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The Kogi Chronicles

c
cvc Mar 17, 2009 05:54 PM

Kogi came to WLA today. First the timeline.

11:45am Arrive at the T Loft sales office on Olympic, about fifteen people hanging about.

12:00pm Somehow it's decided that a line should form from the parking lot heading east down Olympic. Great idea. Approx. 50 people are now waiting.

12:15pm A T Loft sales rep hands out more attractive fliers about their environmentally safe dedicated condo developments starting at $500,000. Almost everyone is in jeans and looks like they're in high school. (I may be out of touch on this one.)

12:30pm The Kogi truck is spotted arriving from the east. Only three people are seen bailing during this whole time, three Hispanic women in business attire, leave their front of the line position to, I would imagine, go back to work via the office snack counter suggesting that they are the only people in the line adhering to a traditional lunch hour. There are now approximately 100 people waiting, many in front of me. (There seems to be an unspoken etiquette of holding places in line for your office mates, i.e. the couple in front of me grew to 8.)

12:45pm The Kogi truck officially opens with the young operator basking in, or feigning, the surprise of such a good turnout. (Doesn't he read Eater?)

1:00pm Although I don't drink anymore and haven't seen a Coors since Stonewall, the 20' billboard directly overhead featuring a sort of wintery Alps background is looking mighty inviting.

1:10pm My turn at bat. The young man who greeted us earlier is taking orders at the truck window and cheerfully inquires where I heard of Kogi. (He does read Eater.) I order two beef tacos (one for a friend who gets off work at 6pm who will not get it), a spicy pork and a chicken taco, a Coke (he will get this) and a Sprite, all for $2 each.

1:25pm My name is called. My food is ready. I head back to work. An hour and 40 minutes after arriving.

I love the oily, peppery onion cabbage based fill and the fresh smooth tortillas but frankly the meats are almost indistinguishable from one another. Still, very satisfying... and better than the Mogolian BBQ place at the Westside Pavilion. This has got to be the biggest single dish food phenomenon since Nancy Silverton introduced grilled cheese night at Campanile.

Don't do this alone or, at least, have a web based device with you. I've never seen so many Blackberries a-Twittering. I wonder what those exotic half sized cans of soda with Korean writing are like. You'd love to throw a party and have them cater. Along with the taco concession, the parking meter folk are also cleaning up. So, be careful. A $48 ticket for a $2 taco is annoying to say the least.

I'm grateful for Tacomiendo four blocks away at Gateway and Pico, Lares at Pico and 31st, Tacos Por Favor at Olympic and 14th, etc. I didn't wear green today but I did have cabbage.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  1. b
    bu dat Mar 17, 2009 08:40 PM

    this is so sad and makes little sense.

    just go to the alibi room. sit down, order, get food within 10 minutes. drink a coke, beer, or cocktail and chat with friends in the interim. the truck is over (i guess, except for eastsiders who can't venture west). i just don't get the point of wasting sooooo much time for ok food.

    i thought the tacos (two spicy pork, one short rib, and an order of sesame/spicy fries) were quite good. i liked the short rib the best b/c it had some crunchy edges that really added a textural yumminess. kogi was not mindblowing and nothing compared to a good old tasty taco truck. but it was tasty nonetheless, and worth a try (without a wait). i would not go out of my way to eat kogi, but would definitely order it if i was at the alibi room (which i thought had pretty good pre-kogi).

    1. j
      Jase Mar 17, 2009 08:09 PM

      I work in that area and can see the spot right out the window. Don't forget super taco on pico and sawtelle for mexican option. Quick walk from where I am.

      1. b
        Bjartmarr Mar 17, 2009 07:23 PM

        I grabbed a pork and a beef taco when they rolled by SMC today around 4. I waited about 10 minutes, though by the time I got my food the line had shrunk to two people.

        The pork was pretty good and the beef okay, and the fusion concept was interesting, but neither was worth going out of my way for. Both could have used some chilies. I've had significantly better tacos, albeit with a slightly different flavor, in Highland Park.

        1. Phurstluv Mar 17, 2009 06:06 PM

          Cr*p! And I missed it!! I guess I have to break down and get on Twitter to find out when they're coming back!

          Does it hold up to take out? I thought it was like Pink's in that it was better eaten right away, before the grease takes hold. I wish I had more friend to go with at night, then I'd just do the Alibi, but we're all stay at home moms who need to be up early with little kids every am.

          And I am too, grateful for Tacos Por Favor, so I guess I shouldn't complain!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Phurstluv
            c
            cvc Mar 17, 2009 06:14 PM

            I found out on Eaterla.com yesterday and yes I agree that they're probably better eaten right away. (Anyway, that's what I told my friend who I said I'd pick up a beef taco for.)

            1. re: cvc
              Phurstluv Mar 17, 2009 06:17 PM

              Right, right, gotcha! Will have to bookmark Eaterla.com. Thanks for the info!

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