What I love about the “Rock Your Taco” competition is that even though it certainly allows for a fair amount of creativity on the part of the chefs – the winning taco had a “shell” made out of tendon for goodness sake – it levels the playing field in that everybody’s just making tacos.
Tacos are a simple food: a tortilla with filling. Play it any way you want but basically that’s what it is. So while some chefs kept it classic like Chef Hugh Acheson with his braised lamb taco with cotija, fava and ramp salsa, others shook things up like Chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston with his Indian-style puffy taco served in a ball-shaped poppadum. And both kinds of tacos were fantastic.
@rickkern snapped this pic of what he called the “best looking taco” of the night, Chef Richard Blais’ pork and shrimp head taco.
@urbanswank snapped this pic of Chef Tim Love before his taco won it all.
Portland chef Jenn Louis posted this group shot with fellow chefs Antonia Lofaso, Jamie Bissonette and Ken Oringer, post taco-rocking.
@chefaz posted this pic of Chef Shepherd’s “Panipuri,” or Indian puffy taco.
@keithkreeger took this great shot he called “Crispy Taco Night” featuring chili tacos created by chefs Jamie Bissonette and Ken Oringer.
Here is simply a beautiful view (taken by @thenicolai) of a gorgeous taco featuring mussels from chef Omar Flores of Casa Rubia.
My Top 3 Bites
With so many tacos to sample, choosing favorites wasn’t an easy job. But somebody’s gotta do it. So here are my top three bites from taco night.
They had me at mushroom. And polenta. And black garlic aioli. The whole thing was right up my alley, now that I’m thinking about it.
Tlacoyo de Lengua de Ternera Taco
Chef Paul Qui
I’ll admit it. I had to Google “Ternera” to find out what animal we were eating. (It’s veal.) Served on tlacoyo (oh yeah, I googled that too), which is a little cake made out of masa, Qui laid a thin slice of veal tongue, a bit of black beans and some beautiful hot pink pickled onions.
Applewood Smoked Masu Taco
Chef Tyson Cole
My favorite taco of the night was Chef Tyson Cole’s applewood smoked masu taco. But the event wasn’t called “Rock foodbitch’s Taco,” so I guess I understand if my favorite wasn’t the big winner of the night.