Tuesday, June 17, 2014

LA Weekly's Tacolandia 2014 on 6/28 at Placita Olvera Goes Back to the Future of Tacos in L.A.

On 6/28, at Placita Olvera, the second annual LA Weekly's Tacolandia will take place to celebrate L.A.'s greatest obsession--the taco--on an unintended journey back to the street where the taco first aroused our curiosities, and where Los Angeles history began. It was hard losing last year's venue, the Palladium--I mean, Tacolandia was such a hit last year--sold out two weeks in advance--went off without a hitch, and it was just a short walk home to my place in Hollywood. But it wasn't meant to be--so when Placita Olvera was presented one late night, I eagerly got to the fun job of curating this event--that means eating lots of delicious tacos, but it wasn't until I approached Cielito Lindo (sweet little heaven) to participate that I realized the fortune of doing this event at Olvera St.

Since 1934, Cielito Lindo has been spreading the gospel of the taco to Angeleno's with their world famous beef taquitos drowning in avocado sauce--it all started here, on this street with these crunchy tacos created by Zacatecana, Aurora Guerrero. Her family spread these tacos all over the city and if you read Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, by one of our judges, Gustavo Arellano, you can learn more about how Cielito Lindo brought us here to this current national taco craze that will not let up--ever. I wonder what she'd think of this Tacolandia, which has now grown to 44 super star vendors.

I think Sra. Guerrero would be surprised at the rise in popularity of regional Mexican cuisine in L.A. represented at this year's event by Mariscos Jalisco, Carnitas El Momo, Tamales Elena, Los Originales Tacos Arabes de Puebla, Tacos Leo, Mexicali Taco Co., Tortas Ahogadas AmecaMexicano, La Monarcha Bakery, Aqui es TexcocoLa Flor de Yucatan, Loteria GrillFlor del Rio, Coni'Seafood, Don Chente Bar and Grill, Chichen Itza, and the Oaxacan delegation of Rincon Oaxaqueño, Gish Bac, Rocio's Moles de Los Dioses and 7 Regiones de Oaxaca. That's 11 states of Mexico!

She'd also be surprised that Baja California cuisine would be so popular--in 1934, international dishes like the Caesar's salad would be the only known Baja cuisine--Guerrero would delight in the contemporary Mexican food by chef Javier Plascencia's Finca Altozano, the world famous original mariscos from La Guerrerense, and the modern street food doctrine of Tacos Kokopelli. And this year, there's a second state of Mexico participating with the recent addition of chef Eloy Uribe and El Pescadito from Sonora, serving Sonora-style seafood tacos.  

Guerrero wouldn't believe that L.A. now has kosher tacos by a Mexico City chef, Katsuji Tanabe, or that classically trained French chef of Algerian descent had started an Algerian-Mexican taqueria called Revolucionario LA Food, both creating new flavor sensations. And Peruvian tacos by restaurants Picca and C-V-Che?--of course, another great corn culture--it's a natural fit. Would she love those upstarts at Starry Kitchen?--you bet your banana suit. In the years since the Kogi Tacos revolution started by chef Roy Choi, the taco has been adopted by all cultures, to freely paint on the masa canvas with their own culinary palate.  

When Sra. Guerrero opened Cielito Lindo there wasn't such a thing as a professional Mexican chef, there were no Mexican-American chefs, and there were no non-Mexican chefs taking such an interest in Mexican cuisine, and especially not tacos. Chef driven tacos? I'd love to have led her on a tasting of stylish tacos by Guerrilla Tacos, Bistro LQColonia Taco Lounge, Sol Cocina, Soho TacoTaco MariaEggslut, chef Timothy Hollingsworth, Corazon y Miel, Petty Cash Taqueria, George's at the Cove, Pez CantinaFig Restaurant, and Amor y Tacos.

We are proud to announce our first Tacolandia awards in which judges Amy Scattergood (LA Weekly Food Editor), Besha Rodell (LA Weekly Food Critic), Sarah Fenske (LA Weekly Editor-in-Chief), chef Jet Tila, Simon Majumdar (Cutthroat Kitchen judge) , Gustavo Arellano (Author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America), and Adam Goldberg (Author of A Life Worth Eating) will recognize the best taqueros and street food vendors for their hard work.

Los Angeles is the greatest city n the U.S. to enjoy tacos, and we have more of a range than any city in Mexico, and the LA Weekly and I have worked hard to select only the best vendors for this event. On 6/28, the spirit of Sra. Aurora Guerrero will be alive with all 44 vendors showcasing the best tacos in the Americas for attendees while they roam freely with beer or tequila in hand from our fabulous tequila garden, listening to live music. Tacolandia, our "sweet little Heaven", or Cielito Lindo, is where all your taco dreams come true.

Tacolandia 2014 (21 years +), June 28, 3pm to 7pm, Olvera St. Tickets are going to be gone soon, so go here for Tacolandia tickets, ($30 for general admission and $50 for premium admission, and $20 for the tequila garden), microapp.laweekly.com/tacolandia/2014/index.php   

P.S. Well will miss our brothers at Tacos Puntas Cabras--they had to drop out do to an injury, but we will be sure to invite them again in 2015.  

No comments: