21 Places For Delivery When It All Becomes Too Much
Where to eat when the nihilism becomes too much to bear.
Days are turning into weeks. Weeks are turning into months. And you’re turning into Winnie the Pooh, in that you now eat food straight from the jar and are, like, never wearing pants. And as you type “LMAO” into yet another empty Slack conversation while sitting in your even emptier apartment, you start to wonder: What the hell are we all doing? Does any of this have any meaning? And also... when was the last time I saw my wallet?
And while we can’t answer any of those existential questions (although, have you checked your car?), or shake you out of this Philosophy 101/shower thoughts/stoned undergrad state-of-mind, we do have a few restaurant recommendations that’ll at least relieve some of that pesky nihilism. From old-school delis to decadent French burgers and just straight-up fried cheese, here are 22 Places For Delivery When It All Becomes Too Much.
Back Home In Lahaina
Nietzsche believed that there was no objective meaning or structure in the world, except for what we give it. And if that’s true, then we’re pushing all of our “things that matter” chips to the center and going all-in on Back Home In Lahaina. Takeout from this Hawaiian restaurant is basically the closest thing to a vacation you can get these days, with tremendous dishes like poke on fried wonton chips, coconut-filled haupia cheesecake, and, our favorite, the loco moco - two scoops of rice, a fried egg, and a hamburger patty, all smothered in gravy. Back Home In Lahaina is available for takeout and delivery, call (310) 835-4014, or find them on most major delivery platforms.
It’s an age-old existential question, one that’s plagued philosophers since the beginning of time: If life is meaningless, then how does something like chicken tikka poutine exist? Salty, savory, and covered in cheese curds, this dish from Badmaash is basically Priority Mail heaven-sent. Yes, it’s as messy and caloric as it sounds, but when something tastes this good, who even cares? Plus, the rest of their menu, from saag paneer to chili cheese naan, is also available to-go. Both locations of Badmaash (Fairfax and Downtown) are available for takeout and delivery via various platforms.
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If there were any restaurant in LA that could convince us of the existence of a pure, intrinsic good, it would be Brent’s. This iconic Jewish deli has been serving The Valley since the ’60s, and has over 650 dishes on its menu that are guaranteed to bring you back from any existential spiral. The matzo ball soup is a must, the stuffed cabbage is too, and make sure to get at least one order of their black pastrami Reuben - served on rye and topped with crunchy sauerkraut and house-made Russian dressing, this massive sandwich can go head-to-head with any pastrami in town, and most importantly, can be served with curly fries. Both their Westlake and Northridge locations are available for takeout and delivery, call (805) 557-1882 or (818) 886-5679, or find them on various delivery platforms.
The last couple weeks have been especially difficult (ex. we finally had to make peace with the fact that Florence Pugh is dating Zach Braff, and like, not as a bit), but things are looking up. Chengdu Taste is back. This is some of the best, most mouth-numbing Sichuan food you’ll find outside of southwest China, so it’s time to order all of the mapo tofu, cumin lamb, and dan dan noodles your little credit card can handle. Or, you know what? Hit your limit. Nothing matters. Chengdu Taste is available for takeout and delivery, call (626) 588-2284 or find them on various delivery platforms.
Cilantro Mexican Grill
Things that are bad for quelling nihilism: Gas stations (expensive prices, fossil-fuels that are horrible for the environment, constant reminders that much like the dinosaurs, the human race will one day cease to exist, etc.). Things that are good for quelling nihilism: Mexican grills located in North Hollywood Chevrons. In other words, Cilantro. They’ve got some of the best burritos in town, from ones served enchilada-style and filled with house carne asada to an off-the-menu surf and turf, which comes packed with Angus beef. The choice is yours… or is it? Cilantro Mexican Grill is available for takeout and delivery - call (818) 765-7998, pick-up in-store, or find them on various delivery platforms.
Dulan's Soul Food Kitchen
Dulan’s Soul Food is a certified Inglewood institution. And while, for the purpose of this guide, the actual existence of “souls” is up in the air, there’s no denying the pure, uninhibited joy that comes from digging into their plates of pork chops, fried chicken, and incredible macaroni & cheese. Don’t worry, you’ll still have plenty of time for that “immortal soul” discussion for later. Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen is available for takeout, call (310) 671-3345 (or (323) 296-3034 for their Crenshaw location) or find them on various delivery platforms.
Golden Deli Vietnamese Restaurant
Back in the olden days - a.k.a. “February” - this immensely popular Vietnamese restaurant was known to have one of the busiest lunch rushes in the San Gabriel Valley. And for a good reason - their fantastic beef pho is flat-out fantastic, and their drip-filter coffee is strong as hell. But what has been our move, and will always be our move, is to get the #89 broken rice plate, which comes with shrimp paste, grilled beef, and two egg rolls. Looks like even in quarantine, old habits die hard. Golden Deli is available for takeout, call (626) 308-0803 to order.
Despite how bleak things may look from the one window in your apartment, there are still things that matter in the world. Example A: Bowen Yang on SNL. Example B: Literally all of the food at Jame Enoteca. From the outside, this tiny El Segundo Italian restaurant might not look like much, but everything from their incredible kale salad to pesto mandilli that that feels like silk (but tastes of creamy basil and pine nuts) is on par with what’d you’d get at a big, fancy restaurant, but at a fraction of the price. And when you’re saving that much money - does it even matter if free will exists? Jame Enoteca is available for takeout and delivery (with 40% off wine!), call (310) 648-8554 or find them on most major delivery platforms.
Jongewaard's Bake N Broil
You’ve baked the bread. Put scallions in a jar. Hell, you’ve even washed all of the loose change in your house by hand in a frenzied attempt to distract yourself. But yet, you’re still left with the overwhelming feeling that existence is chaos and not one thing in this world actually matters. This is serious - it’s time to bring in the chicken pot pie. Specifically, the one from this old-school diner in Long Beach, where chunks of roasted chicken, carrots and peas are mixed in a creamy filling and tucked into a buttery, flaky crust. Will it take away your increasing fear that life is nothing but an empty void? Probably not. But it’s also harder to feel it when you’re eating chicken pot pie. Get the red velvet cake for later. Jongewaard’s Bake N Broil is available for takeout, call (562) 595-0396 to order.
Myung Dong Kyoja
When the world is bad, and your molar is for sure rotting, the only correct course of action is to order Korean soups (and probably see a healthcare professional). From cold, spicy noodles served with a biting chili sauce to warm bowls of kalguksu, or knife-cut noodles made from wheat flour, everything on the menu at Myung Dong Kyoja is perfect for when you need a little extra comfort. Or, let’s be honest, a lot of extra comfort. Myung Dong Kyoja is available for takeout and delivery, call (213) 385-7789 or find them on most major delivery platforms.
Part-deli, part-bakery, part-Greek grocer, Papa Cristo’s is, to borrow a very niche industry term, a “triple threat.” And while we can no longer loiter like truant teenagers in their spacious dining hall, even to-go, their fantastic Greek food is still good for almost any occasion, like a quick lunch, celebratory dinner, or for when you glanced at a calendar then accidentally thought “What is time, really?” for, like, way too long. So order some moussaka, “spanakopitza” pizza, and double the amount of saganaki (fried cheese) you think you can eat. Papa Cristo’s Greek Grill is available for takeout and delivery, call (323) 737-2970 or find them on various delivery platforms.
Now that they’ve transitioned into a market for the time being, Petit Trois le Valley has all sorts of well-curated goods for sale, like Comté cheese, Madagascar green peppercorns, and rose-infused vodka. But whenever life seems to be full of constant anguish, there’s no better way to go full Sartre than with their pre-made French foods. From escargot to apple tarts to kits full of ingredients to recreate their legendary Big Mec (one of our favorite burgers in LA), this incredible Sherman Oaks restaurant still has everything you need for an existential spiral - all of which you can now enjoy from your own home. Petit Trois is available for takeout and delivery, preorder through their website.
Kind of like the guardian angel Gabriel, or the voice in your head last night that told you not to buy a $200 milk frother, Pho 87 is in the business of saving souls. Their menu is large, but you almost can’t go wrong with ordering anything from this quiet Chinatown restaurant. It’s all ultra-nourishing, ambrosia-level food, from oxtail pho to the dac biet, a fragrant mix of herbs, meat, and a clear, savory broth. Plus, everything’s under $13. So… maybe you can get that frother after all? Let’s talk about it later. Pho 87 is available for takeout, call (323) 227-0758 to order.
Sapp Coffee Shop
From breakups to the time we threw away our entire wallet by accident (read: last week), this tremendous Thai Town restaurant has seen us through it all. And while they do serve coffee, as well as a coconut-heavy tom ka kai and some of the best jade noodles in town, whenever we feel overwhelmed by the weight of the world (it’s really heavy), we order Sapp’s boat noodle soup. This deeply complex dish, full of beef filet, tripe, and pork skin, somehow tastes funky, sweet, sour, and cinnamony at the same time, and is exactly what you want to be eating whenever you look at your dying houseplant and think “Same.” Sapp Coffee Shop is available for takeout and delivery, call (323) 665-1035 to order, or find them on various delivery platforms.
Sun Nong Dan
Yeah, we’ll say it. It sucks that we can’t dine-in at Sun Nong Dan anymore. Basically half of the experience was sitting down in their tiny dining room and watching, in equal parts fascination and horror, as your bubbling cauldron of galbi jjim got blowtorched to hell by your server. And looking back, maybe that was a metaphor? Maybe we’ve become the delicious combination of short ribs, rice cakes, and veggies that have been blasted into Dante’s Inferno, as a result of 4,000 weeks of isolation. Just something to think about. Anyway, everything from the aforementioned galbi jjim to their oo guh ji galbi tang, or spicy beef and cabbage soup, is available for takeout and delivery. Call (213) 365-0303, or find Sun Nong Dan on most major delivery platforms. Blowtorch not included.
There are a lot of fantastic sushi spots in LA, but one of the best, and certainly the most unique, is this neighborhood wine bar in Sherman Oaks. Half premium sushi restaurant, half chic bottle shop, there’s no better place in town to crush an $80 omakase set while sipping on chenin blanc or a pinot noir from Burgundy. And while they’re not offering any of their tremendous wines to-go (yet), they just introduced a new takeout menu, which includes hotate scallops from Japan, maguro bluefin tuna, and the Half Note sushi sampler, where for $45, you get eight pieces of nigiri, shisito peppers, and a cut roll. Or, as it’s referred to in “The Biz,” the exact combination of things we need to keep us from doing something drastic, like bleaching all of our hair. Sushi Note is available for takeout, call (818) 802-3443 to order.
Teddy's Red Tacos
If you don’t find yourself transcending this astral plane when handed the deluxe plate from Teddy’s Red Tacos, then damn, maybe life really is meaningless. But that probably won’t happen, because for just $14, this Tijuana-style taco truck (and their brick-and-mortar spot in Venice) will give you a life-affirming assortment of cheese-encrusted molitas, quesadillas, tostadas, pozole, and birria-stuffed tacos, plus, an 8 oz. cup of consome. Their South LA and Echo Park trucks are only available for pick-up, and Teddy’s Red Tacos’ Venice location is available via various delivery platforms.
The Tam O'Shanter
Did the people who created The Tam O’Shanter know that we’d one day be facing a global pandemic, economic collapse, and perhaps the fall of modern society? It kind of seems like they did - almost everything on the menu at this otherworldly pub in Atwater feels like it was tailor-made to crush deep, dark feelings of existential despair. Rounds of brie come baked and covered in cranberries, prime rib dinners are served with generous portions of mashed potatoes and Yorkshire pudding, and… they’re now selling creamed corn by the quart?? OK, game over. Like, how can you say that nothing in the world matters when there’s creamed corn by the quart? The Tam O’Shanter is available for takeout and delivery, call (323) 664-0228 or find them on most major delivery platforms.
Less of a restaurant, and more of an all-night party featuring individual stone grills and hamburgers, back when dining rooms were still open, this Ktown spot was one of the most fun places to spend a Tuesday night. And while their takeout situation is definitely not the same as eating there (no stone grills to-go, sadly), you can still bump pop music, chug cans of Sapporo, and eat their DIY smashburgers from the comfort of your own home. Which is probably better than whatever you were going to do, like stare at the ceiling for six hours, or pretend to read The Myth of Sisyphus. (Spoiler alert: the rock wins.) Tokyo Hamburg is available for takeout and delivery, call (213) 263-2668 or (213) 318-5299 or find them on the delivery platforms.
Much like our sleeping habits and belief in a higher power, Yapa’s menu has changed a lot during quarantine. Gone are the fresh ceviches and acorn breads served with caviar, but in their place is a new, concise selection of Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) comfort foods. That means dishes like beef soup made with corn broth and dry-aged beef, as well as pork ribs with Peruvian beans and pickled daikon - a.k.a. meals that pair really well with a meditation on life’s greatest questions, such as “Can happiness exist without suffering?” and “Seriously, where is my wallet?” Yapa is available for takeout and delivery, call (213) 947-3399 or find them on delivery platforms.