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We attended Reader Tacotopia in May and were rather surprised when a similar event popped up - Reader Tacotopia at the Track on August 13th! Once again, over 30 taco vendors would be competing to be voted the best! This time we came in for Media Hour which opened at noon instead of 1pm for regular admission! We were given two voter tickets, one for most traditional and one for most innovative.
One of the participating vendors, Cali Comfort BBQ, gave away this nifty cardboard food and drink holder! Look how nice everything fits! We had also purchased a Don Julio margarita to sip on between tastes.
Upon entering, a vendor (Lupe's) tantalized us with their al pastor spit! The excitement was growing inside of me and we were famished! Can we eat yet?
WARNING: Be prepared for taco overload which is how I felt after trying only TEN tacos at this event. I still have no idea how we tried over 30 tacos at the previous one!
One of my top tacos was from Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill. The grilled fresh wild caught pacific shrimp was marinated in smoked chipotle butter. The maui onion mango slaw gave it some character. Even with traditional baja white sauce and queso fresco added, it didn't taste overly complicated! As the first taste of the day, it set the bar high as I continued to munch on other tacos!
I was in awe of Kokopelli's beautiful and unique tacos: one had salmon while the other had octopus! Even though they weren't my personal favorite, a lot of folks around me were beaming after eating these.
I was very impressed with the Pastrami Taco from Saltbox. This was definitely in the "creative" category! It really did taste like meat you find in a sandwich except on a tortilla! The tart mustard seeds were a great finishing touch!
The most noticable taco (perhaps due to the bright pink plate) was the chicken al pastor taco from Puesto. It doesn't look traditional for the US but apparently IS traditional in the mexican city of its origin (sorry the exact name has slipped my mind).
City Tacos stuck out for me due to the dual colored shell of their carnitas taco. Very flavorful with a perfect balance of sweet and tart from the mango and green apple.
Even though I love the Sandia from Tostadas, I passed to save room for other tacos. I vowed to return at the end if my stomach would let me! Spoiler alert - it didn't.
I was happy to snack on a light ceviche style taco from El Coraloense especially with all the heavier flavors from other booths.
Common Theory served Abuelita's Chicken Mole taco with toasted sesame seeds, crema fresca, cilantro, pickled red onions, cotija cheese and avocado puree. I enjoyed the sweetness of the mole and the cheese and pickled onion helped to cut through the richness.
Media hour was nice because there weren't any lines but not all taco vendors were ready to serve until halfway through! When regular admission opened, it was another 30 minutes before people began filling up the arena, which I attribute to the extra time required to get in!
For this and any other event at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, give yourself an extra 20 minutes to arrive! After parking in the $10 lot, there was still a long walk to the main gate, line to pick up Tacotopia wristbands, line to enter the premises, and then a few minutes walk to the area of the event!
They also had a separate covered eating area. I think this venue is a lot nicer than the Golden Hill location and less crowded! Additional tacos we ate are featured in the below gallery. Enjoy!
Lolitas - simple and basic carnitas taco
Encinitas Fish Shop - the smoked salmon inside is fine but overshadowed by all the ingredients on top
Lupe's - fish taco was interesting though they kept adding ingredients while we were standing there! the al pastor taco was flavorfully hot and fresh
The Taco Stand - al pastor with the meat and pineapple didn't taste as good as the last tacotopia.
Cali BBQ - bbq meat was a little bit on the dry side though sauce did help
Baja Sonora Asadero and La Cahua Del Yeyo
Ah-Jiho and The Patio
Aqui Es Texcoco - lamb taco
Meze - greek lamb tacos
Henry's Pub - fish cod was premade so not as good. didn't like the spicy shrimp which was too wet
Parq - seared blue fin tuna with mango salsa fresca
TJ Oyster Bar - smoked fish was not my thing
Coasterra - pork belly taco
The Classic Taco - baja fish taco
Disclaimer: We were provided complimentary tickets for this event. We were not otherwise compensated and all opinions stated are our own.