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All the Tacos and Good Times You Missed Out On at Our Live TACO Madness 2022 (Video and Photo Essay)

3:19 PM PDT on May 24, 2022

Los Angeles taco obsessives rallied at Arcadia's Santa Anita Park this past Saturday afternoon for our annual Taco Madness festival, a concentrated celebration of everything we love about L.A.: lowriders, good people, cold micheladas, graphic t-shirts, and an assortment of talented taqueros and taqueras.

There was also high-stakes horse racing, bounce houses, at least one DJ's foray into a reggaeton version of Snow's "Informer," and a dreamy backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains in their full overcast glory. In other words, this was not an outdoor celebration to miss, folks.

The event also provides a critical source of funding for our small, independent newsroom, so we wish to thank everyone who made it out and really hope you had the time of your life.

Hundreds of Angelenos started pouring into Santa Anita starting at 2 p.m., quickly lengthening the long line for food from Villa's Tacos, the back-to-back champion of this year's Final Four-style taco tournament, as decided by public voting held over the past several weeks on Meanwhile, other parts of the crowd rallied around five other esteemed taquerías.

There were smoky, Tijuana-style tacos al carbon from Tacos Don Cuco; crispy rolled tacos dorados bearing rich lamb barbacoa and chipotle-slathered chicken from Tacos Los Dorados; suadero, pork belly, and beet al pastor tacos from the mad genius at Macheen; juicy birria de res tacos from street legend Teddy's Red Tacos; bulgogi, chicken tinga, and steak picado tacos from Tacos y Que, the first to sell out.

The crowd, which mingled between tacos, stampeding horses, the polished lineup of Lifetime Familia Car Club, live painting from Deity Art, and the wares of "I Love Micheladas," the dope designs of Tacocidal Tendencies, samples of Herdez's Avocado Hot Sauce, and De La Calle tepache, as well as L.A. TACO's own merch set-up, included a ton of taco-celebrity faces, including the teams from Barrio Tacos, Evil Cooks, and one dude with a concha embroidered on his Dodgers hat that we swear we know from somewhere. A majority of the TACO team was in there, too, chopping it up with the city they love.

The crescendo of the event came when a live band made way for Villa's owner Victor Villa to take the stage and give a triumphant victory speech, after a day in which we witnessed the grateful TACO champion shaking just about every hand at Santa Anita in thanks. Meanwhile, Macheen's inventive taquero Jonathan Perez took home the trophy for the day's best tacos at the festival itself, as judged by Francisco Gomez of international Todos Los Tacos Youtube fame, and a taquero himself at his taquería in Buenos Aires, Taquería Diaz.

But look, don't take our word for it. Here are two great videos and some photos taken by Esteban Rey Jimenez recapping all the action. Cuz' we want you to see the tacos, smell the tacos, taste the tacos... even if it's just virtually, so that next year we can do it all again and do it together.

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