Tacos and Tequila Festival 2016 - recap
We recently attended the Tacos and Tequila Festival in San Diego as media. Their offering of unlimited tacos, craft beer and tequila samples was too good to turn down. We saw a lot of happy people at the event.
Especially the hop, skip, and jump guy from one of the breweries! Is it surprising to see people posing for the camera when there's alcohol involved? Never. =)
There were also mustaches and sombreros to be found. Bonus: finding a surfing cat with a mustache!
They gave us these plastic "we party for beer" cups at the beginning of the event. We were ravenous and hit the food stands first! While waiting for food, our strategy was to send one person out to grab drinks while the other waited in line. We had tequilas, beers, and a couple of mixed drinks to choose from.
There wasn't a sign here but Bill Travers from Masterchef was working on whole hog tacos here. The enticing display of taco toppings caught our eye plus they were on top of the serving game, doing a rack of tacos at a time. We saw a whole roasted pig on the side too. The meat was succulent with a burst of flavor from the mango salsa. We returned 2 hours later and they had run out of most sauces but still had plenty of pork!
I've been wanting to try Casanova Fish Tacos ever since I found Hector Casanova was in one of my older posts: Fish Taco TKO! Dennis became a fan that day and really loved these grilled sweet ginger fish tacos. The spicy cilantro sauce plus the ginger teriyaki flavor was delicious and the fish piece was generous! We had to come back for another!
Next was Famoso, which we tried initially at Tacotopia. Only 15 minutes into the event, there was already a big line, around 20 people deep! The tacos were a bit greasy but Dennis thought it was more balanced this time around. If the line weren't so long, we would have gotten another one as well!
The tent next to Casanova Tacos wasn't ready initially, but with two tents, they were able to pop out food fast. The meats were already cooked in the foil containers and they added salsa and raw onions. The carnitas meat was our favorite, especially with a nice squeeze of lime to it. Chicken and carne asada were the other two choices.
Tacos La Movida was located closer to the front and had two options, vegetarian with roasted cactus or big pieces of carne asada, plus different sauces to choose from. They were also sampling some tequila! This was one of the longest lines later in the event!
Another taco place had premade fish tacos wrapped in foil from a ice chest.
Halfway through VIP hour, we noticed an empty table in the northeast corner. An hour and a half later, we saw leftover ingredients and still nobody was there... did we miss a food vendor? =(
Leyendas de mi Pueblo Tequila was just released on the day of the event. These came in beautiful hand painted ceramic bottles (even a mini sampler) and the tequila was really smooth. It's available at Old Town Liquor Store if you're interested.
One of my favorite drink samples was the El Silencio Mezcal mixed with honey and lime and a dash of pepper flakes. The smokey flavor was nice and cool on that day.
This booth had three different brands including a smooth extra anejo. We liked the reposado more than the anejo, but even the blanco was nice to sip on.
It's always a pleasure to sip on some Fortaleza Tequila, especially since we are getting a little low on our home supply.
We didn't try the Martin San Ramon Tequila but did try the Pochteca Liqueurs (pomegranate, mango) on the same table. These were too strong by themselves but better as a mix.
There were around 15 breweries participating that day.
Garage Brewing had six different taps yet I got the milk stout twice. It was my favorite beer of the day. This brewery is in Temecula and includes a pizzeria there!
I'm a cider girl so I liked sampling these two places. 2 Towns Ciderhouse was fruity and crisp while Common Cider Company had subtle blood orange and hibiscus flavors.
Insurgente, Hangar 24, Saint Archer and Ironfire Brewing are pictured above but there were plenty of other beer vendors! Most were sampling 2 or more of their beers.
Getting VIP (early) admission is worth it. Similar to Tacotopia, it got really crowded once the general admission came. This is 1.5 hours into the event! Luckily the beer lines weren't long. Most food places were ready to go at the start but a few needed more prep time before serving.
There were even giant wooden jenga games that people could play while enjoying the festival.
Music filled the air as well. Latin Lovers dj'ed next to the blond king pinata and Azucar, who made me hungry for In-N-Out! We missed These Killers who played during the last hour of the event.
Despite being called Tacos and Tequila Festival, there were more beer vendors than tacos and tequila vendors. I was disappointed that there weren't 12 taco vendors as advertised. We're not smokers so the food tasting was thrown off from the smoke of a cigar vendor and their buyers. Other than that, we had a good time drinking, ate plenty of food, and talked with entertaining people. Until the next time...
Disclaimer: We were provided complimentary tickets for this event. We were not otherwise compensated and all opinions stated are our own.