Arizona Taco Festival - A Festival for All Senses
The best of both worlds joined forces this past weekend at the 8th Annual Arizona Taco Festival. Held at The Salt River Fields near The Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, the festival went to benefit Wings for Warriors and merged 50 restaurants serving a variety of tacos along with bars serving margaritas to match!
"I love the mix of restaurants that participate - from a 24-hour drive-thru joint to a chef-driven resort restaurant, the Taco Fest has such a wide variety of places serving tacos," exclaims David Tyda, a representative of the Arizona Taco Festival. "Sure, you can visit any of these places anytime (and you should!) but this is the best place to experience them all at once. Plus, there’s entertainment in every corner."
Restaurants brought the heat to this years festival. Serving up their A-game to the competition a few restaurants stood out more than others. Docktails served up a spicy, yet refreshing pork taco topped with pineapple pieces.
"We make what we like to eat we are always changing," explained Dustin Cook, Food and Beverage Director at Docktails. "There are onky 7 tacos on our menu because they are all seasonal."
Nando's showcased their take on a spicy chicken, which was MORE than your average chicken tacos.
Emerson Fry Bread turned a Arizona staple, Indian Fry Bread, into a taco. For someone that has never tried the fry bread, I was pretty impressed. It was full of flavors while serving a nod to the city's homage.
Throughout the festival guests enjoyed various forms of entertainment such as: the Lucha Libre fights, live bands taking the stage, or the multiple photo opportunities - there was fun in every corner!
Attendees could also enjoy a variety of margaritas in the "Margarita Wars" tent. This was by far worth every penny. The tent was filled with about 16 contenders fighting for the title. Whether it was agave or mezcal tequila, each drink was unique.
Mission Kierland paid it's respect to its tequila owner, Mario Lopez, by serving the AC Slater. The drink packed a punch and took you back the Bayside.
"Our margarita is filled with: mezcal,pineapple, lime and grapefruit juices, cinnamon, orange peel, cloves, allspice, stated Libby Lingua, bar manager at Undertow. "It's our tiki version of a margarita." Topped with a pineapple slice, this margarita was different, not too smokey with the mezcal as the citrus notes cut it just right. Their hard work paid off as they were the official winners of the margarita wars.
Modern Margarita made its way in both aspects of the fest. They not only took part in the famous "Margarita Wars," but they also served a pulled chicken, marinated taco served on a flour tortilla that was more than notable.
"The taco fest is a good way to promote the bar because it's all of Arizona here," stated Justin Arellano, bartender for Artizen. "Tacos bring us all together, they are like Mexican gold. It's fuel for our culture. It brings everyone together." As far as the margarita served from Artizen - surprising yet clean. Complete with Dobel Tequila, the margarita was topped with grand marinier, lime, mango syrup and habenero bitters.
Gadzooks, Old Town Gringos, Willies Taco Joint, Yardhouse, were some of the other notable contestants. Attendees enjoyed beverages by: Estrella Jalisco, Astral Tequila, Sombra Mezcal, La Sala Tequila, and more thoroughout the event.
Tequilas, syrups, and spices were all brought to the forefront during this past weekend! The Arizona Taco Festival left no tastebud untouched - it's a festival for all senses!