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Taco Vendors Converge at Bryan Street Tavern for Tacopalooza 2012

D Magazine intern Erin Ahlfinger files this report.

If you’re wondering how many different tacos make a tacopalooza, the answer is twenty one.  Five of the most popular purveyors of tortilla-wrapped delights in town rolled into Bryan Street Tavern Saturday afternoon for Tacopalooza 2012. They brought with them an assortment of nearly two dozen taco types to be devoured by a full house of Cinco de Mayo revelers, as well as a group of discriminating judges to determine which taco was tastiest.

For the purists in the crowd, there were plenty of takes on the traditional street taco on hand, including Rusty Taco’s smoky, sweet namesake creation of achiote marinated pork, pineapple, and cojita cheese, wrapped in a corn tortilla. Fuzzy’s Taco Shop served up Baja-style tacos, while the Dos Paisanos food truck proudly presented their tacos al carbon. Though you won’t normally find street tacos on the menu at Bryan Street Tavern, the house kitchen rose to the occasion and presented a delightfully tender pulled pork taco of its own.

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Those who subscribe to the philosophy that what is resides in a tortilla need not be dictated by tradition alone were among friends at Tacopalooza 2012. Taste buds with a wild streak quickly found their way to Velvet Taco’s creative concoctions featuring ingredients such as Thai basil, rotisserie chicken, goat cheese, and basil crema.  Opting out of the patio in favor of the parking lot, the Tin Star Taco Taxi offered an impressive eleven different tacos including fish tacos and vegetarian options.

While the array of available eats provided plenty of festivity, twenty one tacos alone do not make a “palooza.” Sombrero-clad bartenders serving icy libations indoors were supplemented by a margarita stand tucked outside among vendors peddling goods from beeswax products to cupcakes. Local bands provided air conditioned entertainment to those who sought refuge from the heat just inside the patio.

Judges determined that Tin Star Taco Taxi rose to the top. The steak, avocado, grilled onion, and jack cheese taco appropriately titled the “Number One” was deemed the most craveable taco of Tacopalooza 2012.

Upon learning of his victory, Tin Star taco vendor Bobby Oswald hardly bats an eye. “I’m glad to hear it. I’m not surprised, though.” Oswald confesses. “I know our tacos are worth coming back for.”  If you’re not willing to wait for them to come back to Tacopalooza 2013 to try the Number One, take a look at our Food Truck Finder to see where to find the Tin Star Taco Taxi in action.