Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tweet! Honk! Kogi-A -Go-Go.

Kogi, has taken a fixture of California cuisine culture, the taco truck, and added a Korean twist and a big dose of Twitter.

"Roach Coaches" as their popularly known, have seen a duo of Korean BBQ-inspired trucks added to their ranks in Los Angeles.

But it's not only the master chef created menu and great food that
has brought Kogi it fanatical following and fame. They have "Tweeted" their way to international stardom and are showing restaurateurs how to find new customers during a recession.

It certainly worked. The only way you can find out where the Kogi trucks are going to be is through Twitter. But it's more than glorified tracking device, locals describe the phenomenon as more like a "roving party."

Or as brand director Mike Prasad says, " We wanted to create a single place where fans could gather. We had to create a home for them. Twitter was a natural fit." The plan worked. Since launching in November, Kogi has attracted more than 15,000 followers on Twitter (

So how did the romance that led to the marriage of tacos and Korean BBQ begin?
According to founder, thirty-year-old Mark Manguera, he was sitting with his 25-year-old sister-in-law, Alice Shin, one night after the restaurant was closed. They were sharing some Champagne and tacos when the taste of L.A.'s most ubiquitous street food caused him to have a drunken revelation.
"I'm biting into my taco and it dawned on me, 'Alice, wouldn't it be great if someone put Korean barbecue on a taco?,' " recalls Manguera, who is Filipino but married into a Korean family.

All of us that travel in circles populated with chefs and winemakers have heard and/or come up thousands of "great new restaurant/food product ideas."
But Manguera followed through. He got a taco-truck and brought in former
RockSugar chef Roy Choi as a partner, and he enlisted friends and family to begin blogging, branding and Twittering on his behalf.

The result: The
Kogi Korean BBQ roving vehicle which has become a social-networking role model, drawing 300 to 800 people each time it parks and creating a Deadhead like group of cyber-followers affectionately known as "Kogi kulture."

And wine pairing ideas, gang? Tweet your twittering, whispering tip monger at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen; Put on Your Logo Glasses

Every year, following on the heels of the Easter Bunny, is the launch of Wine Fest Season on California's Central Coast.

From Earthwise to Sideways, there's something for everybody.
This weekend kicks off with the Ultimately Fine Blues and Wine Dinner at Costa d'Oro featuring wine maker, Gary Burk's blues band....right off U.S. 101 in Santa Maria. Besides being quite a gitar picker, Gary makes some great wine.

Saturday you have a tough choice between the Earth Day Food and Wine Festival which takes place in a spectacular locale; the historic Santa Margarita Ranch.

Head south, in the opposite direction, to Lompoc for the Santa Barbara County Vintners' Wine Festival.

At the end of April is the internationally acclaimed (and attended) Hospice du Rhone in Paso Robles.
And this is just the beginning of the season!