By Kristine Hoang
By Ryan Ritchie
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
By Cleo Tobbi
By Dominique Boubion
Truckin’ in the ’00s
If you read our Stick a Fork In It food blog in 2009, you’d know that two, maybe three things happened in OC dining that didn’t involve an LA-based Korean taco truck
More than 1,100 posts—and counting. As of this writing, that’s how many entries we’ve published on our food blog in a little more than a year. We began the venture on Sept. 3, 2008, with Gustavo Arellano and me tap-tapping away on our keyboards—usually late at night, usually less than lucid—about the good, the bad and the un-fast-food side of OC dining.
In 2009, we added more writers to the mix, including Lesley McCave, a transplanted Brit who knows the Orange County scene as well as any of us; Dave Lieberman, who is better known by LA and OC Chowhounds as his nom de plume, Das Übergeek; and other dedicated contributors such as vegetarian Grace Le, dessert goddess Jessica Ford and Willy Blackmore, who covers the Long Beach beat.
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Through it all, we presented an entire buffet for you to graze on: from bona-fide news scoops (i.e., when local java roaster Martin Diedrich took back some Tustin territory from the Empire of Starbucks) to Gustavo’s weekly Taco Bell crime report to random taste tests we subjected ourselves and our diets to.
Here are some high- and lowlights from a year of this thing we called a food blog.
KOGI, KOGI AND MORE KOGI
One topic that simmered above all this year, based on the sheer frequency of posts: the Kogi Korean taco-truck phenomenon. This was the year of the food truck, and Kogi was the king of the road, showing us that Twitter can be used for good and that kimchi tastes amazing inside a tortilla. Rightly, the press ate this stuff up.
And boy did I ever cover it. Post after post, I tracked LA-based Kogi’s every movement as it inched ever closer to the county line. This year, I logged 22 posts on it, and that’s not counting ones in which I mention or make reference to it while talking about something else. The subject, as my editors point out, is second only to my fascination with Diamond Jamboree, the Asian eating-and-shopping complex in Irvine. (My frequent posts on the latter finally prompted a reader to comment, “This shall now be called the ‘Diamond Jamboree Blog.’ That is all.”)
Below is just a tiny sampling of blog-post titles that I devoted to Kogi, which ironically could’ve been Twitter tweets all to themselves. It all came to a head for me on Nov. 5, when Kogi showed up at Diamond Jamboree—an event I equated to space aliens making first contact at a sci-fi convention.
March 16: Kogi Korean Taco Truck Was at Angel Stadium This Saturday
April 22: Attention: Kogi Taco Truck Lands in Lakewood Tomorrow! Not OC, But Close Enough
April 24: Video: The Kogi BBQ Truck vs. Lakewood Police!
April 25: Kogi In OC! Kogi In OC! Tonight!!!
April 27: Adventures In Chasing Kogi
May 3: Kogi, At Last!
May 12: UPDATE: Kogi In OC This Week! Again!
June 15: Kogi Was in Costa Mesa This Weekend; For Some, Disappointment Followed
June 27: Baja Fresh In Irvine Doing “Baja Kogi”
July 20: Kogi’s OC Permit Issues Resolved, Planning to Come to Tustin in August, And About That Baja Fresh Thing . . .
Oct. 12: Kogi’s Naranja Truck (No Really, That’s What It’s Called) Set for Permanent Run in OC
Nov. 5: Kogi at Diamond Jamboree Tonight. You’ve Been Warned
CONTROVERSY À LA CARTE
Thankfully, it wasn’t just about my food-truck obsession. Stick a Fork In It is an OC Weekly blog, and what’s an OC Weekly blog without a little controversy?
Among other posts too numerous to name, Gustavo leveled scathing attacks on restaurateurs accusing us of practicing payola and racists who called for a boycott of ethnic restaurants. But the results of our own Readers’ Poll for this year’s Best of OC prompted him to say this on Oct. 9:
“Gentle readers: Are you marginally better than The Orange County Register’s collection of coffin-dodgers and Mexican-bashers? Javier’s as the BEST FOOKIN’ RESTAURANT?!?! If you want to snatch some siliconed hag, perhaps. Panama Joe’s as best Mexican restaurant? ¿Qué chingada ’tan tomando? Best late-night dining being Denny’s? Not even Norm’s? Have my years of reviewing restaurants taught ustedes NOTHING? And Chipotle has the best burrito in OC the way I’m a CCIR supporter. And guess what? Both Weekly and Reg readers picked P.F. Chang’s as best Chinese restaurant. I might as well take over Yvette Cabrera’s job. Best dessert at Cheesecake Factory? Kill me.”
Lesley’s year was spent on uncovering new restaurants and reminiscing on cereals of the past, which is by far the most popular post in our food blog’s history. But our favorite Briton was no stranger to controversy: An off-the-cuff comment she made on Aug. 5 about Kris Allen on what should’ve been an FYI post about David Cook attending Taste of Newport unleashed a maelstrom of rabid attacks from Allen’s fans. One commenter who was rightly alarmed at the amount of venom hurled in our fellow blogger’s direction put it all in perspective: