These aren't regular dining establishments with tables, chairs and waiters. There's no water service at any restaurant on this list, and your only recommended wine pairing is whatever you've still got half-corked in your pantry. Sure, there may be an errant stool or two in some of these take-out spots, but their core business -- and the only reason you'd want to show up at all -- is take-out food. This is great food that travels well, so you don't have to get off your couch to enjoy what L.A. has to offer.
We have to wonder what the woman's co-workers were thinking as she was giggling her ass off while taking Fareira's order over her headset. It's the kind of fun, random thing we wish would happen to us at work when we answer the phone, and some musically gifted person starts serenading us about the TPS reports.
The internet has allowed for the dissemination of stupidity at a rate greater than anyone could have imagined. Witness (now ex-) UCLA student Alexandra Wallace. Her rant, ostensibly about Asians talking on cell phones in the library but touching on subjects as questionably diverse as the closeness of Asian families and the recent tsunami in Japan, got more than a million hits on YouTube and tons of news coverage. The video also hit on another internet-age phenomenon: the parody response video. Hundreds of people, students and otherwise, posted their own take on the original rant, whether in the form of straightforward satire or dubstep remix.
Continuing to fight racism with humor -- and continuing the spirit of all of those parodies -- is Ching Chong Ling Long Gourmet Takeout, a Chinese food delivery service formed by the partnership of The Palace Restaurant in Brentwood and the students behind UCLA Munchies.
If the name of Gjelina's to-go annex, now open three weeks, is simply Gjelina Take Away, then we should expect it to be an absolute reflection of chef Travis Lett's Venice restaurant Gjelina, the only difference being that its food is made to be taken away. Wonder of wonders, GTA is just that. Three weeks after its opening, we find that its food is just as fresh, its servers just as hip and its prices just as high.
Starry Kitchen, Chego, and a good number of eateries in the city already package their foods in eco-friendly to-go containers, but if the state Senate has its way, all food vendors in the state will be prohibited from using
Styrofoam, er, expanded polystyrene foam starting in 2014. Not at all discouraged by the Legislature's recent failure to ban plastic bags, local state Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) introduced a bill in February to ban food vendors, including restaurants, from using the classic clamshell and its related plastic family of convenient take-out and to-go packages. SB 568 passed the Senate by a tight 21 to 15 margin, and is now in the hands of the state Assembly.
The Senator tells us what we already know: this stuff is everywhere. Fifteen percent of the litter in the state is expanded polystyrene foam, thanks to the apparently millions of people who think the world is their oyster and trash can. The foamy plastic is not biodegradable, but, because it is recyclable, cities that establish a recycling program specifically for the material will be exempt from the bill.
Guess who's for and against the bill? You're probably right.
The concept, we are told in the Introduction, is to resolve the "problem" that takeout delivery isn't cheap. And so this book aims to help those who feel that "replicating the familiar flavors in your favorite Chinese, Thai, Mexican and pizza dishes may feel like an impossible task." Funny, we never thought of cooking takeout as impossible, just somewhat bland.
Then again, much as we thrive on affordable home cooking, we also prefer the farmers market to the grocery store produce aisle, so it's safe to say we are probably not the intended demographic for this cookbook. Nonetheless...
When it comes to picnics, it's best to think small. Especially since the idea of a picnic is more chill out than cook-out, ready-made, easy to handle and highly shareable provisions are a must. Small snacks like cheeses, olives and nuts, are typical and on their own can make up quite a feast. This is why, when selecting a main dish for the picnic, keep it on the same small scale and go with the mini sandwich.
Why go mini instead of deli? While deli sandwiches like Bay Cities' legendary Godmother are great for game day, for picnics, not so much. Aside from being a meal on its own, the Godmother is notoriously napkin intensive. Eating one requires focus. Meanwhile, picnics are meant to be leisurely social affairs, the food and company should be enjoyed without ever having to worry about half a sandwich falling on one's lap.
Love fish custard, but wish it didn't keep you saddled to the table? Silom Supermarket, the grocery store in Hollywood's Thailand Plaza, may have the answer you've been looking for: ho mok.
This popular Northern Thai street food, which slightly resembles a cupcake, combines bite-size morsels of white fish with coconut cream, eggs, red curry, and kaffir limes leaves. The mixture is then placed into individual banana leaf baskets and steamed, creating a kind of sublimely rich, spicy fish pâté. Proving the beauty and necessity of such mobile coconut-based seafood curries, similar dishes can be found throughout South East Asia, like the Peranakan otak-otak or the Cambodian fish mousse amok.
However Curry House has a secret weapon--for many years literally secret. It did not appear on the menu and was only available to-go. Curry pan are deep-fried capsules of yeast dough concealing a payload of extra-spicy curried potato. These small pleasures are a rarity in Los Angeles outside of the occasional Japanese food fair. One makes a fine appetizer or snack; two are nearly enough for a meal, and a steal at $1.80 per. Cooked to order, the panko-dusted pods inflate in the fryer and expel a palate-scarring jet of chilied air when breached. Be patient but unafraid. Curry pan is just about the only reason to visit the Curry House chain, and bodily injury is a justifiable risk.
Curry House: 1425 W. Artesia Boulevard, Gardena; (310) 323-7017.
The shop opened just two weeks ago, and also features teas and smoothies, as well as bento boxes, sandwiches, crepes, and a small selection of wine and cheese. The coffee itself is made from a mixture of organic beans from throughout South America, which are then roasted in a pan by hand over Japanese charcoal. Chef Mitsuno's associate, Katsumi Iwanaka, explained the differences by saying that "the fire is more delicate for the material. Gas fire is too fast. It is not as subtle."
Box Café: open Tuesday-Friday 8am to midnight, Saturday-Sunday 10am to midnight., 2117 Sawtelle Blvd, West L.A.