Questlove Curates a Tex-Mex Taco for Charity

Questlove, giving an interview but probably thinking about tacos
Questlove, giving an interview but probably thinking about tacos

Honestly, is there any better combination than music and food? There's something really special about walking into Two Boots Pizza after hours of sweaty dancing at the Echoplex and ordering a slice of "Animal Collective" (or "The Bird," if saxophonist Charlie Parker is more your deal). And nothing satisfies a donut craving for a pop-punk lover like the "Bacon 182" — though, the "Banana Kill," the "Fudgegazi" and the "Drive Like Jelly" also sound pretty amazing. Damn you, Donut Friend! (More like Diet Enemy.)

Artist-themed food is a delicious way to pay tribute to our favorite musicians, but local Tex-Mex kitchen HomeState is stepping it up a notch with its Band Taco program, where the food isn't just named in honor of the artist, it's curated by them. Last month's "Ranchero Taco," a breakfast taco featuring migas, pico de gallo, avocado and Monterey jack on a flour tortilla, was served up with a dose of Lone Star State nostalgia by Spoon frontman Britt Daniel.

"It's based on the kind of tacos I'd get every morning for 59 cents when I first moved to Austin," says Daniel. "The great thing about those breakfast taco places was that they were open til 3 in the afternoon — still an entirely appropriate time for breakfast." We're with Daniel on this one — there's no such thing as an inappropriate time for breakfast food.

This month, HomeState introduces the "Paesano Taco," designed by prolific producer, DJ and Roots drummer/bandleader Questlove. The taco features brisket, queso, pickled red onions, pickled jalapeños, lettuce and tomato tucked into a corn tortilla. Now, you can eat Questlove's taco at Questlove's favorite taco joint in L.A., with a portion of its $3.75 price tag going to need-based scholarships at the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a non-profit organization offering low-to-no-cost instruments and music, singing and songwriting lessons to Los Angeles youth. 

"The Band Taco program embraces the roots of the music and food communities that co-exist so naturally in Austin and at our Los Feliz home," says Briana Valdez, owner of HomeState. In fact, Briana and her sister Andy Valdez dreamed up the program after noticing that many of their regular customers happened to be musicians, from both local and touring bands — like Sylvan Esso, who make a stop at the restaurant nearly every time they come through Los Angeles. "Cultivating community relationships is at the core of HomeState's mission. We wanted to find a way to support the work the Conservatory is doing and this seemed like a really fun way to do that."

As an ongoing program, HomeState will debut a new Band Taco at the beginning of each month, available for that month only. Look out for future taco creations from Fitz and the Tantrums, Cold War Kids, Cherry Glazerr (perhaps a "Grilled Cheese" taco?) and many more to be announced in the coming year.

"The Paesano" taco by QuestloveEXPAND
"The Paesano" taco by Questlove
Kii Arens

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