Don’t let anyone try to convince you that Hanukkah is an extensive food holiday. It’s not - there are other Jewish holidays with far more depressing origin stories for that. Aside from Judah Maccabee and some miraculous oil, the star of the eight-day celebration is the humble latke - a crispy potato pancake fritter that’s crunchy, salty, golden, and hot. But it’s possible your family also celebrates with things like jelly donuts called sufganiyot, kugel, brisket, and gelt. However small your celebration is this year, use this guide to have a slightly more festive, if not semi-strange, Hanukkah 2020. Even if that’s just by ordering a couple of latkes and some mushroom barley soup, or by shipping a holiday essentials kit to your relatives in Newton, Massachusetts. From all of us at The Infatuation NYC, happy Hanukkah.
If you’re like us, the guilt of not seeing your extended family has sunk in like a sponge attempting to boogie board. That’s where places like Shelsky’s come in handy. This year you can ship your relatives their massive Hanukkah feast package, which comes with pretty much everything but the menorah (including dreidels, and chocolate of varying waxiness for kids and adults). In case you’re just looking for a few latkes and other deli goods, you can also place an order for pick-up or delivery at either their Cobble Hill or Gowanus locations. It’s worth noting that Shelsky’s makes both potato latkes and sweet potato and celery root latkes, and they have some t-shirts that would make for an excellent Hanukkah gift.
A relative is bound to make a terrible “that’s lit” joke this year following your Zoom menorah lighting. Possibly a cousin who is sad not to be going back to their college campus. In the meantime, you can distract yourself by noshing on latkes from this legendary Ukranian diner in the East Village. Each $6 takeout order comes with applesauce and sour cream on the side, since we assume you were wondering. Veselka also serves mushroom barley soup, which is our favorite thing to eat with latkes.
Forget the latkes, you’re looking for some sweets to accompany your annual viewing of “A Rugrats Chanukah.” The team behind this not-yet-opened Eastern European cafe is hosting a jelly donut pop-up in partnership with Emma’s Torch in Carroll Gardens, a culinary school and restaurant that helps empower refugees. Pre-ordering runs from December 1st to December 8th online, then you can pick up your dozen or half-dozen donuts at Emma’s Torch between December 10th and 12th. All of the proceeds benefit the culinary training of refugees, asylum seekers, and survivors of human trafficking.
In addition to latkes with apple sauce and sour cream, Breads Bakery is selling sufganiyot boxes by the dozen or half-dozen, with filling flavors like strawberry jam, coffee custard, and chocolate. You can place your order for pick-up or delivery at their Union Square or Lincoln Center locations online until Thursday, December 17th. Their website says that a dozen feeds twelve people, but you don’t hang out with twelve people anymore, and even if you did, that would mean you’re only trying one donut (unlikely).
Even if there’s a line at Edith’s in Greenpoint, you should stick it out. This pop-up at Paulie Gee’s is one of our favorite restaurants that opened recently, in part because they make delicious bagel sandwiches, spicy shakshuka morning buns, and latkes that cost $2 a pop. Do we recommend getting the “NY Classic” bagel sandwich, and putting a crispy latke in the middle? Yes, yes we do. Stop by the restaurant between Thursday and Sunday from 9am to 2pm for takeout or outdoor dining.
It’s possible deep-frying anything in your apartment gives you anxiety. You’re thinking about the smell clinging to the curtains, you’re thinking about the smoke alarm, you’re thinking, “How did my mom do this all the time.” Luckily, this Montreal-style Jewish deli in Boerum Hill has an entire menu of Hanukkah specials so you can avoid cooking. Go to their website to place your order for things like chicken schnitzel fingers, matzo ball soup, braised brisket with jus, sufganiyot, and latkes with caviar creme fraiche or duck confit.
If you’re sitting at home in Williamsburg over the weekend wondering how to secure latkes and sufganiyot without leaving your neighborhood, know that Gertie is selling both from December 11th-13th and December 18th-20th. The sufganiyot are filled with blood orange jam, which sounds marginally better than your plan to Google “Dunkin Donuts near me.” Gertie is selling donuts for walk-in guests, but you can also pre-order Gertie’s Hanukkah box here.
Another great jelly donut option, this time in Manhattan. This Israeli bakery on the Lower East Side has seven varieties of sufganiyot, including halva, dulce de leche, banana-pecan, and a vegan donut with strawberry jam. Michaeli also makes great babka, rugelach, or challah, which may be of interest for anyone with blood in their veins and dreidels in their hearts. Place your order online.
If your Jewish bakery allegiances lie with Russ & Daughters (that’s fine by us), order one of their Hanukkah specials for pick-up at their Orchard Street or Navy Yard locations or for delivery all over the city. For the holiday this year, they have deluxe, family-style sets like “Latkes & Mimosas” and “Chanukah Essentials,” as well as twelve packs of latkes and other gifts you can ship anywhere in the country.
Like many on the list, B&H Dairy’s latkes fall under the cake-like category. But the difference between these latkes and other versions around the city is the smooth interior, which tastes equally like onions as it does potatoes. If you want to try the best of this kosher East Village diner in one order, get The Tieso, which comes with two fried pierogi, stuffed cabbage, a latke, and a cup of soup (ask for borscht).
If you’re on the Upper East Side or in Murray Hill and want to walk somewhere to pick up latkes and noodle kugel before you talk about oil with your children, try 2nd Avenue Deli. Their crunchy potato pancakes are all served with applesauce, but you’ll have to find sour cream elsewhere since 2nd Avenue doesn’t offer any dairy whatsoever. Place your order here.
Each order of latkes at Katz’s Deli comes with three cakey fritters and a side of applesauce and sour cream. The best way to eat these gargantuan disks is to reheat them so they’re piping hot. Or possibly use them as sandwich bread with some pastrami. Right now Katz’s is offering free nationwide shipping as well as pick-up and delivery at their famous East Houston Street location.
For all those looking for celebratory dine-out options during Hanukkah, know that Oceana in Midtown is offering a special latke platter from December 10th to December 18th. Each one comes with latkes and potato accessories like smoked trout, roe, sour cream, whipped egg, short rib, and pickled onion. If takeout is more your speed, you can also call 212-759-5941 to schedule a pick-up for latkes with applesauce and sour cream.
Barney Greengrass has been open for over 100 years and, as far as we know, they’ve never had outdoor table service available until now. If you want to be a part of UWS history (and eat their six-pack of oval-shaped latkes for $15), you can check out their sidewalk seating starting at 8am every day except Monday. In case you prefer takeout call 212-724-4707 to place your order. They have same-day delivery for most orders, regardless of the borough.