NW Portland, OR - Koi Fusion 8.4.18
Summertime in Portland isn’t complete without a lawn concert. This restaurant takes us to the Oregon Zoo and the Amos Lee Concert. Walking towards the venue, the smell of food emanated through the air and we were hungry. The crowds were pushing towards the concert lawn and we were worried we wouldn’t find a spot. Crowds of people were splayed out with blankets and chairs. It was clear that we were late. We made our way around to the far edge where I found a small spot on the concrete walkway. I threw down our blanket and set up our chairs hoping we wouldn’t be kicked out. Soon enough we were surrounded and people were all over the walkway.
After we settled in, we spotted the Koi Fusion food cart and knew that is exactly what we craved. Koi Fusion was established by Bo Kwon who is the oldest of to Korean immigrants. Throughout his childhood he was known to mix flavors of his Korean ancestry with anything he could find in the refrigerator. It was this influence that brought him onto the Portland food cart scene in 2009. After buying a Mexican food cart he trained for several months under the previous owner before bringing his Mexican-Korean fusion tacos to the PSU campus.
This would be my first Koi Fusion experience and clearly it was a must have because the line was the longest of all the food stations. As we approached the window, we made sure we were ready to order. Alexis immediately chose the Kolbi Short Rib burrito stuffed with Korean seasoned rice, cheese, cabbage, pico de gallo, bean sprouts, cucumber, cilantro and salsa. There was no doubt she was also adding sour cream and guacamole to make it a supreme burrito. While the burrito was tempting I went with the Kolbi Short Rib Rice bowl that was full of Korean flavored rice, bean sprouts, cucumber, salsa and the addition of sour cream and guacamole. I opted out of the cabbage and cilantro as those are two flavors that I do not really enjoy. The bowl was beyond savory and I tried to make every bite last. The Session beer was a great accoutrement to the Koi Fusion Bowl.
Just after we had finished our meal, Amos Lee made his way to the stage. He is a popular singer-song writer from the Philadelphia area. After graduating from South Carolina with an English degree, Lee worked as a school teacher. At this time he began to pursue his music career and soon landed a deal with Blue Note records. His music is known as folk, soul rock. Alexis and I sat back as we relaxed to the notes streaming out from his band and the lyrics filled the air. The vibe in the crowd was lively and yet chilled energy. The sun started to set and the lights from the zoo were an amazing back drop to the band.
If you are around Portland check out one of the several locations of the Koi Fusion food trucks. It will be worth it.