Skip to Content

The Offalo’s Top 5 Tacos of Tacolandia

12:08 PM PDT on June 16, 2015

Another year, another Tacolandia, the food festival curated by Bill "Street Gourmet LA" Esparza and hosted by LA Weekly.

This was the third and biggest year, with 80+ vendors and 4,000+ attendees.  With so many to choose from, how could one possibly pick and rank the top five tacos of the entire event?

Well, first off, I "only" sampled 25 dishes, so I can only name my favorites out of that pool, which included a record number of participants from Mexico, like Corazon de Tierra, La Embajada, La Guerrerense, Manzanilla, Tacos Kokopelli, and chef Eloy Aluri Taller.  I also tried tacos by establishments from across Los Angeles and Southern California including B.S. Taqueria, Bistro LQ, Bizarra Capital, Cacao Mexicatessen, Coni'Seafood, El Cristalazo, chef Priscilla Curiel, Flautas, Guerrilla Tacos, Home State, The Hungry Cat, Moles La Tia, Petty Cash Taqueria, Soho Taco, Taco Maria, and Tacos Punta Cabras.  Honestly, there was not a bad taco/tostada/flautas/vegetarian Frito pie (really) in the bunch!

So, what were my Top 5 of Tacolandia 2015?

5.  Tacos Kokopelli's Polvora Taco:  One of the participants from Mexico, Kokopelli has served an octopus taco called the Kraken at all three Tacolandia events, and it's one of my favorites!  The reason the Polvora made my Top 5 over the pulpo was because it really took me by surprise.  Grilling the fish at the event, Kokopelli managed to really concentrate the flavor of the salmon!  The blackberry chilmole, with whole blackberries, rather than being a gimmick, really helped cut through the natural fattiness of the fish, and balanced the dish out quite nicely.


4.  B.S. Taqueria's Taco de Calabasita:  This on-menu item from chef Ray Garcia‘s new casual eatery contains fresh squash, grilled to perfection, not too firm and not too mushy. Topped with rajas de poblano, corn, salsa verde, quesillo y queso fresco, and finished with a splash of lime juice, its a vegetarian taco that really satisfied this meat lover!


3.  Guerrilla Tacos' Scallop Aguachile:  Chef Wes Avila served this dish at a pre-Tacolandia Night of Modern Mexican Cuisine event at Broken Spanish the day before the food festival.  This bright, spicy bite consisted of fresh raw scallops, cilantro, chile de valle, and apple.  The chef has a talent for mixing flavors and making it all work, and that's what he did here.


2.  La Embajada's Taco de Cabrito:  Chef Guillermo González Beristáin is pioneer of modern Mexican cuisine, and his restaurant, Pangea, in Monterrey, Mexico, is one of the Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants.  His more casual restaurant La Embajada represented him at Tacolandia.  The baby goat in the tacos they served was incredibly tender and unabashedly but pleasantly grassy and gamy.


1.  Taco Maria's Taco de Calamares:  I've yet to dine at Taco Maria, the Costa Mesa restaurant featuring chef Carlos Salgado's modern, seasonal Mexican-American dishes, but I loved this taco!  It takes first place due to its simplicity and taste, highlighting the fresh Monterey squid, while adding just a bit of contrasting flavors and textures with the roasted peanuts and purslane.  That organic blue corn and squid ink tortilla was so black, it was shiny!


I know I've skewed a bit toward the high end on my list, but Tacolandia is a great opportunity to try dishes from the full spectrum of the tacoverse.  What were your Top 5 of Tacolandia 2015?

For more on Tacolandia 2015, check out The Offalo's full coverage of the event on his blog!

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Register to continue

Become a Member

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

The Six Best Tacos Along Metro’s C Line, From Norwalk to El Segundo

One of our favorite pastimes in L.A. is searching for great tacos. What better way to do it while zipping along on Metro's C line (formerly known as the green line)?

We Are Almost At Our Goal! Become a Member of L.A. TACO Now!

Memberships start at $5.95 and help us stay alive in this wild new journalism landscape. For the price of a few tacos a month, you can help keep L.A.'s only taco, news, and culture site stay spinning and churning out features about the real Los Angeles. We are 60% to our goal!

February 29, 2024

Ten (Mostly) Recognizable ‘Repo Man’ Locations You Can Visit 40 Years Later

The original film somehow managed to cohesively fuse weathered, jaded repo men, L.A.’s burgeoning punk scene, UFO cultists, generically-labeled food items, and nuclear proliferation into a dark comedy that is both a product of its time and yet feels somewhat timeless.

February 29, 2024

Burglar Steals Safe From East Hollywood Mexican Restaurant, Runs Up $80,000 In Damages and Stolen Gear

The burglar was wearing a white hoodie and spray-painted the lens of the security cameras. Insurance will only cover $20,000. The owner of El Zarape Melrose says he doesn’t know if this was personal or just a delinquent act by a stranger: “I’m sad, I don’t know how I’m going to do it.”

February 27, 2024

Baldwin Park Rapper Lefty Gunplay is Playin’ for Keeps

With witty lyrics, Holladay experiments with storytelling of his times in prison and on the gritty streets of the San Gabriel Valley. He is one of the biggest names in the new L.A. rap scene and the conversation about being one of this generation's biggest Latino rappers. 

February 27, 2024
See all posts