July 3, 2008
The Best of (Jewish) Los Angeles 2008
(Page 4 - Previous Page)-- AK
Best Kosher Market on Pico Boulevard Where You Can Turn Your Cart Around Mid-Aisle: Glatt Mart
The Glatt Mart, on Pico Boulevard and Elm Drive, was just about a year old when it burned down, in December 2004, devastating the group of owners who had invested years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in designing and building the spacious and well-stocked kosher supermarket. The fire was determined to be arson, but because of a glitch in their insurance policy, the owners received only a fraction of the store's worth. Still, the five owners pooled their resources, got loans and invested $3 million in the market, and after sitting behind scaffolding for more than three years, Glatt Mart reopened in April, just before Passover. Modeled after a European supermarket, with discreet sections for the butcher, a fresh fish counter, an in-store bakery, a well laid out produce section, a computer-controlled refrigerator/freezer case and a room for candy, nuts and wine, it's also unlike any other kosher market on Pico, with aisles wide enough to fit two or even three carts side by side. While co-owner Meir Davidpour's claims of Glatt Mart being a "kosher Whole Foods" is a bit hyperbolic, Glatt Mart has many attractions: There are seven cash registers, so lines are minimal, and 25 parking spaces in back alleviate a small bit of the usual parking headache on Pico. Glatt Mart also has an extensive take-out section of prepared foods, including sushi, deli, and Persian, Israeli and American dinner items. Davidpour says the market is intended to cater to Americans and Israelis, but it does carry a wide selection of Persian foods. The entire store is under the kosher supervision of the Rabbinical Council of California. 8708 W. Pico Blvd. 310-289-6888.
-- Julie Gruenbaum Fax
Best Place to Find a 'Box o' Talmud': Iliad Bookshop
Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood, one of the few remaining used-book stores in Los Angeles, is a funky place with a lazy cat on the counter and rows upon rows and stacks upon stacks of used books. Don't go to Iliad looking for a specific Jewish book. For that, use Amazon or, better yet, Eric Chaim Kline Booksellers, a Santa Monica-based dealer specializing in rare Jewish books that is open by appointment only. But Iliad's Judaica section -- limited to two shelves, about a third dedicated to kabbalah and the rest containing an eclectic mix -- often contains a few gems. On a recent trip, "Yiddish With Dick and Jane" sat atop a 1908 reprint of Claude Reignier Conder's "Judas Maccabaeus and the Jewish War of Independence." There were obscure books on Jews in art, music and the theater and biographies on the likes of Golda Meir and Chaim Weizmann. Leafing through the section a few years back, Jeffrey Blutinger, co-director of the Jewish studies program at Cal State Long Beach, found a small sign taped to the shelf to direct his focus to the floor, where he found a Xerox box labeled, "Box o' Talmud." It was a complete set, and it cost only $50. 5400A Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood. (818) 509-2665.
-- Brad A. Greenberg
Best Neighborhood to Pretend You Are in Israel: Tarzana
The mercury has moved past 100 degrees, the desert air is dry and accented with Hebrew. Chicly dressed Israelis sit on a café patio, sipping Turkish coffee and noshing on Jerusalem Bagel Toasts. This is not Israel. It's Tarzana, which a former aide for U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, who is Jewish and represents the area, once called the greatest threat to the Jewish state. "It looks like Israel; it feels like Israel; and the people all speak Hebrew." Indeed, most American Jews, having visited Israel once or never, could be forgiven for mistaking this slice of Ventura Boulevard for the outskirts of Tel Aviv. There's a concert billboard for Mosh Ben Ari, a hookah bar and Aroma Bakery Café, filled daily with Hebrew-speaking people; Jerusalem Pizza, Shalom Pharmacy and the home office of the Council of Israeli Community; and, most importantly, Encino Glatt Market, which regularly stocks both Maccabee and Goldstar beers.