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At Napkin Friends Food Truck, Chef Jonny Silverberg and his crew serve up mouth watering latkes. They have fresh twist on potato pakcakes, using them in place of bread to create mouthwatering sandwiches. In addition to the O.G. (their signature sammie) and three others, their menu also features Jewish food faves like Matzoh Ball Soup. (Image Napkin Friends)
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Napkin Friends Food Truck is taking latkes to a new level

We all know what makes a tasty sandwich, right? There's the meat, cheese, veggies, some kind of sauce and traditionally holding it all together? The bread.

But at the Napkin Friends Food Truck, it's bye-bye bread...HELLO LATKES!

Chef Jonny Silverberg serves up seasonally inspired latke sandwiches like the Classic Combo, Italian Chicken, BLTGA (the "G" is for Gouda) and the O.G.

There are also other Jewish food faves - like Matzoh Ball Soup!

Silverberg showed us how he makes the O.G. - outta sight.

"So O.G. sandwich starts with two latkes," he said. "We always go smooth side down. Couple slices gruyere cheese, we got our Swiss, we got our pre-packaged 4 oz house-made pastrami, Mama Lil's Peppers, house-made Thousand Island, house-made horseradish cream sauce, arugula, press it."

On to the machine! Refined's John Prentice just had to sink his teeth into their signature sammie.

"I gotta say I love latkes, I love pastrami, never would of put them both together but guess what? It's even better together," he said. "It's really good!"

Thanks to his Bubbe (that's Yiddish for Grandma) Silverberg has a heartfelt love of latkes. In fact, her image graces the side of his food truck.

"That is, that is my Mum-Mum Sylvia," said Silverberg with a smile. "She is a spry 90-years-old."

We asked him to give us the 411 on frying up the perfect latke, a potato pancake traditionally served on Hanukah. Where some grate their potatoes, Silverberg peels them, cuts them in chunks and puts them in the food processor with diced onion and shaved garlic. He then beats an egg, folds that into the mixture - and tah dah!

"On this truck, since our latkes are gluten free."

A little bit of rice flour helps with consistency. He also adds baking powder, paprika, salt and pepper.

The chef fell in love with latkes as a kid.

"My grandmother Sylvia and my mom making them for Hanukkah, just the smell of the kitchen, just always looked forward to it."

Inspired by those warm memories - Silverberg decided to liberate the latke from being a food solely served on Hanukkah.

"As a chef I was always on the hunt," he recalls. 'I love sandwiches, I was always on the hunt for amazing sandwiches and I was in the kitchen one day working, ya know 'chef-ing it up,' and it was right around Hanukkah time and I was like why can't we try this?"

His first sandwich was the O.G.

"I made the O.G. because I was working on the pastrami at the time and tried it as a special at the restaurant I was working at and people kind of lost their mind about it."

But back to the latke-making!

Using a small scooper, he adds the batter to a pan coated in oil. But the pancakes are never submerged. That helps them cook evenly and makes the pancakes a golden brown color.

Whether served for Hanukkah with sour cream and applesauce or pressed into a sandwich - all of Silverberg's latkes share a special ingredient.

"There's always love sprinkled in everything that we do."

Good news for latke lovers?! Jonny and his crew will be opening a restaurant called Schmaltzy's Delicatessen in Ballard next year. You can keep up with Napkin Friends on Instagram, Facebook and the Napkin Friends website.


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