The first time you order to go at Chego and the cashier directs you to a rectangular holding cell near the kitchen, it's sort of befuddling. You survey the piles of napkins, sheets of tin foil, and biodegradable cardboard lids and think, "WTF?" The policy of having a customer bundle up their own takeout seems to flunk a Gilbrethian time-motion efficiency study. Does leaving you to box your Ooey Gooey Fries or 3 PM Meatballs really make Chego run that much faster? The answer is probably no, but is that the point anyway?
While you're waiting for your assigned number to be called, you can not only spy on the hustling line cooks in Chego's tiny kitchen you can also breathe in an aromatic perfume made up of equal parts Chinese broccoli, Indonesian sambal, Thai basil and red jalapeño (the ingredients of your Sour Cream Henhouse).
But the best part is that when you're in charge of packing up, you never arrive home with Buttered Kimchi Chow sloshing around the inside of your sodden brown paper sack because a restaurant staffer didn't secure the container properly or find your order of Chubby Pork Belly missing and something you didn't want in its place. And when it comes to takeout, getting what you paid for is truly a blessing.
Our Best of L.A. issue is now out; this is one of over 400 pieces in this year's issue. Check it out.