Holiday dinners are stressful enough. Ditch dinner reservations and hours in the kitchen for a ready-made holiday dinner. Step 1: pick your menu. Step 2: place you order. Step 3: pick up order. Step 4: Eat. There'll be ample time for chestnuts roasting, yuletide caroling (and eggnog toasting). Turn the page for 10 Los Angeles restaurants with great holiday take-out menus, in no particular order.
10. For the Californian: Huckleberry
What: With a growing empire in Santa Monica, the bakery/cafe's seasonal, market-driven menu includes the usual faves and all things baked for dessert and Christmas morning. Menu: None of your tablemates would bat an eye at quinoa cakes with spinach and butternut quash, raw kale salad with golden raisins and pine nuts, persimmon spice cake, and whole wheat shortbread snowmen and Valrhona chocolate chip cookies served alongside braised chicken with figs or turkey meatballs (both free-range, of course). Plus: Fake it at home with a take and bake coffee cake — just pop it in the oven — or bring your own bowl for a faux-homemade trifle with raspberries. Order by: 48 hours notice. 1014 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 451-2311.
9. For the Silverton/Batali-in-Training: Mozza 2 Go
What: In addition to the regular catering menu items of carb-heavy delights like panini, pizza, and focaccia, Pizzeria Mozza's to-go annex offers contorni and dolci. Menu: Italian sides include Brussels sprouts with prosciutto breadcrumbs, Cipollini with thyme and sherry vinegar, and cannellini beans with Swiss chard. For something sweet, there are a variety of tarts — pumpkin and Medjool date, spiced apple crumble, toasted pecan — and spice ginger pigs — swine-shaped gingerbread cookies worthy of any faithful foodie. Order by: 48 hours notice. 6610 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 297-1130.
8. For the Vegan: M Cafe
What: Vegan, macrobiotic, early-bird detoxifying? M Café placates the most particular (and healthiest) of eaters. Menu: $70 for two or $135 four, the three-course prix fixe menu includes celery root soup, winter field greens with fennel, cranberries and Bosc pear, smoked tofu, pumpkin and chestnut terrine en croute. If that's not objectionable enough, there's always (optional) dessert — raspberry sacher torte, cranberry apple tart, or chocolate truffles. Order by: December 22 by 5 pm. 7119 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 525-0588; 9433 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, (310) 858-8459.
7. For the Kids: Clementine
What: What child wouldn't like mini mac and cheese, chicken pot pie, scones, and Sloppy Joe sliders? The Century City lunchtime spot covers dinner into Christmas morning. Menu: Take home shepherd's pie or baked penne and DIY holiday shortbread complete with sanding sugars in different holiday colors. Breakfast options include egg strata, quiche, blueberry sour cream coffee cake, fresh-squeezed OJ, and heat-at-home hot chocolate and homemade chai. Order by: 48 hours notice. 1751 Ensley Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 552-1080.
6. For the Wine Lover: The Larder at Tavern
What: Sure to please any oenophile, Suzanne Goin's Brentwood retail bakery/cafe offers a rib roast dinner for eight that includes all the fixings and an additional wine pairing – two bottles each of sparkling cremant, chardonnay, and syrah. Menu: The Niman Ranch beef roast comes with Little Gems salad, mashed potatoes, Italian broccoli, Brussels sprouts, brioche bread pudding with brandied apples, Suzanne's chocolate cake with crushed almond roca, dinner rolls, and assorted holiday cookies. The la carte menu includes Bourbon-glazed Niman Ranch spiral cut ham and herb-brined Organic Diestl Farms turkey and all things baked — variety of breads, pecan sticky buns, chocolate-gingerbread load with spiced rum frosting — and boozey — wines sparkling, white, red, and Big Daddy's holiday eggnog. Order by: December 21 at 5 pm for Christmas Eve pick-up or delivery. 11648 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 806-6466.
5. Hanukkah: Akasha
What: The Festival of Lights started yesterday and the prix fixe menu of traditional fare is offered until the 28th. Menu: $400 gets your party of eight chopped liver with petit arugula salad and sliced ciabatta, latkes with apple sauce and sour cream, slow-roasted Niman Ranch brisket, roasted carrots and Cipollini onions, and assorted Hanukkah cupcakes and cookies shaped like menorah and driedel, driedel, driedel. Order by: 24 hours notice. 9543 Culver Blvd., Culver City. (310) 845-1700.
4. Mexican Christmas: Loteria! Grill
What: Nothing says Feliz Navidad in L.A. like tamales, which you can pick up at Studio City, Hollywood, or the Farmer's Market. Menu: $40 gets you a dozen tamales savory — chicken in mole poblano, poblano chile and cheese, pork carnitas, and zucchini and roasted corn — and sweet — pineapple and sweet corn. Order by: 48 hours notice. 6333 W. 3rd St., Stall #322, Los Angeles, (323) 933-2211; 6627 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 465-2500; 12050 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 508-5300.
3. Parte Dos: Guelaguetza
What: If tamales alone won't cut it (they have those too), round out your Oaxacan feast with roasted pork and side. Menu: Choose the $150 roasted pork leg or $125 roasted pork loin which serves ten to twelve and comes with bread rolls, baked mashed potatoes, spaghetti in poblano pepper sauce, and Ensalada Navidad of beets, jicama, pineapple, and prunes. Order by: 48 hours notice. 3014 W. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, (213) 427-0608.
2. For the Kennedys-in-Training: Joan's on Third
What: The one-stop-shop marketplace offers a lavish and extensive spread to impress the in-laws and satisfy the entire brood. Menu: Deck your holiday table with schmancy hors d'oeuvres like grilled maple rosemary flank steak skewers or mini Coquille St. Jacques served in scallop shells (both sold by the dozen) and retro-fab entrees like beef Wellington and chicken pot pie. If beef tenderloin with Marsala demi-glace for eight to ten isn't enough, the apricot-glazed ham serves 20 to 14 or supersized to serve 20 to 25. Order by: December 20 by 3 pm. 8350 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles. (323) 655-2285.
1. Dinner for Two: Larchmont Larder
What: The quaint Larchmont storefront/deli has a short list of classic appetizers, sides, desserts, and entrees in individual portions or for two.
Menu: Start with lobster bisque with Armagnac, serve beef Bourguignon alongside mashed potatoes and sauteed green beans with almonds, and end with banana cream pie or assorted holiday cookies that include gingerbread, snickerdoodle, and flourless hazelnut and almond Swiss Christmas cookies. Order by: Call ahead or hop online by December 21st by noon. 626 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 962-9900.