Almost ten years ago, my not-yet-husband took me to NYC for my 26th birthday. I’ve written about this trip before, about how eating at La Caridad on the Upper West Side made me want to live in New York, but that wasn’t the only place we went on that trip that turned my head around.
The other? Veselka.
Unlike my first trip to La Caridad, I was already familiar with the Eastern European food of Veselka (thanks mostly to Brookline’s amazing Zaftigs) but while the look and feel of La Caridad is much like any other Chinese (sans Cuban) joint in America, Veselka exuded New York-ness to me. Busy, a little crowded, a little loud, slightly foreign but not enough so to be unsettling, and perhaps most importantly, the feeling that it had been there forever.
Even after more than three year of living here, I still feel the same way. I don’t go there as often as I’d like, although I do make it a point to eat their incredible Christmas borscht at least once (if not many more times) every December.
For those of you who have never been to New York (or those of you who have and now miss it), today’s New York Times has a long, lovely article about Veselka—and better still, an adaptation of its Christmas borscht recipe.