Potato latkes are a beautiful thing: how can you go wrong with fried potatoes, after all? For many people they're a staple of the holiday season. If you're a fan, don't miss next year's Latke Festival! This year's festival took place Monday night, and I was able to swing by and sample the latkes on offer. A crazy bounty!
The Latke Festival took over the spacious lobby of the Brooklyn Museum, where over twenty participating restaurants and organizations presented their unique takes on the Hanukkah classic. Some latkes were more traditional and some were truly avant-garde - one was called the "inside-out latke" and was served in a spoon. Crazy stuff! Here are a few of our favorite choices and information about where they came from so you can track one down yourself.
1. The Blackened Cajun Treif Nightshade Latke from Shelsky's and the Gumbo Bros
This was one of the more intense creations of the festival. This beast was "andouille-studded," topped with remoulade and scallions, and containing a strip of fried green tomato at its center. Most importantly, though, the latke itself was crisp and substantial without being too greasy. A meal in and of itself. (I had two.)
2. Classic Latke from Yellow Magnolia Cafe
A lot of these latkes were more about what went on the batter than in it, but Yellow Magnolia Cafe hit the magical combination of a strong base with a perfect topping. The crunchy little latkes were topped with horseradish creme fraiche, maple-whiskey braised apples with white wine and vanilla (juuust a little bit), and chives. The flavors came together in a way that was refreshing and exciting but still familiar.
3. Sweet potato latke from the Bankers Club
This one sounds like sacrilege, and I can't tell you why it worked, but it just did. Functionally a dessert latke, this bad boy stacked a sweet potato-based pancake with a brûléed marshmallow and a drizzle of maple syrup. I know. I know! But the sweetness managed to surprise without overpowering, and it was a welcome change of pace from the other savory treats on offer.