Hanukkah comes with so many spellings, it’s hard to keep track. Now that the holiday coincides with Thanksgiving, even the name possibilities are nearly endless—Thanksgivukkah, Thanksgivingukkah, Chanugiving…With JFE, though, there’s only one way to spell this unique occurrence: f-o-o-d.
All around us, restaurants are setting the tables with the traditional, avant-garde and fusion fare for the holiday convergence. Hungry yet?
Our first stops take us to the traditional and kosher. At Shalom’s in Silver Spring and Distrikt Bistro at the Washington DCJCC, eager celebrants will find the much-loved potato latkes and jelly-filled sufganiyot. Moti’s Market in Rockville is offering a Plymouth Rock-sized pick-up Thanksgiving menu with a few twists: a deep-fried turkey, for example, and challah bread stuffing.
Those same favorites are on the menu at DGS in the Dupont area, except with contemporary twists. The restaurant will be serving three types of latkes and donuts each for all eight days of Hanukkah. “The dishes are inspired by the ingredients of the season—the rich and satisfying flavors are meant to warm you up in the chilly late autumn,” says Nick Wiseman, one of the delicatessen’s young owners.
For the latkes, there’s the more time-honored sweet potato-red onion, a Passover-style potato-beet-horseradish and the East-meets-West potato-carrot-cumin version. The sufganiyot are sweeter in nature, especially since they’ll come stuffed with pastry cream, Nutella or grape preserves.
Soupergirl has less-fried options available for pick-up at specific drop-off points in the city. Of course, there will be matzo ball soup, but also a gingered sweet potato soup that pairs perfectly with sweet potato latkes. Order the maple syrup-roasted butternut squash soup, and you’ll have a cornucopia of flavors on your fusion table.
Gourds also make their way into the famous Buffalo & Bergen knishes in Union Market. Try the hearty pumpkin knish for a savory take on a different fruit of the vine, or jazz it up with a cranberry and spice knish served with orange chutney.
Also embracing the autumnal bounty is Equinox, where locally sourced ingredients are central to dishes and flavors. The restaurant will be serving a prix-fixe, four-course Hanukkah menu from November 27 through December 5, with an option to include Chef Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray’s book The New Jewish Table ($60 for dinner, $80 with signed book).
The meal starts with blood-orange citrus gravlax served over crunchy everything bagel chips. The second course is latkes made with Yukon gold and sweet potatoes and served alongside Virginia-grown apple chutney, picked from orchards that have been in the Gray family for centuries. The third course is a unique amalgamation: matzo-stuffed Cornish game hens. “The game hens are a take on turkey, and since everyone seems to love a stuffed meat this time of year, matzo stuffing was a natural!” says Kassoff Grey.
Finally, in the tradition of doughnuts, dessert arrives as lemon ricotta beignets. The little fried-dough balls of goodness are served with sweet cream made from Virginia-grown chestnuts, now in peak season. The restaurant is also serving a bountiful Thanksgiving menu ($65 or $90 with wine pairings).
Up at Dino in Cleveland Park, there will be a special prix-fixe feast on Thanksgiving ($45) with two Thanksgivukkah nods on the menu: latkes with mascarpone and local applesauce as an appetizer, and olive oil-poached mahi mahi with mashed gingered sweet potatoes. The Hanukkah menu includes the latkes, mahi mahi and a melt-in-your-mouth Roseda brisket with fingerling potatoes roasted in olive oil, served every holiday night except Thanksgiving itself.
Instead of creating a headache of Biblical proportions for Thanksgiving dinner, catering is always an option. All the kosher markets offer catering and Balducci’s is also offering an extensive menu that, as Steve Capadocia, Contributing Chef, explains allows you to “make all the Thanksgiving classics while still upholding Hanukkah traditions.”
Serve the market’s sweet potato latkes with cranberry compote and applesauce. Try two noodle kugels, one with sweet potatoes and another with apples, cranberries, and raisins. To finish, celebrate over apple-cranberry rugelach crumb pies. There’s a treat the Pilgrims wish they’d had.
Main photo: Cornish game hens are Equinox’ play on turkey as part of a special Hanukkah menu.