Behold the Winners of OC Weekly's Summer Fest Taco Throwdown!
Tacolized's fine al pastor—the pineapple!
Photo by The Mexican
Sorry, kids, but when you're the Mexican-in-Chief of a newspaper AND a columnist AND a reporter AND a food columnist AND a food editor...well, the reviews just start to pile up. And that's what happened after our annual Summer Fest shindig at Newport Dunes, after myself and Weekly contributor Niyaz Pirani were tasked with judging the five fine folks brave enough to enter our Taco Throwdown. It happened earlier this month...and here I am, just announcing the winner. Pinche lazy Mexicans, I swear.
But the tacos! Urbana in Anaheim had a great marlin taco in a handmade blue corn tortilla, buttressed by cheese—good, but should've gone the whole taco gobernador route (more of your awesome salsa, though). Borracho Tacos in La Palma shows the city is evolving its taco game beyond La Capilla, and its al pastor was a fine entry—expect more of them in the future, especially as its wedding catering business picks up.
The People's Choice winner was TLT Food's Asian-inspired pork something or other—awesome marinade on the meat, spicy, a worthy winner. My only issue with it was that there was too much slaw, and the slaw only weighed down the awesome meat below it. Judiciousness, good TLTL people!
Finally, the winner of Niyaz and I: Tacolized, a newish taco catering service. All they did was an al pastor. Yet their mastery of the pork, the delightful chunks of pineapple that not only served as a marinade but a dessert, a hellacious green salsa, and just the right amount of curtido (pickled carrots and jicama) proved this is a taco worthy of a thousand cousins polishing 15 to start a carne asada Sunday.
Good job, all contestants. Until next year!
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.