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"The O.G." (Napkin Friends, Photo: Hilary Gorenstein)
"The O.G." (Napkin Friends, Photo: Hilary Gorenstein)

14 Delicious Latkes From Across the Country 

"The O.G." (Napkin Friends, Photo: Hilary Gorenstein)
"The O.G." (Napkin Friends, Photo: Hilary Gorenstein)

Think beyond the traditional potato pancake this Hanukkah with these 14 tasty takes on latkes.

1. NAPKIN FRIENDS // SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

Chef Jonny Silverberg has been serving up latke press sandwiches (that's a panino with latkes in place of the bun) out of a defunct UPS truck since 2014. Featured on the menu is The O.G—Silverberg's first foray into the world of latke sandwiches—which comes packed with house pastrami, Mama Lil's peppers, arugula, Thousand Island dressing, horseradish cream, and gruyere cheese. Health-conscious diners will be happy to know the dish is gluten-free.

2. RUSS & DAUGHTERS CAFE // NEW YORK, NEW YORK

The cafe version of the Lower East Side institution offers a popular year-round potato latke topped with salmon roe and crème fraîche. There's no shame in ordering the modest dish for breakfast, either, as The New York Times' Pete Wells suggests.

3. LULU'S ALLSTON // BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

Photo courtesy of Lulu's Allston

Head chef Sarah Wade, whose Southern-inspired comfort food restaurant Lulu's Allston opened its doors to the public in 2014, puts a playful spin on the traditional potato dish. Not long after Hanukkah began last year, the restaurant offered a classic potato latke with duck confit and cranberry chutney, a root vegetable latke with ginger-spiced sour cream, and—as pictured above—a three-onion latke with bleu cheese fondue. The bleu cheese fondue along with the root vegetable varieties will be returning to the menu for December 26 through January 1. Wade told mental_ floss that she will also be introducing sweet potato latkes with Tasso ham cream and latkes with a wild mushroom-bacon sauce this year.

4. DGS DELICATESSEN // WASHINGTON, D.C.

Dupont's hip deli draws crowds year-round for its artisan noshes—most notably its eight-day house-cured pastrami. Speaking of eight days: In December, it's all about the potato latkes, served with apple preserves (and a dash of lemon juice and cinnamon) and sour cream. The more adventurous can try the latke poutine—a recently re-added entree available through the end of Hanukkah—which features a sweet onion gravy with farmer's cheese and scallion.

5. FAMOUS 4TH STREET DELI // PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

This deli in Philly's Queen Village, helmed by fourth-generation deli man Russ Cowan, is a go-to for anyone looking to taste an authentic potato pancake. It also has POTUS's endorsement: President Obama made a surprise visit to the historic landmark back in 2010 after speaking at Temple University and ordered a corned beef Reuben with potato pancakes.

6. IMPERIAL // PORTLAND, OREGON

Photo courtesy of Imperial

The acclaimed hotel eatery has earned raves for pulling off an adult-friendly, vegan berry Pop-Tart. Others, however, know this popular brunch spot best for its potato latkes, topped with a duck egg, smoked salmon, and a dollop of sour cream.

7. AKASHA // CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA

Akasha Richmand, the owner of this farm-to-table restaurant, knows how to generate buzz with her innovative latke creations: In 2009, her "vodka and latke" menu made headlines, and in 2013, it was her "accidental" brussels sprout latkes, a versatile Thanksgiving-Hanukkah hybrid. Arguably, the restaurant's most eye-catching (and Instagram-able) offering is its potato latkes with meyer lemon and fennel-cured king salmon, housemade crème fraîche, and a pretty borage on top.

8. JOSH'S DELICATESSEN // MIAMI, FLORIDA

As part of its breakfast menu (served all day), Josh's offers a spicy tuna latke with Sriracha cream cheese. Purists shouldn't be turned off by the surfside establishment's inventive dish; Josh's breakfast menu also offers a straightforward potato pancake, served with apples and sour cream.

9. CRAIGIE ON MAIN // CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS

Each year, Craigie on Main's James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Maws reimagines his childhood Hanukkah dinners with a special eight-day menu. Partaking in the culinary "festival" will set you back $98—that gets you a six-course, prix fixe menu—but if you're a fan of modern spins on Grandma's recipes, Maws's sweet potato latke with smoked sturgeon, black radish, sweet pear, and housemade crème fraîche might just be the Hanukkah miracle you've been waiting for.

10. VESELKA // NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Photo courtesy of Veselka

A recipient of the People's Choice Best Latke at last year's Latke Festival in Manhattan, East Village Ukranian restaurant Veselka's latke mushroom julienne was an undisputed favorite amongst festival-goers. Veselka’s proprietor, Jason Birchard, described the winning dish as "inspired by historical, cultural staples (mushrooms and potatoes)—not gimmicks or pop culture." Birchard told mental_floss that the restaurant's official submission to the upcoming 8th Annual Latke Festival this year will be a potato/zucchini pancake topped with chicken liver pâté and roasted vegetables. Not headed to the festival? You can always take advantage of Veselka's pan-fried potato pancakes served with sour cream and applesauce, which is available year-round.

11. MILLER'S EAST COAST DELI // SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

Miller's Potato Latke Delight—that's two potato pancakes with corned beef and pastrami on top—caught the attention of Guy Fieri, who chowed down on the meaty dish in a memorable holiday episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Fieri described the latke as "nice and crispy but tender on the inside," the corned beef "dynamite," and he remarked of the pastrami, "that dude goes bananas!"

12. CLYDE COMMON // PORTLAND, OREGON

Photo courtesy of Clyde Common

The Oregonian's Michael Russell wrote that if you go to Clyde Common—Portland's new-wave Filipino restaurant attached to the Ace Hotel—"looking for basic, you've come to the wrong place." The restaurant is offering a celery root and sauerkraut latke for the holiday. The dish comes topped with smoked steelhead trout and roe, tomato vinaigrette, and watercress.

13. HAROLD'S CABIN // CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

It's only been open to the public since April, but Bill Murray's new cabin-bar and eatery—operating out of the historic mercantile once run by Harold Jacobs—has received glowing reviews. Its eclectic menu includes the Harold & Lillian, a latke dish with lox, apples, and crème fraîche. What's more, a portion of the sales from this dish will go towards "local Jewish foundations," according to its menu [PDF].

14. MANNY'S CAFETERIA AND DELICATESSEN // CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

In 2013, ABC reported that this cafeteria-style deli was selling roughly 1000 potato pancakes each day—and that's not even during Hanukkah. For those unable to visit the S. Jefferson Street location, Manny's also offers its own potato pancake mix for purchase so you can experience a true Chicago Hanukkah from afar.

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Don't Have Space For a Christmas Tree? Decorate a Pineapple Instead
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Christmas trees aren't for everyone. Some people can't fit a fir inside their cramped abodes, while others are turned off by the expense, or by the idea of bugs hitchhiking their way inside. Fake trees are always an option, but a new trend sweeping Instagram—pineapples as mini-Christmas "trees"—might convince you to forego the forest vibe for a more tropical aesthetic.

As Thrillist reports, the pineapple-as-Christmas-tree idea appears to have originated on Pinterest before it, uh, ripened into a social media sensation. Transforming a pineapple into a Halloween “pumpkin” requires carving and tea lights, but to make the fruit festive for Christmas all one needs are lights, ornaments, swaths of garland, and any other tiny tchotchkes that remind you of the holidays. The final result is a tabletop decoration that's equal parts Blue Hawaii and Miracle on 34th Street.

In need of some decorating inspiration? Check out a variety of “Christmas tree” pineapples below.

[h/t Thrillist]

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