Eat on the sunny bungalow patio, or take home a whole dinner
I tend to be skeptical of prepared food-to-go operations -- either they're horribly expensive, like Joan's on Third, or everything tastes the same from sitting around in a refrigerated case too long. Besides, I can cook, so why would I let someone else roast a chicken for me? But I put my prejudices aside to check out the six month old Larchmont Larder, housed in an adorable craftsman bungalow near Melrose, because how nice would it be to stop by at 6:30, pick up a bag of food and arrive home at 7 with dinner already prepared? Very nice, it turns out, and my teenagers agreed that their $14 roast free range chicken and $5 container of roasted potatoes was as good as my home cooking, and without heating up the kitchen. We got a few meals out of the chicken, as well as ratatouille with lavender, a lovely beet/apple salad and a sturdy wheatberry salad with dried fruit. I might not ordinarily drop $40 on takeout food, but we did get several meals out of it, and the food all has fresh, distinct flavors with top quality ingredients. A few days later, I stopped by to pick up a Scandinavian sandwich on the way to work. Again, $10 for lunch at the office is out of my budget, but this was a luxurious sandwich made with house-cured gravlax, pickled onions and super-fresh pumpernickel, so it earned its keep. And did I mention the decor? I think people are just going to show the place to their kitchen designers and say, "Make it look just like this." With shiny white marble counters and open kitchen (above) with hanging copper pots -- everything is fresh and pretty, just like the food. Use it as your pantry for emergency dinner parties (individual entrees range from Moroccan chicken to grilled salmon) or picnics, or just stop by for breakfast or lunch -- either way it's hard not to like the Larder. They could probably clone the place, drop it onto Hillhurst Ave. and make a killing.
Maybe their slogan could be: the Larchmont Larder -- when you're too rich to cook.
626 No. Larchmont Boulevard