Show 317, March 30, 2019: Executive Chef and Restaurant Consultant Phil Kastel, The Milky Way, Los Angeles Part Two

Phil KastelLeah Spielberg Adler was a fixture of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood (The Borscht Belt) in Los Angeles since 1977 until her passing in early 2017 at 97. She was the larger-than-life proprietress and heart of the kosher dairy restaurant, The Milky Way. In a loving tribute to her memory The Spielberg Family (Steven, Nancy, Anne and Sue) has reimagined and reopened The Milky Way (after an extensive renovation) with a fresh new look and an updated, appealing and streamlined menu of tasty kosher fare.

“Chef Kastel has put a modern spin on the kosher dairy menu, peppering the menu with entirely new items and updating many of Ms. Adler’s original family recipes with a new twist to create a menu that has a global appeal, both for the international Jewish community and the general public alike. All dishes are made using the freshest, locally sourced ingredients, and diners can expect the menu to shift quarterly for seasonality, including a selection of seasonal fish. The new menu will now feature The Impossible CheeseburgerTM with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, American cheese and thousand island on a sesame seed bun, served with fries; the Famous Fish Chowder with halibut, Yukon potatoes, onions, celery and leeks, available daily; as well as the Cajun Pacific Snapper, with blackening spices and pineapple salsa, served alongside assorted seasonal vegetables.”

“Some of Ms. Adler’s original recipes have also been elevated with a modern spin. Signature dishes include Leah’s Cheese Blintzes served with strawberry preserves and sour cream; Salmon Puffs – a long-time, much loved signature dish, featuring crispy pocket, cream cheese, scallions and herbs – and the Potato Latkes with house-made apple compote and sour cream. Additional dishes not to be missed include the Eggplant Parmesan with marinara sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil; the Ahi Tuna Burger with red bell peppers, ginger, scallions, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and sriracha aioli, served on a sesame seed bun; and the Trout Amandine, with a panko crust, toasted almonds and tartar sauce paired with seasonal vegetables.”

“Dessert features Leah’s Classic Cheesecake – another original – as well as the new Apple Dream Pie, with a filling featuring crushed floral pink peppercorn and inspired in part by a dream Nancy Spielberg had of her mother. The restaurant also serves kosher wine by the glass or by the bottle, as well as a selection of bottled beer.”

“While there is much to celebrate with the new Milky Way, what hasn’t changed is the attitude of the restaurant. Leah Adler is still in the room – her life and spirit preserved in the photos, posters and tchotchkes that carefully speak to her legacy – supported by food and wine that is still kosher, delicious and accessible. This is, after all, a neighborhood kosher restaurant servicing the community with class and style.”

A new Brunch menu with (Brunch Cocktails) launches on Sunday, May 5th in advance of Mother’s Day. Think Huevos Racheros with black beans, ranchero sauce, fried eggs, Feta cheese, Lima Crema, Olives, Avocado and Cilantro in addition to the expected Smoked Fish Platter with smoked Salmon and Smoked Trout.

Visit their website or follow along on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Show 194, October 22, 2016: Tal Ronnen, Chef/Proprietor, Crossroads, Los Angeles Continues…

Tal Ronnen of Crossroads KitchenTal Ronnen, a classically trained chef and New York Times bestselling cookbook author, is redefining the concept of contemporary vegan cooking by concentrating on what makes food enjoyable in the first place. His new cookbook, Crossroads – Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine, is inspired by his cooking at his stylish Los Angeles restaurant of the same name.

As Ronnen writes in the book’s introduction, “As a lover of food, what I really crave is the smoky paprika and fat in chorizo, not the pork itself; the smoky char of grilled steak, not the actual beef. The challenge in vegan cooking lies in not cheapening the food by making it feel like it’s a knockoff of itself or a shadow of the original, but rather in making vegetables shine in their own right while still satisfying those cravings. By refocusing in what makes food rich and pleasurable to begin with, I realized I could create plant-based dishes that appeal to everyone, not just vegans.”

We also chat about the Impossible Burger served at lunch. It looks, handles, smells, cooks and tastes like ground beef from cows but it’s made entirely from plants and has a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals.