Tacolicious School Project Raises Over $500,000!

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 12.18.41 PMIn February 2012, my boys were 10 and 6. As a family, we were six years deep into the world of San Francisco public education, we had opened two Tacolicious restaurants, and I had two wishes:

1. I wanted to help our kids’ school, San Francisco Community. Like all the public schools in this city, it needed funding then as much as it does now.
2. But selfishly—after heading a laborious fundraiser that yielded pretty pathetic results—I never wanted to work full-time and organize anything again.

Watching me wring my hands, Joe looked at me and, without a second thought, said: “Well, why don’t we just give public schools some of the proceeds from Tacolicious?” Thus, a few months later, shortly after opening Tacolicious on Valencia Street, we formed the Tacolicious School Project, a program that today benefits 45 neighboring public schools—as many as we can squeeze into a school year. In order to give an amount that has some weight, each of our five restaurants (including Chino) donates 15 percent of a month’s worth of its Monday proceeds to its partner school.

Marshall Elementary kids participate in Ocean Month.

Marshall Elementary kids participate in Ocean Month.

Since then, the first day of the week has become a scene of kids running around our servers’ legs, weary parents relieved to be able to call eating tacos fundraising, and teachers in dark sunglasses huddled around shots of tequila. On these days, our restaurants truly feel like a place of community and I feel so grateful that Joe and I have been able to plant roots in the town we love, make a career out of what we are passionate about, and use the results to give back to the city that has nurtured us. It was in this town that Joe grew from waiter to restaurant owner and I grew from CD-ROM cookbook editorial assistant (we’re talking 1994) to food writer. I mean if San Franciscans weren’t so obsessed with food—specifically tacos—who knows where we’d be?

Galileo: One of TSP's high schools.

Galileo High School’s ball.

Three years later, almost to the month we launched, we’ve raised over $500,000. (Ok, so it’s not $5 million a la Marc Benioff, but I like to fantasize that he was inspired by us.) It all seems a little dreamy, but when we hear back from the schools, it makes it very real. Over at Marshall Elementary in inner Mission, the TSP helped fund their Oceans Month wherein students studied local marine habitats first-hand. The TSP has contributed to K–8 Creative Arts Charter School’s  performance and visual arts activities (which includes rock band, theater and photography), and Bryant Elementary used the money to help pay for tutors and develop their garden program.

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Yes we can eat tacos.

I’d like to thank both the schools and our customers for coming in to support public education on Mondays. And I’d like to really thank Joe for not letting his man-crush Obama, whose taco-eating portrait graces our restaurant walls, be the only guy who has the guts to say, “Yes we can” to pretty much everything.

To learn more about the Tacolicious School Project, including which schools are our beneficiaries, read more here. Come in on Mondays and eat for a cause!

Taco-fueled kids from Garfield Elementary outside of Tacolicious North Beach.

Crazy kids from Garfield Elementary outside of Tacolicious North Beach.


Two-Can Tuna Tacos

IMG_1404I’m a lover of canned tuna. It’s like a reliable friend, always there for you in your cupboard. I like it in a sandwich (add gherkins, cucumbers, and dill), on pizza (add sliced onions and basil), tossed with spaghetti (add tomatoes, capers, anchovies, and parsley), and, maybe most of all, in a taco.

The first time I had a tuna taco was when we took a family vacation to Sayulita years back. Joe was inspired by watching Rick Bayless make tacos filled with nothing much more than canned tuna and canned escabeche and he served it up for our lunch. The combination of oily tuna with bracing, spicy pickled jalapenos and carrots was addictive. And all it took was chopping an onion and opening two cans.

Since then, this quick and easy taco has become a go-to when we vacation in Mexico. I’m in Tulum right now with some friends and family, so I made it for lunch yesterday with the addition of chopped crunchy raw onions, cilantro, and radish, plus slices of buttery avocado and a smear of a morita chile salsa (I’m into making dried chile salsas right now). I served it all up with flour tortillas. Paired with margaritas made with fresh lime juice, fresh mango, Triple Sec, and tequila, plus a nice ocean breeze, it was everything.

For the recipe, go to saradeseran.com.


Meet Mosto’s Mezcal Man


Teddy, our resident mezcal expert at Mosto.

Meet Theodore Wylie Ronnie, Mosto’s new-ish (as in last June new) resident mezcal/tequila expert and bartender. Teddy, as he’s known, works the bar Fridays through Tuesdays. If you want an agave education, he’s your man. As you can see, he’s very friendly. Come in and chat him up. —Sarah Qadri (who wrote this but Sara Deseran hasn’t figured out how to show that in the byline)

When did you first starting getting into mezcal and tequila? 
I moved to Jalisco to sell real estate at age 21. I started learning from Sophie Decobecq whose known for applying science to tequila production.

Favorite type of mezcal?
San Juan Del Rio is a great intro to mezcal. It’s made from espadin which is the most common type of agave. It’s soft and easy-drinking.

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Mosto, your tequila everything

Your go-to tequila? 
Uno Dos Tres. It’s organic, hand-selected agave and a smaller batch production. The producers allow the agave to live its full lifetime which gives it a bigger flavor.

Favorite special occasion mezcal?
El Jolgorio Tobala. It’s really aromatic with some dark fruits balanced with a roasted agave flavor.

Perfect cocktail and taco pairing?

Ya Mon, the tropical and spicy margarita which is on the Mosto menu—I love it with an al pastor taco shaved right off our spit. 
We also have a great nopales-and-cheese taco. It’s a toss up. And then there’s our pescado del dia.


Nopales and cheese taco.

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Pescado del dia: tuna, blood orange, basil, jalapeño


Mosto (741 Valencia St., SF), our dark and groovy sliver of a tequila bar, is open until 11 pm and has great Mexican street food, an al pastor trompo, over 300 agave-based spirits, and a groovy, full-album playlist. 
For further info, email us at info@tacolicious.com.

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