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4 Restaurants to Order Takeout From This Weekend in LA

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Eat well and stay safe while supporting Los Angeles’s vibrant restaurant scene

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A takeout/to-go window wrapped in wood for a new sushi restaurant, at night.
For sushi to-go or on a pleasant Burbank patio: Yakumi
Wonho Frank Lee

Every Friday our editors compile a trusty list of recommendations to answer the most pressing of questions: “Where should I eat?“ Here now are four places to get takeout this weekend.

April 9, 2021

For sushi on a sunny Burbank patio: Yakumi

If your family is anything like mine, it’s probably been a while since you’ve dined out at a restaurant. But with vaccinations on the rise, COVID cases on the low, and the gorgeous springtime weather, dinners out are starting to sound more appealing. For those ready to dine out, head to Yakumi in Burbank for set sushi menus, fast-casual service, and a sun-soaked patio. Service contact is minimal here beyond placing one’s initial ordering. However, for those still hesitant to dine out in public there’s also a to-go window too. Yakumi’s menu of simple rolls and nigiri caters to most tastes — the highlight is the crab hand roll wrapped in soy paper and fortified with butter. 3919 W. Riverside Dr., Burbank. —Cathy Chaplin

For the classic small town Italian deli experience in Gardena: Giuliano’s

For the classic small town Italian deli experience in Gardena: Giuliano’s.
For the classic small town Italian deli experience in Gardena: Giuliano’s
Matthew Kang

The contrast between the Giuliano’s deli in Torrance and Gardena is stark. In Torrance, the location closer to me and therefore the one I frequent, it’s as boring and characterless as a CVS. In Gardena, the scene is lively, convivial, and colorful — the way a neighborhood Italian deli and market should be. I’ll never go back to Torrance’s outlet again if I can help it. Gardena has wood-paneled walls, well-stocked shelves, grab-and-go items, and a wide array of baked goods. The smells alone, of baking bread, sweet cookies, and toasted Italian sandwiches, are worth the visit. The $10 chicken parm is as old-school as it gets, with dense chicken meat lightly covered in pomodoro and mozzarella. It’s big enough for two meals honestly, so get a salad to balance out the heft of this sandwich. 1138 West Gardena Blvd., Gardena. —Matthew Kang

For gorgeous home made bread pudding: Elaine’s Bread Pudding

Derrick Russell’s entire business is based on one dish, his mother’s bread pudding. After Elaine passed away eight years ago, Russell started making his mother’s signature recipe for friends and family during the Christmas holidays. That gift turned out to be a popular one as the requests piled in for extra orders. Since starting the business in 2018, Russell developed 25 different flavors. Each one has a pillowy yet firm consistency, and the flavors — bananas foster, lemonade, Orleans strawberry, peanut butter and jelly, caramel cake, and banana — change every week. Filled with cinnamon, brown sugar, and pecans, the sock-it-to-me bread pudding is other worldly. Check Elaine’s Bread Pudding Instagram page for ordering instructions. Note: Elaine’s Bread Pudding will pop-up at Inglewood’s Sammich Shoppe this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. —Mona Holmes

For a drink and a bite on a killer patio: HiDef Brewing

It’s outdoor drinking season in Downtown LA, so why not swing through for a few brews at HiDef Brewing on Olive Street in South Park? The spacious setup leaves room to pick-up takeout cans from inside the former warehouse building, or to linger with friends in a repurposed back parking lot that now houses tables, shade, and food trucks like the Tumaca Truck — all perfect for a spring open-air session with some friends. 1203 S. Olive Street, South Park. —Farley Elliott

April 2, 2021

For Hollywood eats without the meats: Brothers Meatballs

It’s hard to imagine an easier faux-meat meal to make popular than the meatball sub. The big, usually wet and rich sandwiches are already overloaded with flavors, making the quality of the ground meat itself a nominal addition. So why not form up some Impossible Foods plant-based faux meat and add some Follow Your Heart non-dairy cheese to the mix, without feeling like there’s something missing from the final equation? Indeed, that’s the plan at Brothers Meatballs, the new meatless addition to LA’s vibrant vegan scene. Located in the heart of Hollywood in the former Bowery space (home to its own famous, meaty pub burger at one time), this recent arrival does meatball subs of various design as well as plates of eggplant parm and beyond. It’s all just as rich, decadent, and delicious as the ‘regular’ stuff, ideal for springtime patio eating and lots of tourist watching. 6268 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. —Farley Elliott

For flavorful and healthful fare on-the-go: Kye’s Feel Good Food

It’s shaping up to be a beautiful weekend here in LA (again...), so spending time outside with plenty of fresh air and sunshine is the order of the day. For those looking for something portable and delicious to take to the beach, mountains, or park, Kye’s line of wraps called Kyeritos are just the thing. The Reuben wrap with nitrate-free beef pastrami, sauerkraut, and house-made Thousand Island is a flavorful powerhouse that doesn’t beg for cheese or rye. Also hearty and satisfying is the nori burger made with grass-fed beef and all the proper fixings like ketchup, mustard, onion, and pickles. 615 N Western Ave., Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For a breezy tour through modern Mexican fare in Arts District: Cha Cha Chá

A plate of the chicharos de sierra, spring peas with serrano aioli and crispy potato.
For a breezy tour through modern Mexican fare in Arts District: Cha Cha Chá
Wonho Frank Lee

Alejandro Guzman has successfully captured the spirit of bustling Mexico City here in Los Angeles. The former Le Comptoir chef might have traded in fine dining for a kitchen with a lot more volume but the quality on the plate holds up. A scallop aguachile carries serrano heat while the the chicharos de sierra, or spring peas, are probably the best new appetizer in the city right now. I marveled over the quality of the grilled red snapper, perfumed with charred lettuces and cooked to a platonic ideal. The lush rooftop scene is great too, with a nice enough view of Downtown to let you know you’re in LA but without the buildings towering over. 812 E 3rd Street. —Matthew Kang

For a quick little street snack, or more: Spoon & Pork

There’s no way to go wrong at Spoon & Pork in Silver Lake, really. The restaurant is built for so many things, in part because of the pandemic but also because, well, that’s just how the team likes to make its menu: simple, but effective. The easiest way in is to grab a couple adobo belly nigiri, a Japanese-Filipino mash-up that features rich pork over nori and rice. For something heartier, there’s twice-cooked hot wings served with Hawaiian rolls, or lechon kawali bowls and a longanissa burger with fried egg on top. Still not satisfied? Try the pancit wheat noodles or garlic fried rice and a seat on the patio. Spoon & Pork really does scale up or down depending on anyone’s needs, but there’s one thing that remains a staple for the place: It offers nothing but fantastic Filipino food, from top to bottom. The rest is up to you. 3131 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake. —Farley Elliott

March 26, 2021

For delicious brisket: Wood Urban Kitchen

March is that time of year when brisket cravings hit hard and everyone seems to be preparing it for either St. Patrick’s Day or Passover. It’s a dish that requires patience, with an end result of falling off the bone and accompanying juiciness. I’ve fallen for Wood Urban Kitchen’s barbecue brisket where owner Jonathan Deveaux makes a respectable batch. The barbecue sauce isn’t required for this dish, but is delicious and served on the side for one to apply the preferred amount. As someone who prefers my mother’s mac and cheese recipe, Wood Urban’s stands up to mom’s signature dish, so order some along with barbecue beans from this establishment on a historic Inglewood street. 129 N. Market St., Inglewood. —Mona Holmes

For the vegan breakfast burrito you didn’t know you needed: Burgerlords

Los Angeles loves a great breakfast burrito, though precisely what style is up for much debate. Sausage links or bacon? Hash browns or home fries? Fried eggs or scrambled? And what about pastrami, cheese, chili, machaca, or hotly-debated rice and beans? Better yet: What about going fully vegan? It’s possible at Burgerlords in Chinatown and Highland Park — and even traditional breakfast burrito fans may not notice much of a difference. The plant-based shop doesn’t use eggs (thank you, turmeric tofu) or meat, relying instead on a house-made vegan burger patty, crispy potatoes, and vegan-friendly cheese. The result is in some ways unlike any other breakfast burrito in LA at the moment, and no less delicious. But, thought, another way, with its crispy, cheesy, egg-rubbery innards, and satisfying heft, maybe it’s exactly like so many other breakfast burritos around LA — and maybe that’s precisely the point. 110 N. Avenue 56, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott

For a charming evening hangout with Korean drinking food: Pocha at MCO

For a charming evening hangout with Korean drinking food: Pocha at MCO.
For a charming evening hangout with Korean drinking food: Pocha at MCO
Matthew Kang

Western Koreatown’s caffeine destination Coffee MCO turns into a lovely evening pocha (Korean drinking spot) on weekends serving delightful fresh seafood, grilled skewers, and other classic drinking dishes. The covered outdoor dining area brims with energy, with a diverse crowd filling most of the tables by mid-evening. The quality of product is really good, especially the oysters. The pan-seared baby octopus is probably the highlight on the menu, brushed with gochujang and cooked to a tender chew on a cast iron skillet. I could see this becoming a big hit during the long, warm LA summers. 2580 W. Olympic Blvd., Unit #2, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

For a sandwich that travels exceedingly well: Roma Market

Most everyone knows how good the sandwich at Pasadena’s Roma Market is — a simple sub built on a sturdy Italian roll that’s drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, and layered with provolone, mortadella, spiced coppa, and salami — but not everyone knows about its traveling prowess. After a long drive from the Verdugos to Manhattan Beach, the sandwich survived hours more of playing in the sand and waves before lunchtime. Once it was time to eat, the sandwich wasn’t the least bit soggy and retained its freshness with aplomb. Hats off to Rosario Mazzeo and his team for making a sandwich that can withstand traffic, time, and travel. 918 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena. —Cathy Chaplin

March 19, 2021

For a big, messy burger with a side of hope: Lowboy

For a big, messy burger with a side of hope: Lowboy.
For a big, messy burger with a side of hope: Lowboy
Farley Elliott

There are signs of restaurant life in Echo Park these days. Fans are lining up for Konbi once again, weekend outdoor brunch is back at Ostrich Farm, and evening bar spot Lowboy feels increasingly energetic as the sun goes down. The easing of local pandemic restrictions and a growing sense that Los Angeles may soon be able to look past this horrible, deadly year have combined to make Lowboy a hangout for the hopeful, a distanced dining destination for those who choose to see a happier summer ahead. If that’s your vibe, consider stopping in for a cocktail and the bar burger. The double comes stacked with well-griddled beef patties and plenty of American cheese (don’t they all), along with the surprising addition of jammy red peppers and plenty of griddled onions. There’s a lot to like about the finished product, served hot in the sunshine on a day when the world feels just a little bit okay. A few bites in, sitting with a friend or loved one, and it just may hit you: There’s life again at Lowboy, and hope again in Echo Park. 1540 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott

For a new Korean restaurant for crab obsessives: Rich Crab

For a new Korean restaurant for crab obsessives: Rich Crab.
For a new Korean restaurant for crab obsessives: Rich Crab
Matthew Kang

Korean ganjang gejang, or soy-marinated crab, is one of the most delicious things to eat in the entire cuisine. Here in LA, a few practitioners have started to notice the dish’s impending popularity, and Rich Crab hopes to capture some of that with a new opening inside a popular 3rd Street strip mall. Going into the former Jinsol Gukbap space (a tough loss), Rich Crab serves coursed meals starting with a spicy braised salmon head, kimchi pancake, and then two types of raw crab. First the spicy cousin, caked with a sweet red chile sauce and featuring excellent freshness, then the beguiling ganjang version, sporting ultra sweet and rich marinated crab. The flavors are fresher but more subtle here than Soban, which gives their crab a bit more time to develop flavor. But Rich Crab takes the formula further by completing the meal like longtime favorite Ondal, serving numerous sliced crabs in a spicy, brothy stew chock-full of bean sprouts, Korean daikon, and briny sea squirts that continues to boil right at the table. It’s too early to tell how busy Rich Crab will be, but so far it gets high marks on quality. 4253 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

For an unfussy Peruvian fix: Mario’s Peruvian Seafood

Even though it’s been well over two decades since Mario’s first came onto the Hollywood scene, the restaurant feels as vibrant and vital as ever. Quick and efficient service, coupled with dependably good food, keeps diners coming in year after year. The lomo saltado, which nearly everyone orders, is a robust stir-fry of beefsteak, onions, tomatoes, and french fries seasoned with soy sauce, vinegar, and chiles. The arroz chaufa de pollo, a Chinese-style fried rice, is executed simply and effectively. Asian flavors are echoed in the tallarin con carne as well. This Peruvian-style chow mein with tender slices of beef sticks to your ribs and then some. 5786 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For mochi from one of LA’s oldest establishments: Fugetsu-Do

It’s a safe bet that plenty of LA residents have grown up on Fugetsu-Do’s mochi or manjū, so there’s something special about trekking to Little Tokyo and perusing the store for something sweet from this 117-year-old shop. A member of the Kito family has owned this historic spot for three generations and it’s a charming place to be on any given day. Everything is colorful, gorgeous, and asking questions will inevitably lead you down a rabbit hole of how certain flavors came to be. If unsure of what to order, go for the ever-popular rainbow dango mochi. It’s a cheery sight to take in those colors, but even more satisfying to take a bite. 315 East 1st Street, Little Tokyo. —Mona Holmes

March 12, 2021

For an indulgent takeout sushi meal that brings all the right comfort: Sugarfish

For an indulgent takeout sushi meal that brings all the right comfort: Sugarfish.
For an indulgent takeout sushi meal that brings all the right comfort: Sugarfish
Matthew Kang

As on-site dining slowly returns in Los Angeles, it’s time to recognize that Sugarfish’s truly well-thought takeout bento has been a respite to so many during the pandemic. I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend evening at home than opening up this beautifully presented box of fresh fish and seasoned rice. The quality is excellent on all fronts, but what really seals it for me is the way the whole meal resembles an experience at the restaurant, down to the details of how to sauce and garnish each nigiri. On a recent night when my family needed something to bring immediate comfort, Sugarfish hit the right spot. Various locations, delivery through Postmates. —Matthew Kang

For a nostalgic dessert: Fun Diggity Funnel Cakes

While on the phone recently with Fun-Diggity Funnel-Cakes owner Cheyenne Brown, she shouted ‘Have a fun diggity day!’ before hanging up. I was so stunned that I smiled and laughed. She launched the business from her home five years ago with a tested recipe that can withstand many minutes of ice cream, whipped cream, and saucy strawberries — keeping its crunch and incredible flavor. Just walk up to the window of her home and Brown will happily hand over a towering funnel cake that will make you smile, which is what we all really need right now, isn’t it? 222 E. 120th St., Los Angeles. —Mona Holmes

For a taste of the talk of the town: Courage Bagels

For a taste of the talk of the town: Courage Bagels.
For a taste of the talk of the town: Courage Bagels
Farley Elliott

It’s bagel week in America, at least judging by the discourse online following California critic Tejal Rao’s New York Times piece about the state’s superior bagel culture. For what it’s worth, there’s a decent chance (as with many modern media companies) that as the writer Rao didn’t personally craft the aggressive “CA is better than NY” headline that accompanies the story, but ultimately it’s besides the point: LA (and SF) have some seriously delicious bagels, regardless of coastal ‘competition’. Indeed that’s the simple thrust of Rao’s story, highlighting spots like Pop’s Bagels and the massively popular Virgil Village newcomer Courage Bagels. The latter offers a deeply burnished, extra-crispy exterior, with an airy, almost sourdough-bready-bubbly inside. If it’s your first time and you’re comfortable waiting in the long line, make sure to swing for the burnt everything with cream cheese — it may just be the boldly flavored new standard that all other LA bagels, at least, are chasing. 777 N. Virgil Ave., Virgil Village. —Farley Elliott

For a slice of Hong Kong in Los Angeles: Sam Woo Barbecue

Sam Woo Barbecue
For a taste of Hong Kong in Los Angeles: Sam Woo Barbecue
Cathy Chaplin

With barbecued ducks and pigs glistening by the window and lightning-fast service from the kitchen, the smells, flavors, and spirit of Hong Kong come to life at Sam Woo. The taut-skinned roasted ducks and pigs are terrific eaten in or taken out. Be prepared for crispy skin, moist meat, and plentiful pockets of fat. The Tung Kong-style salty chicken is a fragrant bird with distinct gingery and garlicky notes. A generous pour of scallion oil adds even more depth. In addition to proteins, Sam Woo executes noodle dishes superbly. The classic wonton noodles are satisfying, as are the crispy chow mein noodles served with a pork, beef, or seafood gravy. 8526 Valley Blvd., Rosemead. —Cathy Chaplin

March 5, 2021

For the porkiest thing you’ll eat all weekend: Carnitas El Momo

Is Carnitas El Momo the carnitas king of Los Angeles? For many, there’s no debate in the matter, though some preference is always given to other local spots like Los Cinco Puntos or Los Villa Moreliana for some. Regardless of regional loyalty, everyone agrees that this is some superior pork, cooked slowly and with plenty of love in Boyle Heights by the Acosta family. The street stand draws hundreds of hungry fans, particularly on weekends, so be prepared to wait and to order big. Among those must-grab items is the cheesy, lacy-edged mulita, a hefty affair that isn’t likely to leave anyone hungry. It’s good to be the king. 2411 Fairmount Street, Boyle Heights. —Farley Elliott

For delicious plant-based Mexican food: Chicana Vegana

For delicious plant-based Mexican food: Chicana Vegana in Fullerton, California.
For delicious plant-based Mexican food: Chicana Vegana
Mona Holmes

Take a mini road trip to Fullerton’s cute Downtown area that’s lined with multiple places to visit. I went last week with a specific restaurant in mind: Chicana Vegana. The family-owned restaurant produces flavorful Mexican-American dishes out of a small shop on the main strip of Commonwealth Avenue with a colorful outdoor patio in the rear. This isn’t one of those places where pretend meats are the highlight. Owner Jasmine Hernandez focuses on making every morsel taste vibrant and fresh. Tacos are on the menu and the vegan nachos are meant to be shared as the portion size is enormous with scoops of guacamole, pico de gallo, and a wonderful cashew cheese. Let’s talk about the sopes duo with jackfruit carnitas. This is an outstanding dish with plant-based queso fresco, crema, and cabbage. The meat isn’t missed. Order the jamaica for one of the best hibiscus drinks found in the Southland. 113 East Commonwealth, Fullerton —Mona Holmes

For dreamy Pueblan sandwiches: Cemitas Don Adrian

For dreamy Pueblan sandwiches: Cemitas Don Adrian.
For dreamy Pueblan sandwiches: Cemitas Don Adrian
Cathy Chaplin

It takes a massive jaw and a serious appetite to conquer a cemita poblana, a beast of a sandwich constructed from a plush sesame roll jam packed with ripe avocados, panela cheese, Oaxacan string cheese, salsa, onions, and meat. Here at Cemitas Don Adrian, the Pueblan specialty comes together like a dream. While the beef milanesa, a thinly pounded and deep-fried hunk of carne, is the most traditional filling, there’s also house-made queso de puerco (pork head cheese), pata de res (pickled beef tendons), and even salmon to properly stuff your cemita. 14902 Victory Blvd., San Fernando Valley. —Cathy Chaplin

For beautiful (and bountiful) Korean creations: SMT LA

Food is not supposed to look this good, at least not when delivered from a faceless ghost kitchen setup somewhere around Koreatown. And yet SMT, the mega-popular Korean brand/music agency/nightlife and restaurant group with locations in Seoul and Tokyo, has managed to pull off the nearly impossible with its truncated menu of dosirak bites. From gorgeous chicken and veggie bowls to bulgogi puff pies and more, this is some of the most delicious (and easy to look at) food available from an app right now. Go ahead and spring for it all the first time you order because everything really is that good. Plus, you’ll know what to order again for next time. Available via GrubHub. —Farley Elliott

February 26, 2021

For some West Hollywood Italian action: Pizzana

You know what’s delicious? Pizza. You know what’s even more delicious? Basically anything made by Daniele Uditi, star chef/owner of Pizzana, the hit Brentwood restaurant turned smaller (and currently takeaway-only) second space in West Hollywood. Stop by this weekend for blistered pies and more, or better yet: the off-menu chicken parm sandwich. 460 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood. —Farley Elliott

For a Japanese fried chicken dinner: Tsubaki

Tsubaki labeled its weekend meal the JFC dinner, which is short for Japanese-style fried chicken. And it sounds delicious, no matter how you choose to pun this combination meal. This is a generous feast that has a potato salad with house-cured roe or ikura, pickled daikon radish, seaweed buttered cabbage, rice balls/yaki onigiri, and matcha tiramisu. Then, there’s the chicken. Staff will fry up a wing, leg, breast, and drumstick with a honey vinegar dipping sauce. It’s $52 per person and it’s only fitting to add sake to the pre-order via Tock. The Friday 6 p.m. pickup is already sold out. 1356 Allison Avenue, Echo Park. —Mona Holmes

For the best fried chicken in Los Angeles: Honey’s Kettle

Vincent Williams, the proud owner of Honey’s Kettle, guards his fried chicken recipe close to the vest. He prepares the secret batter off-site and delivers it daily where the kitchen adds water, mixes until smooth, and hand-batters the chicken as orders roll in. Every thigh, wing, breast, and leg is submerged in this downright magical mixture before meeting the hot oil in a stainless steel kettle drum. The result is an insanely crusty and golden batter that’s like no other fried chicken on the planet. There’s not a single dud on the bird when it’s prepared Honey’s Kettle style. 9537 Culver Blvd, Culver City. —Cathy Chaplin

For enduring nostalgia with a crunch: Tito’s Tacos

It’s hard to understand, for many outsiders, the polarizing nature of Tito’s Tacos in Culver City. The historic stand is for many a place of childhood memory, downing hard-shelled tacos or bean and cheese burritos with a wonderfully watery salsa. For others the place is more than meaningless, it’s a location of ire for its long lines and vocal fans. Whichever side you fall on may depend entirely on how long and how closely you’ve lived in the Tito’s ecosystem — but one thing everyone agrees on is this: hard-shelled tacos are a worthwhile treat for us all. 11222 Washington Place, Culver City. —Farley Elliott

February 19, 2021

For brisket that’s trying to make a difference: AGL’s Craft Meats

AGL’s Craft Meats owner Alec Lopez is trying to do something that basically nobody in LA County is doing (at least legally): Open a Texas-style barbecue restaurant that smokes all its meats on an offset smoker. It’s an ambitious goal that flies in the face of current building and department of public health allowances, but if successful Lopez would bridge the divide between less-than-legal street smoking and pop-ups, and the bigger brick and mortar restaurant world. For now he’s still stuck in quasi-legal limbo, smoking for weekend customers only using the offset, well, off-site. Order ahead for a menu that includes pastrami, beef ribs, and a whole lot more. 8472 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott

For oodles of seafood, creole-style: Boujie Crab

It’s hard to ignore a story where a financial advisor changes careers to restaurant ownership. But when there’s gumbo, giant portions of seafood, and creole involved, it’s impossible to resist. Louisiana-native Nickey McKnight opened Boujie Crab in Long Beach last March, a week after the state ordered residents to shelter-at-home. But McKnight is still kicking with crawfish boils, seafood gumbos, shrimp platters, and an update to traditional dishes with bowls. These include red potatoes, Cajun beef sausage, and Cajun corn where the topping options are ideal with a choice of snow crab, shrimp, and salmon. 1002 E. South Street, Long Beach. —Mona Holmes

For a well-deserved Saturday night splurge: Sunset Sushi

To-go boxes of sushi from Sunset Sushi.
For a well-deserved Saturday night splurge: Sunset Sushi
Cathy Chaplin

While I’m looking forward to an in-person omakase blowout as much as the next sushi-fiend, takeout will have to do for now and it’s good to know that a short drive does little to compromise well prepared fish and rice. Silver Lake’s Sunset Sushi is a solid and simple spot for chirashi boxes, rice bowls, rolls, and nigiri. Kazuhiro Yamada and Yoshi Matsumoto lean into traditional Edomae techniques and churn out fish and rice preparations that are equal parts stunning and satisfying. The $40 hokkai don with salmon, blue crab, scallop, and salmon roe is the one to get. The weekend’s finally here and I cannot wait to unplug and splurge on some sushi. 4330 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For a smashed burger doing it right: For the Win

Papilles, the star French bistro hiding inside a Hollywood strip mall, has worked hard to stand out during the ongoing pandemic, pivoting like everyone else to new modes and menu items — including, yes, a smash burger. Santos Uy and his crew have made For the Win a near household name in the burger pop-up scene right now, particularly because of the impressively seared burgers they manage to pump out in large numbers from lunch through dinner daily. Stop by for some delightfully cheesy smash, with just the right amount of crisp, thick pickle to cut through it all. The fried chicken sandwich is optional, but also worth a look for first-timers. 6221 Franklin Ave., Hollywood. —Farley Elliott

January 29, 2021

For sweets, savory, and anything else Nicole Rucker feels like: Fat & Flour

For sweets, savory, and anything else Nicole Rucker feels like: Fat & Flour.
For sweets, savory, and anything else Nicole Rucker feels like: Fat & Flour
Farley Elliott

Grand Central Market is far from back to its pre-pandemic days, when weekend crowds would swarm the historic open-air food hall for coffee, Filipino food, pasta, and oysters, rubbing shoulders through the corridors with packages of food in hand. Still, it’s hard to deny that the future of GCM still feels somewhat bright, thanks to several newer vendors who continue to keep the innovation alive, including Shiku from the Baroo team and Nicole Rucker’s Fat & Flour, a do-it-all bakery that offers savory curry handpies, cookies, traditional pies, and whatever else the crew cooks up. Stock up on weekend treats while supporting a hyper-local, definitely small female-owned business, and the city’s historic Downtown market as well. Here’s to better days ahead. 317 S. Broadway, Downtown. —Farley Elliott

For an all-American hot dog sampling: Fab Hot Dogs

Joe Fabrocini was inspired to open a hot dog shop while working for Guitar Center. As the company’s director of real estate, he traveled around the country often, sampling regional hot dogs at every opportunity. Here at Fab Hot Dogs, Mr. Fabrocini has curated an all-star lineup of America’s best hot dogs. Representing the home team is the L.A. Street Dog, a bacon-wrapped wiener topped with grilled peppers and onions, tomato, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and jalapeños. There’s also a genuine “Chicago Dog,” complete with a steamed hot dog, neon green relish, celery salt, and a pickle spear all tucked inside a poppy seed bun. 19417 Victory Blvd., Reseda. —Cathy Chaplin

For next-level deli sandwiches: Jeff’s Table

A layered sandwich with pork, kimchi, melted cheese, salted plum mustard, and aioli from Jeff’s Table.
For next-level deli sandwiches: Jeff’s Table
Mona Holmes

Walk inside the Highland Park branch of Flask Fine Wines & Whisky to find Jeff’s Table, where the quirky sandwich shop owner Jeff Strauss converts Jewish deli sandwiches from the familiar into dazzling specimens between great bread. The menu is filled with sandwiches that are undoubtedly recognizable, but every single item showcases some bold choices for ingredients. Order the popular hot, hand-sliced pastrami Reuben with melty comte, sauerkraut, and dressing on seeded rye. But the Kold Kim Cheezy is a marvel of a sandwich — a pillowy roll with layers of thinly-sliced pork shoulder, chile oil, aioli, house-made kimchi, manchego cheese, crunchy iceberg, and tangy salted plum mustard — will immediately become a favorite. He also ferments his own pickles. Just go to Jeff’s and win at the game of lunch. 5900 North Figueroa, Highland Park. —Mona Holmes

For pop-up Mediterranean fare capable of warming your insides: Xenia

You know what sounds good in the rain right now? Warm chunks of grilled chicken, wrapped in a sesame flatbread, with fries and pickled red onion and lots of Greek goddess dressing — which is precisely what you should be eating at LA pop-up Xenia. The upstart operation bops around the city from Beverly Hills to Melody in Virgil Village, cooking up tri-tip wraps, grilled chicken salads, sweet potato plates, and anything else the crew can conceive of. This is pure California flavor with a nod to the broad Mediterranean, and ideal for a warming, not-too-heavy meal during such gray days. —Farley Elliott

January 22, 2021

For comforting Italian in South LA: Sunday Gravy

For comforting Italian in South LA: Sunday Gravy.
For comforting Italian in South LA: Sunday Gravy
Mona Holmes

Sunday Gravy is one of those special Inglewood spots with a history. Brother and sister owners Ghazi and Sol Bashirian opened Sunday Gravy in the fall of 2019, in the exact same site that housed the longstanding Gino’s Pizza. Their father opened the pizzeria in 1970, but now his children get to feed the same neighborhood with old-school Italian classics like meatball subs, beef ragu lasagna, and chicken parm cutlets. Sol sources pasta from nearby Florentyna’s Fresh Pasta Factory, solidifying itself as a South LA specialist in comfort food. During regular times, they even have white and red checkered tablecloths while soulful playlists fill the room. While driving on Centinela, look for the sign that depicts a heaping plate of spaghetti and meatballs, and don’t forget to order prosecco or lambrusco. 1122 Centinela Ave., Inglewood. —Mona Holmes

For a lil’ Korean snack break in your car: the Kimbap

If you find yourself driving in or around Koreatown this weekend and could go for a little something to eat, swing into the Kimbap for an easy snack of Korean rice and seaweed rolls filled with tasty things like chopped beef, kimchi, and spicy pork. Rounding out every roll are pickled radish, egg, carrots, and softened greens. Rolls are made fresh to order and neatly packed for eating at home or in the front seat. Either way, you’ll be good to go. 400 South Western Ave., #102, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For a Filipino pop-up with big restaurant roots: Kuya Lord

Maynard Llera knows his way around a kitchen. The longtime industry vet, from places like Bestia and the H.Wood Group, has spent his pandemic cooking in a private garage in La Cañada Flintridge, turning out trays of Filipino classics from pancit and lechon kawaii to ginisang sugpo, or blue prawns in a garlic crab sauce. The big, family-friendly trays make for a perfect Friday night meal, or a weekend of nibbling from the fridge. Trays start at $58 with multiple proteins and side items, and with enough food to feed at least two. —Farley Elliott

For a local beer not far from the beach: Santa Monica Brew Works

Six-year-old Santa Monica Brew Works has become a quiet force on the Westside, operating from a warehouse-y space at 20th and Colorado that hides in plain sight. During the pandemic on-site drinking has been closed, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from swinging into the ample parking lot to pick up a six pack (or more). The team even collaborated with Bay Cities Italian Deli recently on a beer, and reliably turns out everyday staples like the 310, a laid-back California blonde ale. It’s the weekend, why not support your local brewery? 1920 Colorado Ave., Suite C, Santa Monica. —Farley Elliott

January 15, 2021

For (another) burger by (the same) beach: Adrift Burger Bar

DM Burger at Adrift in Venice
For (another) burger by (the same) beach: Adrift Burger Bar
Matthew Kang

LA’s love affair with the great American burger has not waned in this ongoing pandemic, nor has the city’s pull to the soft sounds of the nearby ocean. While now is far from a great time to travel some distance (it’s definitely a bad time to mingle with others outside your house at all), know that when the time is right Adrift Burger Bar will be there to see your beach trip through. The David Myers project on Abbot Kinney has shades of his old days running Comme Ça on Melrose, but this time with a takeout approach and wider range of burgers to choose from. It’s a worthy stop for folks on the way to points elsewhere, and an even better place to eat for those who already live in the neighborhood. 1025 Abbot Kinney, Venice. —Farley Elliott

For elegant banchan at home: Naemo

I’ll admit to harboring a healthy skepticism when East Coasters land in Los Angeles with a new restaurant or pop-up, but stand corrected after trying the Naemo pop-up by Arnold Byun and Ki Kim. The two dug in deep with their extensive experience to create gorgeous and colorful dosirak boxes for two ($75). The partners combine the best bounty from LA’s markets and vendors with items like chicken mandoo and potato salad–stuffed inari with caviar. It’s easy to characterize these boxes as high-end, but there’s a playfulness about them — one glance garners a smile. The pop-up functions out of West LA and they’re taking takeout orders via Tock Wednesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The menu changes weekly. —Mona Holmes

For hot chicken from Nashville royalty: Hotville

For hot chicken from Nashville royalty: Hotville.
For hot chicken from Nashville royalty: Hotville
Cathy Chaplin

There’s no shortage of hot chicken in Los Angeles, but there’s only one restaurant that hails from Nashville hot chicken royalty and that’s Hotville Chicken. At Kim Prince’s spot in Crenshaw, it’s super-easy to call in your order (the woman who answers the phone is incredibly friendly), grab a parking spot, and get the goods to-go. On a recent afternoon, it was an order of Cali mild wings for me and a Music City medium leg quarter for my companion. Both were scarfed down in the parking lot — and I highly recommend you do the same. 4070 Marlton Ave., Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

For falafel that sticks with you: Falafel Chee

The end of a falafel sandwich, held in hand.
For falafel that sticks with you: Falafel Chee
Farley Elliott

Culver City-area food stand Falafel Chee is an American dream realized, at least of a sort. One-man band Manaf Alsudaney does it all inside of the West LA International Market on Venice Boulevard, focusing his prodigious skills (he’s also an artist in his free time, a doctor during the week, and former Baghdadi translator for the U.S. Army) on making only Iraqi falafel. The wraps are inexpensive, delicious, and perfectly fitting for this grim moment, reminding us all that perseverance is a hell of thing to watch in real time. 10817 Venice Blvd., West LA. —Farley Elliott

January 8, 2021

For burritos that inspire devotion: Burritos La Palma

Southern Californians are grateful for Burritos La Palma. I appreciate the smaller-sized burritos, which make me feel a little less overstuffed after finishing one. But before taking a bite of the burrito, marvel at the house-made flour tortilla. It bears a healthy sear from the griddle, along with a bit of translucence that reveals the amount of buttery fat used to make one of the region’s best tortillas. Everything on the menu shines, so keep returning to try each item, especially the birria. La Palma’s birria shows how staff take great care with this comforting and flavorful stewed meat. It’s plain juicy and particularly special when ordering it on a quesadilla. Savor it slowly in the parking lot, and feel free to order one (or two) more before driving home. 5120 Peck Rd., El Monte. —Mona Holmes

For a hot dog pop-up with a helping hand: Comfy Pup at Sara’s Market

Few people have stood up for street vendors and out-of-work hospitality folks this past year than the fine folks from Sara’s Market. The easygoing neighborhood store hosts an ever-changing rotation of new names, faces, and foods, including the most recent upstart around: Comfy Pup, a Midwestern-styled setup that trades in Chicago hot dogs and whatever else they feel like cooking. Check out their dogs and fries — and buy something from Sara’s Market while you’re at it — tomorrow from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. or sellout. 3455 City Terrace Drive, City Terrace. —Farley Elliott

For soup dumplings whenever your belly desires: Hui Tou Xiang

The move right now is to order up a storm at San Gabriel’s Hui Tou Xiang. Get the seared pork dumplings, a seaweed appetizer, some sesame cold noodles, and whatever else sounds good in the moment. But don’t forget to add on a big ol’ bag of frozen dumplings for later — a pack of 50 xiao long bao goes for $25. Feast on the bounteous spread this weekend and reach for the frozen dumplings later in the week or whenever you’re too wiped out to cook. Freshly steamed dumplings means easy, warm, and satisfying comfort just when we need it. 704 West Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel. —Cathy Chaplin

For the kind of tlayuda that LA has long loved: Tlayuda LA

East Hollywood neighborhood restaurant Tlayuda LA has been working particularly hard during the ongoing pandemic (but really, who hasn’t?). Owner Laura Guerrero is a fierce fighter for her people and her business, posting daily across social media, private Facebook groups, community message boards, and more, all with one simple message: Come eat. So far the work is paying off, though no restaurant right now is without hardship. Go celebrate all of Guerrero’s hard work with some absolutely fantastic tlayudas, tacos, and whatever else fits your fancy. The place deserves it. 5450 Santa Monica Blvd., East Hollywood. —Farley Elliott

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