Kosher Las Vegas

by Linda Capeloto Sendowski on April 6, 2011


The dry flats of the Mojave Desert Reserve stretch out in a long meandering valley four thousand feet below the highway, reflecting the midday sun.  I am glad I am in my safe air conditioned car observing the beauty of the inhospitable landscape.

Traveling the road from Las Vegas to Los Angeles is an opportunity to view vastly different micro climates and elevations while progressing from the vast emptiness that surrounds the highway outside of Las Vegas to the long tongues of metropolitan Los Angeles licking the foot hills of the San Bernardino National Forrest.

This year snow is lingering bright white and shimmering against the intense blue sky in the mountains.  I love to drive the open road when traffic is light and my tummy is still full from last night’s fabulous dinner at Jerusalem Grill in Las Vegas.  Yes, there are kosher restaurants in Las Vegas.

My husband and I met my sister and brother in law for dinner and a show Sunday night. Although they live in New Jersey, we made the drive to see them for the night while they were staying in Las Vegas. It is only a 4-5 hour drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and well worth the effort.

We ordered schwarma, endless Israeli salads, Grilled chicken kabob, one half a roast chicken, special in house made laffa bread or lafah bread and home made hummus.  The food at Jerusalem Grill was fresh and tasty, the staff is friendly.  It is a short way off the regular Las Vegas beaten path, but really fun to follow the Las Vegas Jewish connection.  Did you know that a Jewish man is running for mayor of Las Vegas?

Well, tomorrow I am back to recipe testing for Passover.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Greek Girl from Queens April 7, 2011 at 7:52 AM

This sounds absolutely wonderful – both the drive through to Las Vegas (I’ve always wanted to visit the west and southwest of the US, but sadly, never got ’round to it, much to my regret) and of course, the amazing sounding (and looking, judging by the photos of the food you had there) Jerusalem Grill.

Lafa bread! Oh…how I love, love, love lafa bread. Whenever we visit Dublin (only about three times a year, as it’s a long drive or bus/train journey from this part of Ireland), there are a few absolutely brilliant Middle Eastern cafes in the Temple Bar (the trendy/bohemian part of Dublin), and the one that we always go to when we want an extra special foodie treat is Iskander’s, where their claim to fame is their famous shwarmas. I usually get the chicken shwarma, while himself orders the lamb shwarma, and I have to say that it is one of the most delicious and satisfying ‘casual’ meals you’re ever likely to enjoy. For the life of me, though, I have not been able to make my own lafa bread that comes anywhere even remotely close to how they create the magic that is their recipe for lafa bread. My lafa bread usually comes out, in texture and taste, more like regular pita bread. While mine is tasty enough, and definitely edible, it’s also kind of flat and dry…definitely not chewy or doughy, which is how Iskander’s lafa bread for their shwarmas always is.

Can you (or any Boreka Diary subscribers reading this now) advise me on how to make better lafa bread? Is there a secret ingredient involved that I’m just not getting? Is there a special technique in the kneading, or rising time or temperature that I just can’t seem to get right?

Have you ever made shwarmas, Linda? Have you ever tried your hand at lafa bread? Is there a cookbook out there or an on-line recipe that, even with all my searching and finding a few, is just ‘the one’ to go to when it’s real, authentic, chewy and doughy and satisfying lafa bread for the shwarmas?

Then again, maybe it’s a good thing (for my wasit line!) to not be able to make authentic shwarmas/lafa bread. If that were the case, I’d want to have them probably five nights out of seven (and possibly for lunch, too!). Lafa bread is THAT amazing.

Sorry for babbling on and on like this. Thanks for sharing your Las Vegas adventures with us, Linda, and as always, for the gorgeous food photos and review of this great sounding restaurant.

Linda Capeloto Sendowski
Twitter: theborekadiary
April 7, 2011 at 2:49 PM

I have not made Laffa bread but will try soon. It is fluffier then Pita with a coarser grain it seems. As far as shawarma goes, I have had the butcher make thin slices of lamb and turkey then I layered the meat on the center skewers of an upright rotisserie machine (Cuisinart makes one) that sits on the counter. Press the on button and around it went, with the juices dripping down into the drip pan below. It was yummy. We sliced it down with a sharp knife, just like in the shawarma stores. This is making me hungry!

Greek Girl from Queens April 8, 2011 at 11:46 AM

That would be brilliant if you tried your very apt and talented hand and skills at some lafa bread.

If it comes out to your satisfaction, and something like what you enjoyed at the Jerusalem Grill, please please please share with me (and the rest of us) your method and techniques, step-by-step if possible. Like I’d commented earlier, mine comes out okay and tasty enough I guess, but nothing like what I’ve had at Iskander’s in texture (doughy, chewy, soft).

Anyone out there reading this who’ve tried making their own lafa bread and want to share how they make theirs?

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