Friday, May 27, 2016

LA Food Truck Reviews #4: Kogi Truck

I've had Kogi Truck many times.  Occidental College love to have Kogi come and cater, and for good reason, the food is always amazing.  The famous Chef Roy Choi, has done an amazing job with the fusion between Korean and Mexican food and it's always a pleasure to enjoy the cooking.  This was my first time having Kogi outside of a school catered event, so I was pleased to explore the menu a bit more than usual.

The truck was parked on Eagle Rock Boulevard on a Tuesday night.  If I remember correctly, I got there just when it was just opening, and already there was a long line.  It goes to show you how popular this truck is.  I ordered the Calamari Taco, and a Short Rib Burrito with no cheese.

The calamari taco was an interesting order.  The grilled squid was covered in a very spicy looking sauce, which upon tasting was more of a sweet chili mixture, while still maintaining a nice kick.  The chopped onions provided a nice crunch to the taco and the cilantro helped round the whole thing.  However, there wasn't much flavor to the squid in itself.  It was very tender and easy to chew, but the sauce overpowered the squid.  You couldn't taste the squid at all.  Instead of the sweet chili, it might be more effective to replace the sauce with a lemon jalapeno marinade.  The lemon will lighten the flavor of the squid without overpowering its natural flavor and the jalapeno can provide a nice kick to the mixture.

Now the short rib burrito was something I've been looking forward to for a while.  I've had their short rib tacos before and I knew the burrito would be something of a beauty.  Boy, was I not mistaken.  It was a decent sized burrito, the beef was done very well.  The various components inside all made for an amazing experience.  Great crunch from the lettuce and pickled vegetables, which also produced a tangy flavor.  The scrambled eggs made for a great filling and also helped lighten the burrito.  It was an amazing product.  The sweet short ribs combined with tangy slaw and the egg made for an amazing meal.  What really surprised me however, was the last bite.  To me, you know a great burrito is made when the last bite has everything.  It shows that the placement of ingredients was not done haphazardly, but rather careful consideration to ensure equal distribution of each ingredient.  The last bite really needs to embody the whole burrito and not be limited to one ingredient or the other.  In this case, my last bite consisted of a great final piece of short rib, accompanied by the vegetables.  I was expecting just vegetables or egg, instead I experienced a perfect conclusion.

As Food Trucks go, Chef Roy Choi is amazing.  All the stories about him pioneering this eclectic type of cuisine are all true, and the fact that he does an amazing job of creating fusion cuisine is even better.  Like I said, Kogi Truck is always one of my favorites, and to be able to experience his larger menu, was truly something to remember.  You can find their three trucks on their website, or on their Twitter Feed.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

LA Food Truck Reviews #3: The Crispy Cuban

So its finals season, and I'm taking a break from working on a paper about Marxism.  I'm deciding what to get for dinner, when I glance down at my Twitter feed.  Lo and behold, The Crispy Cuban is on there way to York Boulevard.  From a socialist writer to eating food from a socialist country, is this fate or what!

Anyhow, I get there at around 6:35, there's no line, it's parked in front of Block Party, a local bar.   I'm excited.  Of course I order "The Crispy Cuban", their namesake sandwich which comes with slow roasted pork, house cured ham, thinly sliced dill pickle, imported Swiss cheese (which I opted out of), mustard butter, all on a crispy Cuban baguette.  I also decide to try it "French Dip" style, which is their au jus served on the side for an extra $1.50.

Now before I go any further, it's worthy to note that there's signage that says that this sandwich is what inspired the Jon Faverau movie Chef.

So, first off, it's a pretty decent looking sandwich, about maybe 6-8 inches, cut lengthwise so that you have two halves at 6-8 inches.  This sandwich was really good.  The bread was very crispy/flaky.  It wasn't big, it wasn't stiff like a normal French Baguette.  It had a crust that came apart with each crunch, and a soft inside that didn't stretch or pull, but just gave way.  The sliced cured ham and slow roasted pork was amazing.  The pork had a great mixture of lean and fat, allowing each bite to be different.  The dill was super refreshing and really contrasted with the mustard.  With the au jus, everything is just accentuated.  It's made from the slow roasted pork shoulder and other meats to have this extremely deep flavor.  You could taste a little bit of a tomato base, which the sweetness and acidity really builds upon the sandwich.  I think what would make this sandwich better is a little bit of heat, something that the dill can really contrast on, because the mustard itself isn't that harsh. Otherwise, it was a good trip, $9.50 for the sandwich, and I probably won't get the au jus again, but I really enjoyed it.  If they're around again, I would love to try their fries or bowls.

You can find them at their website or their Twitter feed.