What's the best way to spend your Sunday morning when you have an exam looming in less than a week? Having a nice leisurely brunch with a friend that you corrupted into accompanying you (when you know very well that both of you should actually be studying)!
Today I decided that paying a visit to Veselka would be the be best choice, as my friend Anna had never been there before. AND, since she's Russian, I figured that the Ukrainian food would make her feel "at home." (Now before you release your cry of outrage: No, I am not a racist. See my post on Shanghai Kitchen if you don't understand the reference.)
Veselka is located on 9th street and 2nd avenue on the East side, so it's a pleasant walking distance from our medical center, and I've been there on several other occasions - including once before for brunch. The last time I was there, my companions and I noted that their eggs benedict looked pretty yummy, but too late - we had already ordered. So, this time I arrived already knowing what I wanted. Their eggs benedict is served with a potato pancake and a small cup of fruit, and I must say that out of everything, my favorite part was the potato pancake. This was nice and crispy on the outside, but thick enough that there was also about 1/2 - 3/4cm of soft interior. The eggs benedict itself was actually quite disappointing. By the time it arrived at our table, it was cooled enough that the Hollandaise sauce had pretty much solidified, and the english muffin had become moist from the steamy heat of the overlying poached egg (even with the layer of Canadian bacon in between). As for the fruit... fruit is fruit... and hard to ruin. One gripe: it DID attract an annoying fly that kept circling our table. I wanted to swat the little sucker, but in the end decided that it would be poor etiquette and restrained myself.
Anna decided on the Monte Cristo sandwich, which consists of smoked turkey, Krakovska and Swiss cheese, and on batter-dipped Challah bread with maple mustard sauce on the side. The batter-dipped Challah bread (a special braided bread made with a large number of eggs that is generally eaten by Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews on the Sabbath and holidays) actually looked a lot like French toast, and Anna seemed to enjoy it. What she REALLY liked though, was the maple mustard sauce which she also used as a dipping sauce for the sweet potato fries that came with her entree. She was less a fan of the veggies that accompanied her burger, and they remained on her plate untouched at the end of the meal.
Of course to me, no meal can be complete without dessert, so I ordered some. Anna - being someone with more self control - was able to resist and settled for coffee (which arrived 15 minutes late). I've had Veselka's cheesecake before, and I found it enjoyable each time, but I wanted to try something new today, so I opted for the apple crumble a la mode with vanilla ice cream. The crumble of the apple crumble was great, but the apple filling was a bit too sweet - even for me. The vanilla ice cream is pretty much impossible to mess up (seeing as how most people get it from a carton) and it did a good job of diluting some of sweetness of the apple filling... at least at first. After I was about 2/3 of the way through though, I couldn't take it anymore and had to stop.
In all this was a much more pleasant way to spend the morning as compared to studying personality disorders (of which I'm beginning to realize that I have PLENTY) and antidepressant medications, but I'd be lying if I said that the food was very satisfying. At least I can rest assured that I'm not the only person who slacked off today. So... if I fail the exam, I'll at least have the satisfaction of knowing that I probably took one other person down with me ;)
Overall rating: 4/10