Can’t a Jew Buy a Latke in This Town?
I know, I know… I’m Jewish, I’m supposed to be able to make my own latkes. But here’s the problem: I live in a one-bedroom apartment, I need to be in possession of several dozen latkes by this evening, and the idea of frying them up myself only sounds good until I start to consider the greasy smell. Everywhere. Lingering. For days on end. Long after the latkes are gone.
So I wandered around downtown on Wednesday holding this lovely article by Min Liao, The Stranger’s former food critic, who in 2002 trod the streets of Seattle in search of matzo ball soup and other Jewish comfort food. It turned out that Min could find only one place, Roxy’s Diner, that had fresh latkes for sale, and this was Min’s verdict on them: “I cannot recommend the latkes with good conscience (they tasted more of frying oil than potatoes).”
Still, I was desperate. I went to First and Union, where Roxy’s Diner was supposed to be, but Roxy’s is not there anymore. I called its number and was told that wherever Roxy’s now is, it doesn’t sell latkes these days. I sighed and walked toward the address for Kosher Delight, supposedly near the Pike Place Market and, according to Min, a place of “PERFECT” matzo ball soup. I figured Kosher Delight might have decided to sell some latkes for the holidays this year. But when I arrived I quickly realized that Kosher Delight does not exist anymore. It seems to have become a crumpet shop.
So what’s a Jew to do? After much brain straining and calling around, I found one place that would sell me a mess of hand-made latkes: Madison Market on Capitol Hill. Hurray. Sort of. I know beggers can’t be choosers, but I have to say, buying latkes from a nouveau-hippie health food store is not the same thing as buying latkes from a placed named, say, Kosher Delight.
Can anyone out there answer my desperate cry for a real Jewish deli that sells latkes? Does such a thing exist in Seattle? Or is Madison Market really my last, best hope? (And don’t waste my time with directions to the nearest frozen food section, where, I know, companies that no one’s ever heard of are now offering frozen “potato pancakes” to desperate Jews like me. Been there. Done that. Looking for better.)