KoJa Kitchen: A food truck to follow

On one of my lunch time walks in Downtown Oakland, my colleague and I passed a few food trucks parked on 12th Street. I always get excited about food trucks, but this one particular truck caught my attention because of the large LCD monitors displaying their menu. KoJa Kitchen was the name. We didn’t plan to eat there this time around. I went ahead and asked a customer what she thought of KoJa Kitchen. She said she had already bought her lunch before she realized KoJa was here, so she now has two lunches. She even offered her first lunch to us. I didn’t accept her lunch, but that is a pretty good praise to waste her first lunch so she can have KoJa.
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Koja Kitchen was part of the recent Eat Real Festival in Oakland. I remember the lines being really long. I decided that I better follow KoJa Kitchen on twitter so I could know when it would be parked again on 12th Street. This time I planned ahead with my walking partner that a walk and a stop at KoJa Kitchen was in order this past Thursday.

We each got a Kalbi, or short rib KoJa. Amazing chunks of Korean BBQ short ribs were laced between two discs of rice patties in lieu of a bread product. My colleague and I agreed that they were scrumptious. Although the rice patties were unique, it was the meat that shined.
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We shared an order of the kamikaze fries. These criss cross fries were layered with minced bulbogi, or Korean BBQ beef, sautéed onions, kimchi, and green onions. Surprisingly with all the condiments on top, the fries stayed crisp and were delicious.
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I remember the KoJa Kitchen customer, who had two lunches, got a dessert too so we tried the mochimisu. It is a tiramisu with chocolate mochi. I really like traditional tiramisu, but the texture of this one with the mochi didn’t really work for me. I can pass on dessert next time because there will be a next time. Follow KoJa Kitchen on Twitter.

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Revel in Seattle

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My last meal on this trip to the Pacific Northwest was brunch at a trendy place called Revel in Seattle. It’s about three miles away from Downtown in an area called Fremont. Revel serves Korean fusion food. My friend and I sat at the kitchen counter where food was also being plated. This gave us a great view of the chefs in action.

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I wasn’t planning to have a cocktail, but the Kimchi Bloody Mary was calling to me. I asked the waitress what she thought of it and she said it was really good. Why not? It was my last day of vacation. It was a pretty drink that came with an olive and Chinese long beans. The drink was lined with Korean chili powder as well. I’m glad I had it because it was really tasty and packed a punch.

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My friend and I decided to share two dishes. I ordered the Revel ramen with pork belly and kimchi. The ramen had a good consistency, the pork belly was sliced thin and melts in your mouth, the kimchi was a good balance of spice, and the broth was flavorful and comforting. It also came with a perfect soft boiled egg.

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My friend ordered the short ribs and eggs, arugula, chimichurri, and rice. I was watching the chefs throw marinated short ribs on the grill and slice them. I also had a great view of them constantly fry up perfect pairs of eggs in pans. I was anxiously awaiting this rice bowl. The flavor of the beef was spot on and the runny yolk mixed with the rice sent me home. I thought the chimichurri sauce gave it a pretty green color as well as a hint of tartness. It also had me thinking rice and beef make for a good breakfast.

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After traveling for a week, this was such a great meal to end my vacation. Revel transcends Asian comfort food into hip and cool.