July 3, 2008
The Best of (Jewish) Los Angeles 2008
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Upsy-Downsy Spins-Aroundsy High-Flying Teen-Operated Thrilltacular" (his words), stop by the Kwik-E-Mart for a souvenir. 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City.
Best Way to Walk in the Footsteps of Hollywood's Jewish Legends: The Forecourt of the Stars at Grauman's Chinese Theatre
In front of the world-famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre you'll see not only the footprints, but also the handprints and cigar prints of some of the biggest names in Tinseltown (let alone Hollywood heaven). Among them: Dannhy Kaye (photo, above), Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, George Burns, Steven Spielberg, the Marx Brothers, Sherry Lansing, Adam Sandler and Jack Benny. Sid Grauman's dream theater -- with its ornate temple bells, pagodas and giant Heaven Dogs from China -- opened in 1927 and was declared a historical landmark in 1968. There is no cost to visit the forecourt of the theater, but given its proximity to the Hollywood and Highland shopping complex, you'll probably end up buying something anyway.
6925 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles.
Best Bookstore to Mingle With Jewish Authors: Book Soup
This WeHo literary establishment surrounded by glitzy nightclubs is not for the claustrophobic. Crammed full of mainstream and small-press books, it also plays host to a good number of book signings and readings by Jewish writers, which take place in a teeny corner of the shop. The snug environment makes these events ideal for chitchatting with the likes of best-selling author Michael Chabon, porn star Ron Jeremy or Hollywood producer Walter Mirisch.
8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 659-3110.
-- Dikla Kadosh
Hottest Persian-Israeli DJs: DJ Eliran and DJ Tal
Good-looking, successful and ambitious, brothers Eliran and Tal Rafael throw the most rockin' Israeli Jewish dance parties in town at great venues, like the Vanguard in Hollywood. Born in Israel, the young and talented music maestros served in the IDF before coming to the West Coast to "spread Jewish pride and bring Jewish people together" through their groovy events.
Best Place to Eat Falafel and Practice Coexistence: Pita Kitchen
Just like in "Zohan," most Arabs and Israelis live in relative harmony here in the United States. And one place where both break bread is Pita Kitchen, a homey Middle Eastern food stand that is regularly teeming with people of all stripes wolfing down enormous shwarma sandwiches. Customers have to fight for the scarce street parking and pay in cash only, but the quick service and delectable fare make this chor-ba-kir (hole-in-the-wall) worth a drive, even in the scorching heat. 14500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (818) 990-7006.
Best Place to Get Your Great-Grandmother's Dented, Tarnished Samovar Restored: Lower East Side Restoration Project
You know that rusted old samovar that's been sitting in the garage, the one your great-grandmother carted over from the Old Country and your mother later used for a planter? All is not lost; you can still bring it back to life to give your kids a genuine Russian Jewish antique that will remain a treasured family heirloom. The Lower East Side Restoration Project here in Los Angeles can replace or remake missing and broken brass parts as well as wooden handles and knobs. And, of course, everything is expertly cleaned and hand-polished. They also repair and restore menorahs, candelabra, spice boxes and other bronze, brass, iron and copper items. And they sell antique Judaica from a historic collection of items brought to the New World during the Great Immigration from the 1850s to the 1920s. (800)905-6160.
-- Jane Ulman
Best Places to See Jewish-Themed Films: Laemmle's Musical Hall 3 in Beverly Hills and Town Center 5 in Encino
Didn't get to the Jewish film festival last month or the Israeli film festival this month? No need to worry; many of those films will probably be playing very soon at one of these Laemmle Theaters, which tend to keep Jewy flicks in heavy rotation. Snack bar items include parve chocolate, bissli and bagels. OK, not really, but wouldn't that be a good idea? Musical Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-6869. Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 981-9811.
Best Kosher-"ish" Sushi Restaurant: Crazy Fish
There's always a line outside Crazy Fish, the narrow, brightly lit sushi restaurant on Olympic Boulevard, where you hear a lot of Farsi and a smidgen of Hebrew. Maybe that's because though the place is not technically kosher -- there is no hasgachah (kosher certification) -- signs like this are posted around the restaurant: "We cook our shellfish separately from other fish." And "Our eel sauce and smelt eggs are ' kosher.'" They have the "Jewish roll:" salmon and cream cheese with white onion and smelt eggs, and the "Oy Vey" roll: salmon sushi with chopped garlic and green onion. Don't forget a breath mint on your way out. 9105 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 550-8547.
-- Amy Klein
Best Way to Liven Up Your Friday Night Services: Shul Bands
They're hip, hot and on the rise. Rockin' Shabbat shul bands have not only reinvigorated many Friday night services, but also encouraged community integration, as band groupies shul-hop in pursuit of spiritual Sabbath sounds. On the first Friday of each month, Nashuva grooves to an ample arrangement, from the keys of a baby grand piano to the shimmering riffs of electric guitar. Friday Night Live sounds off on the second Friday, and still sings strong after a decade of Craig Taubman's pop prayers and some fresh young talent on a range of instruments. Temple Israel of Hollywood mixes blues, reggae, classical and klezmer with its all-congregant band, the Chai Tones (call for a schedule). And while IKAR doesn't necessarily front a band, they daven to the deepest drumbeats and some of the most soulful voices this side of the holy land. Nashuva, Brentwood Presbyterian Church, 12000 San Vicente Blvd. , Los Angeles. .