Monday, September 12, 2011

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

Kentro Greek Kitchen - Fullerton


At 12:10 PM, Blogger Chubbypanda said...

What did you think of the quesadilla? Last time I tried one, the paper turned translucent with grease.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

I actually loved it! It wasn't as greasy as the mulitas, but it was definitely still on the not-good-for-you side of the fence. In fact, the leftover quesadilla (there was a lot!) I was able to reheat in my toaster oven and it revived to its former glory.

At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Claudia Koerner said...

Ah, see I've never tried a Kogi burrito because I'm so in love with the quesadillas! Maybe I'll have to mix it up next time as well.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Yes! Absolutely! That's what I pledge on doing next time too. Maybe whatever they've got on special. Except now I'm kinda hooked on the Blue Moon Mulitas and these quesadillas!

At 11:10 AM, Blogger digkv said...

I actually love their quesadillas. I think kogi's best thing is actually their sauces, which blend mexican and asian flavors so well. try the blackjack quesadilla next time too, it's super greasy but their salsa is delcious. The sauce may seem like the standard sweet chile sauce at first but it's actually a bit more complex and if you've read the recipe, you can see it does start off with a bottle of that thai stuff but goes crazy after that:

At 8:18 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Ah! I had no idea Choi shared the formula for that addicting sauce to the world. Thanks for sharing the link!

At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Liz said...

I've only been to Kogi once. Seems a little over sauced to me. But I've only tried the tacos and sliders. Maybe I'll feel differently about the other offerings.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger mark said...

I actually think everything but the burritos and tacos are amazing.

At 2:57 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


I haven't tried the sliders, but I feel the tacos pale in comparison to the burritos, which pale in comparison to everything else.


Ditto! I like the burritos and tacos, LOVE everything else.


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