A Year In Food

From New York to Costa Rica to Europe to California: 365 Days of Dining Out

Monday, February 21, 2005

Feb. 21.

Breakfast -

Veselka - 144 2nd Ave., East Village
Cup of spicy carrot soup, kasha-mushroom pierogies (appetizer portion), hot chocolate

After just missing the last food at Schiller's, Vince and I trekked up to our old Ukranian stalwart Veselka in the snow. We've come here countless times and its always glowing halo on the corner of Ninth and Second is as comforting as a fireplace at a ski lodge. Or to get even more metaphorical, Veselka reminds me of my dog: loyal, constant and friendly in its own way.

We took seats by the window, watching the snow pour down and people clutching their jackets skidding by. As I often do, I shook things up by sticking to the specials, posted reliably in black and white signs. That's one very nice feature of Veselka: no matter how many times I've been, there's always some new special to sample.

This time, it meant spicy carrot soup and pierogies filled with kasha and porcini mushrooms. Both dishes were more interesting than excellent, but they were fittingly warm and hearty for a drunken winter a.m. The soup had a nice tanginess and a pleasant flavor that was unlike other carrot soups I'd tried, but the cup portion was all I needed of it. The pierogies weren't as good, mostly because I really don't like kasha. Foolishly, I'd expected the mushrooms to be the dominant flavor and the kasha to be more of a filler. Instead, the kasha was quite pronounced and I could barely detect the mushroom taste. Not a bad thing for kasha lovers, but not what I was looking for.

That's how it can be at Veselka. Some things are better than others and some things are better for certain tastes. But we were satiated, I was mildly drunk and we were witnessing the best time for the snow - the pure white glaze before it inevitably turned to slush and sludge. Veselka had once again been there for us when we needed somewhere to kill a few post-midnight hours
with conversation and reminders of Eastern Europe. 5/10

Sweet-n-Tart and Seafood dumplings

Shrimp rolls and Chicken

Glutinous dumplings and two tong shuis

Dinner -

- 20 Mott St., Chinatown

Steamed seafood and asparagus dumplings, wonton soup with shrimp wontons, shrimp rice rolls, chicken with mushrooms and black bean sauce, braised pork leg lo mein, papaya with snow mushrooms double-boiled tong shui (hot dessert soup), nut-filled glutinous dumplings, fresh strawberry juice with black tapioca pearls


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