class

Last Friday I got to participate in a cooking class with Hiroko Shimbo at ICC, where we learnt to make ramen and gyoza. I had a secret assignment for the evening, and I’ll make a separate post about it soon.

2. Lemon-basil hand pies

lemon basil hand pies

I was asked to make summery hand pies for TasteBook, and I immediately thought of lemon-basil filling! Ben came up with it a few years ago when he was really into homemade ice cream. Lemon-basil is our favorite combo since then, and it’s great in pies, too! You can find the recipe here.

3. Berry toast

berry ricotta toast

Another summery recipe, but this one doesn’t require any dough rolling or baking. I made and photographed this toast for Ciera’s Mother’s Day feature.

4. Homemade dinners // Duck potatoes dinner

There isn’t anything terribly creative about my duck with potatoes, I just love it so much, and we’ve been having it quite regularly in the last few months, so I finally decided to photograph it. // Fish chili

Fish chili, on the other hand, is Ben’s original spin on traditional chili with fish, mushrooms and pomegranate vinegar – a Russian-American/Mexican fusion. It turned out extremely delicious for a first-time test. We’ll make it a couple more times and play with the recipe some more before we settle on a final fish chili.

5. Photos from Ben’s phone

Central Park

Benjamin sent me these snaps he snuck of me taking photos of the blooming trees in Central Park. I especially love them because I didn’t even know Ben took them. Unexpected photos are the best!

6. Emma and iced chai


We used to have so much free time together to just wander around the city, eating through bakeries and drinking endless cappuccinos. Those slow days, like dripping honey, are long gone, but I’m even more grateful now for the occasional fifteen-minute chai breaks and coffee catch-ups.

Greecologies SoHo

7. Summer in NYC

Summer in Central Park

It’s not officially summer yet, but it certainly feels like it’s already here. It’s going to be 90F today! Over the weekend we ate ice cream, burnt our noses and foreheads during long walks, sat on the grass in Central Park, and slept with the windows wide open. Yesterday it rained for a few minutes and the streets smelled of summer dust and lilacs!

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