Welcome to The Bite! Don’t let the name fool you. This is a blog about food, not mosquitoes. Though I guess to mosquitoes we are food so the name would still work. But I digress. I’ll be talking about all kinds of food here in Los Angeles and beyond. Fancy restaurants, not-so-fancy restaurants, fast food, slow food, and food trucks.
Since I like to cook, I may even post a recipe on here from time to time. And I’ll try to keep my language less salty than an order of French fries. Though I can’t guarantee anything. So now that you know what The Bite is all about, let’s get started.
Los Angeles: The city of sun, fun, palm trees, movie stars, fancy cars, fake boobs, and incredible food. If someone was visiting here for the first time and asked me where they should dine if they wanted to taste L.A., I would tell them there are two places they must go to truly experience its culinary culture: In-N-Out Burger and the Kogi BBQ truck.
Our inaugural post is about the latter. For those of you who are confused right now, that’s the second thing. And for those of you who are confused and suck at spelling, ladder is spelled with two D’s, not two T’s.
I am fascinated with the food truck culture. Back in the old days, food trucks were known as the “roach coach” and their fare was questionable at best. The less you knew about what you were eating, the easier it was to consume. You pretty much only ate at a food truck if you were too busy or broke to go out to lunch, forgot to make your lunch that day, or wanted to commit suicide. However, that has all changed. Today the new breed of food truck is all about gourmet food on the go. One of the first—and most popular—of that new breed in L.A. is Chef Roy Choi’s Kogi BBQ (kogibbq.com).
|Image by Kogi BBQ|
Choi’s menu of Korean and Mexican fusion is nothing short of astounding, elevating street food to an art. I don’t know how he came up with his recipes. Perhaps he is a mad culinary genius. I picture him in his kitchen with drawings and notes covering his walls like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. Or maybe it was a result of an uber case of the munchies. It doesn’t matter. You don’t question how food this delicious came to exist, you’re just grateful that it does.
The first time I tasted Kogi it was like a party inside my mouth. I know what you’re thinking right now and that’s disgusting. Get your mind out of the gutter. One of the most amazing things about the food is how all of the ingredients blend seamlessly together to create a balanced and unique combination of flavors.
For me, it was love at first bite. It’s gotten so bad that I can spot a truck from a mile away. When I see one, I get more giddy and excited than Justin Beiber when he sees a bucket. On more than one occasion, my wife has remarked, “I remember when you used to look at me the way you look at that truck.”
|The Wet Burrito: It's Slap-You-In-The Face Delicious|
My favorite thing to get is the short rib burrito. Recently, I decided to kick it up a notch and tried the Kogi Special Wet Burrito. It normally comes with spicy pork but I asked if I could get it with the short rib and they happily obliged (speaking of which, I want to give a shout out to the kick-ass crew of the Verde truck). The wet burrito adds salsa verde on the inside and mole (the best I’ve had) on the outside. They top it with melted cheese and cilantro onion lime relish. It's officially my new mutha-effin' jam.
My other favorite is the spicy pork taco. It has just the right amount of heat. Which is good because even though I can stay in the kitchen, I can’t take too much of the heat. The sweet chili chicken quesadilla is also quite tasty, the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. Also appetizing is their take on the hot dog. Why settle for a plain ol’ wiener when you can have it Kogi-fied?
|Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla: The perfect balance of sweet and spicy. It's swicy!|
Every Tuesday night, I’m lucky that the Verde truck hangs out not far from where I live. Though I usually get my favorite, I know I’m just hurting myself by not trying something new. So that is my goal for the next few weeks. Next up for me are either the sliders or the Pacman burger.
|Spicy Pork Taco: Freakin' Awesome|
My feelings for Kogi have transcended love and have moved on to devotion. As a matter of fact, I even tweeted Chef Roy and asked if I can walk the earth with him like Caine in Kung Fu so that he may teach me the ways of the Kogi. For the record, he hasn’t given me an answer yet but he did favorite my tweet. Though now I’m thinking perhaps it was a tad bit premature for me to shave my head and fashion prayer beads out of kimchi. Have you ever tried to make prayer beads out of kimchi? Believe me, it is not easy.
|Sup, Kogi Dog!|
Since it began, the Kogi BBQ truck has weaved itself into the fabric of L.A. It celebrates the diversity that is the City of Angels. That’s part of its beauty. It brings all types of people together, sometimes in neighborhoods they normally wouldn’t visit. While you wait in line, you may find yourself striking up a conversation with the strangers around you.
Perhaps Chef Choi should consider bringing his trucks to the war torn nations of the world. Because if anything can finally bring peace to the Middle East, it’s that wet burrito.