Tacolicious Tacos

Tuesday, we made a late night dash to Tacolicious on Chestnut Street for some Carnitas tacos.  It’s amazing that for $4, you can get a delicious taco plus chips and a big serving of their spicy, mint infused salsa.  Trust me on this, it’s all about the salsa.  You can taste the inspired goodness in this fresh, zesty, deliciously textured dipping perfection.  A must have…

Another exciting thing about Tacolicious is how they have developed their business.  I listened to the owner, Joe Hargrave, talk about how they have used social media to expand their positioning.  Initially, he started a small taco stand at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, sourcing farm fresh ingredients for his special Mexi-Cal cuisine.  As the customer base grew, he was able to move into the current restaurant location on Chestnut.   (He actually already had the struggling Laola restaurant in that space, but the Tacolicious concept proved to be more inviting and profitable so he reinvented.)  Since then, Tacolicious has added a mobile food truck to its caderie of offerings in San Francisco.  He credits social media with providing a direct medium for customer interaction.  This has fostered the growth of his taco enterprise by directly communicating information regarding in-house specials and the location of the mobile unit with  the Tacolicious community.

An inspired and organic approach to creating and developing delicious Mexican food, as well as building a loyal following through social media, have positioned Tacolicious for long-term, sustainable growth.  Look out for them at the weekly Off the Grid events.  And, definitely try the salsa. : )


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Merlove… at Benziger Family Winery

Last week, I attended the CANVAS Connect Spring Fling at Benziger winery in Sonoma.  We enjoyed fabulous cuisine like asparagus, green onion and white truffle oil pizza amongst plush outdoor seating in the verdant gardens.  Then, we ventured into the caves for dark chocolate truffles paired with Benziger’s Sonoma Valley Port.  We also sipped our way through the guided tram tour of the biodynamic vineyards.  It was a fantastic experience, but the most interesting part of the evening was definitely meeting producer/director Rudulf N. McClain.

He is the creator of the poignant and hilarious film, Merlove.  In his own words, “Merlove is a documentary celebrating Merlot wine in response to the movie, Sideways.”  Rudy slipped me a copy and I have watched twice in the past few days.  It is entertaining, educational and makes me want to drink a lot more wine.  Seriously.  If you like wine and wine culture, you MUST see this movie!  It’s even on Netflix!  Hope to see Rudy and Marisol at the Coppola pool this summer! : )

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So, I was lucky enough to end up at RN74, one of Michael Mina’s restaurants, after a week long vacation in Miami. Whoo hoo!

Anyway, four of us dined and each enjoyed different dishes.  My favorite was the white corn tortellini appetizer.  The way they served it at the table was intricate and functional, and it was pretty much the only vegetarian thing on the menu.  Not that I am vegetarian, because I not, I just prefer veggie food.

And, it was good, fussed over food.  More note-worthy are the delicious beverages I enjoyed.  I warmed up with a refreshing concoction called the Fraggle Cup in the chill waiting lounge.  (RIP Jim Henson, creator of Fraggle Rock!)  It consists of some strange Italian bitters, soda, ginger root and tangerine.  Very unique and enhancing, I’d suggest it to anyone who likes Muppets. ; )

With dinner, I chose an Italian white called Nescetti.  The wine had an oily texture and heavy mouth feel but overall a decent structure and terrior.  I just tried to google it and either it’s really obscure or I am misspelling it because nothing came up.  Anybody know anything about this varietal?

Then, I tried to order a little glass of port.  But, my dining companions all thought I asked for “pork” and they talked me out of my typical after-dinner digestif.  Silly misunderstanding or strange set of coincidences?  Anyway, we trotted off to share a Scorpion Bowl at the Tonga Room.  Wow! those sure are sweet?!  I digress….

Someone with more info about this wine, please?

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Ynez Pinot Noir

Serendipitous circumstances led us back to California Wine Merchant.  We showed up at the right time and things got bubbly.  The next thing I knew I was eating cookies with Peter KNEZ from said winery.   His Pinot Noir is lovely!  Elegant, feminine wine, English garden label AND drinking it with a fabulous British gal, aptly named INEZ!  Bizarre, right? We thought so, too, so we just kept sipping and having a grand time….

We looked online and Pete didn’t tell us.  Anyone know where do we get this wine? ; )

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Web 2.0 Conference comes to San Francisco

Just got back from Day One of the conference at the Moscone Center.  These companies leave me amazed and inspired.  And, realizing that there is so much technology that can be employed to maximize the web experience!

My personal favorite exhibitors were:

  • Webfonts.com – can’t wait to employ these
  • Roost.com – making social media easier for us all with content strategization
  • O’Reilly Media – most creative marketing materials
  • Effective.com – best use of color theory and thoughtful giveaways
  • StupidCancer.com – a support organization for cancer survivors 40 and under

I can’t wait to play around with some of these technologies.  Day Two promises to be even more exciting as we venture into implementation issues and of course, participate in the afternoon booth crawl…. : )


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Congratulations to Baja Precious EVOO!

Congratulations to Javier Livas and Baja Precious Extra Virgin Olive Oil (in EnVino bottles) for making it to the Number 1 spot on Amazon.com’s list of Bestselling Hot New Releases in the Oils, Vinegars & Dressings category!!

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Castello di Amorosa

Last week, we had the pleasure of attending the Cheers to Taste event at Castello di Amorosa in northern Napa Valley.  This 13th century, Tuscan-style Castle and is 121,000 square feet and has 107 rooms.  It features  several cellars as well as medieval dungeons with torture devices.  It is an amazing venue and you literally feel like you have been transported to Europe.  We had a fabulous time and can’t wait to get back!

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Happy Chinese New Year!

This past weekend, I had an opportunity to go behind the scenes of the Chinese New Year’s celebration in San Francisco.  This celebration began in San Francisco after the Gold Rush and our city is proud to host the second largest Chinese NY parade in the world.  Despite the rain, wind and cold, hundreds of thousands of spectators came out to witness the elaborate floats, costumes, martial arts groups and firecrackers.

I was lucky to be working with a PBS film crew that was documenting the traditional food associated with this celebration.  We sampled specialty pastries from AA Bakery & Cafe on Stockton Street (the bean cake was my favorite) and managed to get reservations at R & G Lounge on Kearny for a celebratory feast.  The salt and pepper crab was a huge hit with our group, but I was particularly partial to the baby bean sprouts and the Chinese asparagus.

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Sacramento Unified Wine and Grape Symposium

Stölzle Lausitz GmbH glass decanters

For the third consecutive year, the trade show was buzzing.  But this year, the energy was back.  Winemakers & marketers were optimistic about launching new brands and reviving cool projects.  Always a great time, I managed to trade plastic bottles for one of these gorgeous glass decanters.

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San Francisco Winter Fancy Food Show 2011

This year, I attended the Winter Fancy Food Show for the first time.  Never in my life have I seen such an amazing display of specialty food, especially chocolate and cheese.  This cheesecake is actually made from stacked brie wheels  and fresh flowers. Sadly, they were not giving out sample slices, but the cheese was definitely flowing throughout the dedicated “Cheese Pavilion.” (?!) Amazing…

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