To be quite honest, I’m really sad to see some of these things leave our menu. They’ve got another two weeks or so, it’s really touch-and-go, but we’ve let them know that the end is nigh and they are subsequently preparing themselves for their final destination. On the upside to it all, after the rain comes rainbows, and there shall be some amazing dishes to take the place of all those who are passing on to the other side.
The truth of the matter is, Roy Chulo Choi’s been itching to add a lot of new flavors to our menu, but our menu’s been getting a bit too heavy to add any new additions. It was a tough decision, but it’s been decided to lay a few Kogi and Chego legends to rest.
And here are the list of the Kogi casualties:
blue moon mulitas
Pacman burger and quesadilla
sweet chili chicken quesadilla
I know. The ones that had me go, “Well, WAIT a minute!” were the Kogi dog and the kimchi quesadilla. They were the originals, after all, and have been with us since almost the beginning.
Granted, Kogi Dog, I never always saw eye to eye with you, especially since I’m not partial to hot dogs, but I respected you and all that you stood for. You were our homage to the L.A. Dirty Dog, and you shall not be forgotten.
Kimchi Quesadilla — we were homies, we were friends, we were family. I know I’ve always chosen the blackjack quesadilla over you, but I want to let you know that there was nothing wrong with you. Ever. Your tortillas were always crisp and pliant, hot and blistered like the bottom of a great Neapolitan pizza. Your jack and cheddar cheeses were always thoroughly melty and the subtle crunch of the buttered, caramelized kimchi cut right through the fattiness and brought the whole quesadilla alive, made the whole quesadilla mean something, as an anthem of our streets, as a love letter to K-Town, USA and everything that lives and dies in L.A. every day. With or without the flash of salsa roja, I loved you then, I love you still and I’ll love you even long after the last of you is served off our trucks. You, kimchi quesadilla, YOU are the heart and soul of what inspired us to birth the idea of the Kogi special. The original fist bump to the original Kogi fan. And I’ll remember you always.
Blue Moon Mulita — I never ordered you. I was always partial to flour tortillas and not corn with my melty cheeses. And the salsa azul, I never understood 100% on its own. But I always knew that there was something special about you. That there was a reason why you had so many die hard, hardcore fans after you. And, I admit, I sometimes felt jealous I could never join the party. It’s like you and your followers spoke this special code language that I was never able to crack. And lord knows I’ve tried. Sigh. But anyway, I still recognize you as family. And despite our many differences, I love and honor you still.
Pacman Burger, Quesadilla… remember that Manny Pacquaio fight back in November 2009? That’s when you were born. That’s whom you’ve been named after. A blockbuster of sauces, the everything burger/quesadilla mash up. So be proud and know why we’ve called you back on the menu time and time again as a Kogi special.
Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla — what a sweetheart you were. I love that you helped give birth to our salsa naranja, which has taken on a life of its own at Chego. Fresh-squeezed orange juice, Thai basil, Mae Ploy — that was genius. ::pat, pat:: Rest in peace.
AND NOW FOR THE CHEGO CASUALTIES:
Charred Romaine Salad
$12 Dollar Salad
sorta/kinda Butter Kimchi Chow
Kimchi Platter — you were so much more than a cuppa pickles. You were the AOL Version 1.0 to the Heirloom Pickle platter at A-Frame. Something new and exciting and amazing. Though your future progeny were upgraded with blue cheese sauce and fancy plating at other restaurants, YOU were the original. And YOU taught me that I very much like pickled fennel. So I’ll always remember that. And THANK YOU.
3PM Meatballs: everybody goes for the Ooey Gooey Fries instead of you, I know. But unlike the Ooey Gooey, your name came from a very special memory of Roy’s. Yes, back when Roy Choi Papi Chulo was only known as just Roy. Erhm, maybe Roy Choi, but Roy, nonetheless. Way back when, before the internet and even pagers Roy’s parents owned a Korean restaurant that was named after his little sister. And everyday after school, at around 3PM, he’d be sitting at the restaurant with the other ajummahs making perfectly folded mandu from these giant vats of mandu filling. And they’d be gossiping and chatting away while little Roy would be listening in like it was his favorite radio station. Anyway, that mandu filling became the base of the meatballs you are now. And he just fancied you up a bit with those fried polenta cakes I so adored. So anyway, I just want you to know before you go that you hold some very special meaning in Roy’s heart. (( H U G ))
Charred Seasonal Veggies — I really liked you! Sometimes you’d reincarnate as summer squash, sometimes as grilled portabellow mushrooms and bok choi and then back into asparagus again. You gave me a good general idea of when certain veggies were in season and I thank you for that. You were always my go-to when I didn’t feel like conquering a whole plate of fries on my own. You were bright, you were tasty and you always hit the spot.
Grilled Romaine Hearts — I’ll be honest with you. I don’t much care for creamy dressings, much less Caesar salad, which is where your roots come from. But you, too, were special to RC Choi back when he was just Chef Choi really grabbing a hold of the traditional American palate as the head chef at country clubs and hotels. So even though you weren’t super special to me, you were supremely special to him and to all the Chego regulars who ordered you time and time again. ::musses up hair:: You’ll be missed!
The $12 Salad — I gotta say, I’m gonna miss you. With your citrus miso dressing, cranberries, pickled red onions and candied pecans over baby mizuna, you were kind of the perfect salad for someone like me. Oh, I’d pick out your fancy Humboldt Fog goat cheese from time to time, but that has nothing to do with you. I just don’t like goat cheese or anything that tastes relatively goat-y in general. It’s because of you that I started making my own citrus miso dressing: grapefruit, lemon, miso, olive oil, pickled onions and dark honey. It’s my go-to dressing and goes good over EVERYTHING. So THANK YOU.
BUTTERED KIMCHI CHOW — no, you are not dying!!! But we might Beverly Hills you a bit, give you a little Gangnam Style. By the time Roy Choi Papi Chulo is done with you, you shall be younger, sleeker and even twice as tasty. TRUST.
I hadn’t expected to eulogize, but I couldn’t help but get a little sentimental over some of our menu items. So if you’re feeling a little sentimental, too, please pay your respects to these legends over the next few weeks. I don’t know about you guys, but I just want them to feel loved and appreciated before they pass on.
There shall be more, but to give a few hints to the new additions to our requisite menus. The new Kogi items will start their run at the Alibi (to which they will be putting the torta, taro/lotus root chips, vegan tacos and burritos to rest) and will include a Kogi Salad v2.0, spicy Korean fried chicken wings w/ a homemade ranch sauce, Kogi pizza with frijoles spread, salsa roja, broccoli rabe, queso fresco, kimchi, pickled red onion, pickled jalapenos, chopped herbs, sesame seeds, smoky caramelized shrimp and more. For Chego, we’re bringing in what can be described as mushroom medley spring rolls w/ a soy garlic sauce, wild arugula salad w/ peaches and yogurt curd and a spicy KBBQ skirt steak w/ a sesame leaf kimchi. JUST A TASTE.
ALL KOGI TRUCKS NOW ACCEPT MASTERCARD AND VISA WITH A $5 MINIMUM. If you REALLY need to use your credit card and your bill is under $5, there will be a fifty-cent surcharge, which is perfectly legal as long as we let you know ahead of time.
In a nutshell: use your credit card if you’re $5 or above, try to use cash if it’s under.
Love, tacos and legends,