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The Food Lover's Guide: Half Baked

L.A.’s fashionable larders put the “made” in homemade

Photograph by Lis Romerein

 

One of the best dinners you will get at my house,” says chef Nancy Silverton, “is roasted chicken from Pollo a la Brasa and a selection of sides from Carousel.” The co-owner of Mozza is referring, respectively, to the Koreatown institution that turns out one of the city’s most succulent fire-roasted birds and a Glendale Middle Eastern restaurant with stellar tabbouleh, hummus, and muhammara, a red pepper dip.

Surprised? Don’t be. There’s no shame in using takeout to supplement a home-cooked meal—especially when leisure time, let alone time to prepare, is scarce. In addition to stalwarts like Joan’s on Third and Julienne (2649 Mission St., San Marino, 626-441-2299), several places have opened in the last year—with more on the way—that cater to our desire to get restaurant-quality food from our own kitchen. The au courant term for this melding of a gourmet shop with an upscale deli is “larder.” Silverton’s new Mozza2Go sells hot foods and stocks some of the restaurant’s ingredients, including porcini-rib-eye rub, fennel pollen, and origano di Sicilia, the oregano used in Nancy’s Chopped Salad.

Among the first to use the term locally was the Larchmont Larder (636 N. Larchmont Blvd., L.A., 323-962-9900), where regulars stop by for vinaigrette, tomato sauce, chicken stock, bacon fat, fava bean puree, caramelized onions, cookie dough—you name it. Bring your own casserole dish, and the staff will fill it with the necessary ingredients, including homemade noodles, for you to make lasagna at home.

The bustling new food emporium Bottega Louie (700 S. Grand Ave., downtown, 213-802-1470) has a grab-and-go grocery case containing homemade soups and baked pastas such as penne pomodoro, macaroni and cheese, and noodle kugel. A card with specific heating instructions accompanies entrées such as veal milanese, potpies, fried chicken, and individual meat loaves.

When chef Suzanne Goin and partner Caroline Styne opened Tavern, their latest restaurant, they turned the front portion of the fine-dining destination into the Larder at Tavern (11648 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, 310-806-6460). Goin’s braised short ribs, chicken thighs with mustard bread crumbs, and the popular bacon-wrapped dates from A.O.C. (her and Styne’s small-plates spot) can be served piping hot from your dining room table—just turn on the oven.