Take it easy. This isn't another Kogi story. It's more about my friend and his Kogi disappointment.
Previously, he told me he'd never tried them before and was keenly interested in what the hubbub was all about, so I did him what I thought was a favor and called him up, knowing that they were going to be in Costa Mesa on Saturday at the Holiday Inn parking lot on Bristol near the 405 from noon to 3 p.m.
"Hey, they're going to be in your city," I told him.
"Awesome," he says.
Later, I call him again, and he's already there in line. He tells me that the truck just arrived. It was 12:30 p.m.
"That's not unusual," I said. "They sometimes run late."
I met up with him and saw the familiar scene: a queue about hundred people long. By then, it was about 1 p.m. but the truck hadn't started serving yet. They were still prepping.
I also notice that this is a new truck, with no signs to indicate they are affliated with Kogi, except for the familiar smells emanating from its vents and, yes, the crowd. The only markings on the vehicle was a half-scratched-out stencil about transmissions and mufflers with a phone number.
The Holiday Inn staff set up a cash bar, next to the truck, indicating that there was a special arrangement between the hotel and Kogi folks that circumvented Kogi's OC permit problems.
At around 1:15 p.m., he asked me how long I thought it would take. "I dunno," I said, but I would guess it'll take at least an hour to get up there to order and another half hour to get the food. At that point, I said adieu and good luck to my friend (I had already eaten lunch) and left to run errands.
At 3 p.m. I get a call from him.
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"They're saying they're going to stop taking orders," he said, "There's only two people in front of me before I get to the window and it looks like I'm going to get turned away."
Needless to say, I felt awful. That was three hours he spent in line, and bupkis. We talked about how they could've perhaps given people some sort of warning hours earlier that they wouldn't be able to order past a certain place in the queue.
Still, I felt responsible. I treated him to dinner with a few other friends. Later when we all went to see "The Hangover", we had to line up in a queue outside the theater.
"I've seen too many lines today," he quipped.