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

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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 saradeseran.com).

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 »

T-lish + Chino = Holidays Solved

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DO THE MATH: THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING!

Book now and rest easy. Here are five equations to get the party started.

3 WAYS TO PARTY LIKE TACOLICIOUS 

Sand-in-Your-Toes
baja fish taco + pasión cocktail + twinkle lights
soundtrack inspiration: Wave sounds

OG Mexican Fiesta
taquiza (taco bar) + margaritas + candy cane-filled piñata
soundtrack inspiration: El Taxi

Intellectual Imbibe-a-Thon 
tequila tasting + mini tuna tostadas + tacolicious cookbook (party favor)
soundtrack inspiration: Drunk In Love

2 WAYS TO PARTY LIKE CHINO 

Taiwanese Tinseltown 
XLBs + boba slushies + lucky cats everywhere
soundtrack inspiration: MC Hot Dog

Fingers Not Forks 
japan-o-mission wings + shanghai buck + customized fortune cookies
soundtrack inspiration: Little Secrets

Contact our catering team to customize an epic night—corporate or personal. Reserve one of our fantastic private dining rooms, buy out the entire restaurant, or let us bring the party to you. Email us to learn more: events@tacolicious.com.

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