Followers of this blog know of my affection for taco carts and food carts. I have also been sharing ideas about the “tweeting taco trucks” of Los Angeles.. So I was delighted when I read the recent the recent issue of Bon Appetit that Kogi Barbecue, the tech-taco-food-friendly business was recognized as one of the “Hot” food companies in America.
“Caroline Shin-Manguera, Mark Manguera, and Roy Choi of the Kogi truck, for being true innovators as grassroots guerrilla restaurateurs.
When it comes to the intersection of food and technology, we love following Kogi, L.A.’s Korean barbecue taco truck; each day, fans are alerted to its location via Twitter and the blog kogibbq.com. Founded by Mark Manguera, Caroline Shin-Manguera, and Roy Choi, Kogi is for the kalbi lover on the go. With the grill helmed by pedigreed executive chef Choi, expect multi-culti innovative weekly specials like Brie-stuffed French toast and kimchi puerco pupusas in addition to stalwarts like short-rib tacos and spicy beef tacos. Not in the mood to track down the truck? Kogi has found a bricks-and-mortar home in Culver City’s Alibi Room. But we love Kogi most of all for bringing high-concept, creative cuisine directly to the streets.”
I contacted the folks at Kogi about franchising opportunities at this time, and it is a no-go. But someday….
A great, innovative food scene = a greater quality of life = a great place to live, work, and play. Check out the other food innovators and entrepreneurs.
Here is the article in it’s entirety from the September 2009 issue of Bon Appetit:
The Bon Appétit Awards 2009
For the 12th annual Bon Appétit Awards, we selected a Hot 10 of people, companies, and products setting new standards of culinary excellence in food, drinks, travel, and design. And this year’s winners are…
Chefs Christina Tosi, Jeremy Fox, and Daniel Boulud are three of this year’s Hot 10.
Daniel Boulud, for the inspired idea of going downtown with DBGB Kitchen and Bar.
When famed French chef Daniel Boulud—known for his temples of gastronomy uptown—heads to the Bowery to open a relatively affordable gastropub (named with a hat-tip to famed downtown rock club CBGB), you know change is afoot. Boulud’s DBGB is sleekly chic, the dining room ringed with copper pots gifted by famous chef friends, including Jacques Pépin and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. But the real stars are the meats: 14 varieties of house-made sausage grace the dinner menu, and the burgers have won devoted fans. Try The Piggie—a beef patty topped with pulled pork from New York barbecue joint Daisy May’s BBQ and jalapeño mayonnaise—and chase it with one of 22 beers on tap. If that’s not rock ‘n’ roll, we don’t know what is.
OpenTable (Jeffrey Jordan, CEO), for perfecting reservations on the go with the OpenTable iPhone app.
Talking to a live person for a reservation is so old-school when you can tap your way to a table on your iPhone. Scope out the options by date, place, or proximity (especially handy when making a mad dash from work to the nearest steak frites). OpenTable’s free iPhone application gives real-time availability at eateries and sends e-mail invitations to your dinner dates. It’s a streamlined way to nab a table without ever having to slip the maître d’ a twenty.
Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo, for his commitment to the preservation of rare and heirloom beans.
Bats and wolves aren’t the only endangered species in America. A search for disappearing native food ingredients led Rancho Gordo founder Steve Sando to sow his own seeds for heirloom beans and tomatoes. Soon Thomas Keller was scooping up rare varieties of legumes from Sando’s stand at a Napa Valley farmers’ market to serve at his restaurants Per Se and The French Laundry. But unlike pricey, rarefied ingredients accessible only to top chefs, beans have long been the people’s protein. Rancho Gordo’s colorful varieties, like the black-and-white-spotted Vaquero bean and the zebra-striped San Franciscano, have turned the humble bean into a haute pantry staple. And at approximately 50 cents a serving, this is a luxury almost anyone can afford.
Jeremy Fox at Ubuntu, for creating innovative, inspired vegetarian food.
The focus at Ubuntu is not on what is missing (namely, meat) but what is lusciously abundant. Nestled in the rich culinary and agricultural traditions of Napa Valley, the vegetable-glorious plates turned out of Jeremy Fox’s kitchen bring farm-to-table fare to inspired new heights. Wild fennel bucatini and a coulis of shiitakes and baby radishes are exhibits of locavore cooking at its finest. Morning deliveries from area growers shape each day’s menu, and most dishes feature vegetables and herbs from Ubuntu’s biodynamic farm. With a dining room crafted out of reclaimed wood, staff members who bike to work, and a yoga studio upstairs, Ubuntu embodies Northern California’s reputation for community-focused living. But green style doesn’t trump substance here; cauliflower has never been so exultant.
The Beehive Oven from Al Fresco Imports (Fiona Hughes, president), for making it easy to bring wood-fired pizza into our own backyards.
For three generations, Portuguese artisans have so expertly handcrafted these terra-cotta ovens that the dimensions are in their blood; the ovens are eyeballed, with near-identical results each time. With two domes sandwiching a layer of insulation, the rustic hive-shaped ovens can reach temperatures of 1,000ºF, allowing modern epicureans to participate in the ancestral tradition of cooking wood-fired pizza, meat, and bread year-round. But convenience has not been forsaken for looks. This beauty is freestanding and comes with wheels so you don’t have to hire a contractor to install it. At less than $2,000 the Beehive Oven is more expensive than Domino’s, but a lifetime of perfectly blistered crusts cooked in three minutes is a much better deal than delivery.
Caroline Shin-Manguera, Mark Manguera, and Roy Choi of the Kogi truck, for being true innovators as grassroots guerrilla restaurateurs.
When it comes to the intersection of food and technology, we love following Kogi, L.A.’s Korean barbecue taco truck; each day, fans are alerted to its location via Twitter and the blog kogibbq.com. Founded by Mark Manguera, Caroline Shin-Manguera, and Roy Choi, Kogi is for the kalbi lover on the go. With the grill helmed by pedigreed executive chef Choi, expect multi-culti innovative weekly specials like Brie-stuffed French toast and kimchi puerco pupusas in addition to stalwarts like short-rib tacos and spicy beef tacos. Not in the mood to track down the truck? Kogi has found a bricks-and-mortar home in Culver City’s Alibi Room. But we love Kogi most of all for bringing high-concept, creative cuisine directly to the streets.
St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur (Robert Cooper, creator), for giving innovative artisanal “flower power” to the home bar.
Our hearts leapt at the sight of the bottle alone—individually numbered and faceted with alluring Art Deco lines—but it’s the straw-colored liqueur with a bouquet of lychee and pear that made us forget the remainder of the liquor cabinet’s contents. Created by Robert Cooper, a third-generation distiller, St-Germain is as freshly floral as only a liqueur made from handpicked wild elderflower blossoms can be. And while this artisanal elixir has us longing for crisp afternoons at a bistro in Paris, a bottle at home means one needn’t bother with a barkeep to shake up a drink that tastes as rare as the first days of spring.
Christina Tosi of Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar, for bringing the fun back to dessert through inspired and innovative recipes.
With ingredients like Lucky Charms and cornflakes, pastry chef Christina Tosi’s creations at the Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar in New York are like a Willy Wonka science experiment gone right. Candy bar pies and crack pies (the latter of which, let’s be clear, is made with butter, sugar, and flour) send us to dizzying sugar heights, but even the more grown-up flavors—salty pistachio soft-serve and blueberry cream cookies—inspire as much awe. Those in search of the more mature rewards brought on by eating the most important meal of the day can opt for an English muffin served with a deep-fried soft poached egg and caramelized onions, which makes being a responsible adult seem very, very fun.
Ace Hotel Group (Alex Calderwood), for making travel budget-friendly, eco-friendly, and stylish.
With a youthfully irreverent spirit, the Ace Hotels (with locations in New York, Seattle, Palm Springs, and Portland, Oregon) have transformed budget travel into something as offhandedly stylish as Kate Moss walking through a rock concert in her rain boots. Each outpost reflects its location (drink perfect coffee in Portland; swing in a poolside hammock in Palm Springs), but there are touches of universal cool: stacks of books used as tables; record players and old LPs; walls papered with vintage encyclopedia pages; and beds dressed with custom-made Pendleton blankets. Before you leave, squeeze into a black-and-white photo booth for a memento of a place where great style is not solely the province of the rich.
Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian of Edible Communities Publications, for the pioneering Edible magazines that empower local cooks, farmers, and restaurateurs to create sustainable culinary communities.
Whether you set your table in Bozeman or Boston, you live in an Edible Community. Founded in 2002 by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian to celebrate their corner of California’s Central Coast, the company has since become a network of 59 (and counting) magazines whose editorial focus takes its cues from individual communities. The parent corporation provides editorial resources and training, but local publishers drive the content of each magazine. With stories covering everything from novelists-turned-knife-makers in Brooklyn to bison farmers in the green, sloping Allegheny Mountains, the magazines put a face on growers, gardeners, artisans, and restaurateurs, tying together the usually invisible strings of our local food webs.