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ESPN Match Truck Hits Streets in LA (& NYC) Today

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What do the Kogi BBQ truck and the World Cup have in common? Well, if you've seen the hungry crowds that Kogi attracts, you could say it's something of a spectator sport. And both celebrate different nationalities coming together for something good. But that's where the similarities end. So, is there any way to combine these two seemingly disparate phenomena?

ESPN wanted to find out, and the result of their Kogi/World Cup mash-up, the ESPN Match Truck, makes its public debut on the streets of Los Angeles (and New York City) today to coincide with the beginning of the World Cup. You can follow the LA Truck's Twitter at ESPNWCTruckLA. LAist got a sneak peek of this truck during their final "rehearsal" on the Disney studio lot this past Wednesday.

ESPN approached the folks behind Kogi BBQ (who kick-started LA's food truck trend a couple years ago) with the idea of creating a food truck that would not only promote ESPN's coverage of World Cup 2010, but actually give soccer fans a place to watch the games live, on a large, hi-def LCD screen mounted above the truck's order/pickup windows. The truck is decorated with the familiar mural-style graphics ESPN has been using to promote the World Cup, created by Am I Collective - a group of artists in Capetown, South Africa.

Kogi's Chef Roy Choi (recently named "Best New Chef" by Food & Wine magazine) created a menu of authentic street food inspired by the different countries playing in the World Cup. There's sliders and silver dollar pancakes (America), huevos rancheros and carne asada burritos (Mexico), tortilla española (Spain), bunny chow (South Africa), seared rice balls (Italy), lamb gyros (Greece) and yaki mandoo dumplings (South Korea). Prices range between $2 - $8. As expected, Chef Roy used his talents to put a gourmet twist on each menu item. For example, he uses pickled onions and "gutter-style" tzatziki sauce on the lamb gyro (best gyro this author has ever tasted, by far).

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The trucks will be staffed with a crew of Kogi veterans, and ESPN will have their own representatives on-site to hand out World Cup match schedules and brochures, and answer customers' questions. Because many of the matches air live early in the morning here, the trucks will get an early start, and there's breakfast items on the menu. They're planning to visit Hollywood & Highland often, along with MacArthur Park and several downtown areas like Pershing Square. Their schedule can be viewed on their site.

LA and NYC will each have their own ESPN Match Truck, but only for about 3 weeks (June 11-29) so if you want to check out this truck's delicious offerings, and watch some World Cup action in the process, don't procrastinate!