Wednesday, January 20, 2010


A few weeks ago I had a college roommate come visit for New Years. We made a fabulous feast and created an appetizer to munch on while the meal was being cooked. Here it is:

Crostini with Avocado, Pine Nuts, and Honey:

1/4 a baguette sliced at an angle, 1/2 inch thick
1 avocado, sliced 1/8 inch thick (if you half the avocado, hit the base of the knife into the pit, twist and the pit should pop right out. Then take a smaller knife and slice the avocado while still in the shell. Use a large spoon and spoon out the sliced avocado.)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 garlic clove
Clover Honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay the sliced baguette on a baking sheet and drizzle with some EVOO, S & P. Toast for 5ish minutes, till the bread is a little crispy but not hard. Once out of the oven, rub with the garlic clove while the bread is still warm. Then place a few slices (you may need to cut the long slices of the avocado in half to fit onto the baguette) of the avocado on a piece of the toasted bread, then sprinkle a few pine nuts on the top. Top with a little salt and pepper and drizzle with a touch (just a touch) of honey. They're ready to eat!


Saturday, January 16, 2010


My good friend and I ventured to the Marina this past week to try Tacolicious. Tacolicious was once Laiola, a Catalan Tapas restaurant that received a great face lift and transformed into a taco and small bite Mexican restaurant. I talked to the owner Joe Hargrave who explained to me that he took a trip to Mexico and had a revelation. There are very few places in San Francisco that will combine sustainability and Mexican food, more specifically tacos, that taste god damn delicious. They say:

"...I should state that Tacolicious was founded on the principals of sustainability. A large portion of our produce comes from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market where we launched our stand last summer. We use natural meats. Our tortillas may not be organic but they're made daily at our very own local La Palma."

I stumbled upon Tacolicious before they even had the restaurant up and running. I found them at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market on Thursdays for lunch next to Namu, the Korean BBQ place. They had an extremely long line and couldn't help but wonder how tasty are these tacos because that is one long ass line!! I tried their carnitas, beer and a shot chicken, and potato and chorizo tacos. All of them were extremely tasty and very authentic. It reminded me of the taco expeditions I would take in high school with my friends to try and locate the right taco truck in Redwood City. Recently, I then found out that Tacolicious wasn't just going to be a Thursday lunch time adventure, they were opening a restaurant in the Marina completely devoted to tacos, this was something that I definitely had to try.

My friend and I sat down at the counter/bar around 7ish closer to the back of the restaurant. There was maybe one or two tables open and a few bar spaces left. (FYI by the time we left at 8:30, the entire bar was 3 rows deep of people) I ordered a Margarita Picante. This was delicious, it wasn't too sweet and had a nice heat that lingered in the back of your throat for a few seconds after you sipped it. We munched on chips and the most addicting salsa ever, we suggested to the owner, Joe that he should bottle this and sell it because he would make so much money. It had great flavor of tomatoes and spices but wasn't overpoweringly hot.

We then started to examine the menu. They had tasty looking appetizers and we were recommended the Tuna Tostada by our waitress so we jumped on board. We also were looking at the tacos, they offer 4 tacos for $12, perfect for my friend and I to share. I ordered the fish taco with red cabbage slaw and a lemony white sauce, the classic fish taco that I love! I also ordered the chorizo and potato taco which I have had before and knew I would love. My friend also ordered the chorizo and potato and the carnitas tacos.

When our tuna tostada came, we were in love. It was a slightly spicy/sweet white mayo sauce with chili powder atop a crispy circular tostada. Sitting on top was ahi tuna and a slice of avocado with crispy leek. This was sooo tasty, one problem: there were only 3!! My friend and I quickly devoured one each and looked at each other, who's getting this third? I reach for a knife to cut the perfectly plated piece of ahi goodness and I get a tap on the shoulder, it's Joe, the owner who says "Wait, I'll send out another one." I was in love!! No more than 60 seconds pass and we have another Tuna Tostada in hand and ready for consumption. I couldn't believe how nice he was and so attentive to what we were eating and when we were eating it.

Then our tacos arrive. I loved the fish taco, it was perfectly crispy and the slaw added a nice fresh crunch. The chorizo and potato taco was as perfect as it ever was and the carnitas are super tender and juicy. The tacos also come with three different salsas. They have a tomatillo and guacamole creamy mild salsa. Second, is a habanero salsa which is a great yellow color and is hot as hell. I loved it, the better burning sensation after consumption, the better. Finally the third is a chipotle salsa that has a dark red color which has some smoke to it. I loved putting the habanero and the tomatillo guacamole on the chorizo and potato taco.

Overall, the chips were great, drinks were strong, and food was delicious, all leaving me wanting more. I emailed Joe to get the recipe for the Margarita Picante, here it is:

Margarita Picante:

2 oz. tequila
1 oz. triple sec
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. Simple Syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled for a few minutes, then cooled)
1 tsp. red chili vinegar

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain over an ice filled, pink peppercorn rim coated tumbler.

Chili Vinegar:
1 cup of rice wine vinegar
a few of various dried chilies (ancho, de arbol, chipotles, etc.)

Bring both the vinegar and chilies to a boil for 10 minutes. Cover and let cool, strain through a fine sieve. Pepper infused vinegar stores indefinitely.

Pink Peppercorn Salt:
1/4 cup pink peppercorns
1/4 cup vanilla sugar (store 1 vanilla bean in a cup of sugar for a few weeks)
1/4 cup kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a spice grinder and buzz into a fine powder, or mash in a mortar and pestle.

Please visit Tacolicious:
2031 Chestnut Street., @ Fillmore; Marina


I first found this recipe in an Hors d'oeuvres Cookbook and made my own twist to it. You can serve it with many different things, chicken, fish or as an appetizer with toasted pieces of baguette. You put everything into a food processor and it's done in a few minutes. Easy!

This is for a serving for 6-8 people, if you have a smaller party, or just want some for yourself, just cut the recipe in half.

1 Jar of Roasted Piquillo Peppers (TJ's has a great one)
1/2 cup of toasted unsalted slivered almonds
4 garlic cloves
1 big hand bunch of Italian parsley
1 big hand bunch of cilantro
1/2 - 3/4 tsp. sherry vinegar
3 scallions, chopped
hand full of cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes in oil (TJ's has a great one as well)
1/2 cup chopped stale bread
1 tsp - 1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch of cumin
pinch of dried chipotle powder
S + P to taste
1/2 - 3/4 c. EVOO

Process everything but the olive oil in a food processor and process till mixed, maybe a minute or two. Then stream in the olive oil while the processor is running and watch to see a mixture turn into that of a pesto. That's it! I love to put it on a toasted piece of bread, or serve it with some fish or chicken. Very tasty and super easy!! You can store this in the fridge for a few weeks with a layer of olive oil on top of it, or a few months in the freezer.