SF Loves MX a Whole Bunch, Like, SO MUCH

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Cambria Gallery was the dream fiesta space. Photo: Haven Mastenbrook.

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Hecho en Mexico! Photo: Haven Mastenbrook.

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Texas pulled pork tacos (with queso!) from Villa Montez and Cafe Bravo on housemade tortillas! Photo: Albert Flores.

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Chefs Javier Cancino of Cafe Bravo (Oakdale) and Carlos Villapudua of Villa Montez and 1836 Texas Kitchen (Tyler, Texas). Photo: Cynthia Vega.

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Tasty tostaditas de tinga from El Huarache Loco! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Keeke was keeping the Espolòn Tequila flowing! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The margaritas were tops, thanks to Milagro Tequila and Alberto Soto of El Techo! (The spicy Techo Margarita with Montelobos Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, and habanero was fantastico!) Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Gracias Chambers & Chambers for stocking our wine island with French rosé! Photo: Haven Mastenbrook.

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Cambria’s Heather Mickley and James Stolich of Cook With James at our wine island. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Well, you guys, we did it! Friday night was our SF ❤️ MX fundraiser for Mexico earthquake relief, and it was all hands on deck! Not only did we sell out of tickets (thank you thank you!), but we also surpassed the $10K goal I had flitting around in my mind. We raised $10,727.56!!!! Ayyyyyyyyiiiiiiiiii!

I am so thrilled we can make such a significant contribution to Omaze and Ambulante’s fundraiser, started by Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal to help Mexico rebuild. One hundred percent of the event’s fundraising is going to this initiative—and if you couldn’t attend our event, you can still donate directly to it! Mexico still needs help! People are sleeping outside in the rain, there aren’t enough supplies and water and medicine, especially in the rural areas. It’s heartbreaking. Any amount helps. Gracias.

There can be some potential cognitive dissonance being at a party when there is so much suffering going on in the world (especially in our backyard), but it was good to get everyone together and do something to help. The feeling in the room was incredible, such a warm and loving group (and seriously good looking, I might add). It was the first time for many guests to visit the contemporary chic Cambria Gallery in SoMa, such wonderful hosts—we could not have asked for a lovelier setting for our event. Thank you to my cohost, Itzel Percival of Cambria, for all her help in pulling this off, and Heather Mickley for the warm welcome.

You guys, the food was over the top. It was a dream SF event. Everyone who participated was so generous with their time and talent. What a fantastic array of handmade dishes from our La Cocina ladies (who were already so busy preparing food for Sunday’s Street Food Fest): Sal de Vida Gourmet (brilliant cochinita pibil mini tostadas with pickled onions), Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas (hand-stuffed vegetable and meat tamales with her incredible salsas), and El Huarache Loco, (mini tostaditas de tinga and mini huarachitos con nopales).

My heart almost leapt out of my chest when I found out chef Carlos Villapudua (Villa Montez and 1836 Texas Kitchen) was flying out from Tyler, Texas, to cook at our event. It wouldn’t have been possible without all the help of his wingman, chef Javier Cancino of Cafe Bravo, who not only cooked with Carlos, but hosted and helped with all the food prep at his restaurant in Oakdale.

Their tacos were such tasty works of art: chile colorado tenderloin tacos with housemade and organic cilantro-corn tortillas and garlic-laced mushrooms; Texas pulled pork tacos with pink organic beet and corn tortillas with Texas queso and smoked pulled pork, roasted green chile salsa, and black bean puree (my favorite); and tacos del jardin with roasted avocado-black bean puree, grilled vegetables, and roasted tomatillo sauce. Tremendous gracias to Cynthia Vega for bringing us all together. Carlos, come back soon! Love you guys!

Everyone was beyond thrilled to see the crowd-pleasing taco tropical from Loló, the elegant flounder ceviche from chef Daniel Tellez of Copita (who was on-site on a busy Friday night with his team!), the spicy albondigas and rich pork tamales from Don Pistos, and the grains & greens salad from Green Chile Kitchen. I know, what a spread.

It would not be a party without bowls everywhere of the perfect tortilla chips from La Palma, matched with SF’s favorite salsa from Papalote. And after alllllll the margaritas (heh heh), the late-night crew got to enjoy nachos doused with queso from WesBurger ‘N’ More. We also sold to-go boxes of chips and salsa for chilaquiles in the morning and a few leftover tamales for the freezer. (The late-night chip and tamale sale was hilarious.)

Our bar was en fuego! We were so fortunate to have three of SF’s best barmen running the show: Alberto Soto (El Techo), Enrique Sanchez (Arguello), and Reza Esmaili (Ananas Consulting). We had five fantastic cocktails (click those links to see the menus!) on offer, thanks to the batching artistry of Rye on the Road (thanks for setting up the bar, Jon Gasparini!) and El Techo!, featuring top spirits from Campari America/Espolòn Tequila, Milagro Tequila, Montelobos Mezcal, and Ancho Reyes.

And at the end of the night, the guys handed me a box of cash with all their tips they collected and donated it all to our fundraiser. I mean, come ON. Love you!

We had two huge tubs of ice-cold Mexican cervezas generously provided by Cadillac Bar & Grill—so good to have after everything was all cleaned up—and some of you got to try the brand-new cold-fermented aguas frescas from Hard Frescos (you can find them here).

I saw a lot of you at rosé island, enjoying French rosé donated by Chambers & Chambers. If you want to pick up some bottles of the Petit Bourgeois rosé de pinot noir from the Loire (2016) or the Triennes Vin de Pays du Var rosé (2016), you can find them at Bi-Rite Market, D&M Wine & Liquor, Gus’s Community Market, Plumpjack Wine Shop, Flatiron Wines, Canyon Market, and Haight Street Market. Salud!

The silent auction was a hit! With the generous contributions from so many local businesses, artists, and individuals, we raised $3,309! There were many gift certificates (thanks to Nopa, Nopalito, Flores, Uno Dos Tacos y Tequila, 54 Mint, Montesacro, and Hakkasan); a VIP experience for the San Francisco Street Food Festival from La Cocina; special dinners with wine pairings from Devil’s Gulch Ranch and Locanda; gift boxes and bottles from Campari America, Milagro Tequila, Domaine Chandon, The Terraces Winery, ZD Wines, and Manicaretti; gift certificates from Ginger Rubio Salon; and an ice cream maker AND Le Creuset pan from Joanne Weir.

Plus, we had local art from Rob Delamater and Adam McCauley, and a signed copy of The Art of the Bar Cart! You were all so generous, thank you!

There is no way we could have pulled this all off without the fleet of incredible volunteers who offered their help! They were a blur of activity, from serving food, greeting, keeping the place spotless, to assisting the chefs. (Special shout-out to Willow Blish, who became our ad hoc kitchen manager and ran such a tight ship.) From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for donating your time and skills and hands and running the event like it was your own!

Special thanks to Dominic Philips Event Marketing for the generous donation of serveware and utensils for the event.

And last but certainly not least, this event would have been nothing without everyone who attended, bought tickets, invited friends, bid on the silent auction, tipped heavy at the bar, and bought queso at the end of the night. :) We had such a beautiful, generous crowd! Love you all.

Thanks to all my fellow media folks who helped promote the event, including 48 Hills, Blackboard Eats, and SF Weekly! Mwah!

I will be posting pictures as soon as I have them on Facebook. Unfortunately my camera is on the fritz (it’s stuck on just one focus mode, ugh), and I was only able to capture a few images that were usable. Fortunately a couple of friends showed up with their cameras, thanks!

We are living in a crazy, heartbreaking state of the world right now, with so much loss and disasters and suffering at every turn, but we also have a world full of people who love to help, to give, and come together. We can make a difference. Let’s keep it up. A lot of people need our help right now. Besos y amor!