Los Angeles Kosher Dining – not just pizza!

I am not a blogger. People actually PAY ME to write. But since I really love this blog – I decided to contibute. For free. Not even for a corned beef on rye! And I decided to write about two things I really like – a nice kosher meal and Los Angeles. Here goes – my first blog post!! –

In LA on business and looking for a good kosher place to take a client out to eat or to catch a bite between meetings? When it comes to restaurants, LA is truly the place to beat! There’s plenty of variety, the food quality is quite high, and the prices tend to be somewhat cheaper than on the East Coast. Most kosher places in Los Angeles are either near La Brea Boulevard or in the Pico/Robertson area of the city.

There are plenty other great meat restaurants in LA, but these three take the proverbial cake:

For gourmet fleishig meals you can’t top Pat’s, on Pico Blvd. With a delightful ambience and a full menu of high-quality delectable dishes, it’s impossible to find someone who leaves Pat’s disappointed. Essentially regarded as the top kosher restaurant in the city, letting a local yokel know that you’re eating at Pat’s never fails to elicit a “psh!” reaction.

For some less expensive, hearty, good old fashioned Jewish food, you HAVE to stop by for a meal at Pico Kosher Deli (PKD). An LA mainstay for decades now, many in the local Jewish community would say that you haven’t had good kosher food in the city until you’ve stopped by PKD. The sandwiches (like a lot of the clientele) are thick and meaty, and there’s nothing that can make you feel more at home than a Deli Burger with fries and a bowl of chicken matza ball soup.

Other great fleishig food can be found on the other side of town too at Elite Cuisine, on the corner of La Brea and Beverly Blvd. Elite also features a great Chinese menu, as well as dinner specials on Monday and Tuesday nights.

If you’re more in the mood for milchigs, then Milk & Honey is a top-notch place to do some dairy dining. Milk & Honey offers up a wide-array of tasty pasta and fish dishes, as well as a variety of yummy salads and desserts to begin and end your meals with. White wine goes perfectly with most meals here.

And describing the LA kosher restaurant scene wouldn’t be complete without hailing its two most popular pizza places; Nagila Pizza on Pico, and Pizza Maven on LaBrea. Nagila has more of an Israeli flavor and might have the slightly tastier pizza, but you might feel more at home talking to Mr. Ullman, the pizza maven himself. And there’s nothing quite like getting served some of those famous “papas fritas”!

And some posts about – water at the airport, kosher restaurants in  the Bay Area and a horror story in the air.

And the best part – in A Kosher Restaurant you will not see Paris Hilton.

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Kosher restaurant in the south bay area

While personally I keep to Kosher dietary rules, even when travelling abroad, I do not look for Kosher certificates and just try to keep on the ‘safe’ side (eating lots of Salmon, of course). But on my last trip I was challenged with the need to find a Kosher restaurant with a colleague he keeps to a stricter standard. Finding a Kosher restaurant in the south bay area of San Francisco was a challenge though. There are not many of them around. However, he found Izzy’s Brooklyn Cafe on 783, El-Camino Real, Sunnyvale, 408-523-1333. It is located in a strip mall beside the road with ample parking (it is California after all). We had an excellent Moroccan Soup, fish, falafel, and salads. Not quite on the cheap side but still quite reasonable. Shlomi, who attend to us was very nice and polite, originally from Petach Tiqva, now works in two such restaurants in the area. He was eager to please, set down to chat a little, all in a very pleasant way. We returned there for another meal later in the week, and my friend was there again with his father and brother. Lunch for three was $49 including tip, and lunch for two was $37 including tip.

And some posts about – water at the airport, kosher restaurants in LA and a horror story in the air.
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Bad Kosher Airline food – funny?

Right now I am on the plane eating my “Economy Class Chicken Dinner” for breakfast and I am thinking of yesterdays kosher meal on Turkish Airlines. Worst ever. And I have had a lot of bad ones, including 18 lettuce only salads once.

Please don’t read this if you plan to eat in the next 3 hours.
Him and his Rabbi would have been thrilled
First bad sign – its anonymous. No marking of the supplier, caterer or even the exterminator. Not on all the wrappings, tapes, plastics. Its not like they forgot – they remembered a tri-language statement of kashrut by 2 French Rabbi’s (do Ashkenazic people really not trust a Sephardic Rabbi (and vice versa)). I am sure the French version advised them not to eat it.

Next bad sign – 2 round metal cans. First glance at the can and it looks just like Tuna fish. Second glance – it is Basque Tuna – a dish which is basically (no offense to the Basque who, were it not for the tuna disaster might have my support for an independent homeland some day), cat-food quality tuna with a little rice filler and warmed up. Do not try this at home!

A can of tuna is best at room temperature (not Jet engine blasted). Luckily, the heat of the can (and the thought of the contents) distracted me as I turned to the second can, which was for sheer variety – Salmon Pate.

After a trial forkful (I would not have dared this if I was not helpless, extraterrestial and starving 37,000 feet in the air) both cans were trashed. I apologize to Mr. Chicken or Beef next to me for the horrible dead fish smell coming from my meal (and later from under the seat where I stuffed it).

If all else fails – desert should be edible. Not even close. Lets just say this mysterious French company does NOT have a non-compete with GERBERS. Desert was a mushed banana and apple dish. Its been a while, but I recall gerbers being tastier.

I am sure you have deep sympathy for my experience, but it gets worse. Finally, I fall asleep on my empty stomach and wake up to Breakfast. Kosher. Guess what?

Its the exact same thing again. And this time – I was beaten – I ate it. I will never touch tuna, salmon, banana or apples again. The Basque can forget their country (stick with Boise, ID) and the entire country of France should lose all their Michelin stars for allowing this to happen.

I think in general Kosher food out of Europe is bad. Out of Israel, at least you get something reasonably fresh (besides airport security and airline safety). In US the field is competitive and no one wants an in-flight death (or worse – a lawsuit) on their hands. But Europe – forget it.

And some posts about – water at the airport, kosher restaurants in LA and the Bay Area .
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Great report on Turkish Airways (including electric outlets on planes)

I selected them because they were the cheapest by far when flying with only 3 days notice. They certainly have come a long way since I flew them from Bangkok with 400 Thai workers all smoking.

Plane was a brand new A330-200. Individual screens (Rain Main, The Fugitive) and electric outlets – so you can keep the laptop powered up the whole flight. I had 4 seats all to myself, which might explain why they are undercutting the competition ($1175 TLV to JFK). Great service. Delicious Cherry juice. Airport security was tight. Horrible Kosher meal on IST-JFK segment (next post). Short layover in Istanbul – there is a new airport there which is super-modern looking (almost Dubai level). Unfortunately, not long enough to hop into town and see the tourist attractions. And miles on United Airlines (they were with American Airlines)

And I got to read the Turkish Times. Anyone know that their entire government is in the process of being declared illegal and the President, Prime Minister and loads of elected representatives are about to be banned from politics?

Turkish Airways has been getting lots of coverage in TLV2JFK. This post is about Turkish Air Frequent Flyer miles and this is about good prices on Turkish Airways.
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