A Selection of Horseradish and Cranberry infused Vodkas!

(I put this picture at the top because the most popular Russian consumable would have to be the Vodka)

I live in the Russian section of West Hollywood. It’s an odd place.

Elderly, cranky denizens are constantly wandering the streets, like zombies. It’s like living in a lovely retirement community in a warmer Siberia.

Beef Stroganoff

There are hundreds of little Russian shops, delis and restaurants scattered about.

Sounds quaint, right?

Wrong.

We are not allowed inside.

Or so the eerie, faded storefront, and scary, dehydrated produce inside would have you believe.

Places like this one seem like a front for something, possibly contraband caviar.

Who is actually shopping here?? Is there a desperate need for plastic flowers and 80′s couture?

(Where else would you look for “Fun” than at Funtasia??)

Plastic Flowers (left) Ghetto dresses (right) Conveniently located for your shopping convenience!

Where else would you look for “Fun” than at Funtasia??

My guess is there is no actual "Crystal" inside Crystal Imports...

Either way, I’ve always been curious about the goings on inside a Russian restaurant, so Sonigram and I decided it was high time to try to the one that was most welcoming to us foreigners.

Our young waitress probably used to be a big smiler. Before she hit puberty.

“What kind of wine do you have?” We asked.

Deadly serious, thick accent, thinking: “We have red….we have white…and…that’s it.”

Overwhelmed by the staggering wine selection, we finally decided on everyone’s favorite, “Red”….or “Merlo” as she spelled it on our check.

All that being said, the food was FANTASTIC! They served the Beef Stroganoff over mashed potatoes (which I was a BIG fan of) and the dumplings were pretty heavenly themselves.

The service?….slow…like bull.

But we had a $25 off coupon, which afforded us some icy demeanors and long wait times.

I love my neighborhood!

Verenikis: Potato, Beef and Mushroom Dumplings