You promised yourself you’d learn to cook while you had some time at home. Weeks later, the closest thing you’ve come to achieving that goal is following the instructions on a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen fried rice. So if you need a little (or a lot) of guidance, here are some great LA restaurants doing DIY meal kits - from assemble-your-own tacos and bake-your-own pizzas to reheatable pastas and sauces - for takeout and/or delivery. Hey - it’s a start.
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Lasa, the excellent, upscale Filipino spot in Chinatown, has five different options for DIY meals. They’ve got a whole roasted chicken inasal, in all its ginger-y and lemongrass-y glory, served with roast potatoes, cauliflower, and chicken fat rice for $40. They’re also serving make-your-own versions of pancit palabok with pork and shrimp ragu, braised brisket kare kare, vegetable pancit, and coconut pork adobo. Call or text (213) 443-6163 to place your order.
Parm Boyz is a weekly Italian-American pop-up at Weho’s Ronan. Every Sunday, they serve a four-course meal that is highly worth your time. Every meal comes with an instruction sheet, though the courses vary in amount of work you actually have to do - from the antipasti (no work) to the chicken parm itself (still not a lot of work, but does involve turning on the oven). There are also Caesar salad and tiramisu courses. Order via apps, or call Ronan at (323) 917-5100 to place your order.
One of the best Mexican seafood spots around, Holbox recently reopened in Mercado La Paloma in University Park. They’ve got three make-your-own taco kits for two - Baja kanpachi with pico de gallo and morito salsa, Maine scallops with fennel, caramelized onion, and X’catic salsa, and octopus with squid ink sofrito. Order through their website.
An Alhambra dumpling specialist, Kang Kang is selling bags of frozen dumplings that will get you through even the darkest work-from-home days. They’ve got a big freezer at the entrance that you can choose from options like pork and Napa cabbage, leek and pork, or (our favorite) crab and pork. You can also call ahead to place your order: (626) 308-3898.
Culver City’s outpost of Roberta’s, the iconic Brooklyn pizza specialist, is selling DIY versions of some of their classics. That includes a margherita pizza kit, an oxtail spaccatelli pasta kit for two, and most importantly, a Bee Sting pizza kit, complete with soppressata, chili, and honey. You can order it all through their website or the Platform Drive-Through, and it’ll be ready for curbside pick-up in 45 minutes.
Guerilla Tacos, the excellent Mexican spot in the Arts District, is serving huge “Emergency Taco Kits” with all the fixings for as many as 60 tacos. They come with roast chicken and carne asada - or sweet potato for vegetarians - plus all the salsas and toppings you’ll need. Also important: Their margarita kit, which is 96 oz. (approximately 25 servings) of their fantastic house mix with tequila for $120.
A Westside weeknight staple, Milo + Olive is serving pre-made pasta and pizza kits that can feed a whole family. They’ve got spaghetti with Bolognese or meatballs, or rigatoni with vodka sauce or alfredo and peas (each feeds four), plus pizza kits for two to three. Yes, they’ve also got those fantastic garlic knots, but we’d recommend getting the already-made version - we wouldn’t trust ourselves to cook those beauties.
Korean dumpling spot Myung In is famous for their massive mandu - softball-sized dumplings coated in thick, fluffy rice flour, and stuffed with kimchi and pork. Even better? They’re made for easy steaming at home. There’s also smaller version for pan-frying, which is also great - get them with pork and shrimp, if you can.
DTLA Italian spot Cento Pasta Bar might not be serving hot versions of their excellent pastas to-go, but they do have fridges full of pre-made sauces and housemade pastas for you to cook (well, heat up, at least) from home. The selection changes, but recently, they’ve had fresh tortellini and all kinds of dried pastas along with braised beef ragu, Bolognese, and amatriciana.
One of our Best New Restaurants Of 2019, Dudley Market is still putting their fishing boat to good use even though their dining room is closed, selling whole fish (and filets) by the beach in Venice. The selection depends on that day’s catch, but usually includes sand dabs, rockfish, mackerel, and occasionally some halibut. They’ll give you instructions on how to cook the fish (fried, roasted, made into ceviche), and can include all the fixings for an extra $5.
If you like Italian food, there’s a good chance you’ve had Jon & Vinny’s, or at least seen them on your Instagram feed. In addition to still serving a whole bunch of their (excellent) regular menu, this Fairfax spot is also offering quarts of their Bolognese and pomodoro, boxes of dried fusilli, and 1lb. bags of their pancake mix. They’re occasionally offering pizza kits, too, subject to availability.
Kensho, the tiny spot on the grounds of Yamashiro in the Hollywood Hills, is best known for their impressive natural sake collection and Japanese-inspired small plates. They’ve still got the sake, but instead of Japanese food, they’re selling DIY pizza kits from Luppa Cotta every Tuesday. The set includes two balls of dough, sauce, cheese, and basil for $25. Get a bottle of Nagurayama sake, too, while you’re at it. For more information, or to place an order, check out Kensho’s website.
Chaaste is a tremendous family-owned restaurant and market in Pasadena selling all kinds of frozen ulam for you to prepare at home. That means that after you shop in the market for your grocery essentials, you can go to the attached restaurant for family-sized, affordable frozen portions of sweet pork tocino, savory pork dinuguan, chicken adobo, and ginisang munggo. Don’t forget an order of Mama’s turon - incredible deep-fried banana egg rolls.
If you’re looking for a simple way to stock up on food for your whole family for the entire day, look no further than Superba Food + Bread. They’ve got a $60 kit for up to four people that includes easy-prep breakfast (yoghurt and a pint of berries), lunch (a quart of soup), snacks (a bunch of fruit), and dinner (a pound of pasta, a quart of sauce, bread, butter, and chocolate chip cookies). Add in some extra pastries while you’re at it - they’re completely addictive.
Pasta Sisters, the superb handmade pasta spot with locations in Pico-Arlington and Culver City, has premade pastas and sauces available for pick-up or delivery. They’ve got frozen gnocchi, fresh spaghetti and tagliatelle, and pesto, arrabiata, and Bolognese.
One of our top-ranked taco spots in the city, Boyle Heights’ Carnitas El Momo serves fantastic carnitas, which are unique in that they’re a combination of roast pork shoulder and crispy pork skin. They’re currently selling that fantastic pork for $12/lb, and can include handmade tortillas, salsas, and all the other taco-making necessities you need to perfect your meal. DM them on Instagram, or text (323) 627-8540 to pre-order.
Another great pasta spot that doesn’t usually serve prepped food, Venice’s Felix has got seven different options for fresh meal kits for two. Each set includes hand-rolled pasta, sauce, cheese, and instructions, and it’s about as foolproof a meal as you can get. They’re all around $30-$35, and they’re offering some of our favorite things here: Bigoli duck ragu, casarecce sausage sugo, and rigatoni arrabiata. If you’d rather use your own pasta, they’re selling sauces by the pint or quart for even more reasonable prices ($8 per pint, $16 per quart). Available for pick-up and delivery.
Oaxacan spot Madre is one of our favorite new(-ish) Mexican restaurants in town, and both the Palms and Torrance locations are offering a wide range of DIY options for you to cook at home. In addition to tacos, this includes fridge-friendly chiles rellenos, beef barbacoa, and pollo asado bowls with mole. Don’t even think about leaving without their pre-bottled Chapo and Kate cocktail (tequila, prickly pear, and agave).
Bar Restaurant’s offerings require a bit more prep than, say, heating up some pasta and sauce (which, don’t get us wrong - is a great option). But their market boxes are also highly worth your time - all involving a main protein (vegetarian, fish, or meat), along with a bunch of high-quality fresh vegetables, plus some extras like baguettes, butter, ziti, or even cured meats. All come with the option of adding a bottle of wine, which we highly recommend.
We love Sonoratown for their tremendous handmade flour tortillas, so we’re very thankful they’re offering an affordable assemble-your-own taco situation. It starts at $27 for 12 tacos’-worth of meat (carne asada, chicken, or, our favorite, chorizo), tortillas, salsas, and charred green onions. It’s definitely enough for three people, but let’s be honest - you’re going to want some leftovers, so maybe get a couple chivichangas on the side if you’ve got more than two.
If you’re looking for a fun build-your-own dessert spot, Insomnia Cookies has you covered. This spot in Boystown in Weho has a $32 DIY Cookie’wich, complete with a dozen cookies, a quart of ice cream, and as many toppings as you want. We’d go for a Double Chocolate Crunch cookie with coffee ice cream and cookie dough topping sides, but there are (almost literally) endless combinations you can make.
This excellent Weho pizza spot has all kinds of build-your-own options available, starting with a two-person pizza kit that includes two dough balls, a pint of sauce, and cheese and basil for $15. They can also price out other pies, if you’re interested in something more elaborate (we’d inquire about the Sweet Cheeks, if we were you). They’ve also got a meal kit for their stinging nettle risotto, along with their sourdough starter for $5.