One of the fun things to do in Brighton Beach is to go shopping. I always like to visit grocery stores, even when I travel abroad. Puerto Vallarta's grocery stores are getting a bit generic because all of the tourists, but there is are a couple of older ones that are still pretty neat. Of course they can be a bit infuriating too because you never know when they will be out of stuff. And sometimes you need to ask someone for help because the labels are in Spanish. But that is what makes it an adventure.
The stores in Brighton Beach are a bit like that as well, only the language is Russian, not Spanish. My favorite store is M & I International Food, right on the main drag and across the street from the elevated train.
M & I International Food
It is fun just to walk around and see all of the food. More sausages and fish, especially smoked fish, and meat, and..., well you name it and they have it.
This place is always packed and it helps to be a bit aggressive if you want to get the attention of the person behind the counter. It also helps if you speak Russian.
I like the sausages, and they have a couple of dozen types.
Sausages, Sausages, Sausages
They also have a large selection of Russian and other imported beers. For those of you who don't know, in New York liquor stores can only sell liquor. Even mixes that are sold in liquor stores have to contain a small amount of alchohol. Usually just 1% to satisfy the technicality of the law. Beer is sold in grocery stores and delis or bodegas.
99 Bottles Of Beer On The Shelf
They also have a large baked goods and pastry section.
You can guess who found there way to this display.
Like Flies To Honey
There is seating both downstairs and upstairs so you can get a pastry and a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy a little snack. The upstairs area is more like a cafeteria with a nice selection of prepared foods to choose from. There is also outdoor seating up there. It was quite crowded so this must be a real favorite of the locals. But then this whole area is quite crowded.
Right next door is a liquor store that also offers a lot of interesting liquors. More types of vodka than you can find most places. No surprise there. Also some interesting liquors. A lot of rowan berry liquors so I guess this must be a Russian specialty. Next time I head there I think I will pick up a bottle just to try it.
Choices, Choices, Choices
There are a lot of little, and not so little fresh fruit and vegetable stores in this neighborhood and they always have really nice looking produce.
Cherries must have been in season because they had big crates of them and you had to kind of push your way up to the in order to fill your bag.
Cherry Picking, Literally
So there you go. A real fun way to spend the afternoon. Head out to Brighton Beach, grab a bite to eat on the boardwalk, do a little shopping, and then head home or head to Coney Island and hit one of the great little dive bars while they are still around. Cha Cha's and Ruby's top my list. Or hit the Beer Beach and grab a beer, they have a really large selection.