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Jan 9, 2010 11:42 PM

Taxicab Confessions: I don't love Kogi anymore.

I'm grateful to Roy Choi for kicking off the gourmet food truck craze, bringing food to the office workers stuck in Chow-free parts of the city, and for affording me a chance to revisit the kimchi burrito of my misspent Westwood youth, but...

...I don't think the food is improving with popularity.

That same sharp orange salsa seems to be on or in just about everything and the result is that many items taste similar. The Blackjack quesadilla is usually good (and has a decent green salsa) but the last couple of times it has been a little bit tough. And the much-vaunted kalbi taco was gristly, and cold even before it got to me; the last time I ordered that was the last time. Even at $2 that's not a bargain.

Also, the sodium level is staggeringly high. I mean, I still feel the salt even after two beers and a litre of water. Everything is terribly, terribly salty and I think it's the salsas.

I'm hoping that I got two off days and this isn't indicative. Both bad experiences were the Naranja truck, incidentally.

I feel like I am slaying a sacred cow here but objectively, if Kogi were in a food truck lot like the short-lived one in the People's Republic, it wouldn't be my destination.

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  1. Fret not, Das. I’ve got your back on this (and virtually ALL of your other posts). Having a combined total of well over 75 years of experience and passion for Mexican and Korean food, I must confess that I was underwhelmed with Kogi from the getgo. Once was enough. Ah, Kogi, it too shall come to pass, unless …

    1. From my last Kogi foray (3 weeks ago), I'm afraid I must concur that a decrease in quality is indeed detectable.

      1. I found a new love this weekend... the Flying Pig Truck... they get the tacos and the buns right ON!!


        4 Replies
        1. re: Dommy

          Tacos, yes, but the buns were more than somewhat chewy. Still, it's a lovely effort, and long may they wave.

          Dommy refers to an exhibit last weekend from some budding caterers out of an incubation center in Pasadena. Lots of nice grub put out to taste, including pork belly bao and duck tacos from the folks she mentions, an awful lot of killer biscotti, and some German stuff that hauls me right back to my pre-Revolutionary roots. There's an awful lot of food going on in LA County, kids, and we all really need to get out and dig it.

          1. re: Dommy

            Hi Dommy,

            Nice! :) Any website or news on when they'll be hitting the road? Thanks.

            1. re: exilekiss

              They already out there! :) Looking forward to when our paths cross again!!



            2. re: Dommy

              Second Flying Pig, it's superb. I tried basically everything on their menu and it was all amazing. RIch with international flavors, not particularly asian. Especially loving their sliders, which are actual sliders with patties (mixed pork and beef).

              That said, I still love Kogi. Agreed that quality is up and down a bit, but even on the lowest end it's still good and a good deal. One key is to always ask what the special is ... the special is often fantastic. Alibi has always been less tasty than the trucks for some reason ... who knows why, maybe there's something about the greasy confines of the truck's grill that gets flavors mixed together. Plus they don't have specials.

            3. When has $2 for a taco ever been a bargain?

              3 Replies
              1. re: andytseng

                it is all about the $1.00 tacos on breed st....or what used to be the breed st night market. sigh.....

                1. re: wilafur

                  I hate to tell you but tacos are not $1 anymore there... :(

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    the more important question is.....are the vendors still congregating (critical mass) anymore?

              2. The very first time I had a kogi taco it was pretty damn good, great flavors, pipping hot with a freshly made tortilla. The special was good as well. burnt rice kimchi porrdige. never seen that again. But that was when they had 1 truck and roy choi was there. Since then I've really only been to the alibi room. The tacos were never as good. The sauce was sometimes too much. The tortillas are sometimes cold and hard. Though I've never had a bad blackjack quesadilla there. I think it's a matter of expansion and the difficulty with quality control.