Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's Hard to Order a Doughnut When All the Signs are in Russian

In our continuing effort to become International-Doughnut-Connoisseurs, Blognut hops on the F- train and rides down to Brighton Beach in search of an authentic Russian Nut.

Called "пончики", ponchiki in Russia, and "пампушки", pampushky in the Ukraine, these former-Soviet-Nuts are somewhat lighter than their American counterparts. They are often filled with jam and are enjoyed primarily during celebrations. There is also a savory form of the Ukrainian pampushky flavored with mashed garlic and olive oil and typically served as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to soup.

With a few hours to kill on Saturday afternoon, and an urge to break from the monotony of the standard NYC-doughnut-offerings, Blognut figures what better place to find a Russian doughnut than Brighton Beach, the heavily Russian Brooklyn neighborhood referred to as “Little Odessa.”

We arrive at Brighton beach around 3:00 PM and make our way down the boardwalk, somewhat in awe of the fact that New York City actually has a real beach – who knew!? Feeling pressured to try the Russian staple, we stop in the Tatiana café and scarf a plate of garlic rosemary potatoes. We then pop over to Brighton Beach Avenue, the main shopping and dining thoroughfare in the neighborhood.

We find out immediately that eating in Brighton Beach can be difficult when you don’t speak Russian (Blognut took French for 3 years in high school and 1 year in college, and definitely has no idea how to order a Nut in Russian). Brighton Beach Ave has countless cafes, food markets, and street-side vendors all selling baked items labeled in Russian, and most of which seem to be variations on the meat-pie.

We’re not sure if Brighton is just not into doughnuts, or if our poor Russian pronunciation prevented us from conveying our orders properly, but Blognut was unable to find ponchikis or pampuskies anywhere. We spent the entire subway ride home wondering what might have been had we found and enjoyed an authentic Russian Nut.

If anyone has any recommendations on how to acquire a ponchiki or a pampusky in the NYC-area, can you please let us know.

Maybe the doughnuts were in here.

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