Last week, a friend mentioned the delights he found at a local Russian grocery. Coincidentally, our synagogue recently hosted a little program about Eastern European shtetl culture in the 18th century. I was inspired. A visit to the shop, and I am hooked.
Jewish rye and black bread, which the shop gets from a bakery in Brooklyn that labels its stuff all in Russian.
Pickled tomatoes and sweet onions (made by me).
Assorted smoked fish. Here we have trout, salmon, sturgeon, and butterfish. The shop has all these whole smoked and dried mackerel and pike, but I was too intimidated to buy a whole fish. Next time.
Salami and liverwurst. The shop features a comprehensive selection--almost a gallery collection, really--of sausages, salamis, and dried and cured meats. It has a similar collection of pickles--kosher dills, mushrooms, tomatoes, all kinds of vegetables. It is truly impressive.
(I bought some full-sour dills imported from Poland, but I forgot to take pictures of them. The jar says "ZPOW" and that's about right.)
Of course, boiled eggs and sauteed cabbage. I was pleasantly surprised by the cabbage; I followed this recipe.
Shopping at this grocery was an adventure, largely because I couldn't read any of the labels and I was constantly at risk of buying pickled herring or, I don't know, Soviet-era canned spam hash. (There is a wall completely full of nothing but pickled herring and Soviet-era canned meats.)
I didn't take pictures of my favorite part, which is the candy aisle. There are these crazy candy boxes and bulk candies, all of them labeled exclusively in Russian. To know what you're getting, you have to guess by the pictures. So, really, good luck. My favorite was a tie: either the prune, filled with nougat and covered in chocolate, or the dark chocolates filled with vodka.
Yeah, chocolate-covered vodka is a thing that exists in the world, and my life is better for it. Dasvidaniya.