Leaving Channukah behind in the dust, Purim is clearly the most festive holiday in Judaism—according to some dusty ancient scrolls, you're supposed to drink so much you literally can't distinguish good from evil. To each his own vice, but most people will just stuff themselves with hamentashen — the tri-cornered, sugary cookies filled with drool-worthy fruit pastes. Traditionally it's prune and apricot, but, thanks to the Reform movement, chocolate filling now also makes an appearance.
Back in 2010, Tablet Mag voted Russ & Daughters, the celebrated Lower East Side appetizing, as the number one spot in the whole country for the tasty Yiddishe pastry (2010 was a big year for Purim, considering that it was the day the Jersey Shore cast almost met an untimely demise, no irony intended). So it's no small potato that this year, for the first time Russ & Daughters announced a new poppy seed flavored 'tash to add to the mix.
Because there couldn't be just one, Tablet also voted the Silver Moon Bakery on the UWS for second place in the whole country for Purim sweets. They probably didn't want to unsettle the slight majority of American Jews that happen to not live in New York, as the online mag neglected to mention the venerable Moishe's Bake Shop on Second Avenue, which holds the popular record for Gotham's best triangular cookie at least according to Yelp.
Thankfully, Israeli airline El Al will bring some necessary decorum to the festivities by hosting the first ever National Hamentashen eating contest, here in New York this Thursday, run by All Pro Eating. According to the Marketwire, the guy to beat is "professional eater Will 'The Champ' Millender, four-time and current New York stinky cheese eating champion."
Despite these truly amazing pictures of Takeru Kobayashi chomping down on a giant hamentashen after a recent talk at Yeshiva University, the star digester of hot dogs won't be participating in the contest. To make up for the disappointment, we'll end with the blog of Ali Babka, the only observant Jewish student in her class at the Institute of Culinary Education here in the city. Check out the intriguing recipes for cocktail-flavored hamentashen (no, seriously — would you like a mojito hamentashen?) that she shared with us. L'chayim indeed.