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SPOTLIGHT ON: Korilla BBQ

This year, in 2015, I wanted to start a new Blog Segment, called SPOTLIGHT ON--real original I know, where I focus on a food/drink venue to highlight the things that I think make them special. And for the first one, I'm starting it off with a little something special in the East Village: Korilla BBQ.

If you don't know about Korilla, please read this and then go to their restaurant immediately and eat some of their damn good food! Like many of the coolest new restos today, Korilla started out on the streets of this cruel city, as a food truck back in 2010. And way back then they were the only ones in NYC to be slinging Korean-Mexican BBQ, which is now it's own genre of food [truck]! 

Korilla made waves in the food truck scene, not only for their unique style of food, but also with their crazy bright and unmissable colors! And did I mention their family secret kimchi added a tantalizing taste to their tacos and burritos?! My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it. Actually, I'm now recalling that theirs was the very first kimchi I'd ever tried! Aw, now I'm getting all foodstalgic.

Anyway, the truck became successful rather quickly and with a huge following in NYC already, they decided to try broadening their  scope to a more national audience when they appeared on Season 2 of Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race (You know, back when they still cast already established trucks). They actually left the season a midst a controversy as they were accused of putting their own money into the show earnings, although they were the front-runners of the competition anyway.

Luckily, for us New Yorkers, their TV stint didn't take them out of the food-producing game, AND they returned to their home to sling some of that delicious kimchi bacon fried rice (YES) goodness! Back when I spent a summer helping my friend--owner of the Feed Your Hole truck, I enjoyed the spoils of working next to them on several occasions. In the food truck world you often trade food with the trucks parked near you! 

After a little hiatus from the truck in 2013, to travel to Korea and work on their already solid kimchi game, they came back with a new gameplan that included sites on a brick and mortar shop, which finally opened in October of last year on 3rd Ave, just north of St. Mark's Place.

I had seen it a few times and I finally had an opportunity to have a late lunch there just a few weeks back and was SO HAPPY I did! First, because of the time, there was barely anyone there, so I got full-service by their eager and super-friendly staff. The space is small but comfortable and while the bathroom is tiny, it does exist, which is good enough for me! And while the front of the restaurant is mostly taken up by the food--it's a build your own type spot, the back of the space is painted by a local artist with historic East Village scenes, which warms my tiny little NY heart!

Of course, by the time I was there I was starving so the number of options, which really isn't too many on a normal day, was daunting in those first moments. But fortunately the nice guys working behind the counter informed me they were offering a limited special menu that day as they had paired up with another bomb ass team, Kimchi Smoke, who are based out of New Jersey where they conjure up their Fat Boy sauce, which you know I threw into my everything!

The guys suggested I get a bowl so I could get the most bang for my buck and I obliged. For my protein I picked the special smoked pork and for my rice I went with the B.K.F.R. or bacon kimchi fried rice. I also said that YES I would definitely take the special kimchi fries, and so by this point the boys knew I was serious, so with appropriate assumption they asked: you want everything on top? UM yes. And although I said--I don't think I need meat on the fries, they're smarter than me and so they gave it to me anyway!

Behold: what fat girl dreams are made of!

With the food in front of me, I inhaled a few whiffs of deliciousness and took the mandatory photos of the feast before a very unpromising Tinder date just hours later. All of the food groups were there and I was a happy camper. There was nothing between me and my food. And so I just enjoyed with a few groans and moans about how spoiled my tastebuds were. "Tell the boss!" Yelled the boys, and I did!

That's what I call BEASTed.

As I sat and drank some water, and digested the food, I had a thought. If the owner's here, perhaps I can talk to him--not only to gush about my amazing lunch, but also to see if perhaps he'd be interested in participating in my new show, The Food Funny. So I introduced myself to Edward "3D" Song, who's a fellow native to these boroughs and lucky for me, interested in joining in on the Fun on the UWS! When I sent him the deets of the show he asked if he could participate in the Stand-up competition and I was happy to oblige, as I knew I'd pair him up with my good friend and hilarious funny lady Adriane Hamilton.

So, to wrap up, I want you to eat at Korilla, because it's the smart thing to do. And tell you that if you're already a fan of theirs then you should come check out a show where the owner gets to try out his funny-man chops! Lastly, I don't have public tours of the East Village, however I am happy to bring a group to the area for a private group, and if you want to do an Asian-Fusion tour, I couldn't think of a better neighborhood to do it in!

Funnily Combining Comedy and Food! The Food Funny

Almost three years ago I started taking comedy writing classes--the same time I started working for City Food Tours, and then preparing to be a tour guide myself! Since then I've been struggling to find a way to combine my two passions--food and comedy. Then a few months ago I realized that a lot of the chefs I know are rather funny and a lot of the funny people I know are really into food and thus the idea was created! Make the food people be funny and the funny people make food! :) So, I found the perfect venue on the Upper West Side, which happens to be managed by my sister, and spoke with the owner and started booking the talent. Well--now I have a show to put on! 

Of course, it's rather appropriate that the first show of the New Year features two food pros who are known for a healthier relationship with the edibles. Christy Harrison is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with her own podcast about the psychology of food, which I'll touch on more tomorrow, and she'll be battling with her improv chops against Nicholas Feitel, who'll be recognized by Bethenny Frankel fans as her former chunky food blogger who lost over 60 pounds with a little help from his friends!

Our funny ladies, however, are more known for their comedy stylings on the prestige Upright Citizens Brigade stages. But the daring broads will be taking on a mystery box cooking challenge with 5 junk food ingredients that I'm already nervous about tasting! Johnna Scrabis, who's a very funny improviser on the UCB Harold team, Side-Piece, has not even bothered to tell me how much (or how little?) skill she has in the kitchen. And her counterpart, Sarah Wharton, who was on the 1st all-female house improv team at UCB, Detroit, promises she's an "avid home cook", but if she lives alone, that's not saying much.

All of this is going down on Mondays at 9pm, starting on January 5th at the legendary West End Lounge. Located on the Upper West Side, we're sandwiched between one hell of a line up for anyone into the arts, and of course, F&B! Before The Food Funny, you can check out Bound for Broadway, where you'll catch tomorrow's big superstars. Then, after the show, you can get drunk at the hand of my sister who's on bar starting at 10pm. And if you're in the service industry yourself, you can stick around for Service Industry Night, which gets you 50% off drinks after midnight! Which is when Midnight Movie Massacre begins as well!

You should definitely come out for the show that's only a $5 cover (I gotta pay for that food somehow) and a $15 food/drink minimum. You're not gonna get a better deal like this on the UWS, I guarantee it! :)