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Hanukkah, Festival of Eats

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Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. But one happy fact is that while not everyone will participate in the dreidel spinning and menorah lighting, the food of Hanukkah is some of the best fare that transcends denominational boundaries, thanks to the universal appeal of fried food and sweet treats. There are several places in Los Angeles who offer all manner and variety of Hanukkah treats, from the full catering menu available at Joan's on Third to the Vodka & Latkes event at Akasha in Culver City, where during the eight nights of Hanukkah Chef Akasha Richmond is offering specialty vodka cocktails paired with a special menu of delectable holiday favorites such as latkes, kugel, brisket and more [download Hanukkah menu here]. As a giving-back kind of bonus, Akasha is working with TRU by Modern Spirits for their “Drink It, Plant It” campaign, which will plant a tree for every TRU cocktail served―eight trees per bottle―in honor of the eight nights of Hanukkah.

For the sweet tooth, Crumbs has Hanukkah cupcakes, and Eliat Bakery on Fairfax has traditional jelly donuts.

If you're feeling brave and want to get in the kitchen and make your own Hanukkah eats, we've got these recipes for Mrs Barton's Beef Brisket and Latkes, and, well, more latkes. Why so much fried food? Well, the festival honors the miracle of oil used to give light, but potatoes frying in hot oil is also a way to celebrate!

If you've got a favorite bakery for holiday treats, or want to tout the town's best latkes, spread the gospel in the comments. And no matter which way you celebrate--or eat--it, Happy Hanukkah to all!

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LAist Lifestyle Editor Julie Wolfson contributed to this post