The Chinolicious Holiday Gift Guide

Tacolicious and its sister restaurant Chino have drummed up six dumplingcentric, tacotastic ideas that are as fun to give to others as to give yourself. Either way, it’s heartfelt.

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Shot on location at the Tacolicious offices by awesome marketing manager Sarah Qadri who tried to make her smart phone stay very, very still.

1. TACOLICIOUS gift card (duh). Succulent a bonus.

2. A stack of great ASIAN COOKBOOKS from Omnivore Books (Pok Pok by Andy Ricker; Ivan Ramen by Ivan Orkin; The Seventh Daughter by Cecilia Chiang: Burma by Naomi Duguid).

3. Our favorite JAPANESE BEER Hitachino Nest White Ale (smells like oranges and heaven).

4. Siete Leguas Reposado TEQUILA. Only the best.

5. Tacolicious COOKBOOK + Williams-Sonoma SHOT-AND-A-BEER Braising Sauce.

6. CHINO gift card accompanied by authentic “gold” LUCKY CAT from Chinatown.

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A new, limited-edition
Hecho in San Pancho*

*Tip-off: Pancho is a nickname for Francisco.

Men’s: SM to XL
Women’s (pictured): SM to XL
Kid’s by special order.

To snag yours, email or stop by our restaurants starting Dec. 15.

If You Ain’t First, You’re Last: On Losing the World Cheese Dip Championship


Jena, Mike, Sara, Telmo, Shauna, Joe flashing our West Coast bling

In San Francisco, a city that purports to love the local, sustainable, and kale salad, you’d think that the queso at Tacolicious would be met with disdain. But au contraire—it’s one of our best sellers. And it’s not just the gauche plebeians who clamor for it. Michael Tusk, the Michelin-starred chef and owner of Quince, has admitted to his queso addiction. I could be wrong, but I think something made unapologetically with Velveeta provides a comfortingly creamy, to-hell-with-it antidote to our city’s often exhausting, holier-than-thou food scene. But I might be projecting.

How Joe and I came to love cheese dip enough to put it on the menu is a long story. However, the abridged tale is but two words: Mike Harden. You can read all about our friend, the Arkansas native and cheese-dip aficionado, here and here. For years Mike has encouraged us to fly to his adopted hometown of Little Rock—a city that makes well-documented claims to be the true home of cheese dip—to enter the World Cheese Dip Championship. This year, Tacolicious took the leap.

So last Wednesday, Joe, Telmo, his fiancé Jena, and I arrived at SFO with a bright yellow suitcase, packed to the point of breaking, full of ice and 15 pounds of our housemade chorizo. Also packed: 1 gallon of our escabeche (pickled jalapenos, carrots, and cauliflower), “Chip Happens” t-shirts that I had made, and Jay-Z–style gold chip medallions DIY’ed by Telmo who had discovered his inner Etsy … (continued on

Getting into the Halloween Spirit: Night of the Headless Shrimp Taco

Boo! Refried black beans, tortilla-crusted shrimp, orange sauce, and beady eyes.

Boo! Refried black beans, tortilla-crusted shrimp, and beady eyes.

Tacolicious’s Night of the Headless Shrimp Taco

With a smear of black refried beans and a drizzle of our Legendary Orange Sauce, these tacos are spirited (Halloween colors, but conveniently Giants colors too) and perfectly good made with your typical pre-headed shrimp. But if you want to freak a few squeamish friends out, buy head-on shrimp and fry up a few of the heads to use as garnish. Let their beady eyes do the talking. If this is too scary to make at home, come into any of our locations starting next Thursday, October 30th, and it’ll be on the menu for the week.

Serves about 4

1 pound 26–30-count peeled and deveined shrimp
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 whole egg, whisked
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups pulverized corn tortilla chips, preferably unsalted
1 cup canola oil
12 corn tortillas
1 cup refried black beans
½ cup Legendary Orange Sauce (see below)
½ cup Mexican crema or sour cream
16-20 sprigs of cilantro, optional

In a large bowl, mix the shrimp with the cornstarch, egg, salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.

Add the pulverized corn chips to the bowl and toss well with the shrimp until they’re evenly coated. Heat the canola in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, working in 2 to 3 small batches, cook the shrimp in the oil for 30-45 seconds per side, until they are firm and golden brown. Transfer onto a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil. Read more »

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