A few months back I saw a post on FB about something called 'Tacolandia' that was being put on by L.A. Weekly magazine. Intrigued, I clicked the link and found out this was the third year this event was being put on and featured the best of the best in tacos from all over Southern California. From Los Angeles all the way down to Baja, participants were chosen to represent their restaurant/foodtruck etc. It happened to fall on the weekend before my birthday so I was psyched! I immediately sent out a mass text to the famdamily to make see who else wanted to go, because TACOS. Of course my food loving family was in and we all purchased tickets for this epic event. How have I missed out on this for the last three years???
June seemed like a long way off but the day finally came this past weekend. My famdamily along with about 800+ other folks headed out to downtown Los Angeles's famous Olvera Street for some tasty treats from over 80+ of the best taco vendors all over So Cal. In a word, it was heaven. In another word, it was gluttonous, but dammit if it wasn't fun.
When we first entered Tacolandia we were completely overwhelmed with the numerous tents and various taco options that lay before us. We immediately headed for the first line we saw and were treated to type of elote-style corn salsa on tortilla chips topped with crumbled cotija and a squeeze of lime juice.
It was heaven in my mouth. We didn't move from that front area for a solid 20 minutes as we sampled the first few booths in our sight and then hit up the famous Koji truck helmed by acclaimed chef (and culinary genius) Roy Choi. At that point we realized we should probably start splitting the tacos if we were going to last for the next few hours.
As we slowly snaked our way in and out of lines sampling the best of the best we discovered our best strategies for waiting in line and discovering new flavor profiles.
As we crossed the main street we gasped to see that the line of tents continued on further up and around the corner and further still down another alleyway. The tacos just went on forever. I may or may not have let out a whimper at all the delicious smells that were emanating from the area.
There were samplings from Trejo's Tacos and some of my favorite Top Chefs were there (Susan Feniger and MarySue Milliken from Border Grill had a crazy offering of beef heart on one and a kale Caesar with cotija croutons on a quinoa tortilla that was kind of amazing. I couldn't bring myself to try the beef heart but some of my crew did. They said it was cool.
Midway through the first aisle we decided to take a reposada break and hit up the ice cream and churro stands. Because yum. While we were taking a breather I took a step back to soak up the moment. Years ago, there's no way you would've caught me at something like Tacolandia.
I definitely wasn't eating a taco that I couldn't customize and with THINGS on it, let alone one made from fish or another seafood. Yeah, no way that was happening. Call it growing up or just not wanting to be left out at family functions (my in-laws GET DOWN) I've since expanded my palate and am now excited to try (some) new things. So while I was a little nervous about the offerings being beyond my reach, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much I was willing to try.
We had such a good time running from stand to stand it was a little like trick-or-treating for adults. With margaritas and Jarritos in hand. SO. much. fun.
Suffice to say that by the time we left we were all groaning with gluttony while simultaneously savoring the memory of every morsel. I was pretty much ready to be rolled down the hill back to the car and it took great will power not to fall asleep on the way back home. All in all we were back home to the kids by 8:30 pm and had my bra off and sweats on by 9pm. I was full and loved scrolling back through my phone at all the fun photos and yummy food. I also enjoyed scrolling the hashtag and seeing that one of OUR favorites of the day one for Fan Favorite at the festival and all of everyone's delicious food pics!
If you like tacos even a little bit, I highly recommend looking into this next year. I know we'll be going back for sure but this time we'll for sure VIP it up and try to pace ourselves ... but I doubt it.