Kogi's Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla - Orange County
I'd been doing it all wrong. Every time I found myself in line at a Kogi truck stop, I become risk-averse. I always settled for the tried and true: one of their burritos. Granted it's only been three or four instances where I've actually stood in line for Kogi; but since most of these visits were made during the height of the craze, I wasn't ready to gamble with any of their other experimental stuff then. When you've already invested an hour or more of your time waiting, you play it safe and order what you know.
And Kogi's burritos has always been dependable, even if every successive taste seems less exciting and more predictable. It's like an awesome song that you once thought was revolutionary and groundbreaking. Now that you hear it being used for every TV commercial, you count the minutes before it's covered by Muzak.
What I should've been trying all along was everything else. I seemed to have forgotten that the whole Kogi business model is to go for the unexplored and unusual. Roy Choi's crazy drug-inspired mixups shouldn't work, but they do. Their Blue Moon mulitas look like UFO discs of strangeness, ugly but endearingly addicting--the best greasy, griddle-crisped tortilla/taco/sandwich thing that's shellacked in an unidentifiable purple-ish substance that might as well be made of delicious alien blood.
I loved it just as much as the sweet chili chicken quesadilla, which seems to inhabit not just Korean flavors with an omnipresent flavor of kimchi; but also Thai with the spicy/sweet/sour sauce restaurants typically use on egg rolls and Thai BBQ chicken. And I'll be damned if all of it isn't perfect with the Mexi components of oozing jack and cheddar cheese, chicken and an enveloping tortilla that's been properly seared to a crisp golden brown.
And thank goodness the Kogi hype has died down enough that I can now get it anytime without standing in an hour-long queue. Kogi's OC-based Naranja truck has settled into a comfortable groove. They prowl Irvine Company apartment complexes during some weeknights and when they do, there will hardly ever be more than two or three people in front of you. Now that's the kind of normal I can get used to.
Kogi's Naranja Truck
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