Category Archives: Best Takeout Food

Righteous Ramen Kits — Straight to Your Door

Would you believe I made this at home in no time flat from a kit?
Would you believe I made this at home in no time flat from a kit?

Who doesn’t love a hot, heaping bowl of ramen at this chilly time of year?

Of course, you can get your fill at any number of ramen restaurants around. But Kenchan Ramen offers a novel way to get your fix — with its ramen kits to make at home.

Kenshi Kobayashi and Chef Motoki Teranishi started Kenchan Ramen kits in Los Angeles in 2020 during the pandemic. They now ship their assorted kits to Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah.

And they are exceptional, as I found out when I tried samples recently.

Each kit come complete with most everything you need to make two servings of ramen, along with instructions.

The contents of the Kenchan Premium Original Miso kit that serves two.
The contents of the Kenchan Premium Original Miso kit that serves two.

The noodles are fresh, with everything shipped on ice. Keep refrigerated and cook up your ramen within 5 days of delivery or place in the freezer for longer storage.

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Dining Outside at Pizzeria Bianco, Los Angeles

The "Salame'' New York-style slice at Pizzeria Bianco.
The “Salame” New York-style slice at Pizzeria Bianco.

It says it all that during our two days in Los Angeles recently, we high-tailed it to the new Pizzeria Bianco not once, but twice.

Arguably, Chris Bianco has been deemed the country’s best pizza maker, with devotees waiting as long as three hours at his original Phoenix restaurant just to get their fix.

Since opening in Los Angeles in June, this place has been mobbed. And since Los Angeles is a more convenient destination for yours truly, you know that my husband and I put Pizzeria Bianco on our must-stop list no matter what when we traveled to Southern California earlier this month.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to twiddle our thumbs for hours on end when we got to the Row DTLA, the massive 30-acre urban commercial district that was the former site of the American Apparel manufacturing facility, and that’s now home to not only Pizzeria Bianco, but a host of restaurants, boutiques, and offices.

Get ready to get in line here.
Get ready to get in line here.

Instead at 12:30 p.m. on a Saturday, we did have to wait in line for about 30 minutes before we made our way to the walk-up pizza window to place our orders.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late: Santana Row Farmers Market

Behold the Roli Roti chicken and potatoes.
Behold the Roli Roti chicken and potatoes.

It’s not big, but it’s mighty — as in good.

That’s what the farmers market at San Jose’s Santana Row is — all one block of it on the main drag between Olin Avenue and Olsen Drive), with vendors on both sides plying fresh produce, flowers, and gourmet prepared foods.

The market, Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., is seasonal. So, if you want to check it out, you have until the end of this month before it’s gone until next year.

Because it’s an evening market, it’s an ideal place to pick up dinner or the fixings for it. Just follow your nose to find the Roli Roti truck parked in the center of the Row with spinning rotisseries packed with whole chickens and sides of ribs.

Just be warned that on a hot day before sunset, this truck is parked in full sun with heat radiating off the rotisseries, so bring a hat and a cool drink as you wait in line, as there almost always is one.

The Roli Roti rotisserie.
The Roli Roti rotisserie.
The farmers market on the Row.
The farmers market on the Row.

Who can blame people for flocking here when the rosemary-flecked chicken is so juicy, bronzed, and succulent that you barely need a knife. A whole chicken ($15.50) gets wrapped up hot off the rotisserie, ensuring it will still be warm by the time you dive into it at home.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late: Mamahuhu

Mamahuhu's fiery mapo tofu with pork.
Mamahuhu’s fiery mapo tofu with pork.

It’s been a banner year for Brandon Jew, who won two James Beard Awards — one for “Best Chef in California” and the second for “Best Restaurant Cookbook” for “Mister Jiu’s Chinatown” (Ten Speed Press, 2021) that he co-authored with San Francisco food writer Tienlon Ho.

Since opening in 2016, his fine-dining Mister Jiu’s in San Francisco’s Chinatown has racked up accolades galore. And his more casual Chinese-American eatery, Mamahuhu, which debuted on Clement Street in January 2020 just before the start of the pandemic, is doing so well that a second outpost is poised to open this year in Noe Valley.

On a recent trek to San Francisco, I made a beeline to try the takeout at Mamahuhu. As you crane your neck to find parking in the Richmond neighborhood, it’s easy to miss the restaurant, as its name is not easily visible in English above the door, but rather in neon-lit Chinese characters. Just look for the storefront’s vivid teal color, though, and you’ll know you’ve found the right place.

The restaurant's small, whimsical sign at its entrance.
The restaurant’s small, whimsical sign at its entrance.

The restaurant’s name, which means “so-so” in English, salutes the Chinese-American staple dishes that Jew and so many of us grew up on, but is done here with better ingredients and greater balance.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late: Eataly

A whole ball of burrata atop Roman-style pizza at Eataly.
A whole ball of burrata atop Roman-style pizza at Eataly.

The Bay Area’s first Eataly opened last month. And it’s a doozy.

Spanning three floors and 45,000 square feet of the Westfield Valley Fair shopping center in San Jose, it is the eighth Eataly in the United States and the 41st in the world.

Having visited the ones in New York and Las Vegas, I had a sense of what this one would be like. But it definitely dwarfs those two in scope and size.

Even on a Tuesday at 4 p.m., the place was hopping with plenty of folks checking out the wares.

On the top floor, you’ll find La Pizza & La Pasta, and Terra, Eataly’s two restaurants. Having heard how impossible reservations are to come by, I bypassed them.

A mere portion of the second floor that's devoted entirely to wines, beers, and spirits from Italy.
A mere portion of the second floor that’s devoted entirely to wines, beers, and spirits from Italy.

The third floor is also where you’ll find more than 1,000 gourmet specialty food products — everything from house-baked bread, handmade pastas and fresh-pulled mozzarella to shelves of olives oils, cheeses galore, tinned seafood, cured meats, and fresh produce.

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