Save the Deli

Caplansky’s Latkapalooza

I’ve managed to eat latkes every day so far this Hannukah. Some good, some great (mom’s), some awful.
I spent Saturday night at Caplansky’s, attending a latke competition like no other. Here’s a great recap from the Toronto Star:

(photo: Steve Russell, Toronto Star)

No bubbies, but lots of latkes

by Sarah Barmak

Think of it as Iron Chef: Hanukkah edition.

On Saturday night, Caplansky’s, the College St. deli, was packed with lovers of the latke — the famed potato and onion pancake traditionally served during the Jewish holiday. The crowd was there for Latkepalooza, a raucous competition at which five entrants vied for the title of most delicious latke maker in the land.

It was Round II of Caplansky’s Battle of the Bubbies, which kicked off in September with a matzo ball cook-off. With contestants mostly in their 20s and 30s, there were few grannies in sight.

Lindsay Springer, 28, who teaches Grade 7 and 8, was confident of her chances — her aunt, Renee Schachter, won the battle of the matzo balls in Round I. Springer was surrounded by her boisterous mishpacha — that’s “family” in Hebrew — who shouted prepared cheers praising her.

The fight wasn’t nearly as cutthroat this time. Latkes, explained deli proprietor Zane Caplansky, are “egalitarian.” Anyone can make them.

Indeed, at least one of the five contestants, professional barbeque chef Danielle Dimovski, was attempting latke-making for the first time.

Contestants’ latkes were brought from home and heated in the Caplansky oven. Then brown-sugar applesauce was passed around for dipping and the judging began.

Guest judges — there were about 100 — were asked to rate patties on the basis of appearance, flavour, texture and overall likeability.

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