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This Wildly Popular IG Account Is Throwing a Huge Latin Music Festival in San Jose

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a Latino man prepares to eat a taco in front of a taqueria
Chris Villa of San Jose Foos was proudly born and raised in the city, and is a longtime fan of Rosario's Tacos. (@alexknowbody)

¡Hella Hungry! is a series of interviews with Bay Area foodmakers exploring the region’s culinary innovations through the mouth of a first-generation local.

South Almaden Avenue is a long stretch of pavement that runs through a scrappy, historic neighborhood on the southern edge of San Jose’s downtown. It’s the kind of barrio you can visit at any hour to find some of the Bay Area’s most homey tacos while vatos circle the block on bicycles and inside minivans. It’s also where you’ll find Rosario’s Tacos, a no-frills taqueria that started inside a garage before moving to its current brick-and-mortar location in 2022.

The gregarious owner, Joe, is an embodiment of San Jose’s low-riding Chicano spirit — a proud father with a full-bellied laugh and cynical sense of humor who refuses to give up on his community. The restaurant is named after his late mother, Rosario, whose recipes Joe has adapted to create the restaurant’s beloved quesabirria — a red-drenched behemoth of a taco, dripping with consomme, birria, cheese and (if desired) plump, succulent shrimp.

Rosario’s generous portion sizes and undiluted hometown pride are what attract one of Shark City’s biggest foodies: Chris Villa. As the face of San Jose Foos — the 408’s most culturally influential social media empire, with over 226,000 followers on Instagram — Villa has been going to Rosario’s for years and chose it as our rendezvous point on a sunny South Bay afternoon.

a table of tacos and flyers for a music festival
San Jose Foos is helping to coordinate the city’s first-ever Latin house music festival at Discovery Meadow Park on June 15. (@alexknowbody)

Though not food-specific, the page — which Villa co-facilitates with San Jose Foos founder, Jorge Anthony Gomez — uplifts a variety of San Jose-owned businesses like Rosario’s. Their popular, insider-y memes and videos highlight small, family-run, genuinely under-appreciated and off-the-radar locales that otherwise go unnoticed by the Bay Area mainstream. Villa has been involved with the account for four years and recently left his job at Apple to pursue his creativity full-time.


In their biggest effort to continue building the city’s cultural profile, San Jose Foos are launching a new music festival: Taraka. Headlined by Nicaraguan super producer and DJ, Gordo, and featuring a cast of eleven Latin American house music DJs, the festival will be the only one of its kind in the region (Sonido Clash, the alternative Latinx music festival that was once held in San Jose, has been discontinued since the pandemic).

After ordering close to 20 tacos — which we divvied up, each taking home leftovers — Villa and I ate ourselves into a peaceful state of higher consciousness while chatting about Silicon Valley’s joys, complexities and upcoming food and music takeover.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


birria tacos on a grill at a taqueria
The quesabirria tacos are a main attraction at Rosario’s. (@alexknowbody)

Alan Chazaro: You chose this spot as our meeting point. What does Rosario’s Tacos mean to you? [mariachi music blares in the background]

Chris Villa: I’ve known about this spot for the longest. It’s a San Jose staple. It’s one of those spots that everyone in San Jose goes to. I’ve built a rapport with Joe [the owner] because of what he does and what he has contributed to the community. He has a presence here. And the food is delicious. This isn’t a gentrified spot, but you’ll still see every culture here. A group of Indian foodies recently made a video. That’s really cool to see. And Joe doesn’t want to go anywhere. He wants to stay right here in San Jose. That gives people a sense of pride. You can’t hate on that, you know?

I feel that. Have you eaten the Godzilla Taco here? The menu says it’s a 14-inch quesabirria taco. It crossed my mind.

Yeah, I have. I can’t finish it [laughs].

a kitchen cook prepares meat for birria tacos
Rosario’s Tacos uses family recipes from the owner’s late mother, Rosario, to make some of the best quesabirria in San Jose. (@alexknowbody)

There are a lot of solid taquerias in this area. I remember eating around here when I was a teenager, and a group of gang members got out of their car and approached the people I was with because of some of the colors they were wearing. But the tacos were so damn good that I kept coming back. Did you grow up in this part of the city?

I grew up on the south side of San Jose. We used to stay away from this area growing up because of what it is, you know [laughs]. Where I lived was like the opposite gang, but I wasn’t affiliated or anything like that. Before all the Instagram stuff, I’ve always been cool with everyone. Just going out and saying what’s up to all the homies. That’s just the Bay.

How did you start working with San Jose Foos, and what’s your involvement?

I partnered with my homie, Anthony [Gomez]. He’s the one who started it; I’m considered the face of it, and I’m in some of the videos. I also help with scheduling, shooting, editing and stuff like that as much as needed. I started a few years ago right after COVID [emerged] in 2020. After all that was going on, that’s when I jumped on board, and I was like, hey, you know, it’s a lot of fighting hate with hate. We wanted to make it a love thing. Support our community. Support local businesses however we can. We were at maybe 10,000 followers at the time, and it still made a difference. And from then it blew up from just telling people to check out this spot, go look at this artist, sharing San Jose staples that you got to know. It became more about that. Local history, culture.

a mural that reads "Rosario's Tacos San Jose" inside a taqueria
A mural inside the taqueria reflects the owner’s hometown Chicano pride. (@alexknowbody)

Is that cultural representation something you think San Jose was lacking at the time — or is maybe still lacking?

It was missing for the longest. San Jose hasn’t always been shown the same love as San Francisco and Oakland. We wanted to pivot and put San Jose on the map in different ways. That was the goal. We want to make people laugh, too [laughs]. This is my favorite horchata in San Jose, by the way [sips horchata].

You’re helping launch a new festival in San Jose. That’s a big deal. How’s that going?

It’s huge. The first of its kind here in San Jose. They’re going to start building the stage. We’ve always wanted to do something big, festival wise. We’ve been mapping things out. Gordo is a dope artist. I’ve always been a fan of his, so when I heard we’re bringing him out I was like yo, that’s crazy.

a journalist eating a taco
KQED food journalist Alan Chazaro listens in as Chris Villa talks about San Jose’s cultural riches. (@alexknowbody)

What’s your role in the festival?

I’m helping facilitate, mainly with the vendors. Making sure everyone’s good. I’ve been running around, wearing a few hats. It’ll all be at Discovery Meadows [the park outside the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose]. We have a friend who organizes events, and they’re really good at putting things together and getting the permits and things like that, so they took care of all that. We’ve done events before, but not this size. It’s gonna be good. It’s a large event being held in San Jose at a venue that not many people know about. The last big event that happened there was with Logic. He held a free event there. Hella random.

Who’s going to be there?

Live DJs will be going on from 2 to 9 on one stage. Gordo, Lee Foss, Malóne, Maneki. Nico Crespo from San Jose. He’s actually my best friend’s cousin and he’s been doing it big in the house and techno scene. It’s 11 Latin American house music DJs in total. Brown N Proud LA is doing an SJ collab. He’s a clothing guy; [the clothing brand] Foos Gone Wild has partnered up with him before. But it’s mostly San Jose people: Shrimpin Ain’t Eazy, Pop Up SJ, Mr. Shrimp. Food trucks, thrifters, clothing brands. Our own stuff.

three people sit in front of a taqueria during lunch
Chris Vilal (left), Alan Chazaro (center) and Rosario’s Tacos owner, Joe (right), discuss San Jose’s artistic community. (@alexknowbody)

What’s your philosophy on what San Jose could be doing better moving forward?

The biggest thing I see in San Jose is people fighting against each other, making everything a competition. [San Jose Foos] never saw it that way. We want to partner up with whoever wants to make a difference, big or small. Artists, photographers, any of that. One of the organizations we help out is Adopt My Block. They’re about adopting dogs, sheltering dogs. We reached out to them. It’s run by Dirtbag Dan, one of [San Jose’s] old school battle rappers. We want to show that love to our city.


‘Taraka with Gordo’ will take place at Discovery Meadow Park (180 Woz Way, San Jose) on Sat., June 15 from 2 to 9 p.m. Tickets available here.

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