From whole roast chickens to DIY sushi boxes, here’s how to create unforgettable, zero-stress holiday meals at home
Words by ANUSH J. BENLIYAN
It’s clear that the restaurants of Los Angeles — and across the state and country — have taken a heart-wrenching hit during the pandemic. Over the last few months, we’ve had to bid farewell to many neighborhood favorites, including Dialogue in Santa Monica, Bäco Mercat in Downtown L.A., Trois Mec in Hollywood, Din Tai Fung in Arcadia and Jun Won in Koreatown, just to name a few. Now, as Coronavirus cases continue to surge in California and we face another stay-at-home order, restaurants throughout SoCal, the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley are forced again to close their dining areas and offer just takeout and delivery. And while the Independent Restaurant Coalition continues its efforts to help the industry — including the urging of Congress to pass immediate restaurant relief — we are still doing our part to support our neighborhood businesses.
Here, we’ve put together a list of just some of the notable new take-away offerings available across Los Angeles — spanning Culver City to Boyle Heights, Santa Monica to Los Feliz — from Michelin-star gems n/naka and Hayato, just-opened establishments such as Gigi’s and Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co, and longtime go-tos like Gjelina and Rustic Canyon. Though we’ll be sheltering in place, we will, of course, be indulging in some takeout — and helping support our local restaurants and communities as best we can.
Clockwise from top left: GIGI’s roast chicken. The Wilmot cocktail. Achadinha Cheese Co.’s Broncha cheese with a small baguette and fig jam. The signature cheeseburger is made with a Martin’s potato bun, caramelized onions and pickles. Food photos by Liz Barclay. Cocktail photo by Charlotte Lansbury.
Pardon My French
A Californian take on the old school Parisian bistro, Gigi’s just opened in Hollywood’s Sycamore district with a takeout menu — by executive chef Matt Bollinger, formerly of Trois Familia, Winsome and Jean Georges — of classic dishes such as steak frites, cheeseburgers with caramelized onions, jambon beurre sandwiches and beef bourguignon. Don’t miss their Sundays-only whole fried chicken; their baguette/cheese/jam combos; and their wine program — including a natural wine club with “text-a-somm” services, and a $40 mystery bottle pairing for your takeaway order — led by celebrated sommelier and Nomadica founder Kristin Olszewski. 904 N. Sycamore Ave., L.A.
N/NAKA’s limited-edition HOME ASSEMBLY meal box comes with detailed instructions on how to perfectly prepare your three-course meal at home.
Chefs Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama and their Michelin-starred team at n/naka have collaborated with artist Glenn Kaino and DJ Liza Richardson to create an immersive, limited-time Home Assembly cook-at-home meal box that’s presented by and benefitting local arts nonprofit Active Cultures. Available for pre-order and pickup through January, the kit features the chefs’ recipes and prepped ingredients for three courses: seared albacore sashimi salad with miso garlic dressing to start; Santa Barbara kelp-roasted branzino with udon vongole for the main; and for dessert, yuzu pound cake with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Each order ($175) feeds two and includes a limited-edition candle by Kaino and a special playlist by Richardson (formerly of KCRW). 3455 Overland Ave., L.A.
From left: Chef MARIO CHRISTERNA pays homage to the corner store snacks he grew up eating with his Flamin’ Hot Cheetos wings. BROOKLYN AVE. PIZZA CO.’s mole pizza. Photos by Jakob Layman.
Community leader and Boyle Heights native Mario Christerna recently debuted his new eatery, Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. — named after the original street now known as Cesar E. Chavez Avenue — on the ground floor of The Paramount. Paying respects to the landmark’s history as the Jewish Bakers Union headquarters while weaving in his own Mexican and Chicano heritage, the rising chef’s delivery and takeout offerings range from mole wood-fired pizza with queso Oaxaca, curtido and crema to loaded Chicano gravy potatoes with beef chorizo to Flamin’ Hot Cheetos wings. And even the boozy signature cocktails take inspiration from the neighborhood, be it the Elote Old Fashioned or the Mama Mango-nada. 2706 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., L.A.
At Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co., chef Mario Christerna weaves together his Mexican and Chicano heritage with Boyle Heights’ local history.
From left: With THE AVIARY libation kits, you can recreate the Vesper cocktail at home. VESPERTINE’s ALINEA tribute dinner includes the dish “beef, elements of root beer.” Photos by The Alinea Group.
Ode to Modernism
Since its 2017 debut in Culver City’s Hayden Tract, Vespertine has been pushing the boundaries of L.A.’s culinary landscape, and chef Jordan Kahn’s monthly themed to-go offerings are a prime example. The latest iteration, available through December 27 — and possibly for New Year’s Eve — is a tribute to Chicago’s molecular gastronomy mecca, Alinea. The eight-course takeout tasting menu features recreated dishes from Alinea’s inaugural year, including “beef, elements of root beer” and “halibut, shellfish custard, hyacinth vapor,” and is available in two formats (both with a two-guest minimum): a ready-to-eat option with individually plated portions ($115/person) and a family-style version which you heat up and plate yourself ($95/person). Not to miss: The Aviary cocktail kits, which will have you mixing the world-renowned bar’s libations at home. 3599 Hayden Ave., Culver City.
A spread of Southern comfort food at RUSTIC CANYON’s temporary GRIN & BEAR IT pop-up.
Pivoting in the time of the pandemic, Santa Monica’s beloved Rustic Canyon has transformed into a Southern comfort food pop-up called Grin & Bear It. For the menu, executive chef Andy Doubrava reflected on his 2017 trip to the region wherein he stayed and worked at biodynamic farms. The resulting dishes (available for curbside pickup, takeout or delivery) showcase the team’s grilling, smoking and fermenting skills, and the local farmers’ bounty. Think sour corn biscuits, whole honey-roasted chicken, pork ribs in Andouille sauce, and beef brisket with a red eye gravy made with smoked onions and coffee bean miso. 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica.
From left: Michelin-starred chef BRANDON GO assembling a made-to-order bento box. HAYATO’s limited-time Orizume sushi dinner box.
Out of the Box
Serving up what is arguably some of the prettiest takeout in town, Michelin-starred Hayato at Row DTLA, where chef Brandon Go specializes in Washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine) and made-to-order bento boxes, is offering a new takeout sushi Orizume dinner box this month in addition to his weekend lunch bentos. The limited-time option ($340), which feeds two, harks back to the chef’s early days in the kitchen, when he would work at his Japanese father’s L.A. sushi restaurant as a teenager. 1320 E. 7th St., Ste. 126, L.A.
From left: The Blanco pizza at GJELINA’s new pop-up. Margaritas, negronis, old fashioneds and other bottled cocktails.
Slice to See You
Venice’s Gjelina is closed for the time being, but the local favorite is still satisfying cravings on the West Side this month with a new pizza pop-up. Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains’ residential Rustic Canyon neighborhood, the walk-up-only outpost is serving up Gjelina wood-fired pizzas (including mixed mushroom, blanco and guanciale), salads, margaritas, negronis, wine and beers, all to-go, Wednesdays through Sundays. 169 W. Channel Rd., Santa Monica.
Gjelina’s Santa Monica Canyon pop-up is serving up wood-fired pizzas and bottled craft cocktails to-go.
Clockwise from top left: Hand rolls are the house specialty at SOGO ROLL BAR. Chef KIMINOBU SAITO in his element. The new hand roll kits include four types of fish, rice, nori and condiments.
Roll With It
Specializing in high-quality hand rolls and grab-and-go cut rolls, Sogo Roll Bar opened earlier this year in Los Feliz with an all-star team behind it, including Sushi Note’s Kiminobu Saito (a longtime L.A. sushi chef and Nobu alum); and Dustin Lancaster and Sarah Dietz of An Eastside Establishment (Bar Covell, Hotel Covell, L&E Oyster Bar). Its latest offering is the new DIY hand roll kit ($40), which includes all you need for eight hand rolls, with fresh nori, rice, garnishes and your choice of up to four types of fish — Bluefin tuna, salmon, yellowtail, scallops, spicy tuna and more. 4634 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.
Let PASJOLI take care of your holiday dinners with acclaimed chef DAVE BERAN’s festive, multicourse at-home meals, which include special treats like cookie decorating kits or champagne flutes.
Home for the Holidays
Chef Dave Beran unfortunately had to shutter his Michelin-starred Santa Monica restaurant, Dialogue, in November, but the James Beard Award winner’s nearby Pasjoli bistro, which he opened just over a year ago, is still serving up delectable, elegant yet approachable French fare that’s not to miss. For the season, Beran is preparing festive meals to-go, including a Holidays at Home offering ($130/ticket), available for pick up starting December 23, which features a rosemary leg of lamb, half chicken with champagne jus, fennel gratin, and more, including a chocolate yule log and sugar cookies with a decorating kit. Also on offer is a NYE at Home meal ($200/ticket), which includes house-baked pretzel rolls with caviar and creme fraiche, jumbo shrimp cocktail with fermented tomato cocktail sauce, ribeye steak with mashed potatoes, white truffle eclairs, half a bottle of Champagne Taittinger, a keepsake champagne flute, and other surprises. 2732 Main St., Santa Monica.
LUCKY’S MALIBU recently debuted with a takeout menu and a special “Butcher Block” offering that allows you to cook prime-quality steaks to perfection.
Montecito mainstay Lucky’s finally soft-opened its L.A. outpost this month. Launching with a to-go-only menu, for now, Lucky’s Malibu offers the original location’s steakhouse favorites, including aged USDA filet mignon and bone-in New York steak, matzo ball soup, the chopped salad, potato sides and more. The Malibu restaurant also has an impressive to-go menu of world class wines, as well as a “Butcher Block” offering: prime-quality raw cuts that each come with Lucky’s steak rub and detailed instructions for you to cook them to perfection at home. 3835 Cross Creek Rd., Ste. 18, Malibu.
Feature image: HAYATO’s limited-time takeout sushi Orizume dinner box.
Dec. 16, 2020
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