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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Show 315, March 16, 2019: Oasis Mediterranean Cuisine, (Jordanian fare) Los Angeles

Ahmad and Hanny BulfeilatOasis Mediterranean Cuisine in the Pico-Robertson district of Los Angeles is full of pleasant surprises. It’s unassuming on the outside but an oasis of tranquility with stylish appointments (and tablecloths) in the welcoming dining room. It’s also one of the few restaurants in the West serving authentic Jordanian cuisine plated with sophistication. Think mansaff, the Jordanian national dish of tender lamb shoulder. A real gem of a find.

“Welcome, you’ve arrived! Oasis is a sophisticated, modern retreat amidst the frenzy of the city. Unwind, relax and enjoy all we have to offer. Sit down and sip mint tea, indulge your sweet tooth with delicate desserts. Dip pita, warm out of the oven, into a selection of meze redolent of fragrant spice markets of the Middle East. We are proud to serve the finest meats delicately spiced, grilled and slow roasted according to family recipes passed down for generations.”

“Whether you are hungry, thirsty, or seeking you enjoy the company of friends and family, Oasis is here to fulfill your needs. Celebrate your special occasions with us in our private dining room. Allow us to cater your next party or office event. We are here to serve you and ensure that your time at Oasis leaves you refreshed and recharged as you continue on with your journey!”

Proprietor / Chef Ahmad Abulfeilsat (Abu-fay-lot) and his son, Hanny, join us.

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Show 283, July 28, 2018: Alain Cohen, Chef / Proprietor Harissa & Got Kosher Bakery and Deli, Los Angeles

Alain Cohen of Harissa RestaurantHarissa in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles is the transformation of the long-running Got Kosher restaurant going back to 2005. It’s Tunisian fare (Kosher) with French accents and, now, a carefully selected beer and wine list, too.

Harissa, the restaurant, pays homage to Chef Alain Cohen’s Tunisian origins, his family’s Paris restaurant, and his American culinary experiences. Harissa, the name, celebrates the beloved spicy sauce that symbolizes Chef Cohen’s vibrant cuisine. In fact, harissa is so valued in Tunisia that an old wives’ tale suggests a husband can judge his wife’s affections by the number of hot peppers she uses when preparing his food.

Indeed, Chef Cohen’s harissa sauce stays true to the family recipe, that dates back generations to Tunisia—and while Harissa’s harissa has heat, the emphasis is on balance, not just spiciness

“Tunisian cuisine is more savory than its Moroccan neighbor, which leads into the sweet side. Central to Tunisian cuisine is couscous, and you will find the dish well represented in our menu. As well, sample Chef Cohen’s signature Tunisian specialties–including house-made merguez sausage, traditional break pastry, fricassee, and pates a la but argue. Chef Cohen’s sausage making skills are also on display with our house-made charcuterie. And that’s just the beginning…”

“Chef Cohen has created a menu with something for every taste. Start with our diverse appetizer menu–if your taste runs to small plates and a glass of wine or beer. For a simpler lunch, enjoy our salads and sandwiches. And, if you want to immerse your palate in French Tunisian cooking, well, there is a full page devoted to these satisfyingly classic dishes.”

We’ll catch up with Chef / Proprietor Alain Cohen.

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