California Gogi Grill

No, not Kogi. I know, the whole voiced-unvoiced constant thing confuses me too. I’m surprised that I can keep it all straight with three languages other than English knocking about in my head.

Another long school day, another UTC lunch. My friend Andrew had the good fortune to be free in the UCI area at the same time I was, so he joined me on my now-routine lunchtime UTC walkabout. We settled on Korean fusion joint Gogi.

As if he was trying to out-white me, my friend got the KFC—KOREAN fried chicken—on french fries.

As if he was trying to out-white me, my friend got the KFC—KOREAN fried chicken—on french fries.

The bibimbap combo is a good deal! Eight bucks for a meat (pictured:  spicy chicken), rice, and 7 sides on a salad. Totally portable if necessary, and a better than expected balance of all the components, i.e., I didn’t have a bunch of salad left after eating all the sides.

Huh. Short post. Whatever. This is better suited to the modern attention span anyways.

Star BBQ (Byul Daepo – Star BBQ)

I first went to Star BBQ as a Japanese final exam celebration (as in, after we took the test) with a group such as one often sees around Irvine and Garden Grove—white people (including me), a couple Taiwanese people, Japanese, Korean, African-American, Indian—and we weren’t even the most diverse group eating there. We had decided to go here on the recommendation of one of the Korean guys, who also seemed to know someone who worked there.

Jump forward a year or a year and a half and now I’m with another group of friends looking for a good place to have a KBBQ reunion dinner. I suggested this place and related the story from above, and they all agreed.

We were there to celebrate, so we sprung for the $19.99/person menu. This was the first wave:

Beef tongue, brisket, pork belly, and bulgogi.

Brisket, beef tongue, pork belly, and bulgogi.

The menu is far too large for 4 people to try everything in one visit, but we certainly ate our share that night—beef belly, abomasum (4th stomach of a cow), spicy chicken, black pork belly, more bulgogi, a couple of other meats, and two very nice beef tenderloins to finish.

Beef belly, black pork belly, bulgogi, and beef tenderloins.

Beef belly, black pork belly, bulgogi, and beef tenderloin. The “tenderloin” looks more like the whole loin, but it was really good.

Several bottles of Kooksoondang Draft Makkoli, a rice wine, were also consumed. Makkoli was originally made by and for farmers, but it’s been in fashion with Korean 20-somethings/cocktalians/students for some time now. This brand is unique because it comes out of the bottle carbonated—it’s made to replicate Makkoli as it’s served on tap in Korea—though it has a shelf life of just 2-3 months.

Before we had even finished eating, we all agreed that this was the best KBBQ we’ve ever had. We ended up leaving a note for our exceptional waitress, but of course we didn’t leave without partaking of the free frozen yogurt, available in two flavors. I think they change, but that night the two options were “pineapple” and “tart.”

We all opted for the "mixed" option.

We all got the “mixed” option.