The Russians may be the most experienced drinkers-to-excess in all of Europe, so you'd imagine they have a hangover cure or two up their sleeves. My favorite is a hair of the dog drink, a variation on the Bloody Mary in which you swap out the tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and ice for more vodka. Visit any Russian cafe on a weekend (or, frankly, a weekday) and you'll see a table halfway through a fresh bottle of BYO vodka as they eat their lunch. So that's one reason to make the trek to Brighton Beach the morning after some overindulgence. The other is the sweet, starchy comfort of Russian dumplings.
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It's true, slivovitz isn't always easy to love (though the same could be said for the suddenly hip Fernet Branca), and it's hardly a world-class spirit. As one Chowhounder eloquently put it, "it tastes like jet fuel to the uninitiated." But if you haven't tried slivovitz before, I want to make the case that you should. There's a niche in every bar that only punchy, fruity brandies like grappa or slivovitz can fill.
You could spend months of hungover mornings sampling the burek offerings of Queens, which hail from Turkey, the Balkans, and beyond, but Djerdan's should be on your short list. Their traditional Bosnian burek are made with yufka, a flatbread of Turkish extraction layered like phyllo but with more satisfying heft. Your choice of fillings—meat and potato, spinach and farmer's cheese, or farmer's cheese alone—are pleasantly direct, unmarred by dalliances that would overwhelm the crackly crisp pastry.