Are you Roy Choi–obsessed? Were you stalking the pioneering fusion chef in the good old food-truck glory days, when the only way to get a taste of Korean-style short rib in a tortilla was to track, via Twitter, the every move of the sole Kogi truck?
Did you get extra stoked on Chego, the contemporary rice-bowl operation now based in the Far East Plaza in Chinatown? These days there's A-Frame, Sunny Spot, POT, Commissary and the not-so-secret Choi collaborations at Alibi Room and 3 Worlds Cafe to fuel cravings for Choi's L.A.-native cooking style. But even after the celebrity chef with seemingly endless momentum inched closer to his dream of changing the fast-food game with the first Loco'l in Watts, did you ever think you'd be microwaving half-prefab delivery orders of Choi's pork kimchi fried rice and cheesy short rib ramen for dinner?
If we had a hankering for a Sour Cream Hen House Bowl or a Blue Moon Mulita at home, it used to be that we'd stop at Alibi Room or Chego after work, or track down one of the four Kogi trucks now roaming various parts of Greater L.A. But here we are, ordering a Choi meal from a company called Munchery days in advance, then heating it and eating it alone at the dining room table.
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Munchery is a meal delivery service that's not as impulsive as UberEats but serves essentially the same purpose: not settling for shitty takeout. View the menu for your ZIP code (currently, they're only delivering in an area stretching from the Westside to downtown), place your order up to two hours before and choose an hourlong window during which you want your food to show up (dinner hours only). And show up it will, half-made and prepped at a commissary in Gardena.
Unlike other similar operations that promise sleek, home-style meals at a fraction of the cost of hiring a personal chef or meal planner, Munchery has the benefit of custom meal options made by high-profile chefs. Choi is its biggest name yet. The launch of Choi's two Munchery items last week came with a debut of the dishes at the Line Hotel, which was so heavily attended that the line swept down Wilshire Boulevard. Our first order of Choi's Munchery meals came with a custom tote bag and a postcard advertising a corresponding playlist on Google Music, a reggae- and Caribbean-themed set of tracks called "Sunny Patio Vibes," which we were supposed to listen to while letting the two slices of American cheese melt in Choi's heavy red ramen sauce.
With Kogi, Choi proved early on that he doesn't need a restaurant to serve his food. The Munchery collaboration, an extension of Choi's popularity over the last few years, proves his name is enough to get fans to experiment with an entirely new way of eating: chef-driven delivery.