How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Enter the green bean casserole taco - ironic, yes, but good?

Photo by dolescum/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A colleague flagged me this week on the "12 Days of Tacos" promotion at Komida, a newish gourmet Japanese-Mexican fusion taco joint in Hollywood that has devoted fans.

It's been a while since ethnic food fusion jumped the shark, and some of the combos that have evolved in the wake of the game-changing Kogi's Korean taco (imitations of which are now found frozen at Costo) have been, well, not worth mentioning.

That said, Komida's regular menu does sound pretty good. I haven't tried it yet, but as any fan of Mexican-style sushi can tell you, it's a flavor combo that works. And some of the 12 daily taco specials they'll be serving until Christmas don't look bad either - until I got to this one:

Grandma's green bean casserole with haricot vert, roast garlic bechamel, crispy shallots.

Ironic hipster hot-dish kitsch overload in a tortilla? If it had to happen anywhere, it had to be L.A.


And now, the frozen Korean 'street' taco

Photo by pchow98/Flickr (Creative Commons)

By the time an item titled "Korean BBQ Steak Tacos" appeared on the menu at California Pizza Kitchen last year, the defining edible metaphor for 2010s-era Los Angeles had taken a considerable journey.

Pioneered by L.A.'s Kogi taco trucks, the simple but yummy combo of Korean barbecue on the inside, Mexican corn tortilla on the outside had by then spread throughout the country, with copycat Korean taco vendors plying the streets of Portland and Austin and restaurants serving their own versions from San Francisco to Atlanta.

But the jump-the-shark moment for the beloved multi-culti taco has come courtesy of the frozen-food label Bamboo Lane, purveyors of the frozen Korean beef "street tacos" being sold at Costco. Blogger Gary Soup of Geezericious wrote about the frozen tacos earlier this month. His post was followed by reactions on a variety of sites, from Korean culture sites to the SF Weekly, whose headline the other day was filed under a category called "WTF?"