Last Friday night, Casey and I had a quick bite before the 8:30pm showing of Marie Antoinette on 12th street. I read the first para of the review, which was a nice rave and didn’t even finish. I didn’t want to spoil the fun. I needn’t have bothered saving it; I don't think the movie was up to the para I read. Casey hated it and was bored to tears. It prompted some haunting dreams for me that night but I don’t think it was an instant film classic. To top it off, we saw the preview for Mel’s next project and both thought, “Oh dear. Who is going to see this film?”

We went to Veselka for the pre-flick bite. You know Veselka--that corner Ukrainian joint that had cleaned up and expanded its sliver of an act 10 years ago? The new, expanded, space; the big, clean windows; the wall murals depicting life in the east village; and the large menu with Ukrainian specialties are all looking a bit tired now. I wish I could say the food is great despite it all but that’s not the case.

After their renovation in 1996, I was there very weekend, practically. Veselka’s buckwheat pancakes with raspberry sauce, sweet cheese perogies and the non-Jewish challah with butter and marmalade all made me very happy. By the early 00s, I had moved on brunch-wise; every time I went back, it was a bit more disappointing.

My final brunch was a few months back when my scrambled eggs arrived with some salmon bits in the latter half of the scramble. To some this might be an added bonus—free lox! To me, it was like potential death on a plate. I actually haven’t had scrambled eggs in any diner since--that cross contamination was too close for comfort.

Even though I’ve nixed brunch at Veselka, I've been back a few times recently out of necessity [like Friday night] for a quick vegetarian lentil soup without incident. As I can’t indulge in the majority of their menu these days and don’t really want to given my last experience there, I feel I must put the big V on the list of places to avoid for allergies or GF or lactose-intolerant folks.


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