Someone just sent us a link to Ralph’s Gardner’s column in the Wall Street Journal this week. The writer tours the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan with Michael Arad, its designer, but kicks off the piece at the Latke Festival and cook-off we helped co-host back in December. Arad happened to be one of our-co-judges, which crowned the smoked fish-topped potato pancakes from Almond as the winner.
“At first glance,” Gardner began, “you wouldn’t think there’s any connection between judging at a latke festival in Brooklyn a few days before Hanukkah and designing the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan. At least I didn’t when I met Michael Arad, the memorial’s designer. He was walking around the tasting with a smile on his face and a ceremonial copper ladle draped from his neck—at least I think that’s what the piece of kitchen equipment was—judging between entries heaped with smoked brisket or groaning under caviar and crème fraiche.”
We’re happy that he goes on to establish exactly that connection: “The beauty of these tasty little potato patties,” he wrote,”is that they’re accessible to anybody’s taste buds. They’re a proletariat treat; you’d no more need an expert to tell you what’s good and what’s not than you would a food critic to explain the virtues of a cheeseburger at your corner diner.”
It’s an interesting point, and an interesting article, way beyond its lovely description of “those tasty little potato patties.” You can read it here: Over a latke, if you know what’s good for you. We know in Brooklyn both Junior’s and Mile End make amazing pretty specimens, if you’ve never made your own.