Kiev & Odessa, Ukraine

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Ukraine has the best traditional cuisine I never knew existed. My friend Zeke says that it’s just traditional Jewish fare — potato pancakes, lots of meat, pickled vegetables — not much bread. I arrived in time for the summer harvest of berries and purchased kilos of black berries and blue berries along with pickles, fermented cabbage and salads. My homemade breakfasts and dinners were charcuterie spreads. Many *good* restaurants in Kiev are open 24/7 which makes it one of the most comfortable cities I can remember to get well fed and affordably.

The main, broad streets of Kiev are in some places paved in cobblestones offering intriguing contrast when opulent sports cars will actively accelerate and honk at you if you don’t cross the street quickly. This is a city where pedestrians yield to cars and even fear from them. And the small bunches of people who wait alongside me to cross the street — we seem to have solidarity against the other class of super-car-driving maniacs who...