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Friday, December 30, 2005

Can’t a Jew Buy a Latke in This Town?

Posted by on December 30 at 8:00 AM

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.)

CommentsRSS icon

the crumpet shop has always been there. I think there's a falafel shop where kosher delight was.

Try the Roosevelt area stores on 65th. There are Jewish delis there.
I don't remember their names, but they are Jewish because I went to one on Christmas two years ago. My then half Jewish half Irish boss told me about it. Good luck!

Fer Chrissakes, Eli. Quit yer
bitchin, dammit. Buy some incense
if you don't like the smell.
Frankly, the day old smell of
latkes frying oil just makes me
want to eat more of the damn

If you haven't figured it out yet,
try this:

Bon Appetit!


Try Leah's up on NE 65th. They should be able to help you out.

Jensen, don't you know that there's a latke-making-smoke ban in Seattle? You only can make latkes outside 25 feet from your apartment door or 4 feet from a stripping shiksa.
Don't forget to soak the shreaded tatters or they'll be grey as a seattle sky.

There is no good place. Try this, with peanut oil (provided noone has allergies). Peanut oil will burn and smoke less:

4 large Idaho potatoes (about 2 1/4 lb)
1 vitamin C tablet ( prevents potatoes from turning green)
2/3 c coarsely chopped onion
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c matzo meal
1 tsp salt and ground pepper
Scrub potatoes but do not peel. Dice into 1/2 inch cubes and place immediately in a bowl of cold water. Dry half the potatoes and place them along with half of the onions and half of the vit C in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process on and off, scraping sides, until it is a uniform medium-fine texture. Squeeze the mixture in cheese cloth over a bowl to drain. Reserve the starch that settles to the bottom of the bowl. Repeat the process with the second half. Add starch along with drained potato mixture to the eggs, matzo meal, and salt and pepper. Heat oil to the depth of 1/4 inch in 2 heavy frying pans. Drop by heaping spoonfuls, flatten, and fry until golden, turning once. Drain on paper toweling. Can be kept warm in 250 oven.

Vitamin C? Why doesn't every jewish mother in America know that? I'm going to guilt out my ma for not giving me vitamin enriched latkes. "Ma do you know why I got so many colds as a kid? Because unlike other moms you didn't put a vitamin c in our latkes." She's going to plotz.

"no latke for you" jokes seem so inappropriate here.

Check out this tip I got via email. Sounds like "Golob" may be wrong. There is a place... in Factoria Mall. My emailer writes:

Yes, it's in Factoria Mall in Bellevue . . . but they have latkes. Miniature latkes . . . 3 dozen for $39.99 (on the catering menu).

Goldbergs' Famous Delicatessen

Let Goldbergs' ease the holiday pressure with wonderful party platters that will have guests begging to know your source. You may know that Goldbergs' opened Seattle's only true East Coast, kosher style, full service family restaurant earlier this year. What you may not realize is that they offer so much more than deli sandwiches--think breakfast, lunch, dinner and, very important for these busy holiday times, catering and take-out platters. And just to make your holidays and post-holidays a little brighter, mention Seattle DINING! at Goldbergs' to receive a free dinner entree when another entree of the same or greater value is purchased. This offer is good Sunday through Thursday after 4 p.m., expires January 31, 2006, and may not be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. Dinner specials change daily and share the menu with traditional Jewish dishes. Make dinner at Goldbergs' the last stop after a busy day of shopping! Goldbergs' is located at 3924 Factoria Blvd. SE in the Factoria Mall, 425-631-6622,

It all in the the oil and the mixture.

You don't want the mixture too wet. It must have some texture, and if you get your oil too hot it atomizes as soon as the wet mixture is added....before you know it, you've created this invisible mushroom cloud of frying oil that permeates your hair, clothes, your cat, the neighbor down the hall and the clothes of the attractive nachriah waiting patiently for you to finish ....hey, it'll also be the last time you'll see her unless you offer to pay for her drycleaning too!

Oh, use new oil too. Nothing used and leftover should be used.

Crap, now I must go to the store.


I think CJ's eatery in Belltown has latke.

Ah, I've tried Goldberg's Latkes. While Goldberg's chicken soup, rye and pumpernickle breads cannot be beat, the Latkes are terrible. Like undercooked hash browns from McDonalds. Try their soup, though.

Eli... I agree with Golob... while Goldbergs makes some decent food, their latkes are terrible. Way too salty... almost inedible.

Here's my compromise suggestion... bake a potato kugel instead. It's almost the exact same recipe as latkes, but much easier, and no greasy mess. Just saute the onions before adding to the potatoes, and then bake in a well greased baking dish at 350 until nicely browned. The thinner you make it (the larger the pan to batter ratio) the more latke-like it comes out in texture.

Eli's "fry smell" excuse is a ruse. Wily Jew. Kugel is a good suggestion, but a waste of time. I can say with confidence that this man is not going to cook.

Isn't oil the friggen point? It's not a potato holiday.

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