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

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