Show 452, November 20, 2021: The Milky Way, Los Angeles with Nancy Spielberg and Chef Phil Kastel Part One

Nancy Spielberg of the Milky Way

The Milky Way is a kosher dairy restaurant serving New American Kosher food in the heart of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles, which reopened in February 2019 after the passing of its matriarch, Leah Adler. The menu features many of the restaurant’s original family recipes updated with a fresh twist as well as new dishes that have a global appeal, both for the international Jewish community and the general dining public alike.” All are warmly welcomed.

“Bernie and Leah (Spielberg) Adler opened the doors to Milky Way restaurant (A Kosher Dairy restaurant) in 1977. Their vision was to offer fine kosher food to the Jewish community at a time when such a thing didn’t exist in Los Angeles. Leah wanted to introduce interesting fare to many who had never tasted dishes like Cajun, Mexican, or Thai. Shortly after opening, it was very apparent that the main attraction wasn’t just the food, but was Leah herself! With her unique and exuberant charm; independent and confident style, Leah had the ability to make every guest in the restaurant feel as if they were the most important. People came for the food, but they kept coming back for Leah!”

“Leah disdained being identified as a “kosher deli”! Yes, she served traditional Jewish dishes like blintzes and potato pancakes, but that was where the similarities ended. When Leah would greet each table, she would describe the daily specials with such animation that she would easily convince the table to try them. She was known for her love of classical music, art, denim and Cabernet Sauvignon wine.”

When Leah passed the four Spielberg siblings (including Steven) made the decision to revamp and refresh The Milky Way as a living tribute to their late Mother. Nancy Spielberg became the point person for the Family for the ambitious effort. Well respected chef, Phil Kastel, was engaged as Executive Chef to tweak the recipes and enhance the menu.

For Hanukkah (and beyond) a custom latke kit To-Go (containing 12 latkes) with house-made apple compote and sour cream is now available. Among other menu items The Milky Way is known for are Leah’s cheese blintzes with strawberry preserves and their Halibut, beer-battered fish & chips. Also, trout amandine and other seafood specialties are on the menu. Dessert specialties include a classic cheesecake with blackberry compote and a rich carrot cake with cream cheese icing with toasted coconut.”

The Milky Way is open for Lunch and Dinner Monday through Thursday. Brunch and Dinner on Sundays. Closed for The Sabbath on Friday and Saturday.

Nancy Spielberg (Leah’s youngest child) and Chef Phil Kastel are our guests to chronicle the inspiring revival of The Milky Way.

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Show 452, November 20, 2021: The Milky Way, Los Angeles with Nancy Spielberg and Chef Phil Kastel Part Two

Phil Kastel of PK+J Hospitality Group

The Milky Way is a kosher dairy restaurant serving New American Kosher food in the heart of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles, which reopened in February 2019 after the passing of its matriarch, Leah Adler. The menu features many of the restaurant’s original family recipes updated with a fresh twist as well as new dishes that have a global appeal, both for the international Jewish community and the general dining public alike.” All are warmly welcomed.

“Bernie and Leah (Spielberg) Adler opened the doors to Milky Way restaurant (A Kosher Dairy restaurant) in 1977. Their vision was to offer fine kosher food to the Jewish community at a time when such a thing didn’t exist in Los Angeles. Leah wanted to introduce interesting fare to many who had never tasted dishes like Cajun, Mexican, or Thai. Shortly after opening, it was very apparent that the main attraction wasn’t just the food, but was Leah herself! With her unique and exuberant charm; independent and confident style, Leah had the ability to make every guest in the restaurant feel as if they were the most important. People came for the food, but they kept coming back for Leah!”

“Leah disdained being identified as a “kosher deli”! Yes, she served traditional Jewish dishes like blintzes and potato pancakes, but that was where the similarities ended. When Leah would greet each table, she would describe the daily specials with such animation that she would easily convince the table to try them. She was known for her love of classical music, art, denim and Cabernet Sauvignon wine.”

When Leah passed the four Spielberg siblings (including Steven) made the decision to revamp and refresh The Milky Way as a living tribute to their late Mother. Nancy Spielberg became the point person for the Family for the ambitious effort. Well respected chef, Phil Kastel, was engaged as Executive Chef to tweak the recipes and enhance the menu.

For Hanukkah (and beyond) a custom latke kit To-Go (containing 12 latkes) with house-made apple compote and sour cream is now available. Among other menu items The Milky Way is known for are Leah’s cheese blintzes with strawberry preserves and their Halibut, beer-battered fish & chips. Also, trout amandine and other seafood specialties are on the menu. Dessert specialties include a classic cheesecake with blackberry compote and a rich carrot cake with cream cheese icing with toasted coconut.”

The Milky Way is open for Lunch and Dinner Monday through Thursday. Brunch and Dinner on Sundays. Closed for The Sabbath on Friday and Saturday.

Nancy Spielberg (Leah’s youngest child) and Chef Phil Kastel continue as our guests to chronicle the inspiring revival of The Milky Way.

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

The Speilberg Family with the late Leah Spielberg Adler Leah 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.

“Ms. Adler, whom friends and family alike referred to as “LeeLee,” was a concert pianist and an artist, and also a proud mom of four talented children – Steven, Nancy, Anne and Sue Spielberg, a fact that was celebrated throughout the restaurant in the form of a memorabilia-filled room that became as much a salon as the perfect place to drop by for a plate of blintzes.”

“Our mom had a gypsy spirit that was larger than life itself, with an unstoppable energy and a fiery confidence that was reflected in the halls of The Milky Way,” said the Spielberg family in a joint statement. “LeeLee opened the restaurant with the vision of offering fine kosher food to the Jewish community in Los Angeles at a time when such a thing didn’t exist. Though her passing left a deep void in our hearts, we hope the new Milky Way will not only honor her memory, but also give back to the community she loved so deeply.”

“The Milky Way may be a kosher dairy restaurant, but it is also a New American Kosher restaurant,” said Chef Phil Kastel. “We wanted to create an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone, regardless of their faith or adherence to a specific dietary restriction. What will resonate with diners most is just how comforting the food here is – all the dishes on the new menu honor LeeLee and her unique tastes and are updated but true to her legacy at the same time.”

Executive & Restaurant Consultant Phil Kastel of PK&J Hospitality Group is the Creative Chef at The Milky Way and is out guest.

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

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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.

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