La Weekly’s Tacolandia With Bill Esparza

Los Angeles is well known for its delicious food and drinks scene as evidenced by the number of food festivals held in the city. One particular event has however emerged as a welcome breath of fresh air in the LA food festival scene; LA Weekly’s Tacolandia.  Because too many food festivals have come up with most of them simply after the potential profit. In addition to that, most of these festivals feature the same “top class” restaurants resulting in a huge sense of monotony.

In line with LA’s rich tacos culture, Tacolandia seeks to celebrate tacos while at the same time bringing both tacos vendors and the people who enjoy tacos together in one place.

Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet LA is the curator of Tacolandia. The inaugural event of Tacolandia took place on June 23rd, 2013 and it featured 30 of the best tacos vendors from Los Angeles, Orange County and even Baja (in Mexico). Bill Esparza had hand-picked the vendors who included;

The inaugural event was held in the parking lot of the Hollywood Palladium with regular tickets going for $20 (includes unlimited food) and VIP tickets going for $40 (these included unlimited food plus drinks). Around more than 1000 people attended the inaugural event.

The event also featured mariachi music while Miss Latina Los Angeles and Dita Von Teese both participated in the event with the latter even dancing to the mariachi music with some of her admirers.

Top 5 Highlights Of Tacolandia 2013

Like mentioned earlier, Bill Esparza had hand-picked 30 vendors (including restaurants, trucks and private chefs). Luckily, they lived up the expectations with most attendees expressing satisfaction at the variety and quality of tacos exhibited at the event. Nonetheless, some vendors completely stole the show with their offerings.

1. Bistro LQ

Bistro LQ

Laurent Quenioux, the brains behind Bistro LQ, emerged as one of the over-achievers of the event’ something that delighted most attendees. Four different tacos were in line from Bistro LQ;

  • Rabbit liver tacos
  • Green mol rabbit taco with Carrot Pico de Gallo
  • Escamoles Tacos with Zucchini Flowers and Nasturtium Leaves
  • The lobster sausage taco which was an absolute favorite for many attendees.

2. Javier Plascencia (Mision 19)

Javier Plascencia (Mision 19)

This was by far one of the best booths in the event. Their offerings included plates of Tripa y Ubre de Res or more simply, tripe and cow udder taco.

3. Ricardo Zarate

Ricardo Zarate

Famous for his collection of restaurants which includes Mo-Chica, Paiche, and Picca, Ricardo presented a delicious and mouth-watering pork belly chicharron taco topped up with huancaina sauce, au jus, tacu tacu, jalapeno salsa Criolla, Serrano sauce and panca tomatilla sauce. These tacos were crunchy, full of flavor and most people couldn’t help but get seconds.

4. Tacos Kokopelli

Tacos Kokopelli

Chef Guillermo Moreno a chef from Baja and also a chef at Petty Cash awed the crowds with the Kraken taco that involved grilling octopus over an open fire as well as with the Italian taco (featuring Portobello and cilantro).

5. Loteria Grill

Loteria Grill

Loteria Grill also thrilled with two unique tacos. One of them dubbed the “bilingual taco” featured pork and beef tongue topped with guajillo chili and tomato adobo sauce. Their second dish – the three little pigs taco – was even more interesting as it featured three different forms of pork; carnitas, bacon, and chicharron.

Other Highlights Of Tacolandia 2013

Aside from the five vendors highlighted above, Tacolandia also featured lots of other exciting offerings. The ones worth mentioning included;

  • Taco campechano with skirt steak and tripe from Mexicali Taco and Co.

Taco Campechano

  • Mariscos La Guerrense was impressive with the seafood tacos including the sea urchin ceviche with clams as well as the smoked marlin with scallop tostadas.

Mariscos La Guerrense

  • Soho Taco’s Lobster taco was delightful.

Soho Taco’s

  • Matza Albondigas taco with chipotle sauce, serrano aioli, chopped egg and turmeric rice was, without a doubt, one of the finest surprises in the event. It is no wonder MexiKosher won so many potential customers.

Matza Albondigas Taco

  • The puff pastry guava tacos from La Monarca Bakery were a sweet way of winding up the all the delicious bites from the event.

La Monarca Bakery

Those with VIP tickets also enjoyed the benefit of washing down the bites with some alcohol in the Tequila Garden which was set up in a separate area of the parking lot. All in all, the event was well organized and in the end, was a great success.

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