6 Healthy (and Damn Delicious) Fast Food Joints for Busy People
They’re internationally inspired and easy on your wallet
We love In-N-Out burgers and Tommy’s chili dogs, but honestly, we don’t feel that great once we’ve had one. So we’re keen on the new breed of fast food that’s all about healthy, responsibly sourced meals that are just as quick. (OK, so no drive-through windows, but there is a noodle joint that will run meals out to your idling car.) Think of it as nouvelle cuisine, rapide.
A tiny spot (275 square feet) that serves up big flavor, this Filipino restaurant is our DTLA to-go stop. Heirloom rice choices change daily, and they’re the real deal, turned out by non-GMO small growers in the Philipines. Text in your order for Pancit Luglog ($8.75), the thick rice noodles with baby shrimp, shellfish sauce and a boiled egg on top.
419 W. Seventh St.; 213-807-5341 or ricebarla.com
This Culver City fast-casual restaurant serves standout salads made from Southland-grown ingredients. Online-order Tuscan black kale with pomegranates and kumquats ($4.75), and piquillo pepper toast ($3.50); pick them up to avoid long lunch lines.
9900 Culver Blvd., Culver City; 310-838-3388 or picnic.la
Remember when Korean tacos were all the rage? Now chef Roy Choi has another hybrid hit on his hands with “foldies" ($2), a taco that’s pan-fried instead of steamed. Enjoy the barbecued turkey version (leaner protein than hamburger) and a $1 agua fresca (not as sugary as colas).
1950 E. 103rd St.; welocol.com
This hole-in-the-wall is the takeout window that shares a kitchen with MudHen Tavern. Like at that sit-down operation, meals here skew toward international cuisine, including Korean potstickers ($7) and spicy Chinese chicken wings ($7). Bonus: The menu changes every six months.
742 N. Highland Ave.; mudhentavern.com
Call ahead and ask that this downtown counter run your meal out to your idling car. Get the Kung Pau Noodle Bowl ($8), in which fat Korean noodles come sauteéd with baby bok choy, chiles, garlic soy paste, lemongrass and Thai basil.
727 N. Broadway, #117; 310-287-0337 or eatchego.com
At this spin-off of fancy restaurant Ink, the fried-chicken sandwich ($4) is made with all the latest kitchen tricks. The meat is slow-cooked juicy sous vide-style, then fried. Then it's topped with house-made ranch and a dash of hot sauce. It’s our vote for the new McChicken.
8360 Melrose Ave. #107; 323-655-7225 or mvink.com