The Jewish New Year, known as Rosh Hashanah, which translates to “head of the year” in Hebrew, is quickly approaching. It’s a festive holiday (on the heels of the more somber Yom Kippur holiday) and, like most happy events, is celebrated with copious amounts of food. Many dishes are sweet (cue in apples dipped in honey) to garner a sweet new year or round (symbolizing the seasons or cycle of life). This year, the two-day holiday begins on Monday, September 26, and ends at sundown, Tuesday, September 27. We’ve gathered some of the holiday’s must-eats and where to best enjoy them.
Round Challah Bread
One of the few good things about the pandemic is that it allowed Miamians to fully embrace their love of bread. After all, there’s nothing more comforting than digging into a freshly baked loaf’s warm, yeasty goodness. Judaism has long understood this, with the traditional challah served every Friday night to welcome in the Sabbath holy day of rest. For Rosh Hashanah, the venerated braided loaf transforms into a sphere and is often dotted with raisins to convey the message of a sweet new year. Beloved bakeries like Wynwood’s Zak the Baker will offer circular loaf varieties (pre-orders and pick up after noon on September 25). True Loaf in Miami Beach offers a hearty selection of plain, sesame, chocolate, and — as a nod to the orchard fruit dipped in honey, apple. Head to North Miami for the self-proclaimed “King of Challah” bakery Sonny’s to pick up generous loaves of fluffy, flavorful bread, so good it’s a challenge not to devour entirely in the car ride. Be sure to pre-order (they go fast) and ask about the guava challah. Are you looking to maximize time and pick up chicken soup and mushroom bourekas? Then Kosher Kingdom in Aventura beckons. The expansive kosher supermarket has it all: from meats, veggies–even sushi—along with a bakery rolling out fresh baked goods that include large challah.
Synonymous with Jewish cooking, brisket—defined by butchers as one of nine primal beef cuts. For those without the time (or overbearing grandmother) to cook the meat over hours in a slow-cooker, and are not adhering to Kosher guidelines, barbecue joints where brisket is big is one way to go. (Pro-tip, order for takeout, and serve at the holiday dinner table.) Spots like Hometown Barbecue, La Traila Barbecue, or Tropical Smokehouse up in Palm Beach are winners. Wild Fork, the Doral-based high-end grocery store specializing in frozen meats and seafoods, offers a Traditional Jewish Style Brisket that makes even the most novice home cook look like a pro.
Don’t want to lift a finger in the kitchen for the special holiday? Abbale Tel-Avivian Kitchen in Miami Beach offers a complete holiday meal that feeds 4 to 6 people and includes challah, hummus, lentil, pomegranate tabouli, Morrocan-style roasted fish, and a chicken and date tagine. Dessert includes apple cake and tahini brownies. Orders must be placed by Friday, September 23, and pick-up is Sunday, 25th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Head to Surfside to experience Israeli cuisine at Neya. The modern restaurant opened last month, offering creative renditions of traditional Mediterranean fare (along with an assortment of welcoming cocktails). Dishes like black truffle and wild mushroom polenta, tuna carpaccio with sesame pistachio, sigara borek (white fishy crispy rolls), beef and lamb kofte, and Tel-Aviv seafood paella are all celebratory flavors to welcome in the Jewish New Year
Apples & Honey
No gathering turns away a good pie—particularly apple, which is why Rosh Hashanah, where apple reigns, is the perfect holiday to show up with one from Fireman Derek’s. Packed with fruit and flavor, this is one easy crowd pleaser.
The sweet, golden honey cake often marks the Jewish New Year’s beginning and/or end. Ring in 5783 (the official Jewish year) with a visit to Madruga Bakery for the iconic Rosh Hashanah dessert. While there, grab an apple cake (to hone in the apples-dipped-in-honey message) or an assortment of rugelach. Orders should be made ahead of time and picked up between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 25.