Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Tacos

Better than a food truck: the Kogi BBQ Scion xD Mobile at the L.A. Auto Show

Kogi truck

If you’ve always dreamed of having the Kogi Korean BBQ truck permanently parked outside of your house, soon you can. With Scion's help, you will be able to put Kogi in your driveway and, even better, in your garage.

Imagine a customized Scion xD Mobile with an aluminum grill in the pop-out trunk, cooking utensils and sauces in the pop-out taillights, and a sink to clean up in one of the rear-passenger doors, all retractable by remote control. Arm yourself with good meat and good company and you’re ready for a tailgate, a fantastic outdoor party or a family dinner of Korean BBQ tacos on the front lawn. Awesome.

The auto company teamed up with Mike Vu and his MV Designz shop in Santa Ana to create the customized Scion xD officially for the Korean BBQ truck (whose dedicated foodies follow the truck around by its Twitter updates), but also to spark the imagination of car buyers about ways they can customize their own xD. It debuted at an auto show in Las Vegas last month and is now at the L.A. Auto Show; after its tour, the customizable xD will be available for sale (and is planned to be adopted by Kogi and used just like its trucks).

See more photos of the mean, lean Korean BBQ machine and read the full story at our Money & Company blog here.

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L.A. Auto Show: Kogi BBQ Scion, with working grill, to hit the L.A. streets after auto show tour

Food truck profile: Little Spoon dessert truck rolls across Los Angeles

-- Kelsey Ramos

Photo: Scion Kogi xD Mobile, customized by MV Designz, on display at the L.A. Auto Show. Credit: Nathan Olivarez-Giles / Los Angeles Times

Sampler Platter: LudoBites debuts at Royal/T, Padma poses nude, the strongest beer in the world

Chef Kris Morningstar, middle, chats with a customer at Mercantile in Hollywood.

Ludovic Lefebvre is the man of the hour as his latest pop-up restaurant debuts tonight in Culver City, plus other non-Ludo food news.
-- Kevin Eats previews LudoBites 3.0, which debuts tonight at Royal/T with a wine list curated by Domaine LA.
-- Teenage Gluster and his mom teach chef Ludo to make a mole.
-- A Cadbury descendant crusades against Kraft's potential takeover. Wall Street Journal
-- Street Gourmet LA tastes Samuel Adams' Utopias, the strongest beer in the world.
-- Thieves steal $100,000 of donated food, toys in Orange County. NBC Los Angeles
-- Louisiana restaurants sue vendors after point-of-sale hack. PC World
-- Pregnant "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi poses nude for magazine. Hindustan Times
-- Potatomato pops into Mercantile.
-- China welcomes back Canadian bacon. AFP
-- J&D's, the folks who make bacon salt, bring you these new bacon products: BaconPOP popcorn, bacon ranch dressing and bacon-flavored envelopes.
-- Tacos El Fenix: The real Baja fish taco. Gourmet Pigs
-- Some Premium Edge cat foods recalled due to thiamine deficiency. L.A. Unleashed
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Chef Kris Morningstar, middle, chats with a customer at Mercantile in Hollywood. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times.

Sampler Platter: Veterans Day deals, Toshi Sushi celebrates anniversary, Ruby Tuesday gets posher, bacon envelopes and chocolate mousse Peeps

Toshisushi

Even among fast casual eateries there's a caste system. And Ruby Tuesday wants to move out of the neighborhood it shares with Applebee's and Chili's and into the classier 'hood alongside Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse. All this and more essential food news:
--Speaking of Applebee's, they're giving a free meal to Veterans today. Krispy Kreme giving away free doughnuts. Consumerist
--Ruby Tuesday upgrades with fancier decor, more expensive food. New York Times
--Toshi Sushi, "greatest omakase bargain in Little Tokyo," celebrates anniversary. Sinosoul
--Mendocino Farms to open 2nd downtown venue at 5th and Flower streets. Blog Downtown
--Portland brewer makes beer from Bac-O Bits, Nutella and more. Houston Chronicle
-- Food pioneer: Chef Fergus Henderson. The Times
--The folks who made Bacon Salt bring you Bacon Envelopes. J&D Foods
--Crispy tripas at Rambo's Taco Truck in Eagle Rock. Gourmet Pigs
--Miniature finger-food plates: Absurd or absurdly practical? The Kitchn
--Everyone loves the cheese dust. Dorito's DIY commercial contest returns.
--Burlingame officials try to run Curry Up Now truck out of town. California Taco Trucks
--Chocolate mousse-flavored Marshmallow Reindeer Peeps, new for the holidays.
--A roundup of pumpkin-based restaurant specials. Caroline On Crack
--Elina Shatkin

Photo: Toshihiko Seki, owner and chef of Toshi Sushi in downtown Los Angeles, prepares a plate of sashimi and rolls. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Henry "Hank" Silva, longtime owner of Bill's Taco House, 1920-2009

Tacohouse Henry M. Silva, who owned South L.A. institution Bill's Taco House on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, died Friday of natural causes at his home in San Pedro.

He was 88. 

Silva bought the Taco House from its original owner in the '50s, and though friends knew him as Hank, customers assumed his name was Bill.

Silva grew up in the Central Valley, picking fruit and cotton. In 1939, he moved to Los Angeles, served in the Navy in World War II, then returned to L.A., working at various jobs. An insurance check after an injury helped him buy the Taco House, about a mile east of USC.

The Taco House taco is a seasoned hamburger patty, grilled and cut into three pieces, with a slice of "yellow" cheese, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and a spicy chili gravy in a fried taco shell. Like the tacos, the enchiladas are made with hamburger patties. Noted customers have included Barry White and Wilt Chamberlain.

A 2003 article in the Los Angeles Times revealed the three secrets to Taco House's longevity: "1. Being down with your peeps. 2. Keeping your prices low. 3. Gravy."

Silva sold the Taco House in 1985 but remained an active member of the community. A neighborhood Head Start school on East Martin Luther King Boulevard, the Silva Center, is named in his honor. 

-- Betty Hallock

Photo credit: Kevin P. Casey / Los Angeles Times

Sampler Platter: Classic Julia Child, CandyCots, bacon cheddar, insane sandwiches and amazing food art

Baconcheddarcheese

Regarding the bacon cheddar cheese in the photo, all we can say is: Why didn't someone think of this sooner? And now, a dose of food news to kick off your week.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Rob Takata / For The Times

Taco Zone truck attacked in Echo Park, as told by Twitter

Firefighters put out a fire at the Taco Zone taco truck in Echo Park. Credit: Betty Hallock / Los Angeles TimesWas the Taco Zone taco truck in Echo Park the victim of a hate crime, a jealous competitor, gang activity or vandals? Police don't know, but that doesn't make it any less frightening  that on Friday night the truck was set on fire.

Fire-starters weren't the only ones at work that night. The Twitterati were also in full force. This is their story:

The truck generally parks on Alvarado Boulevard two blocks north of Sunset Boulevardnear the Vons supermarket. Food blogger and former Metromix staffer Katherine Spiers, who happened to be there at the time of the attack, reports on her Tumblr blog that the truck was hit by poorly aimed Molotov cocktails. No one was hurt, according to LAist, which also points out that Councilman Eric Garcetti reported and then Tweeted about the incident.

Spiers notes that volunteer security officers are now manning the Taco Zone perimeter. Also, there's word about a possible benefit showfor Taco Zone. The Mae Shi have been asked to play, according to drummer Jacob Alonzo Cooper's Twitter feed. More details to come.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Times deputy Food editor Betty Hallock was driving by and swung through the Vons parking lot to take this photo. She then posted it on Twitter. Credit: Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times

Taco trucks are feeling the crunch across the U.S.

Taco trucks 

The demand for food from mobile vendors grows as the Latino population increases. But officials in some places see the vehicles as nuisances and create laws to curb their operation. Read the full story here.

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Making a run for the Border Grill taco truck

Mary-Sue-and-Susan Pulling up alongside the Kogi taco truck? The Too Hot Tamales.

A Border Grill taco truck will be parked tonight at 433 S. Spring St. -- outside the new Ed Hardy store -- from 6 to 10 p.m. selling $2 tacos and $5 quesadillas made with hand-made tortillas. It'll also vend potato rajas, brownies, pomegranate lemonade and more as part of downtown L.A.'s monthly art walk.

Border Grill and Ciudad chef-owner Mary Sue Milliken -- who will be stopping by, along with business partner and fellow chef Susan Feniger -- said the taco truck is a bit of an experiment. But if customers seem to enjoy it, there could be more where it came from.

"We've been thinking about doing something like this for years," said Milliken, adding that there seems to be more of a demand than ever for fresh food on the go -- and not just fast food, mind you, but healthful food served up with convenience and a gourmet twist.

If successful, Milliken said, it opens up a number of new avenues, literally. Under discussion are Border Grill trucks that follow specific routes and  make appearances at birthdays, barbecues and other special occasions.

"You see the food scene in New York and D.C., and the Kogi truck here ... we should have just jumped on in when we first thought about it," Milliken said. "But this gives us a chance to take our stuff on the road and dip our toe in the pond and see what happens."

It will be an experiment in more ways than one. Tonight's truck is rented, and will be festooned with Border Grill banners. It will give the chefs an opportunity to mull over the interior possibilities -- just in case they decide to buy one of their own.

"It's an exciting time for food on the go," Milliken said.

-- Rene Lynch

Photo credit: Fran Gealer

--RECENT & RELATED

-- A look at Susan Feniger's new restaurant, Susan Feniger's Street

-- Everyone's a-Twitter about the new Kogi taco truck

-- Eater LA's mobile-food tracking


 

Cinco de Mayo recipes: tuna tostadas, carne asada, chicharrones . . .

Tostada 

If you are like me, you're always looking for an excuse to break out the chips and guac. So I was happy to dig through the Times Test Kitchen's archives for some recipes in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Still, I wanted to come up with something ... different. (Nothing against refried beans, mind you!)

So this is a photo gallery of the menu I came up with:

There are grapefruit margaritas to start, along with appetizers including radish salsa, tortillas and chicharrones de queso -- roughly translated as fried cheese, tuna tostadas with chipotle mayo and queso de chiva fundido con pipián verde -- roughly translated as more cheesy goodness. For the main course, choose from green corn tamales, El Cholo's famous chiles rellenos, carne asada tacos, achiote-marinated fish tacosduck tacos with a chile-cherry compote (I told you I wanted different) and two types of veggie enchiladas.

But I wasn't completely nontraditional. I did include guacamole. And, for a finisher, flan

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

-- Rene Lynch

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Join us on Twitter @LATimesFood

Photo credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Sampler Platter: Offal art, marshmallow Peeps, kogi in the O.C.

Honeycomb Tripe

Monday food news...

  • Explore the fashion and artistry of raw meat in "Offal Taste," a photo series filled with beef heart necklaces, tripe brassieres, a headdress made of animal intestines and more. Eat Me Daily
  • Easter-themed food meme of the week: Some fanatic compiles "Marshmallow Peeps on the Internet -- A Study," 130 Peep websites worth visiting. Unlikely Words
  • In Saveur magazine's 12 Restaurants That Matter, the only L.A. joint is... Musso & Frank. (The eateries are listed in the tab on the left that says "Articles.")
  • Franklin Avenue gets hip to Jitlada's southern Thai cuisine at this weekend's Songkran Thai New Year Festival.
  • Kogi truck will be coming to the O.C. Fast Food Maven
  • Glenn Close can stuff a fistful of carrots in her mouth. Daily Mail


-- Elina Shatkin

Credit: Bob Carey / Los Angeles Times

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.