Start the holiday cooking season with latkes and a little ‘travel’ in the kitchen

Jonathan Gold's favorite potato latkes.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Hanukkah started just a couple days ago, and I’ve taken the opportunity to follow our recipe tester Julie Giuffrida’s advice of eating latkes every day. As Julie notes in her roundup from last week, “At Hanukkah time, potato latkes fried in oil are center stage. To many, eight days of potato latkes may not sound so bad — one or two or five or six are never enough. My family of four could easily put away a 5-pound bag of potatoes’ worth of latkes in one sitting.” Check out her curated list of L.A. Times’ Hanukkah recipes to keep you cooking with new ideas throughout the holiday. Or do like I do and make one batch of Jonathan Gold’s favorite potato latkes and just keep re-crisping them in a skillet to eat with each meal.

In addition to all the Hanukkah fare, we’ve also got a new story out today all about dishes that let you “escape” for the holidays — at least on your dinner table. I reached out to four food friends here to ask what they’re making, and their recipes (below) are fantastic for the holidays or just a weeknight dinner with a little extra “it’s the holidays, why not?” spirit. And if you need a break during the holidays from all the cooking, then check out our restaurant critics Patricia Escárcega and Bill Addison’s latest L.A. Times’ 101 restaurants list, profiling all the “restaurants, dishes, people and ideas that defined how we eat” in 2020. It’s filled with recommendations for the best takeout, pop-ups, to-go drinks — basically all the food spots you need to know about that stood out in the best way during this abnormal dining year.

Jonathan Gold's Favorite Potato Latkes

Time1 hour
YieldsServes 10 to 12

Crisp and golden, there’s a reason these latkes were Jonathan Gold’s favorite.

Rough Chopped Salad With Yogurt and Dukkah

Time20 minutes
YieldsServes 2 to 4

Nutty toasted hazelnut dukkah provides loads of flavor to crunchy fresh vegetables in this simple salad.

Roasted Branzino With Tomatoes and Olives

Time50 minutes
YieldsServes 2 to 4

Salty olives and capers flavor a simple tomato sauce that braises whole branzino in this Roman dish.

Spatchcocked Roast Duck With Vietnamese-ish Herb Sauce

Time2 hours, largely unattended, plus 48 hours chilling
YieldsServes 4 to 6

Dry-brined for two days, this spatchcocked roast duck is crispy and flavorful paired with a bright herb sauce.

Beef Bulgogi Bowl With Kimchi

Time1 hour 45 minutes, largely unattended
YieldsServes 4

Marinated beef bulgogi marries well with kimchi, quick pickles and a fresh herb salad in this quick dish.

Eat like the critics eat

Celebrate the L.A. Times’ 101 List launch with exclusive Grand Central Market Picks Menus from list authors and Times food critics Bill Addison and Patricia Escárcega. Each critic has curated a unique takeout package from four different vendors that can be purchased directly from Grand Central Market’s takeout ordering system. These special menus will be available to order and pick up through Sunday, Dec. 20.

Patricia Escárcega’s Market Picks Menu
Villa Moreliana: 1 carnitas taco
La Tostadería: La Patrona Burger (shrimp burger!)
Sticky Rice: 1 mango sticky rice dessert
La Fruteria: 1 agua fresca

Bill Addison’s Market Picks Menu
DTLA Cheese: The “experimental” cheesemonger’s choice — three wedges of cheeses based on what the owners are loving most
Sarita’s Pupuseria: Pupusas revueltas
Sari Sari Store: Chicken adobo fried rice, topped with a fried egg
Fat & Flour: Seasonal fruit hand pie or
Donut-Man: Bavarian cream-filled doughnut

Complimentary bottle of Acqua Panna included with each menu.

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