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Oh yes I went there! SPOILERS AHEAD....

I met my friend Ivona in Brighton Beach when I was in the early stages of writing Clean Break. 


The boardwalk is empty in winter. It's gorgeous:

We had a bite to eat and a drink at Tatiana's, where our Ukrainian waiter flirted with Ivona. He's the one who told us that Russians wouldn't drink a toast with beer -- just vodka or cognac. Then we walked around the neighborhood.

Above: A basement apartment of the type that Lane ends up living in for a good part of the book. Graffiti'd service stairs and a ground-level window with bars on it. Mrs. Pasternak tells me that the plywood costs extra.

Above: Palace Fried Chicken is an actual place on Brighton Beach Avenue, under the elevated subway tracks. It smelled good outside.

Above: Single-family house on a side street. It had many, many satellite dishes.

Above: The neighborhood's Russian / Ukrainian roots.


Wait - have you clicked on the Tatiana's link yet? You must click.

You must.


Mitsuwa Marketplace

Mitsuwa is a real store in Edgewater, New Jersey. It's a HUGE Japanese supermarket / food-court and it's amazing. 

Walking towards Santouka (in the back).

Ordering ramen at Santouka.

This is the little stand where they make filled yaki cakes. The fish-shaped yaki are filled with sweet red bean paste, but I'm partial to the circles...

Yaki cream cake. It's like a Belgian waffle filled with vanilla custard. Stop me before I eat more of them!

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