It's what makes the greats great. It got Edison his bright idea. It got Armstrong to the moon, and then to the winner's podium of the Tour de France. And last night it finally got me my first Kogi taco.
I could persuade nobody to come along for an 11PM taco run, but I would not be deterred. Solo, I jaunted down to Abbot Kinney, and to the Brig's parking lot where, under the greenish glow of the oddly Venetian lighting, I beheld the sights and smells that would forever change my notion of food served out of vehicles.
The line was, as expected, pretty long at only 10:30, so I meandered down Abbot Kinney, weaving amongst stoners folding slices at Abbot's Habbit, late-night diners perusing menus of the 40 new restaurants that have opened in the last week, and duded-up barflies who have never been famous extoling how much cooler they are than the actor in the bar they just left, who was famous and now is not.
Smells of the ocean air, tobacco, stale cocktails, alcoholic ketoacidosis, clove cigarettes all tickled the senses, but my return to the Kogi truck flushed that all away with the tang of soysauce and the smoke of charring meat.
The line hadn't shrunk much, but if part of the experience is the anticipation, then I was keen to drink it in. Entered the line at 11:13, and ordered at 11:43. As one passer-by exclaimed, "It's like Magic Mountain!"
But like theme park lines, there was plenty to amuse during the wait. Strangers were chatty and happy to relate the stories of their first Kogi. A window into the Brig displayed drunken revelry like a fishbowl full of Satruday Night Fever. And then, there was the Tree Man ...
Where he came from, no one knows. Where he's going, who can tell? Was he on crack, what's it matter? He looked a lot more green in the ambient light, and blended with the palm trunks. He was nigh invisible until he moved, and scared the chitlins out of a new addition to the line.
It was hard to tell in the dark if the Brig security was surprised to see an Ent at his door, or happy to see a neighborhood regular.
All I had on me was $5, American. Which suited me fine, on account of I'd already eaten dinner earlier in the evening. The cash was just enough for two of their tacos ($2 each), plus the recently imposed tax that all the liners were griping about.
Sources confrimed that as a Kogi virgin, I should start with the short rib taco and the spicy pork taco. I could not have chosen better.
A little squirt of Siracha on the sidep proved unnecessary. The marinades were pleanty flavorful, and cooled by the lettuce, cabbage, cilantro, green onion slaw on top. This was good-quality meat, tender and free of the gristle delivered on other street vendors' paper plates. The tortillas have the perfect soft, elasticity to them, with a touch of griddled crispiness around the edges. Forget the fork. This is an all-hands meeting.
As I was sitting here writing this post, I got a call from a friend who's been dying to try the truck. I evangelized the tacos to him. Guess what our plans for tonight are.