Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Foodie Girls Lunch Brigade - Episode 1

"Ladies Who Lunch" is a phrase that, for me at least, is laden with implied meaning, all of it negative.

Let's start with "Ladies". These women would be respledent in elegant, crisply pressed dresses, tasteful yet expensive pearls, coiffed hairdos, junior league membership, and freshly applied neutral-colored lipstick. If they have children, you would never know it, as neither their bodies nor their conversations show any trace of child-rearing, aside from the occasional boast about prep-school admissions.

Then we have "Who Lunch." It seems to me that this Lunch is the principal purpose and activity of said ladies, as their lives are otherwise devoid of demands and fulfillment. The lunch itself is served on china, with linen napkins, either poolside at the country club or in the solarium of one specimen's spacious mansion. Topics of conversation are likely to be their despair over finding and keeping good help, soliciting donations for an upcoming charity event, pilates horror stories, and the guilty pleasure of watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey on Bravo. There is iced tea and thinly sliced poached chicken salad involved, and a light chiffon type dessert which is only barely picked at although they are all secretly starving.

OK, enough with the perjorative sterotyping already. As much as this perception truly does linger wtih me, talking about it here is a defensive move on my part so that I can contrast that image with our intrepid team:

The Foodie Girls Lunch Brigade. Our mission: Chasing down great mid-day eats in LA.*

We are not coiffed. We wear no lipstick. We come hungry, and we relish every bite of our food. Paper plates are fine with us. It's a new day. It's a new generation. It's Ladies Who Lunch 2.0.

Episode 1: We Try the Truck

If you have not been under a rock, you will have heard tell of the elusive Kogi Truck. Fashioned after the plethora of mobile taco trucks that have been roaming the streets of Los Angeles since time began, this 2.0 phenomenon features a 4 star chef, a fusion of Korean BBQ and Mexican food (think short rib tacos and kimchee quesadillas), 36,687 followers who track its locale via twitter, a publicist who is obviously a genius, and a highly divided group of local afficionados who can't decide if this is the greatest food on the planet or an overrated waste of time. They officially crossed the chasm when NPR did a story on the legendary trucks.

Time for us to check it out. We discover that the Azul truck will be parked next to a Santa Monica office park from 12-3, and the rendezvous is arranged. After surveying the crowd in line for recommendations and waiting for about 20 minutes, we order pretty much every kind of taco, one of those quesadillas, and a beef burrito. A short while later, our number is called and we retreat to a picnic table with full plates and our cold Diet Cokes**.

The tacos were tasty, but mostly because of the heavily dressed slaw/salad on top of the meat. The tortillas were nothing special, and I found eating the filling on its own was a better way to go. The beef short ribs were the best of the bunch, with a nice carmelized BBQ flavor on the meat. Chicken and pork were indistinguishable and just OK, and the tofu was distinctly unappetizing. We had better luck with the kimchee quesadilla, where the tart crispiness of the cabbage contrasted well with the cheese and the sauce on top. The burrito was almost sweet compared to the other dishes, with the addition of potatoes to the filling and the subtraction of the tangy slaw that covers the tacos. We liked it.

Have we become followers, avid for our next dose of Kogi magic? Definitely not. Was it worth a try? Sure. But only if it happens to be in the neighborhood, and the line is not too long.

Foodie Girls Final Verdict: We won't be back.

If anyone out there feels the call to join the Foodie Girls, let me know. But if you're wearing make-up and pearls and don't want to talk about your kids? Forget about it!

*I am jumping the gun by giving us a title and a mission after one outing, but we do have another one scheduled for next week, so my presumption will hopefully be forgiven and perhaps even endorsed by my cohorts. If in fact we do not continue, I will demote the effort to "Two lunches I ate with my friends a while ago."
** I give them big points for choosing Coke over Pepsi, and for keeping the sodas exceptionally cold in a bed of crushed ice.
*** Photo credit on this post goes to a fellow Foodie Girl. I forgot my camera that day.

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