Monday, September 8, 2014

Tacolicious by Sara Deseran

Synopsis From Front Cover:

Tacos may be the most universally love, happy-making food on Earth.  After all, who can say no to a juicy, spicy Chile Verde taco; a decadently deep-fried Baja-style fish taco; or a gloriously porky Carnitas taco? At Tacolicious, the San Francisco Bay Area's most popular Mexican restaurant, tacos are a way of life.  And now, in this hotly anticipated debut cookbook, co-owner Sara Deseran shares all of the retaurant's tortilla-wrapped secrets.  Whether your'e seeking quick and easy weeknight meals of inspiration for a fabulous fiesta, Tacolicious has you covered.  With recipes for showstopping salsa, crave-worthy snacks, cocktails and mocktails, and, of course, tacos galore, this festive collection is chock-full of real Mexican flavor - with a delicious California twist.

I adore tacos.  I don't think there is a more perfect food, well maybe the dumpling, but that's for another post.  The taco is such a simple concept, but it's so versatile  It can be as simple as what I grew up eating; store bought taco shells, seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and sour cream.  My mom would put the hamburger and cheese into the shells, then pop them in the oven for a bit, just to let the cheese get a little melty.  Or it can be a culinary masterpiece, either way, I'll eat them.  Obviously, there was no way I wasn't looking forward to getting my hands on this book.

I'm one of those oddballs that will read a cookbook, cover to cover, before selecting something to try out.  I like to get a feel for the way the book flows, the stories behind the dishes, the history of the food, and it's always a plus when the author's personality shines through.  I got all of that with Tacolicious.  Reading this book made me sad that I don't live in San Francisco, though not enough to get me to move.  Once I was done with my initial read, it was time to cook.  Which, just after reading, is my favorite pastime.  It's such a good relaxation tool for me.

I love Chile Verde so it was pretty easy to figure out what I wanted to make first.  It's not something I've ever made before, I've never needed to.  I live on the side of town that is just a few minutes away from some of the best Mexican food in the state.  There are a ton of small, locally owned dives, that does some of the best Mexican I've had.  I've lived in California and Texas, and been into Mexico about a bazillion times, and I'll put what we got here, against any of those other places.

I'll admit, I was a little daunted at first.  It's not a long recipe, or one with a tone of ingredients, but it's one that I didn't want to screw up.  I didn't want to turn one of my favorite dishes, into something I wouldn't want to eat ever again.  I really hate cutting up meat, and I was not looking forward to it at all.  Thankfully, there is a new butcher shop in town, that sells locally raised meats, and they will prepare it for you as well.  So after one side trip, I was back home, ready to cook.

Once I got started, it was pretty simple, and the house quickly filled with an aroma that made my mouth water.  I'm not going to say that my first stab at this dish was as good as the version I could get at Tacoliscous, but it was pretty damn good.  The pork was perfectly tender, and so juicy.  I love the flavors of Chile Verde, and I think I've found a new favorite.

There is a recipe in here for fish tacos, another of my weaknesses, but I never like to fry at home.  I can't stand the smell it leaves behind.  There is also a recipe for tamales, and if I ever feel that ambitious, I'm giving it a go.  And the next time I feel like grilling some hot dogs, the bacon-wrapped hot dogs with jalapeno-cucumber relish, will be being consumed, along with a pitcher of Margarita picante.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books, for this review.


Teddyree said...

You're the 3rd blogger to review this book ... must be a sign I need to get it, since I love tacos. With the exception of fish tacos lol, but apart from that I love most Mexican food and our closest good Mexican is a 30 minute drive.
Glad your Chile Verde was a success!

bermudaonion said...

My nephew loves tacos too - I'm getting him this book for Christmas!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

This sounds delish! I would put your best restaurant against one of ours... ;) There would be no losers only full bellies. :D

sara deseran said...

Thank you so much for your kind words about the book. I worked long and hard on it and I think that chile verde recipe is a great starter recipe. Super forgiving and delicious!!

Katherine P said...

I"m now kicking myself that I didn't request this one when I saw it! I'm so glad you enjoyed it and I'm definitely putting it on my wishlist!