I don't know from Jewish food. Grew up in the Northwest where there are no Jewish eating establishments. Spent most of my adult life in the Bay Area where there are almost none (well, none that get any respect).
The other day was a dreary drippy one, so a little Jewish soul food seemed about right to warm things up. I tried out a nearby place that had "N.Y." in it's name. I'd never had matzoh ball soup or latkes so I was hoping for a revelation.
The soup broth was wimpy and didn't taste like it could cure anything. It contained an object the size of a baseball and almost as sturdy. To eat the thing, I had to spear it with my fork and carve it. It had no discernible chicken flavor, or any other flavor for that matter. .
The latkes seemed to have been fried up yesterday and taken out and reheated in another round of oil, which had gotten absorbed to the max. They seemed to have been made from pre-cooked potatoes instead of raw ones, giving it more of a potato patty texture than a potato pancake character. They came with sour cream "we're out of applesauce". I gave up on them after a couple of bites.
So, what is the yardstick for rating matzoh ball soup? How do you judge latkehood excellence?
My own excellent (pat on the back!) potato pancakes are based on ones I had at a wonderful bygone place called the German Beer Garden in what is now called Silicon Valley. They are thin and very crisp, and topped with applesauce. They go very well with bratwurst of the big, white, fine-ground varety. Is this identical to latkes?