Amidst last weekend’s “missed connection” with Kogi, we took the time to post our frustration with their lack of consideration to the 40 plus people standing in the cold and waiting. For a business that made its name by tweeting its location to keep people updated, they dropped the ball big time. To be fair, our posts to Kogi were a little snarky and maybe uncalled for. We should have sent a personal email, but it honestly didn’t even occur to me. I saw the blog and I posted.
Here is some background on the posts, and my perspective: I literally planned my night around hitting up Kogi at 8:30 and meeting up with people afterwards. I was cool to get the notice that they were postponing until 9:45 and willingly slugged back a few drinks at the York until then. Around 9:30 we headed back out and got in a line about 20-30 people deep. Then we waited. And waited. Every couple minutes I reloaded the Kogi webpage on my iPhone expecting a twitter of some sort. Nothing. 10:00 pm, still nothing. It was cold, I was starving and my friends were done. People in line were getting pissy. “5 more minutes,” I pleaded. Still nothing. No truck, no tweets, just a long (and increasingly surly) line. At 10:05 we left—and talked a small crowd into joining us at La Estrella. As usual, La Estrella was fast, delicious, cheap and predictably located. Around 10:40 we drove back past where Kogi was supposed to be. Still a line, still no truck, still no twitter. (Sorry Kogi, but that sucks—I wasn’t pissed that you didn’t show, I was pissed you didn’t tell us.)
Come Sunday morning I discover that Kogi’s schedule has been retroactively updated to say “Eagle Rock – CANCELLED” and a surprising response from Chef Roy to our comments. Somehow, Chef took us telling him that we didn’t appreciate the no-show as a threat. His response was “Eagle Rock, if you ever threaten my team again then we will not bother and will not go back.” I don’t know what he found to be threatening, and indeed the only threat I could find is that Kogi is going to shun our neighborhood because three people complained. We followed up politely telling them “a little communication would go a long way” (again, this place made a name for itself by tweeting updates) and ask how they think it impacts the people waiting? This still feels like a fair request.
The response this time? Alice, Kogi’s “Public Relations” rep, posted a long and convoluted diatribe comparing Kogi to a poor mom taking care of spoiled kids. “You can get mad at the mom, but take one extra minute and really think to yourself — is the mom not beating herself up over it as well?” (A bit presumptuous and not a kind view of your customers, Kogi—next time maybe you should be a little more subtle and compare yourself to Jesus… Los Angeles is probably better off because of you, but our survival doesn’t depend on you. Like it or not, you still need customers more than they need you.) Nevertheless, Alice finishes off her public relations piece with, and I’m paraphrasing here, “F you, we don’t need you.”
What’s more ridiculous is when we become villains for “driving Kogi out of Eagle Rock.” The post reads “Quick shout-out to the douchebags Kevin, Aaron and Chris who did all they could to ensure Eagle Rock gets no love this week.” Is that really true? Do we control Kogi’s movements? I’m sorry, but Kogi snubbing a neighborhood for the scorn of three residents is the height of vanity and absurdity. I find it hard to believe that anybody is really willing to play into that hand.
Kogi, come off your high horse. You don’t need to be a diva, lord knows LA has enough of those already. You should have said you weren’t coming. We realize you’re human, and so are we. You’re tired, we’re hungry; we all make mistakes. We loved your idea, supported your vision, and nobody loves taco trucks more than us. We love what you do. All we ask is that you respect those who keep you doing it—the people waiting for hours for your truck.
Waiting out in the cold for the “it” taco truck that was 90 minutes late gave me lots of time to think of metaphors last night, and I think I’ve hit on something. Kogi is a lot like Kristen Stewart: Traditional media have been swooning over her for months, the blogosphere covers her every appearance, and based on the hype, Helen of Troy might be able to land a role beside her as an ugly step-sister. So, what do you do when she finally notices you and you have a shot at a date? Well, the New York/Los Angeles/Financial Times have all raved about her. Jonathan Gold wrote about how hot she was, and you’re the envy of every other guy who’s convinced she’s a perfect 10, so you say “yes”.
Kristen: “I’ll meet you at the corner of Eagle Rock and York around 8:30. I’m really looking forward to meeting you, we’re going to have a great time”
Me: “Well…you are Kristen Stewart. Okay, see you then.”
I shower, brush my teeth, shave, put on a nice collared shirt with thin vertical stripes, and find a clean pair of jeans. A quick dab of aftershave and my hip new sneakers (Kristen deserves better than worn out Vans), and I’m off.
8:45: There’s still no sign of my date, but hey, she is Kristen Stewart. She probably ran into something more important, so I can be patient. Wow…Kristen Stewart.
9:00: No word from Kristen. I’ll just grab a beer down at the York to kill some time, calm my nerves, and when she twitters me that she’s arrived, I’ll head down to begin our date.
9:30: Still no word from Kristen as I drain my 1903. She is a pretty big deal around here. I’m sure she has more important things to do than hang out with me in humble old Eagle Rock. I’m getting a little impatient, but just think, I’ll be able to tell all my friends how I went on a date with that girl from Twilight. I’d better head back to the ARCO station where we were supposed to meet. Maybe she’s there and waiting for me.
9:45: No Kristen. I’m starting to feel jilted, and my eyes are wandering. There are some other pretty attractive options around. I can walk to Rambo’s, which is better than a sharp stick in the eye, and Leo’s (a bit of a hype magnet herself but still solidly attractive) is only a block further down. I’ll give her 15 minutes.
10:05: No Kristen, no date, just a disappointed sucker feeling idiotic for being stood up by a vapid celebrity who doesn’t know what she’s missing out on. I peel out, eyes blurred with tears while I blubber something about how Robert Pattinson probably doesn’t even know what a taco is.
By 10:15 I’ve regained my composure, and I’m able to reflect on the evening while enjoying the simple pleasures of La Estrella’s red sauce. The woman of my dreams has been standing right in front of me (and York Appliance), and I was so blinded by the Hollywood hype that I forgot all about her. She may not have a website, Kimchi quesadillas, or a line of foodies beating down her door, but once you get past her rough facade, she’s dependable, affordable, and has just enough Latina attitude to keep you on your toes. I never even thought Kristen was that attractive anyways, I just let the critics convince me otherwise.
So Kogi, “I like you as a friend”, “I think we should see other people”, “I don’t speak English”, “I’m married to the sea”, “I don’t want to taze you but I will”…I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s over. You’re a great person, and I’m sure you’ll find someone who makes you happy.
I thought I was so witty with that portmanteaux, but apparently “Korexican” links to over 700 results on Google. “Mexirean” is on urbandictionary.com, but it just sounds wrong. Anyhow, Mexican-Korean fusion taco truck Kogi has invaded Northeast Los Angeles for the last two nights. If you haven’t had time to jump on the bandwagon of this latest foodie fad, you’ll have another chance when the truck parks near the corner of York and Eagle Rock Blvd. this Saturday from 8:30-10:00 PM. Based on my experience, get in line by 9, or you’ll be leaving hungry. Since these stops are brief, I doubt it will do much damage to our local taco economy. Still, I’m interested to find out how their first foray into the taco truck homeland goes.
Other events that have crossed our radar screen for this weekend:
- The Audubon Center will be hosting lepidopterist Tim Bonebrake, who will be discussing butterflies of Mexico and Central America. The event starts at 7:00 PM, is free, and welcomes Spanish speakers.
- The Audubon Center is also hosting an 8:30 AM walk for all aspiring ornithologists in Debs Park. Coffee and pan dulce will be served, bonoculars will be provided, and the event is also open to Spanish speakers.
- Author Scott Piotrowski will be guiding a free walk from South Pasadena to the Santa Anita Park Race Track to trace part of the historty of Route 66. The tour leaves at 8 AM sharp from the Mission Gold Line station this Sunday. Bring water and snacks. Email Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.