HomeState's menu could be considered an anthology of Texan folk remedies, from plates of eggy migas, to strong coffee, to Frito pies served steaming in the bag, but on fuzzy mornings, the breakfast tacos may be everything you remember and everything you still crave.
JONATHAN GOLD, Los Angeles Times 2017
HomeState is a Texas Kitchen in Southern California sharing breakfast tacos, queso, brisket, house-made flour tortillas and genuine hospitality. In 2013, Briana “Breezy” Valdez founded HomeState in Los Angeles with the dream of sharing her Texas identity through food and hospitality.
HomeState aims to be your home away from home, no matter where you are from.
BRIANA, Founder + Chief Queso Ambassador
Briana is the daughter of first generation Mexican American parents. She grew up all over Texas, moving from Austin to Los Angeles after graduating with a degree in business from St. Edward’s University in 2000. Away from Texas, Briana longed for breakfast tacos, queso, and the friendliness of strangers. After working in hospitality for many years, she worked at Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon and learned everything she could while building the vision for HomeState, where she could share the culture and food of her home. She began hosting pop-ups in her backyard and other spaces around the city to test her concept and recipes. In 2013, she found the right space and opened the doors of HomeState Hollywood. Her mom was her very first investor, contributing $5,000 from her retirement savings.
Briana loves people, food, and community. She is not a chef. Prior to HomeState, she had never run a business. By her own account, she “carved her way into the restaurant business,” driven to share her story of Texas and bring high quality food and hospitality to Los Angeles neighborhoods. She lives in Glassell Park with her husband, son and two dogs. She’s one of five daughters and is the B in a set of ABC triplets.
In Texas, the flour tortilla is queen. It is the foundation of the HomeState taco and roots us in our history. Flour, butter, water, salt, baking powder. It's not too big, and it's not too small. It's not too thin, and it's not too thick. It's dusted in flour. It's pillowy. It has body and holds up, but it's not so overwhelming that it's all that you taste.
Owner Briana grew up watching her mom and her paternal Grandma Lala hand-roll fresh tortillas for most meals. Her first step in developing the HomeState concept was mastering her matriarchs' recipe; she placed a framed photo of Grandma Lala on the counter, turned up the Conjunto music and practiced until the tortillas were perfect. HomeState tortillas are a tribute to her, made fresh to order according to the Valdez family recipe.
In 2020, HomeState was named Best Tortilla in Southern California in KCRW & Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament.
QUESO “The national party dip of Texas.” - Texas Monthly
Growing up in Texas, every get-together was centered around a Crock-Pot full of QUESO. Prior to HomeState, there was no queso to be found in Los Angeles. Ordering “queso” in a restaurant resulted in being served a plate of shredded cheese.
Traditionally made using Velveeta or EZ Melt, Briana was committed to using all whole ingredients. This challenge was easier said than done! The queso quest took years of trials and tribulation. Queso is a sort of religious experience for native Texans and there was only one chance to make a first impression in LA. Ultimately, the first location in Hollywood opened with queso that was not perfect. Friends and family pressured her to give in, and use Velveeta, (which by the way is amazing!). But Briana kept trying until one day, the code was cracked. QUESO IN LA, made with real ingredients, was born.
Our eggs come from Vital Farms, which started on a single farm in Austin, TX and now works with over 250 small family farmers raising pasture-raised hens. The hens enjoy the freedom to forage through their native grasses in the fresh air and sunshine. We believe that pasture-raised is the highest animal welfare standard and most important attribute when choosing eggs. And as it turns out, happier, healthier hens produce tastier eggs and breakfast tacos!
BRISKET & CHICKEN
Our brisket comes from Cattle that are raised compassionately and humanely on Creekstone Farms in the USA. We season each brisket liberally with salt and pepper, cook it overnight in the oven, then hand chop it every day for service, taking all of its natural liquid, and folding it into the chopped brisket to make it super tender.
We are proud to serve Rosie’s Organic Chicken. All of their Organic Fresh Chickens are raised on a 100% USDA Certified Organic Vegetarian Diet and are Non-GMO Project Verified. Rosie Chickens are raised free range and with no antibiotics, in and around Sonoma County, California.
We spend a lot of time choosing ingredients like our eggs, bacon and the butter used for our tortillas. And the same goes for our coffee. When we opened in 2013, we offered an Austin-based roasting company, Cuvée Coffee, a darling throughout the state of Texas. After five years with Cuvée we searched for a local roaster and found Coffee Manufactory. And now, we have sought out a coffee blend that is uniquely HomeState, that reflects our personality, and pairs perfectly with our menu.
We are proud to now share our first ever HomeState blend! We sourced a blend of coffees from Mierisch Family Farms, a third generation, family-owned operation in Nicaragua. The beans are locally roasted in Los Angeles, just 10 miles from our Highland Park location.
What's the blend?
HomeState Blend - 100% Fincas Mierisch - Nicaragua
50% Finca Mama Mina
50% Finca Placeres
What does it taste like?
Its flavor profile is dark chocolate, caramel, nutty, and full bodied.
Our Margaritas and Spicy Palomas were developed by founder Briana and her husband Taylor. We make them fresh using artisanal tequila, fresh-squeezed lime, lemon and grapefruit juice, and a housemade citrus syrup that takes two days and the zest hundreds of lemons, limes and grapefruits to prepare.
In 2015, we launched the Band Taco Program to bring together music and tacos in support of neighboring communities. Each taco is developed alongside the artist, original artwork is commissioned by a local graphic artist and proceeds are donated to local charities; that have included Silverlake Conservatory of Music, ACLU SoCal, People Assisting the Homeless and most recently, No Us Without You!, Watts Empowerment Center, and LA's Downtown Women's Center.
Band Taco Alumni include bands we love and whose music we regularly play overhead. Spoon, Questlove, Fitz & The Tantrums, Best Coast, Warpaint, Silversun Pickups, Flea, Cherry Glazerr, Grouplove, Sylvan Esso, Cold War Kids, Fred Armisen, Lord Huron, Norah Jones, Tijuana Panthers, Future Islands, Khruangbin, Midnight Hour, Vampire Weekend and Chicano Batman. We have hosted many of these artists for DJ sets and in 2018, hosted our first live performance by Local Natives.
HomeState also supports community fridges, provides Family Meal Boxes to local schools and is always seeking out ways to be a good neighbor.