It’s the dreaded question, every single night. What is for dinner? Good question, kids. Wouldn’t it be delightful if some ambitious, nutritious partner in crime who would deliver the goods to our door, and all we had to do (on demand or in advance) was click a button or two to make the magic happen? Done and done with Munchery and DoorDash, two new LA food delivery services that will change your life.
When was the last time Chef Ryan Carson (Napa Rose, Prive) delivered Almond Brown Butter Crusted Trout to your door, to eat in your jammies along side a Vietnamese Shrimp and Noodle Salad (he made that too)? And when was the last time Chef Lizette Martinez (Hatfields, Providence, Watergrill) brought you cheesecake with blueberry compote? Peanut Butter Chocolate Tart? Or a lemon poppy seed muffin making breakfast bound for glory? It’s been awhile. Actually, wait; it’s been never. Until Munchery.
Time To Refine
That’s the whole premise behind Munchery: bringing a little civilization back to the dinner table, without adding to your crushing parenting workload.
Sounds Amazing. But How Does It Work?
It’s not your typical take-out. Rather than ordering from an actual restaurant, you kind of get to create one. In a bold and beautiful collaborative effort to make dinnertime easy, tasty and healthy, a collection of culinary talent (names worth dropping, and we will) have unified to make dinner for us. Since it’s seasonally driven, the menu items change, but the procedure doesn’t.
Here’s what you do: Select from a variety of mains ($8-$12), sides/salads ($8-$10), desserts and drinks ($2-$7), and the lynchpin that hooked us, kids meals featuring a main and a side (read: not one fried mass of chicken-like product), averaging $6. And the kid portions are large: kids grilled salmon, asparagus, and rice for $5.95, is enough for two. Plus the whole elegant factor has kids begging to sample your trout and udon noodles. Palate pleasing and expanding? We’ll take seconds.
Some Kids Like Salmon
But if those kids are not your kids, you will delight in the fact that kids are so inspired by their meal to try yours (OK, fine, Chef Scott Garrett’s). Chef Garrett, whatever you do with that Salmon & Chickpea Salad, keep up the good work. It must be dusted in miracle spice, alongside those seaweed whipped potatoes, because it seems to get picky non-fish eaters gobbling sea fare.
Lots of Cooks in the Kitchen
And they’re prepping to be making your meal and deliver it between 4 p.m.-9 p.m. They’ve harnessed talent from Hatfields, Providence, Patina, Craft. (Name dropping, as promised.) Vegan? Gluten Free? Bring it on. Dietary restrictions are listed accordingly.
Comes Complete with Stickers and Compostable Flatware
In the kid kingdom stickers may make for a happy meal, but Mother Earth is smiling down on Munchery, too. All packaging is made from recyclable and/or compostable matter (bamboo!, sugar cane fibers!) and when deliveries aren’t made by bike (which they often are), car delivery impacts are off set by planting trees through The Conservation Fund. There is no chance any dinner you have ever made has done that much good for the universe.
And Everybody Eats
Munchery’s got conscience. Mad conscience. For every order placed, they’ll give a meal to a person in need through our local food banks. If ordering out you gives you any guilt, we’re pretty sure they just eradicated it.
Timing is Everything
Everything arrives chilled so that when you’re ready to serve dinner, you can heat it and it will arrive at the table piping hot and ready. No rushing everyone to the table because delivery arrived and it’s only barely tepid for a few more minutes. Just factor in that window, as most hot meals will require a 10-15 minute heat up in the oven (though microwave directions are included as well). And orders can be placed on-demand ($4.50 delivery charge), days in advance ($2.95 delivery charge for orders scheduled ahead), or a week out, if that’s how you roll. Just log into the website or download the app and they’ll get cookin’.
Munchery opened in Los Angeles in May, and is rapidly expanding to serve the whole city. Check to see if they’ll deliver to you now, or enter your email and they’ll notify you when they come to your hood (and they’ll send you a free meal when they arrive!).
We may hang up the oven mitts for good. DoorDash has a different spin on delivery, in that it’s amassed a collection of the most desirable dining spots in town that don’t do delivery. These are restaurants you’d love to be eating at on a Friday night (or a Tuesday, or Wednesday…) but with work, school, laundry, soccer practice, not to mention kids pulling out their restaurant manners when they’re tired: that just wasn’t going to happen. You realized you weren’t getting to eat this food until the kids were in college. Until DoorDash said, “We’ll deliver it tonight.” So you can throw out (or tuck away, they’re still good for birthday parties) the pizza delivery menus, now real food is getting delivered, from your favorite spots, exactly when you want it.
What You Want, When You Want It
Simply plug in your zip code and watch as hip and healthy restaurants that make you happy present themselves. This is the part where we got super excited, as many eateries we had deemed off the table due to unbearable parking, the expectation of unbearable shoes, or wait times that we wouldn’t put ourselves through, let alone a hungry toddler. But here they are. Ready to deliver, on demand or schedule a time. That’s right, you don’t need to just take an order as soon as they can deliver it, which often means dinner arrives too soon or when everyone has passed on to cranky town. You can log on first thing in the morning and place your order for tonight. Then don’t think about dinner all day long.
Bring Out The Big Guns
Remember how we said there were exceptional restaurants available? Think big. Think anniversary dinner big. Then check. It’s likely they’re part of the Door Dash roster. Maybe the kid isn’t ready for Spago. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Spago isn’t ready for your kitchen table. And it’s not all high end, either. You can get any of your favorites, or spots that don’t ever deliver. From the vegan delights at Gracias Madres to juice deliveries from Kreation, to a whole bunch of cupcakes from Sprinkles to fresh seafood from BP Oysterette. Bouchon brings Keller’s cuisine to your house and Morton’s will serve up a steak extravaganza. And that’s a random, middle of town sampling. Check your location to see who delivers to you.
Planning a birthday dinner for Grandma who has trouble with stairs, a kids party with Baby Blues BBQ and Sweet E’s cupcakes or your 10th Anniversary from Spago? You can do it all from your phone at 11 a.m. on the day of.
At What Cost Delivery
$6.99 per delivery, no minimum. Now, delivery charges we could always do without (who are we kidding), but Door Dash’s differentiating features manage to make the surcharge digestible. Take Group Cart. Have you ever been the person taking everyone’s take-out order, trying to not miss how this one doesn’t want onions and that one wants fries but only if they’re sweet potato and gluten free? It’s not the most fun role. Group Cart enables everyone to access the order via a shared link. So much simpler! You can save addresses to your account, you can advance order up to 5 days in advance. So for that PTA meeting at your house you can skip potluck, pick a restaurant, send a link and let everyone order what they like. Oh, this will come in handy when the kids turn teen, too.
Our Favorite Feature
With all that functionality, our very favorite feature is the simplest. You pay when you order, tip and all. No fumbling to balance a delivery bag as you awkwardly sign the credit slip. And since the tip is already paid ahead of time, say “Sayonara” to that awkward fish for cash moment once the doorbell rings. That $6.99 is worth every penny.
Dashing Through Your Door, With Courtesy
They’ll tell you at order time exactly how long your wait will be, or you can schedule for a specific time delivery in advance. And expect a courtesy text informing you they’re on their way, and even a call ahead to make sure doorbells won’t be waking any wee ones. They’ve got it down, soup to nut allergies. From their door to yours, dinner is served, cancel the sitter, your favorite restaurant is coming to dinner.
DoorDash began serving LA on the Westside in 2014, and has been adding a neighborhood or two with regularity until now they’re serving a majority of the city. If the service isn’t available in your hood yet, check back often, as they’re adding new restaurants and neighborhoods daily.
Red Tricycle readers can save $7 when you use the code REDTRI from June 1-10. Redeem your discount online.
Have you tried Munchery or DoorDash? What’s your favorite order-in food service?
—Written and photographed by Jolie Loeb