I grew up in a multicultural area of Toronto where my brothers and I were one of few Jewish families enrolled in our primary school. I think it was soon after hearing my stirring solo of "Jesus Christ our Saviour" in the kindergarten Christmas pageant that my mother took it upon herself to peel 50 pounds of potatoes and onions and lug her oversized electric frying pan to Lillian Public School.
Each Chanukah thereafter (until my brothers and I had all graduated) she went from class to class, cooking up fresh, hot latkes whilst retelling the tale of the Miracle of Lights.
A few years ago I went on a latke-tasting mission through Toronto in search of the very best example of these prized potato pucks. I searched high (Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar) and low (Yitz's Deli) and in the end I settled upon the most perfect latkes I had ever tasted (sorry, mom.)
The latkes at the Free Times Cafe, a College Street institution serving Middle Eastern, traditional Jewish and Canadian food (along with live Klezmer music during Sunday Brunch), are like the Victor/Victoria of the latke world, both handsome and lacy -- like palm-sized amber jewels flecked with darker caramelized bits. They've achieved the near impossible union of shattering crust and delicate interior.
Which, I guess, makes them yet another Chanukah miracle.