I already know about Russian dressing
September 2, 2008 12:33 PM   Subscribe

What's good to eat at Russian-immigrant grocery stores and bakeries?

My neighborhood (in West Hollywood, CA) has a very large number of Russian immigrants, and therefore a large number of Russian delis, grocery stores and bakeries. What should I be buying at them?

I'm not interested in cooking my own Russian food or what to order at sit-down restaurants. I'm more interested in unique snack foods, desserts and drinks, fresh-baked stuff, delicacies and easy-to-serve items. Specific brand names for packaged stuff would be appreciated.
posted by Bookhouse to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Everything! Pilmeni is dumplings and those will be good. Also in the dumpling department, there may be Georgian khinkali - even better dumplings!

Any pastry is bound to be good.

I'd try to use the delis and bakeries rather than pre-packaged stuff.
posted by k8t at 12:44 PM on September 2, 2008

I can tell you that any sort of stuffed pastry will be a) delicious because it's made with lard, and b) difficult to purchase just one of. Often they're stuffed with bacon or pork. For the life of me I can't remember what they're called, but they're like little glistening (with lard!) croissant-shaped things.

There are also a whole range of Russian salads that are lettuce-less.
posted by mdonley at 12:44 PM on September 2, 2008

I love Russion Arrow chocolates. Hopefully someone can jump in and give a specific brand name, but they're cone-shaped hollow chocolates with a creamy hazelnut filling. They're sold in large flat boxes.
posted by twoporedomain at 12:51 PM on September 2, 2008

Best answer: Pryanniki are incredible honey cookies. They should be fresh and soft, and often come in unmarked clear bags.
posted by prefpara at 12:53 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you like hot mustard, I think this Russian "Gourmet Mustard" (sorry, can't read the Cyrillic) is the best in the whole world. IMHO. I make side-trips to the Russian deli in Palo Alto just to get some.

BTW, although that link says "never on poultry or fish" I think it's amazing on turkey sandwiches.
posted by CruiseSavvy at 1:01 PM on September 2, 2008

Best answer: For the life of me I can't remember what they're called, but they're like little glistening (with lard!) croissant-shaped things.

You could either be talking about regular pirozhki, or (Georgian) chebureki. Both delicious.

Definitely try Russian pickles, which are the finest thing ever invented in the pickle line. Get the ones that say "соленые," not "малосольные" or "маринованные."

Pelmeni are incredibly delicious and super easy to make if you get them in a bag (just boil them, drain them, and serve with sour cream or vinegar and butter, with generous amounts of pepper).

There's also this thing called "baklazhannaya ikra" (literally "eggplant caviar") which is a delicious eggplant spread, sort of in the vein of hummus but softer and a bit sweeter.

You might enjoy kvas, it's a classic Russian drink--better homemade, but you should try the bottled kind, even if it is just like soda.

If you are feeling adventurous, buy a half-pound of salo. It sounds disgusting: a frozen, spiced block of pig fat. But it needs to be tasted to be believed. Get a hunk of black Russian bread (which is also good without salo, salted and with bits of garlic shoved into it). Cut two or three paper-thin strips from the salo--make sure it's well-frozen. Lay them on top of a slice of bread. You can just eat it like that, or you can take a shot of vodka first. Both are great and traditional.
posted by nasreddin at 1:07 PM on September 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

No, god no, don't drink the kvas! It is what they force you to drink in hell, stay well away from that evil stuff.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:28 PM on September 2, 2008

Pastries with poppy seed filling. All manner of canned/salted/pickled/smoked fish. Caviar.
posted by magicbus at 2:28 PM on September 2, 2008

This book might help as a guideline.
posted by brujita at 9:38 PM on September 2, 2008

Black Russian Rye bread toasted spread with a generous layer of farmers cheese.
posted by boby at 12:05 PM on September 3, 2008

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