Deep at the epicenter of the television and movie capital of the world sits famed Universal Studios and on a little side street a few yards away a row of delicious, self indulgent decadence awaits. And no I’m not talking about the new Revenge of the Mummy ride. I’m referring to the food truck mother load.
Kogi Korean BBQ Style Tacos, The Dim Sum Truck (review coming later this week:-), Streets of Thailand and The Pokey Truck – Japanese Hawaiian Wraps (reviews coming next week:-) all in one centralized location.
Imagine my utter joy and delight considering that my day started out pretty typical, checking email and doing what not; so when I received an early morning tweet to my Blackberry announcing the location of the famed Kogi BBQ taco truck I immediately got dressed and headed out with the intention of (finally) sampling some of the most talked about Korean style tacos in Los Angeles!
Little did I know when I arrived that I was about the hit the food truck mother load and have my pick of not just one, but four unique styles of ethnic cuisine all within steps of one another and all affordably priced.
But that wasn’t the best part. No, the best part was being able to enjoy my meal picnic style, while sitting on the grass surrounded by trees in a beautiful park as the traffic from the Hollywood freeway whizzed by virtually undetected only a few hundred yards away.
While I was thrilled by so many options there was a purpose to my visit. So I returned to the task at hand secured my spot in line to get some Kogi tacos. First let me say this truck is beyond popular. The line was longest and remained so my entire visit, understandably so.
After one bite of my Kogi Slider featuring (slow cooked, fork tender braised then grilled short rib, served on a soft warm mini bun, dressed in sesame mayo, shredded cheddar cheese, Salsa Roja (a tomato based salsa with a slight kick of heat from the chili) finally the sandwich is slathered in a homemade slaw of both cabbage and romaine lettuce tossed in a chili soy vinaigrette I got it.
The flavors are complex and yet so distinct. While you taste the sesame, and you definitely get a little kick from the chili in the salsa and a surprising back hit of soy. Even with all of this going on you never, ever lose the flavor of the star attraction, that tender short rib. I feel like Homer Simpson (my head tilted back, my mouth watering) even as I write this.
If you’re not a big meat eater or you just want to treat yourself to something really special try the Calamari Tacos. Even if you don’t particularly care for seafood I believe you’ll enjoy these. First off let me say they’re not fishy at all. On the contrary, your warm corn tortilla is filled with delicate ringlets of fresh calamari marinated in citrus juices, scented with fragrant ginger and lightly grilled until slightly smokey and flavorful.
Finally the cooked calamari is loaded onto its final destination, a warm soft corn tortilla where it’s dressed in Kogi’s BBQ signature sauce of Sweet and Spicy SalsaNaranja (that’s orange to us gringo’s:-) and dusted with sesame seeds. Heavenly is the only word to describe this taco and I can promise you it’s unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.
My only regret was that I didn’t get to sample the popular Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla (but don’t worry, I’m going back next week and I’ll report my findings right here) it’s considered to be one of several fan favorites and a part of their “secret” menu. But you read it here.This is not your typical garden variety Quesadilla! No, Kogi kicks it up about five notches by adding caramelized onions, again that amazing signature Sweet and Spicy Salsa Naranja and tops it with toasted crushed sesame seeds.
If you possibly have any room left I hear that the ChocoLate Tres Leches cake is a shameless favorite among regulars. Personally I had no room for dessert, but if you love rich, gooey desserts this one promises not to disappoint.
The Tres Leches (Mexican for three milks) features spiced peanut brittle with toffee, Cocoa Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, toffee, cayenne and cinnamon. Again I couldn’t go there today. But like Arnold, “I’ll Be Back!”
Most of the items on the menu average between $2.10 for single tacos up $7 dollars for the speciality items. Burritos run $5 dollars and desserts are $4.
They also offer a variety of combo meals ranging $7 to $10 in price and include a drink, you can add dessert for only $3 dollars more.
My Final Recommendation:
On your next visit to LA make Kogi BBQ a must stop, it’s worth chasing down without a doubt. But if you go to Kogi’s Twitter Page and sign up to receive instant twitter text notifications you won’t have to.
At the time of this writing Kogi makes an appearance at the Universal location where I visited at least twice a month, possibly more. So if you can swing it on your next visit to Los Angles try to fit it in prior to your Universal Studios tour experience. You won’t regret it.
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