Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Deli in Encino

Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino

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Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino

I’m a nice Jewish boy from the San Fernando Valley and it’s Wednesday night, so let’s have a “nosh” at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino!

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Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino – Deli  “To Go”

It used to be Fromin’s Deli (for years) and when they sold, they just changed the name and ownership. The menu is almost the same, the food is almost the same, some of the employees are the same, and the restaurant’s decor is exactly the same.

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Please Wait To be Seated at Uncle Bernie’s

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Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen – Dining Room

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Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen – Dining Room

When I was a young boy, we moved to Encino in the early 70’s, back before the valley and Ventura Blvd were fully developed.  It was a time of vacant lots. nurseries, a miniature golf course, The Oak Room, Monty’s Steak House, Jergen’s Market, Sam’s Liquor, Martex Pet Store, the Pony Express, and Lerner’s Gas station on the corner. Before there was a Plaza de Oro or a Town & Country shopping plaza, before the SavOn became Osco became CVS, before the SavOn Center was built….

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There was Fromin’s Delicatessen (in the space now occupied by Versailles Cuban Restaurant) and we had a credit account. On Sunday morning I would walk down and pick up the order we called in: bagels, lox and cream cheese for brunch. I learned the difference between a phosphate and an egg cream at Fromin’s, enjoyed many corned beef sandwiches, and discovered the joy of “New York” Jewish Delicatessen food. It was a staple of our home menu when I was growing up. Delicious chicken & matzoh ball soup, fried matzoh brie, potato & egg noodle kugel, pastrami & beef tongue, chopped liver, brisket, knish, knadle, kasha, knockwurst, smoked herring & salmon, bialys, dill pickles, rice pudding, black & white cookies and halvah bars were always enjoyed.

From the Frominsdeli.com website (with a little editing):

In the early 60’s, Arnie Fromin opened up a small deli in Encino. His son, Dennis, worked alongside him for many years until getting the entrepreneurial bug to run his own restaurant. In 1974, he opened Sports Deli in Century City which quickly became a favorite of locals and celebrities alike. A few years later, Dennis opened Fromin’s Restaurant in Santa Monica, followed shortly by the new Fromin’s Restaurant in Encino.

While growing up, in order to visit his Dad who worked seven days a week at the family deli, he would “allow” Dennis to put on an apron and wash pots and pans and peel potatoes. That was Dennis’ start in the business. By age thirteen, Dennis was working behind the deli counter after school and on weekends, getting a real-world education that would serve him well the rest of his life. All three of Dennis children worked in the Encino location.

During the 80’s, Dennis opened up two additional delicatessens in Rancho Mirage and Simi Valley. But the stress of running five restaurants took its toll on Dennis’ health and he decided to sell off all of the locations except the Santa Monica and Encino restaurants. In 1990, his longtime friend, Maurice Solomon, joined him as a partner and took over the Santa Monica location. By 2003, they decided to sell the Encino location (now operating under the Uncle Bernie’s name with no connection to Fromin’s) and concentrate on the Santa Monica restaurant, which has been a landmark on Wilshire Boulevard for over thirty years.

When Fromin’s moved to the new location, we remained loyal customers.

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Fromin’s Delicatessen at Ventura Blvd & White Oak Ave (from Loopnet.com)

There once was a Bagel Nosh and a Nathan’s Hot Dogs in the Plaza de Oro, the Oak Tree Deli opened and closed in the SavOn center, and Jerry’s Deli opened down Ventura Blvd at Petit Av when Dupar’s closed (and I think it was called something else between Dupar’s & Jerry’s). Label’s Table had a location in Tarzana (it moved to Topanga and Mulholland) and Mort’s Deli is still there next to Bea’s Bakery. Brent’s Deli is still in Northridge, but Solley’s on Van Nuys is now closed after all the years it was a valley hot spot for “NY deli”.

And finally they sold Fromin’s (after Arnie died it wasn’t quite the same) and changed the name. I’m glad not much has changed though, it always takes me back to my childhood.

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Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen at Ventura Blvd & White Oak Ave (from google maps)

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Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino

There’s an extensive menu with lots of different food choices:

On the Menu: Hot Turkey open face sandwich with gravy, fries, cranberry sauce and a Dr Brown’s cream soda. My dining companion had a bowl of borscht and half a tuna salad sandwich on pumpernickel bread with cole slaw. And then we got a giant chocolate covered custard filled eclair and a big chocolate chip cookie for dessert.

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Hot Turkey open face sandwich w/gravy, fries, cranberry sauce

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A Big Bowl of Borscht with Sour Cream (Sorry, I don’t like borscht)

NOTE: I asked for dill pickles and extra gravy, but our server forgot to bring both!

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Giant Chocolate Covered Custard Filled Eclair

So dinner was good, the service was okay, the food was what it was supposed to be, and we took the eclair and a big chocolate chip cookie “to go”. The prices are better than Jerry’s, so dinner for two with tip was around $40 plus $10 for dessert. – “Such a deal!”

NOTE: They also have complete dinner specials, “early-bird” specials and a “senior citizen’s” menu. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch and holiday dinners.

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Dessert Under Glass – Giant Chocolate Eclairs!

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Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Deli in Encino – Thank you, Come again.

Uncle Bernie’s17615 Ventura Blvd (at White Oak Av) Encino CA 91316 818-990-6346
http://www.uncleberniesdeli.com   Open 6:30am – 9pm daily

Fromin’s Delicatessen – 1832 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403 (310) 829-5443
http://www.frominsdeli.com

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Wednesday’s San Fernando Valley Evening Sky

Chocolate Eclairs & Cream Puffs recipe

Chocolate Eclairs and Cream Puffs

Here’s a great recipe that I found online:

eclair

Makes about 12 small eclairs or about 18 cream puffs

Dough
6 tbsp (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
¾ cup water
¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs

Cream
4 large egg yolks
⅓ cup sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
One pinch kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 ½ cup heavy cream, divided
½ tsp almond extract
2 tbsp (¼ stick) unsalted butter

NOTE: ice cream, custard or chocolate mousse can be substituted for cream filling

Glaze
¾ cup heavy cream
½ tsp kosher salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (1½ cups)
Toasted sliced almonds for topping

NOTE: Almonds are optional or top with any crushed nuts, sprinkles or other decorations

Instructions
1. Prepare dough: bring the butter, sugar, salt, and water to a simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon to encourage the butter to melt. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the flour, stirring constantly, until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring the dough occasionally. (You don’t want the eggs to scramble in the next step.)

2. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously between each addition with a wooden spoon. The dough will break apart and slide around in the pot before it comes back together. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pipe the dough into 3-inch lengths about 3 inches apart. (For cream puffs, drop the dough in 2-tablespoon scoops about 3 inches apart on the prepared sheets. )With damp fingertip, flatten any points. Preheat to 450°F and bake until deep golden brown and puffed, rotating the sheets halfway through, 22 to
 26 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

4. Prepare the cream: stir together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl.

5. In medium saucepan, bring the milk and 1 cup of the heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat. Add a little bit of the warm milk mixture to the yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Repeat this process a few times until all of the milk mixture has been incorporated into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the pan.

6. Cook at medium-low heat, stirring constantly and making sure to get the edges, until the mixture begins to thicken, 2 to 4 minutes. (It’s helpful to have both a spatula and a whisk handy while making the custard. Switch between the two.) Let it come up to a very slow boil and cook for 1 minute more. Strain the custard through the sieve into a clean bowl, and stir in the butter and the almond extract. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream and refrigerate until cooled completely.

7. Prepare the glaze: bring the cream and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and salt. Let the mixture stand for 1 minute and then whisk to make a smooth sauce.

8. Whip remaining ½ cup cream to soft peaks. Whisk the cooled almond cream to loosen it, then fold in the whipped cream. Transfer the cream to a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip. Slice the top third off of each éclair and fill with cream. Dip the top of the top half in the glaze and replace it. (For cream puffs, insert the tip of the pastry bag into the bottom of each puff and fill. Dip the filled puffs in the glaze.) Top with almonds to serve.

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