In an ongoing attempt to explore every bit of New York City while having an excuse to dedicate days to wandering around residential streets with soda cans of wine in our hands, we found ourselves in a Brighton Beach shop that had magic in the name. As Brighton Beach is very Russian, I had hoped to we were wandering into some nutso old country magic shop run by a grizzled old man who’d drink vodka with us. Instead, it was a women’s fashion store filled with Korean knock-offs with a younger, very friendly proprietor. Him and I watched Phil Collins live in Soviet-era Russia on the TV while Amber tried on bathing suits covered in fireworks. We were officially members of the Boss Club by the time we left.
After saying goodbye, we started wandering through the neighborhood. I’d never seen nor expected a San Fernando Valley-style suburb in Brooklyn. Big ass houses with exclusively German cars parked haphazardly in front. I’d comment on how every single house had fences covered in fake strings of what looked like the stuff fake Christmas trees are made of, but considered the fact that every house had it, I’d rather not piss anyone off. I also never expected this street out in a quiet neighborhood, but I give it a thumbs up.
These statues were outside of a church. While they are very handsome, I’d like to draw your attention to the path you must walk to get to it. That path is less than a foot wide. It’s nearly impossible to traverse. It felt like I was rolling across a mini-golf course.
Look, here’s the beach! It was pretty packed, but generally seemed less crowded and less crappy than Coney Island’s sandy hellholes. The place was going off too, with people barbecuing and blasting Top 40 club jams out of their cars. They also sell beer, which you seemingly can drink anywhere.
Of course, the authorities will let you do anything you want as long as you’ve got such a lovely companion as this. Even if I was naked and on fire they’d let it slide because, looking at her, they’d have to assume I have my shit together somehow.
This is a fairly quaint-looking home that happened to be huge. It was also surrounded by McMansions that touched on every architectural style out there. It’s just not my style.
For a metaphorical representation of my style versus the neighborhood’s, contrast this tidy sailboat with the tourist yachts in the background.
Well this certainly is cute. That dog on the right has got some serious mole claws though.
This was in a park. More metaphor for you.
There’s nothing metaphorical about pigeons. I find them fascinating and intensely terrifying. It’s like their little brains only developed the “kill” function. Thankfully, the “create killing devices” and “strategic shitting” parts never appeared.
This is a bridge that crosses from Manhattan Beach into I guess Sheepshead Bay. We went to a kick ass old man bar and got pretty permed playing darts with a bunch of old Mets fans. That’s the right way to do Sunday.
Ditching the air conditioned shelter of the bar with a warm glow following a Corinthians win, we headed off in search of the whole reason we’d come to the neighborhood in the first place: Cafe Kashkar‘s Uyghur cuisine.
Uyghur dishes have influences from Turkey, China, Russia, Mongolia and much of the Middle East. Flavor profiles are similar from what you’d expect from the region, with an emphasis on lamb and all the good parts of the animal like the liver in the gigar above.
There’s also some serious barbecue action going on. (By the way, you can tell the dishes were amazing because I ate half of them before I remembered to take photos.) Cafe Kashkar has a wood-burning grill in the kitchen; taking a peek back there, I saw embers flying everywhere. The kebabs were excellent.
The restaurant itself isn’t much more than a room with tables and chairs, but holy hell is the food good. Plus, as evidenced by the guys next to us who plopped down and split a bottle of Ketel One, the place has got a free-for-all BYOB policy. This noodle dish called lagman (although I forget which type) had some of the greatest noodles I’ve ever had. Doughy and chewy, they alone were worth the trip.