Essential T: The Best Tacos, Tamales, and Tostadas at the Taste of Mexico

The ultimate celebration of all foods beginning with the letter T

The annual Taste of Mexico Association event was held this past Saturday at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in Downtown L.A., featuring 32 restaurants and lots of free-flowing mezcal, tequila, and Mexican wine to hoist in the air while singing along with mariachis. This year’s offerings consisted mainly of tacos, tostaditas, a tamal or two, a torta here and there, and other flavor bombs starting with the letter T. That’s what we’re all about here on Tuesdays: highlighting life’s most essential nutrient, Vitamina T.

Guerrilla Tacos' Wes Avila was rocking sardine tacos for a few special guests
Guerrilla Tacos’ Wes Avila was rocking sardine tacos

Photograph by Bill Esparza

Tacos: Wes Avila from Guerrilla Tacos served tender squid on a tortilla dredged in savory seafood liquid, alongside a limited edition fried sardine taco with tomatoes and a salsa verde that was available to a few “cool” people (but I got one anyway). Chichen Itza‘s Yucatecan salbutes, a type of taco consisting of a fried tortilla with a mix of flavorful ground meat, lettuce, a tomato slice and a sliver of avocado was the talk of the back lot. Cocinas y Calaveras Inc., the restaurant group behind Mercado, Yxta Cocina, and Maradentro served up a gravity defying taco tower of carnitas and guacamole. At events like this, it’s in poor taste to not have a taco in your hands at all times.

Tostadas: Ceviches served with chips or on tostadas were plentiful as well; El Faro plated their excellent Mazatlan-style aguachile tostadas, Coni’Seafood served ceviche a la minute and spicy shots of aguachile, and Mariscos El Coralense monkeyed around with their changoneada (chango is Spanish for monkey), a mashup of the a chamoyada (drink with mango and chamoy sauce) and shrimp ceviche.

Guelaguetza's famous tamales
Guelaguetza’s famous tamales

Photograph by Bill Esparza

Tamales y tortas: Guelaguetza brought their signature tamales filled with mole and Tortas Bravas handed out fiery Guadalajara-style drowned tortas, and did we mention the tacos? Right, well, maybe one of the most memorable bites of the night was Mexicali Taco Co.‘s NY steak taco topped with a thick, roasted salsa, dripping with savory meat flavors. A night full of Essential T, I can’t that of a better way to end a month of Latin American patriotic celebrations than with tacos and tequila at the taste of Mexico Association’s annual event.