[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]his was again one of the closest Taco Madness competitions ever with little more than 100 votes deciding the championship between two of L.A.'s most popular taquerias. But in the end, Sonoratownoutlasted Tacos Y Birria La Unicato win its second Taco Madness championship. There were several thousand votes casts this year in support of your favorite taquerias. Thank you for everyone that participated in the online vote and to the 32 taquerias that were selected to compete for the title of champion. - Erick Galindo
[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he Final Four battle between Macheen and Sonoratownwas one of the closest Taco Madness rounds ever. Thousands of people voted and it was close all the way up until the final minutes, when Sonoratown squeaked out a victory by just 58 votes. Hundreds of votes came in in the last hours to keep this race tight all the way through the finish line. But it was Sonoratown that got the win by .04 percent. They will now face the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut and social media behemoth Tacos Y Birria La Unica.
OK, Los Angeles. These are you two finalist. Now it's time to crown a champion. So get ready to vote and to attend this year's Taco Madness live crowning of that champion.
The final round of voting starts at noon today. Good luck to both of these taquerias. - Erick Galindo
[dropcap size=big]L[/dropcap]os Angeles has become a birria town as evident here by the unstoppable forces of Birrieria Gonzalezand Chrissy Teigen's favorite taqueria, Tacos Y Birria La Unica. The two birria specialists will face off in the Final Four to see who will represent birria tacos in the finals. On the other side of the Final Four, Alta California taco maker Macheenwill attempt to make the finals for the second year in a row. Standing in its way is a former Taco Madness champion and the only No. 1 seed still left in the tournament, Sonoratown. This is it, Los Angeles: the Final Four. We encourage you to go out and try these four deserving taquerias and make an informed vote.
The Final Four voting starts at noon today. Good luck to all the taqueros.
Round 1 Ends: Neighborhood Taqueros Pull Major Upsets
[dropcap size=big]L[/dropcap]ocal favorites from Pomona and Lynwood pulled off stunning upsets in the first round of Taco Madness 2019—in one case taking down last year's champion La Venganzaduring one of the closest and most entertaining races in recent history. Pomona-based Dia de Los Puercosknocked out the defending champs by just nine votes. The other major upset came from Lynwood gem Tacos Estilo Guadalajara, who beat out perennial favorite Carnitas El Momo by three whole percentage points!
There were a lot of close matchups but the Venganza vs. Dia de Los Puercos battle was the one to watch. Both teams used their creativity to create amazing social media campaigns rallying the vote.
But in the end, Dia de Los Puercos rallied in the final hours to advance. We can't wait to see if they can keep up the energy as they take on another neighborhood taqueria in East L.A.'s own Tacos Arabes in the Spicy 16.
- Erick Galindo
[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]n Los Angeles, as the air warms up and the days get longer, the city’s taqueros grow more fierce. L.A. Taco and its scrappy staff powered by masa and deadlines is ecstatic to announce the 10th annual Taco Madness online tournament, powered by Jarritos-- the official drink of tacos. Thanks to input from the Team Taco community and some of L.A.'s top food writers, this year's tournament is stronger than ever.
What a time to be alive and a lover of all things wrapped with a tortilla in this sprawling mess of a city we proudly call home. Ten years of being the first and only taco competition has flown by, and year after year, the city of Angels — don’t call it La-La Land, ever — manages to exceed our expectations with its increasingly complex tacoverse.
We saw it all this past year. Tacos became celebrities. Tacos comforted people displaced by California’s raging wildfires. Tacos calmed the bellies of drivers stuck on a freeway for hours. Now it’s time for you to give back to the taco community and do whatever it takes to stand by your favorite taquero until the bitter end.
Last year’s controversial champion Taqueria La Venganza, famous for its high-quality plant-based takes of classic tacos, is back. And La Venganza is ready to defend the coveted title of L.A.’s best taquero against the world. Will the vegan community back him up again or will newcomers Dia de Los Puercos start a turf war? Our Managing Editor Erick Galindo thinks it’ll be the taco version of “Sharks versus Jets.”
Without a doubt, 2019 is officially the year of Tijuana in Los Angeles so it makes sense that this is reflected in the contenders. It seems like every month there is a new TJ-style beef birria or mesquite-grilled carne asada taquero on some corner of the city – but do Teddy’s Red Tacos, Tacos Los Poblanos #1, or Tacos 1986 have what it takes to make it all the way to the end? All eyes are on you, Tacos 1986. You made the crossover to Hollywood, Koreatown, and Venice with your tightly wrapped, cone-shaped tacos and now, Tijuana’s reputation as a taco power falls on you.
[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]his year, everyone’s favorite Sonora-style flour tortilla specialist has a new Sonoran challenger: Asadero Chikali, from the streets of East Los Angeles. Though, Chikali has a formidable seeding to survive to even meet Sonoratown on the other side of the bracket. Whose handmade flour tortilla will prevail? Only L.A. Taco’s readers will have the power to decide.
We are officially recognizing BBQ tacos as an emerging new taco style and have invited both the pioneers East L.A. BBQ Taco Co. at Xelas and hungry youngbloods A’s BBQ to show us what they got. Macheen is also back and better than ever this year, hoping to not bust a Dodgers and lose at the final round yet again. It’s been a long journey for L.A,’s golden boy of new school tacos, Guerrilla Tacos, and our 10th anniversary coincides with the long awaited opening of their brick and mortar. Will this momentum bring them nothing but clicks on the polls this year and make them rise above the rest?
The tournament will culminate at this year’s Taco Madness festival, L.A.’s first and original taco lifestyle festival that brings together all of L.A.’s big hitters within stumbling distance of each other for only one evening a year. The winner will be announced on stage and celebrated with micheladas by I Love Micheladas, local craft beer, and cumbia cuts by Metralleta de Oro. The festival will take place on May 4th and is FREE to enter. It’s 21+ only at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes. Mark your calendars now.
The first round battles of Taco Madness will open on Monday so get ready to put up your dukes and vote.
L.A. Taco thanks all the taqueros in this year’s tournament for your countless hours and service to the taco community, and the rest of the taqueros who are always there for us. May the juiciest, bombest, and best taco win.
Editor for James Beard Award-winning L.A. TACO. Associate Producer for JBA-winning Las Crónicas Del Taco. Former restaurant scout for Jonathan Gold. Co-Author of "Oaxaca: Home Cooking From the Heart of Mexico (2019, Abrams) and "Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling" (2023, Abrams).
LAFC came close to winning it in 2020. A victory would have made them just the fourth Major League Soccer team to win the title, an honor shared by DC United (1998), LA Galaxy (2000), and Seattle Sounders (2022). LAFC fans were left wondering if the third time would be the charm…
The enticing dishes at the reservation-only pop-up at a food court in DTLA's Historic Core neighborhood include a whole, two-pound rock cod fried until a chicharrón-like crispness, basking in an addictively savory tamarind garlic sauce, curried crab, oysters, and more.
Parents gathered outside of Saticoy Elementary School in North Hollywood this morning in protest of a Pride assembly at the school that includes the reading of a book called "The Great Big Book of Families."