more articles like this
updated: Aug 07, 2010, 9:50 AM
By Ms. Lemonjelly
Does anyone remember the "secret" restaurant in the Calle Real shopping center that was a French deli during the daytime, and at night became a wonderful little Korean restaurant, with a sweet grandmother patiently cooking and chopping all sorts of fragrant kimchi, soups, short ribs and plates of banchan? It was sometime in the late 80s or perhaps early 90s. My family loved it. It was before the internet went mainstream so I guess the secret truly remained a secret and the restaurant eventually closed.
These days, Santa Barbara's version of Korean food comes from businesses that offer a general range of asian food or cater to poor, hungry students. Or both. What I'm getting at here is that the offerings are limited.
Meanwhile, our town does love its tacos and with so many to choose from it's hard for a food business owner to find a niche.
Korean food...tacos. Hmmm.
Well, down in the LA area, a fellow named Mark Manguera hit upon an idea to offer a fast food option by fusing Korean with Mexican food. Korean food flavors, wrapped up in tacos and burritos, sold from roaming food trucks and called Kogi BBQ. It's insanely popular and helped blaze the trail for an explosion in gourmet food trucks. I once spied the Kogi truck at a park in LA and the queue was several hundred feet long, even with other trucks parked nearby offering good cheap eats as well. I didn't have a spare three hours to stand in that queue, but I have thought about what I missed.
Anyway, with few exceptions, food businesses in Isla Vista come and go. Located at 956 Embarcadero is...I can't even keep track. Berrilicious, then Sushilicious? Well, it's Kogiliicious now. In the same building is another eatery called Korean BBQ. At the Korean BBQ window you can get the bowls of meat and vegetables over rice, or as combination plates including some greens and macaroni salad. But that's a different story. The Kogilicious side is a separate section of the building with a very simple menu. Korean style chicken, pork, beef and tofu, offered in a burrito or a taco. Easy. Handy. Fast.
A friend tipped me off that Kogilicious was offering a grand opening special so I went to check it out. I ordered one each of the meat tacos, and a spicy pork burrito.
# # # #
If you eat to live (rather than live to eat) you might stuff the food in your mouth and not notice the difference between this and any other burrito or taco, because there's still rice included in the flour tortilla wrap, and there's still onions and cilantro and "salsa" on the corn tortilla. But the thick sauce seasoning is different and there's a crunch to the cooked kimchi inside. They're also very juicy. I liked it!
The tacos were served on a single tortilla and couldn't stand up to the juicy sauce. If you don't eat them first thing, the tortilla will go soggy and collapse. There was a suggestion box in the shop and I popped in a message that a second tortilla for each taco would be a good idea.
Their grand opening special is that all burritos are $4 and all the tacos are $1. The deal wraps up this Sunday, 8 August, so if you go before then you'll get the introductory prices AND you'll avoid the Fiesta crowds while still getting to eat a burrito or taco. After Sunday the regular prices are $6.25 for the burritos and $1.45 per tacos. Still a good deal.
Note: parts of I.V. are under extensive road construction. It takes a little longer to drive in, but with the kids on summer break you're likely to score a parking space close by. Carpool with a friend, too. I shared the burrito and 3 tacos with one other person. It cost $7 plus tax and we were stuffed.
Kogilicious - riding on the coat tails of the Kogi BBQ craze, down to the flame in the logo, but a unique offering in this town.
956 Embarcadero Del Norte
Isla Vista, CA 93117
Open 7 days a week, 11 am - 11 pm.
9 comments on this article. Read/Add
# # # #