Then, I had the honor of being recognized by Refinery29, and suddenly my inbox was flooded with emails. Not in some sort of celebrity fashion, but rather with invitations to events, offers for cookbooks and requests for features. I was wary to accept any of them – both because I wasn't sure which brands with which I wanted to "align" myself, and second because, due to my readership reach, I didn't want to take something that wouldn't be equally reciprocated.
One email in particular did catch my eye, however – an invitation from General Motors to attend a curated tour hosted by Joe Hargrave and Telmo Faria of Tacolicious. The two would show a few food bloggers some of their favorite San Francisco restaurants, chefs, meals and culinary inspirations as part of GM's new blog called Drive the District. Despite rave reviews and gorgeous photos (I'm looking at you Sonya!), I had yet to eat at Tacolicious. So, I decided to take a chance and go along for the ride.
Joe and Telmo were incredible hosts, and after I got over the awkwardness of a camera floating around the entire night, it truly was a fantastic experience. Throughout the evening, we ate, drank, talked and learned about each other, as well as what made these places stand out to Joe and Telmo. We began with a delicious start at Nopalito before making our way to Zaré at Fly Trap: another San Francisco staple I had yet to try. Here, chef Hoss Zaré came out to greet us with open arms.
Famous for his, "Hossy Hugs," he gives his friends (or anyone who is willing, really) gigantic bear hugs. In fact, he lifted me off the ground! After we dined on impossibly soft braised lamb, sipped Minted Memory cocktails, and finished with goat cheese cheesecake with kumquat and baklava, Hoss let me in on his secret sage advice for success:
"Every day, hug someone, make someone smile, make someone feel wanted."
I still have that sticky on my phone.
We ended the night at Tacolicious, where I was finally able to find out just what makes Joe's and Telmo's restaurant so special: at least in the form of albacore tuna tostadas and a variety of tacos – in short: culture, history, and authenticity mixed with California flair. If you haven't been, change that as soon as possible to experience what I mean.
Check out the video from our evening, and read more about the night on the District Drive page.