Friday, January 16, 2009

My Dueling Neighborhood Taco Trucks

There's a long-standing tradition of taco trucks roving the streets of Venice. From the Mariscos truck feeding the futbol players of Penmar Park on weekends to ... well, I'm sure there are others.

But no matter what you call them -- lunch trucks or roach coaches, they're breaking into the discerning foodie market, with its disposable income and all.

In the typical Venetian twist of shabby chic, the venerable taco truck tradition has gone yuppy. If you're in the know, you've at least heard about Kogi BBQ, if not queued up at midnight outside the Brig to sup on Korean short rib tacos (see them rolling down Lincoln here). They cruise UCLA too, and once in a while, points east. The best way to find where and when they'll be is by following their dutiful Tweets.

They were parked outside the Brig on Abbot Kinney tonight, with its built-in clientele in need of grub to buffer a few extra drinks. But just down the street, I found something new: The Green Truck. If Kogi broke the glass ceiling keeping mobile restaurants down, GK is aiming to catapult the genre into the starry LA culinaria by slinging hummus & lavash, harvest salads. Though let's be honest. If you're out for a few beers, you're gonna be wanting the grass-fed beef burger, or at least the grilled cheese. Of course, the shiny Mercedes green machine is a biodeisel running on veggie oil, and they're capitalizing on the organic food revolution.

Who wins the night? Green had two lonely souls milling around its maybe-too-fancy exterior and its coconuts with straws (truly). Kogi was swamped by fans who were drawn perhaps by the word of mouth, possibly visiting out of convenience, perhaps following the irresistable smell, but most likely, it's just that late at night when you're eating outdoors spicy barbecue chicken tastes better than vegan sesame tofu wrap.

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