Sunday brunch in Kiev (Kyiv): I’m sitting in the brightest, cutest restaurant I’ve seen since arriving in Kiev. It’s a Mexican restaurant. The food is terrible. I fucking love it. 

The white wine is warm. There’s no cheese in the quesadilla, and I mistook the guacamole for mustard (it’s yellow; I ate it anyway). I’m sitting in a booth with my back against a pillow that reads, “God Bless the USA” listening to a mix of bad American pop, thumping club music, and that band whose name I can’t remember but plays in every Mexican restaurant in the world.

My waitress couldn’t be more adorable, and remained charming even when I asked her to help me translate the menu, not recognizing it was also printed in English…even though I was looking at it. (I’m chalking it up to font size.)

I’d passed this place searching for another place and had thought to stop, thinking it looked like someplace that “would feel good,” but was determined to find the other place on principle. The other place turned out to be awful — huge, dark, cold, empty, with Stravinsky playing — at lunchtime no less! So after sitting down and settling in, I thought to myself, “why am I sitting here?” then staged an elaborate and unnecessary ruse (I embarrass my own self sometimes) to excuse myself, and made my way back to this place where I’ve been having a grand time. ALWAYS trust your gut.

Sunday