Los Angeles taco joint HomeState has bands like Vampire Weekend, Local Natives and Spoon creating tacos for a good cause.
When restaurateur Briana Valdez was slinging Tex-Mex tacos at pop-up shops around Los Angeles in the early 2010s, music was already a big part of the process. Her sister, Andy Valdez, was co-managing Little Dragon at the time, and the band would DJ backyard events, bringing together friends, music fans and foodies. By 2013, Briana had opened a Tex-Mex joint of her own, HomeState, in L.A.'s hip Los Feliz neighborhood, its creative community reminding her of Austin, where the sisters went to college.
"The neighborhood people that come in every day were artists, managers, musicians and creatives," she says. "We were like, 'What can we do with this that's not exploitative, that can allow us to have a charitable component?'"
Two years later, Andy floated the idea of collaborating with artists and illustrators on custom-designed tacos with "album art" covers for each, based largely on relationships they had built with artist customers. Spoon frontman Britt Daniel, who would visit the restaurant for a taste of home, went first. The day his Austin-style migas taco, "The Ranchero," came on the menu, he created a playlist of ranchera music and hung out, taking pictures and signing autographs for customers. Within six months, Questlove of The Roots, Fitz & The Tantrums, Cold War Kids, Silversun Pickups and Cherry Glazerr also had their own tacos.