Tasty Tacos + Beautiful Weather = A Fun First Tacolandia in Houston

The weather for the inaugural Houston Press Tacolandia event just couldn’t have been better. Clear skies and temperatures in the 60s and a beautiful view of the downtown skyline made The Water Works park on Buffalo Bayou a perfect setting.

This wasn’t the first Tacolandia ever held. The event has been successfully hosted in Los Angeles, Denver and Dallas. However, this was the first one in Houston.

There was plenty of music and local entertainment for the throngs of attendees. DJ UKEMI spun the tunes in between live performances by Rice University's Mariachi Luna Llena, John Curry and Gio Chamba. Luchadores threw each other around in a wrestling ring set up in the middle of the field — sometimes even tossing each other completely out of the ring.

Of course, the best part was the tasty tacos provided by 18 Houston restaurants. Attendees voted with tokens for their favorite tacos, and a committee of judges had several more awards to hand out.

Judges included yours truly; head judge and Tacolandia curator Robb Walsh; author and professor Paul Galvani; Mando Rayo and Marco Torres, writer and photographer respectively for the forthcoming The Tacos of Texas book; and local taco expert and writer Jay Rascoe, a.k.a. “Guns & Tacos.”

Añejo was the big winner of the evening. It landed both the People’s Choice award as well as the judges’ award for Most Interesting Taco for its Duck Mole Taco with Beet & Jicama Pico de Gallo with Pomegranate Salsa. Añejo actually made its tortillas fresh right inside its booth, and also served a dark chocolate and guajillo pepper brownie for dessert.

All of the restaurants put forth a tremendous effort to serve the thousands of Tacolandia attendees, so keep them in mind the next time you have a taco craving. Here’s the full list of participants in alphabetical order, with awards noted where applicable:

  • Añejo: People’s Choice and Most Interesting Taco (Duck Mole with Beet & Jicama Pico De Gallo)
  • Belly Up food truck
  • Berryhill Baja Grill: Best Seafood Taco (Grilled Fish Taco)
  • Brews Brothers: Best Pork Taco
  • Bullrito’s
  • Cyclone Anaya’s
  • Doneraki
  • El Real Tex-Mex
  • Escalante’s: Best Salsa (Tomatillo Salsa)
  • Fusion Taco
  • Gerardo’s Drive-In: Best Barbacoa Taco
  • Hugo’s: Best Traditional Taco
  • Los Tios Mexican Restaurant
  • Moderno Tacos & Tex Mex: Best New School Taco (Banh Mi Taco)
  • The Pink Box food truck
  • Rustica Café & Bakery
  • Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen
  • Tacos A Go Go

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