Attendees sampled a wide option of variations on the classic Mexican dish at Tacolandia 2014. (LA Weekly)
The taco – where did this mystery dish come from, and why is it so awesome that we actually celebrate it on Tuesdays and special events all over the world? No one knows for sure, but it’s said have originated around Mexican silver mines back in the 1800s. The word ‘taco’ means ‘plug’ or ‘wadding,’ and that context refers to the paper they would wrap gun powder in to excavate the silver.
So, think about that: something explosive wrapped up. Makes sense if you’ve ever had a really spicy taquito or solid street taco Downtown.
To celebrate the culinary wonder, LA Weekly put on Tacolandia 2014 Saturday afternoon. The event featured over 40 food vendors and a whole section of tequila tasting. It was appropriately set up at El Pueblo de Los Angeles, right across from Union Station. The day wasn’t too hot, and the vibe was excellent. Several hundred people bounced around and shared their thoughts on the biggest variety of tacos I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat.
With so many options, only a handful could be sampled. A few stand outs were SOL Mexican Cocina, Rocio’s Mole De Los Dioses, Picca, Chichen Itza and the amazing Carnitas El Momo with the best salsa I’ve ever had. Never before have I enjoyed getting my face burned off so much.
Items served ranged from super fresh salmon ceviche and handmade tortillas covered with fresh chicken, avocado and a bit of peppers to some deserts that I never would have home up with. Baked guava and cheese with a little sugar? Unreal!
The event itself had a good layout, but the lack of beverage stations kept patrons waiting for over 30 minutes to get water or a beer. Maybe it was to drive people to the paid tequila-tasting section, but regardless, not everyone was there to drink. Some were there for the food and music.
Ah yes, the music. There was your standard mariachi band, complete with a horn section, but there were also a few surprises. This event didn’t stick to traditional tunes, just like the non-traditional dishes that were everywhere. A Hispanic electronic dub duo played some really great songs, and they were followed by a more rockabilly-style band. It was nice to have an eclectic mix of sounds and tastes at the event. The diverse crowd seemed to really enjoy the day. With great food and awesome music in a historic location, how could you go wrong?