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Feb 25, 2010 12:18 PM

Luigi's and Kogi truck - a Very Weird Wednesday Night!

As I've mentioned before, I have two monthly meetings that take place at a less-than-stellar restaurant: a luncheon at the Proud Bird and a dinner at Luigi's in Hawthorne. Fare is edible, but I sure wouldn't go to either one for the food. Last night at Luigi's, after discovering that this so-called pizza parlor has absolutely no anchovies on the premises - isn't that illegal? It should be! - I managed to find the ONE dish they do quite well. It's the eggplant Parm, an utterly unremarkable rendition except that the accompanying pasta, its sauce, and the large portion of the main item were exactly right together, with the combination of cheesy/tomatoey/gooey & fried flavors I like so much. Twelve bucks with adequate salad and bread = not bad. So if your car breaks down on Rosecrans just off the 405 and you're starving for something kind of Italian, there ya go. The Chianti is strictly jug, but at least it's expensive...

So I drive back to Pasadena and go to pick up Mrs. O, who is taking a night course at Glendale College. She is expecting to have a bag-o-ramen supper, and we're driving down North Lake through Altadena when she says, "Oh! A food truck!" I'd driven past it, but I circled two blocks, came back and saw it was parked next to the Coffee Gallery. We got out for a look, and damned if it wasn't the Kogi truck, and the line wasn't long at all! We are easily the oldest people in the line, but we're getting used to that... anyway, it moved pretty quickly, thanks to the extremely efficient crew - from ordering to pickup was never more than five minutes, I think - and very shortly, after parting with about $5, Mrs. O had a short-rib burrito in her hand. We're just down the street, so we got back in the car and took it home. Five minutes later my beloved has this look of utter bliss on her face, and is talking with her mouth full, which she never does: "Oh. My. God." I got a bite, and it wasn't only as good as I'd expected, it was good in ways I'd never expect. Not just rich and savory, but a bit pungent, a bit sweet, nice and complex in a way I'd never tasted. Okay, so these guys CAN cook.

No, we are not going to hang out on Twitter waiting for their next stop, but it was sure fun to simply trip over them like that. While serendipity doesn't work as a strategy, sometimes it pays off very nicely.

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  1. So, none of the gristle that is often the subject of complaints?

    3 Replies
    1. re: mc michael

      Well, actually, I did find one piece of gristle, but I happen to like a little gristle now and then.

      1. re: Chauve Souris

        Mmm... gristle... Thanks for reporting back on your experience at Kogi! How long was your not-so-long wait?

        1. re: J.L.

          We were there for perhaps forty minutes, with about twenty people ahead of us. We weren't taking notes, so this is a rough guess. Most of the people in line were couples, as we were, which rather speeds things up.

          Chauve Souris, otherwise identified as Mrs. O, is not kidding about liking gristle. Neither of us expects our meat to be free of natural obstructions, and we tend to think rather less of those who do. Sorry if this includes you...

    2. Aww, c'mon, Mr. O you surely won't be the oldest one with a Twitter account!! Even John McCain has one!!

      Glad to here about the lucky finds in one day! Always nice when life works out like that! Now if only I could get that truck to my little village....

      1 Reply
      1. re: Phurstluv

        Yeah, John McCain and a few million other Elderly Flatulences do have Twitter accounts, but not a one of'em was standing around outside the Coffee Gallery. There were plenty inside, of course; I guess they liked coffee, stale pastries and warmth too much to see what all those damn kids were doing out there...

        As this is not the usual big industrial-type space I understand the truck usually haunts, but basically just a curb cut and a small, normally closed-off parking lot, I'm assuming there was some prior negotiation. Initiated by whom I do not know. However, Mrs. O has just discovered that the Kogi trucks (four in number) now have a schedule posted online, thus taking the Twitter swarm phenomenon sorta out of the equation...