Taco Madness Championship Is Down to Eight Contenders

Previous winners Mexicali Taco & Co. and Marisco Jalisco are in the running, and the winner will be announced on April 4 at Villains Tavern

The folks at L.A. Taco have changed things up this year for their seventh annual Taco Madness, which will announce a new champion on April 4 at Villains Tavern during a more intimate gathering than the past two years. In order to keep up with the ever-changing taco scene in Los Angeles, and to keep the popular vote fair, the 16 seeds were paired off in popular categories like carne asada and al pastor and voted on at L.A. Taco’s Facebook page.

In past competitions, there were 32 seeds. But for Taco Madness 2015, the taco lifestyle blog stripped the contest down to 16 of the best vendors, which has made for an interesting battle. Eight contenders remain: Mariscos Jalisco, Guerrilla Tacos, Tire Shop Taqueria, Mexicali Taco & Co., Los Originales Tacos Arabes de Puebla, Tacos Leo, Carnitas El Momo, and Ricky’s Fish Tacos. The event has always been susceptible to ballot-stuffing campaigns, but with the new changes, races are tighter. Plus, more vendors are connected to social media than in the past.

In the carne asada category, Taco Madness veterans and previous champions Mexicali Taco & Co. are pitting their Mexicali-style grilling tradition against newcomers Tire Shop Taqueria and the Tijuana brand of carne asada in this Baja California war of roasted meats. In a clash of the titans, past winner Mariscos Jalisco is up against Ricky’s Fish Tacos and Ricky Piña’s quest for his first title as king of the sea. Tacos Leo and Carnitas El Momo are having a Cochon 555-worthy pig out of al pastor versus carnitas, and Guerrilla Tacos is pitting its modern take on tacos against Pueblan institution Los Originales Tacos Arabes de Puebla. Vote for your favorite on L.A. Taco’s Facebook page—this round ends on Saturday at 9 p.m.—and then find out the winner on April 4.

redarrow Taco Madness 2015, April 4, 2 p.m., at Villains Tavern, 1356 Palmetto St., Downtown, 213-613-0766,  admission is $10 via Brown Paper Tickets.