The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Brighton Beach Photo Shoot, Cafe Kashkar, and a Few Sweets

This entry originally took place on May 23. Here's Part 1!

Ain't nothing like a sunny day at the beach, hanging out with friends...

Kathy takes her spot
They only look dead.

Lying on the sand...

Drag the body

Dragging bodies wrapped in black sheets across the sand...


mm, bodies!
Lying on the beach in an atypical fashion.

We weren't at the beach for a fun day of being pelted by UV rays, but for a fun day of helping Diana with her personal photoshoot. Roman and Davi acted as "bodies on the beach" and Kathy acted as "mysterious woman dragging bodies on the beach" while Greg, Edd, and I took the roles of assistants and documentarians.

I...can't fly.

And goofing off-ers.

Diana gives out orders camera Onlookers...look Kathy looks serious
Random bits.

Diana has directed many photoshoots, but this was the first involved one I had ever been to. Not that it was that involved; her set was the beach and the main prop was a black sheet. No need for makeup and hair artists. She just had to tell direct the models, take the photos, and make sure everything came out, you know, perfect.

Greg fucks up this photo
Good job, Greg.

And she had to deal with this...weirdo.

.how it ends (where to begin, again). by Diana

The end result looked awesome. If you ever want a portrait that simulates bodies scattered across a beach, she's your woman! (Seriously though, you should hire her to do all sorts of photos, assuming they are not boring. You gotta make it worth her while, you know. "Creative Ideas Only." If all was right with the world, Diana would get more opportunities to take these kinds of photos, but as they are mostly personal projects, the chances are too few.)

If you want to use a tripod at Brighton Beach, you need a permit. Luckily, no one caught us until Diana was on her last shot.

As for some photos that didn't require a tripod...

Kathy under a sheet!
Greg is an expert jumping
Jumping Greg.
Fuuuck meeee. Photo taken by Greg.
gonna get a boppy
Davi tries to catch a boppy.
I force Edd to jump.

And then we were hungry.

Cafe Kashkar
Cafe Kashkar

Due to lack of planning on my part, we ended up at Cafe Kashkar, a restaurant that I had last visited in 2006 during my first visit to Brighton Beach. Ideally we would've tried a new place, but I knew Cafe Kashkar was a safe choice and everyone else was interested in eating there too. It's not every day you get to eat Uighur food.

Meat! And stuff!

My favorite dish was the naryn, simply described as "pieces of dough with seasoning." The appearance of this room temperature dish lived up to its plain description: pile of cheese-looking dough shavings topped with sliced sausage. But such glorious dough shavings with an appealing chewiness and gentle cumin flavor. Want. More.

Rice, mmm.

My second favorite was the pilaf. I'm down with mountains of rice, especially those containing tender chunks of lamb, chickpeas, and carrot shreds, all flavored with cumin.


The geiro lagman was another nice pile-o-caarbs, this time hand pulled noodles, topped with spiced lamb chunks, onion, peppers, and chopped scallions.

chicken kebab

We ordered a chicken kebab mostly for Diana's sake since she isn't a big fan of lamb and, in case you haven't noticed yet, a lot of Uighur dishes have lamb in it. But even if you do like lamb, this skewer of moist, spiced chicken is worth getting.

samsa manti
Other things with...yeah, LAMB.

I was less enthused by the samsa, flaky dough pockets filled with chopped lamb and onion, and the manti, like huge-ass dumplings filled with the same lamb and onion mix. The lamb didn't taste as good in these forms—less tender, and with a slight, unappealing funkiness—as in the not-encapsulated-in-dough versions. Unfortunate, considering how much I like things wrapped in dough.

eating a huge ass naan
Kathy does this all the time. She's a pro.

The hemorrhoid pillow-sized naan bread is alright. Not bad, nor a "must order."

fluorescent green soda we watered it down with seltzer but it's still lime jello-green

After spying bottles of radioactive green tarragon-flavored soda on other tables, we ordered a few bottles for ourselves. It doesn't necessarily fill a craving for tarragon flavor—you might smell it for a second—but it does fulfill the desire for sweet fizzy liquid that is the same color as lime Jell-O or alien spinal fluids.

You may notice a lack of desserts. As did we. Those of us who dared plod on for sweets—Greg, Kathy, Edd, and I—rode the subway back to Manhattan for two of the dessert kingdom's most popular choices: gelato and cupcakes.

Large cup.

First stop: L'Arte del Gelato, my favorite gelateria in the city. In a rare moment of moderation, we shared (shared!) a large cup filled with fruits of the forest (berries), hazelnut, and banana chocolate. All recommended. Yes. Pistachio is my favorite flavor, but it wasn't available that night or else we would've gotten it. Hazelnut isn't as transcendent, but will suffice as a stand-in nut flavor.

once again, greg looks funny
Edd, Kathy, and...uh...

I tend to capture Greg during his less-than-sophisticated moments.

Kathy directed us to the nearby wine bar/cupcakerie Sweet Revenge. Before going to the bakery, she described the frosting pattern on the cupcakes by making three subsequent chopping motions with her hand. And going, "Chop chop chop." Or maybe I made that up. Basically, she illustrated the frosting pattern in some way that made me think, "What the hell is she talking about?"


But then I saw it and it all made sense. YAY KATHY!

chocolate cupcake
Oo, the magic of brown-colored foods.

We shared a Dirty, or dark chocolate ganache on a rich chocolate cupcake. It was fine—good to eat once, not necessarily something I felt like I needed to eat again. Keep in mind that I say that from an "indifferent to dark chocolate" point of view. I liked the smooth, thick ganache frosting, but I found the cake too rich. Is there anything wrong with a rich chocolate cake? Helllllls no. But I probably prefer a more old-school cupcake.

eating a cupcake
I don't know what's going on here, but I like it.

And thus was the end to a fairly epic day, quite a difference from my normally sedentary existence. I hope the random foodings made Edd's visit to New York City bit more memorable. ;) Here's his post about the Brighton Beach outing.


Cafe Kashkar
1141 Brighton Beach Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11235

L'Ate del Gelato
75 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10014

Sweet Revenge
62 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014


anna / July 15, 2009 8:11 AM

I love that picture of you covered in cameras! Also, Sweet Revenge's cupcakes are some of the coolest looking ones I've seen - though I'm not a big chocolate fan myself (has to be VERY good chocolate or paired with something awesome), I kind of want to go there and give them a little business for having such an original style.

roboppy / July 15, 2009 9:02 AM

Diane: You might won't like knowing that I was in Brighton Beach on July 4th too :[ ...well, mostly cos I went to the hot dog eating contest at Coney Island and didn't wanna actually stay in Coney Island.

Captain: Dunno. Rules!

k: My heart does belong to Cafe Kashkar...okay, next time I will try something different. :)

anna: They definitely look cool! I think their chocolate is good. But personal preference is for vanilla cupcakes. I tried one some time ago and I think it was too sweet. Doh. Also, their cupcakes are kinda huger than I prefer, haha.

SuperChomp / July 15, 2009 10:32 AM

Diana looks fabulously dynamic in her directing role *thumbs up*

OMGILOVELAMBLIKESRSJA! And those kind of places that somehow seem to manage to spice things so accurately and so well balanced always have me in awe. And make me feel like I have no idea what I'm doing with spices... But never mind that.

The manti look so funny. Gigantic, bulbous freak dumplings that have been ostracized from the cute-little-dumpling community :)

wix / July 15, 2009 10:51 AM

I like trying to guess where all the names and influences of Uigher foods come from. Not that hard, I guess :P

JenC / July 15, 2009 12:52 PM

You don't need a permit! It's just that the cops don't know their own rules. Which sucks. But you don't need a permit to film or shoot in the vast majority of NYC locations, so long as you don't take up more than half of a sidewalk:

Edd / July 15, 2009 1:35 PM

Yeah it was a great day never thought i would randomly end up on the beach on a photoshoot but was lots of fun and the food was great too. Im going to try and make some geiro lagman next weekend, need some more lamb and cumin

roboppy / July 15, 2009 2:32 PM

Phyllis: Whoever doesn't like Pile-O-Carbs is CRAZY! I could eat much bigger piles just a few years ago than I can now though.

SuperChomp: She's a pro!

I don't know how to spice things either. :( My arsenal of flavorings = soy sauce, sesame oil, and some sort of vinegar. ...Yeaah.

Aw, poor manti freaks. ...Yeah, not quite as cute as the more typical lil dumps.

wix (and anyone else): Looking at a map elucidates things a bit!

JenC: Thanks for the info! The people patrolling the beach let us take a few last photos at least.. ;_;

Edd: Oo, if the results come out good, let me know. :D

Christina / July 16, 2009 3:57 PM

Are you accepting applications for you entourage? lol

The pictures are delicious and make me hungry. I like the wrappers the cupcakes are lined with, but I wouldn't eat those. I saw a guy do that once and I didn't know what to think of it. (There wasn't any trash can nearby so he just ate the wrapper.)

Elysa / July 17, 2009 4:24 AM

hi robyn. just wondering something: are you in cambodia??? i swear to GOD i thought i saw you this morning at breakfast.

roboppy / July 17, 2009 9:24 AM

Christina: Anyone can be in the Boppy Entourage!

...ate the wrapper? What the? Okay, that guy cannot be in the Boppy Entourage.

Elysa: I am very much planted in my room in Brooklyn, but I'm curious to know who my doppelganger is!

SpatulaQueen / July 17, 2009 2:54 PM

I love being baked by the sun at Brighton Beach! I like to believe that my SPF 85 will protect me.

My favorite flavor is pistachio too, but they didn't have it when I went to the Chelsea Market L'arte. I didn't really love the gianduia there. Have you gone to both locations and compared them?

Sweet Revenge's cupcakes remind me of Magnolia's, which coincidentally one of the bakers was saying she split from. But they have frosting in a cup!

Margaret / July 17, 2009 3:55 PM

I love the way you New Yorkers have the black clothing thing going for your "beach outing". ;-) Very Chris Marker-y.

Margaret / July 17, 2009 3:56 PM

I love the way you New Yorkers have the black clothing thing going for your "beach outing". ;-) Very Chris Marker-y.

Angeline / July 19, 2009 3:37 PM

I think I saw Sweet Revenge featured on Martha Stewart's show. I love the icing pattern.

Was the Naan crunchy or soft? It looks crunchy but every other naan I had was soft.

roboppy / July 19, 2009 8:54 PM

SpatulaQueen: I haven't compared both locations, but I would assume the gelato tastes the same. Yeah, they don't always have pistachio..such a bummer! Aside from pistachio, grape is another face flavor of mine, but it appears infrequently.

Margaret: Black was Diana's intention, but my shades of gray were unintentional! I'm usually more colorful.. :)

Angeline: It's mostly soft. The outer part may have been sliiightly crusty, but not memorably so.

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