The 2021 NYC Hanukkah Food Guide
photo credit: Veselka
Don’t let anyone try to convince you that Hanukkah is a food-intensive 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 or elaborate your celebration is this year, use this guide to have a more festive Hanukkah 2021. Order a couple of latkes and some mushroom barley soup, or have a holiday essentials kit shipped 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 a 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 excellent Hanukkah gifts.
Last year, a relative made a terrible “that’s lit” joke following your Zoom menorah lighting. To distract yourself from any incidents like this, nosh on latkes from Veselka, the legendary Ukrainian diner in the East Village. Each $6 takeout order comes with applesauce and sour cream on the side, and we share this information because we assume you were wondering. Veselka also serves mushroom barley soup, which is our favorite thing to eat with latkes.
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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, chocolate with Nutella, coconut lime, and yuzu-basil-infused custard. You can place your order for pick-up or delivery at their Union Square or Lincoln Center locations online until Sunday, December 5th. The 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).
It’s possible that 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 whitefish mousse.
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 version with strawberry jam. Michaeli also makes great babka, rugelach, and challah, which may be of interest to anyone with blood in their veins and dreidels in their hearts. Place your order online.
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If your Jewish bakery allegiances lie with Russ & Daughters (that’s fine by us), order one of their Hanukkah specials for delivery or pick-up at their Orchard Street or Navy Yard locations. For the holiday this year, they have sets like “Chanukah Deluxe” 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 and 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 maybe use them in place of bread for a pastrami sandwich. Right now, Katz’s is offering free nationwide shipping on orders over $100 as well as pick-up and delivery at their famous East Houston Street location.
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 $16.50), you can check out their sidewalk seating starting at 8am every day except Monday. If you prefer takeout, call 212-724-4707 to place your order. They have same-day delivery for most orders, regardless of the borough.