Thursday, June 07, 2012

Korean Quesadilla From Bon Epi Patisserie & Cafe - Irvine

Have you noticed that you can get a Kogi taco or burrito without so much as a five minute wait these days? The pioneering luxe lonchera that once boasted three hour long lines--no seriously, I was in one of them until I threw up my hands and went home--seems to have become just another food truck now. 

I spotted them at K1 Speed in Irvine this week and noticed they had at most three customers. A few years ago during the height of the hype, it was there at this same parking lot that I witnessed a crowd in the hundreds forming even before the truck arrived. How things have changed.  It seems that the Kogi demand has calmed so much, one truck out of their fleet has been put on semi-permanent dry dock. 

What happened? Well, I'll leave that to the business school case study writers, most of whom will undoubtedly argue that food trucks aren't the most sustainable of businesses; that people tire of moving targets; that hype, by its very definition, is not everlasting. 

I would still contend that Kogi's food is still great, though. But the revelation that Korean kimchi and meats go quite well with Mexican tortillas and cheese is not much of a secret anymore. The cat's out of the bag.

Take the pictured Korean spicy pork quesadilla I recently had. It was not from Kogi. As you should've figured out by the title of the post, I ordered it from a Korean bakery; but it sure tasted like it came from a Kogi-like food truck. Red grease streaked the plate and my napkins as I ate the thing, leeching out from the melting cheddar as it combined with the Korean pepper marinade of the pork. It had onions. It had peppers. It had everything a Kogi truck would make, priced at about what a Kogi truck would charge ($5). 

Yes, Korean quesadillas like this inspired crazed hipster mobs to drool and congregate in ridiculous queues three years ago; but now it's just another thing to order at this relatively unhip corner bakery. I believe those business school case study writers have a word for this, too: Commodification.

Bon Epi
2750 Alton Pkwy Ste 101
Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 251-0070

Bistro Bleu - Anaheim


At 10:00 AM, Blogger Greg Hao said...

it's amusing that in a six paragraph review, only one of them is actually a review and one can only determine by inference that you liked it. ;)

the thing about choi is that he's largely moved on from the kogi thing as well. The only vestige of it that's left on his vast empire is alibi and usually when I'm in alibi, 3/4 of the patrons there aren't eating but just using it as a bar (not that there's anything wrong with that). I don't remember the last time I've seen him around any of the yogi stuff but instead has been focusing his energies on his more up market places like a-frame or sunny spot.

chego is sort of busy but that's probably a side effect the smallness of the space. Still, considered in the context of a small local shop, they do very good business.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Yep. One paragraph is just about all I needed to say on that quesadilla. Any more and it would've been overkill.

I was as surprised as you that the review went that way. I wrote on my iPhone while lying in bed and it kind of just happened that I had a lot more to say about Kogi. Monster Munching has become a place where deposit my brain dumps. Results will vary!

That's good intel on Kogi. I always thought of Choi as the type of dude who wouldn't want to sit still.


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