Show 502, December 3, 2022: Phil Kastel, Consulting Executive Chef, The Milky Way, Los Angeles

Phil Kastel of PK+J Hospitality Group

It’s holiday Latke Time at The Spielberg Family’s (yes, the entertainment Spielberg Family) kosher diary restaurant, The Milky Way, located in the Pico / Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles.

“There will be candles, there will be dreidels – but most importantly there will be latkes! Often called “the best in Los Angeles”, people flock to The Milky Way for this Hanukkah necessity. Made fresh and ready to pick up in the signature Milky Way box, the Latke Box features a dozen latkes, house-made apple compote and sour cream.”

“A local legend in her own right, The Milky Way’s Leah “Lee Lee” (Spielberg) Adler’s restaurant has been an institution for more than 30 years. Her recipes are next level, and after her passing several years ago, The Spielberg Family is lovingly carrying on her legacy.”

“Bernie and Leah (Spielberg) Adler opened the doors to Milky Way 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. The restaurant soon became known in the global Jewish communities, and among the general public too! Leah was a devoted mother to her four children and a beloved friend and employer. She will always be an iconic figure, revered by so many. Her memory is forever a blessing and her spirit lives on inside Milky Way, its food and community always.”

“A Holiday latke kit is $36 for a dozen and includes fresh, house-made apple compote and sour cream through Door Dash or by calling (310) 859-0004.”

New menu items include Salmon Piccata Linguine, Edamame Falafel Burger and Roasted Vegetable Chili featuring winter squash, black beans, corn, carrots, bell peppers, scallions, olives, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese, crispy tortilla strips and avocado. Added options for Sunday Brunch are on the refreshed menu for January.

We pull Consulting Executive Chef Philip Kastel away from gently frying the latkes to be with us.

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.

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