Taco MORE! Custom Apron

Taco MORE! Custom Apron


This limited edition custom Taco MORE! apron is available by following the link on the image.
100% Cotton Canvas with black cotton twill tape straps
Black ink / heat transfer silk-screen
Artwork by Dave Davenport, 1996
Custom made by Mr. David Couture

The HECHO Valentine Dinner staff!

The HECHO Valentine Dinner staff!

Thank you to everyone that came to the Valentine Dinner at HECHO – it was such a huge success. I want to give some special love to the great talents of Chef Cory Armenta for executing my families simple home recipes with so much respect and style. Our sous chefs Cole Church, Sean Lackey & Michael Christopher made working in the kitchen such an absolute joy. And, a special thank you to HECHO owners Dana Gleim and Jesse Woodward for letting me do it!

You can find most of the recipes right here on my food blog. The Tomatillo & Chipolte Salsa, Anaheim Chile and Chicken Stew and my grandmothers Capirotada (we served it with Humphry Slowcombe Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream.

I so enjoyed cooking for you and look forward to more food projects in the future! You can join my mailing list HERE to get updates about all kinds of amazing events!

Images by Uel Renteria from the event can be found in this ALBUM on my Facebook profile.

Loads of Love,


Thanks to both Ina Garten and Martha Stewart for the help in making this cake. It’s the cake Elvis would have buried his face in.

Chocolate Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Chocolate Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups mashed overripe bananas (6 to 8)
4 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour a two 9-inch can pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down bowl as needed. Beat in bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture and chocolate on medium. Pour batter into pans. Bake until a skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.


Valentine's Day Dinner at Hecho

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Hecho

Join me and HECHO Restaurant in the Castro for a special Valentine’s Day Dinner. I will be taking over the kitchen with House of MORE! chef Cory Armenta. We have created a prix fixe menu that revolves around some of my favorite family recipes – including my grandmothers delicious bread pudding. Dinner includes your choice of one of the three entrees – plus appetizer, salad and dessert. The restaurant has booths that accommodate 4-6 people (double & triple dates) and a communal table for singles (please email the restaurant directly to reserve a single seat).

Saturday, February 14, 2015
HECHO Restaurant, 2200 Market Street at Sanchez, SF 94114
Seatings: 5:30 PM, 7:30 PM & 9:30 PM
Cost: $55



Choice of one entree

Juanita’s Chipotle & Tomatillo Salsa with Chips

Hearts of Romaine Salad with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette & Queso Fresco

Braised Chicken with Anaheim Chiles

Mulato Chile Braised Beef Short Ribs

Chile Rellenos

Petra’s Capirotada with Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream

Be my Valentine.

Be my Valentine.

I recently hosted a Naked Cocktail Party at my apartment – which was photographed by my dear friend Gabe Ayala for Left Magazine and these delicious meatballs were such a hit!

Lamb & Beef Meatballs

Lamb & Beef Meatballs

Lamb & Beef Meatballs with Pine Nuts & Saffron Yogurt Sauce
Makes about 40 meatballs

¾ pound ground lamb
¾ pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil

Pinch of saffron threads
3 tablespoons hot water
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 small clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste

Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for 15 minutes. Mix the egg together with the garlic, pine nuts, parsley, coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Squeeze out any excess milk from the breadcrumbs and mix them into the egg mixture. Mix the meat in until just combined.  Using a tablespoon, shape into small balls; place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add meatballs, and cook 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer meatballs to plate; keep warm. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Serve immediately.

To make the sauce, steep the saffron in the hot water for 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl with the yogurt, olive oil and garlic. Whisk until smooth and taste for salt. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Yum Yum

Yum Yum

Raul Castillo

Raul Castillo

Film, television and theater actor Raul Castillo stole my heart when he appeared in Season 1 of the HBO series Looking as Richie.  Sporting a San Francisco Giants baseball cap and cruising lead character Patrick on MUNI set my screen on fire. His sexy smile and down to earth attitude makes him an absolute catch – both on and off screen. Meeting Raul for the first time brought up memories of my high-school Latin papi crushes – because he is that guy you want to bring home to meet your mom. Raul recently completed production on the independent film ‘Sweets’ and is set to co-star in two additional independent films, ‘Celestina’ and ‘The Brute’. Season 2 of Looking premieres on January 11, 2015 on HBO.

Raul grew up with the nickname 'Gordo'.

Raul grew up with the nickname ‘Gordo’.

Raul and I on set of Looking,  Season 2

Raul and I on set of Looking, Season 2

Raul Castillo answers my foodie questionnaire here:

What is your favorite dessert?

Without a doubt it is my mother’s flan – it’s a special thing. My mom – Adela is her name (most people call her Adelita) is an incredible cook and has a special way with food. Her flan is the best I’ve ever had, though as a kid I didn’t appreciate it. You see I’m not a huge dessert person. I love a good dessert and will try anything. But I put most of my focus on the savory – rather than the sweet. After years of hearing people comment on my mom’s flan – and even her choco-flan (which is also incredible) I finally caved in. She uses the same two old clunky pots to make it in and neither of them are like the fancy new double-boilers they have now. There is something about those old pots and her touch. I don’t know – it’s truly heavenly.

Adelita's flan.

Adelita’s flan.

What restaurant would you call your home?

It would have to be Taqueria Rios – which is located on the corner of Raúl Longoria Road and Liberty Loop in San Juan, Texas. I grew up in a small town in South Texas called McAllen. There are a ton of taquerías and I’ve eaten tacos far and wide but nothing beats Rios. EVERY time I am home I make it a point to go there. When I started going with my family it was essentially a small shack in the middle of an agricultural community. It eventually became a munchie-run for my friends and I. Since then the Rios family has built a substantially nicer locale on the same spot using the same comal from the original place. I don’t eat much meat these days but when I’m home I can’t help but indulge with an order of harina tacos de bistec, onion, cilantro, lime and salsa –  what more do you need?  Also, it doesn’t hurt that the Rios are a kind and loving family. My mother and Mrs. Rios get along like old friends even though we’ve only ever known them as customers – I guess that’s what makes it home.

What is the strangest or most inspiring thing you’ve ever eaten?

Most inspiring?  Check the above answer. The strangest was bugs. I’ve had chapulines (grasshoppers), gusanos de maguey (worms from the agave plant) and ants. I tried them both in Mexico and at Mexican restaurants in the U.S.  The grasshopper tacos at Oyamel in Washington D.C. just might be my favorite.  My cuñado (brother-in-law) Omar Rodriguez was head chef there for a while and they killed it on the chapulin tacos.

What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?

I hate to say it, cause I would never eat them now nor would I EVER feed them to my kids (if I had kids) but Rice Krispies.

What is your favorite food to pig out on after the club?

I rarely indulge in late-night snacks but as you can tell by my answers it is hands down tacos. Last year, while filming Season 1 of Looking, we were all hanging around the Mission on Day of the Dead. I threw down on a lengua taco and a carnitas taco from La Taqueria on Mission.  Man, they throw down!  Loved that place.

Perfectly sandwiched between Raul Castillo and Jonathan Groff.

Perfectly sandwiched between Raul Castillo and Jonathan Groff.


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