LA Weekly and the vendy awards presented tacolandia 2016 at El Pueblo de Los Angeles in Downtown Los angeles on June 11th.
The Vendy Awards were presenting at Tacolandia, helping to name the best tacos from 100 top taco vendors curated by the World's First Tacorazzo, Bill Esparza.
Best Street Taco/Vendy Cup
All Flavor No Grease, Tacos Tamix, Trap Kitchen, Burritos la Palma, Carnitas El Momo, El Shuko Truck, Guerrilla Tacos, Huitlacoche Truck, Mariscos German, Mariscos Jalisco, Mi Ensenada Fish Tacos, Oaxaca on Wheels.
Best Traditional Taco
Chichen Itza, Flautas, Aqui es Texcoco, Birrieria Jalisco, Cielito Lindo, Coni'Seafood, El Colimense, El Sinaloense, El Tepeyac, Gish Bac, La Barbacha, La Cagua del Yeyo, La Calaca, La Flor de Yucatan, La Guerrerense, Las 7 Regiones de Oaxaca, Las Molenderas, Loteria Grill, Nixtaco Taqueria, Rincon Oaxaqueno, Rocio's Mexican Kitchen, Salazar, Sonorita's Prime, Tacos Los Desvelados, Taqueria Orinoco.
Best in Taco Innovation
Amor y Tacos, Balaam, Barrio Cafe, Cacao Mexicatessen, Cascabel, Comuna, Corazon y Miel, El Coraloense, Galaxy Tacos, Mexikosher, Puertos del Pacifico, Puesto, RTBA x Monkey Bar, Slapfish, Tacos Puntas Cabras, The Briks, Breddo's Tacos, Don Ramen Chef Adria Marina, La Embajada, Pez Cantina, Rakken Tacos, Revolutionario, Romero y Azahar, Sol Cocina, Tacoteca, Tempo Urban Kitchen.
For photos from 2016 check out LA Weekly's Photo Gallery
Past Winners & Participants
2015 Vendy Awards
Vendy Cup Winner: Mariscos Jalisco
Other Finalists: Puesto, Guerilla Taco, Burritos La Palma, La Guerrerense.
2014 Vendy awards
Vendy Cup Winner: Mariscos Jalisco
Other Finalists: Aqui es Texcoco, Carnitas El Momo, Guerrilla Tacos, La Guerrerense, Los Originales Taco de Puebla, Tacos Kokopelli, Tacos Leo an Tamales Elena
2012 Vendy Awards
Vendy Cup Winner: India Jones Chow Truck
Other Finalists: Karina's Food, Tacos El Gallito, The Lime Truck, Martha’s Tamales Organicos, and Buttermilk Truck
2010 Vendy Awards
Vendy Cup Winner: Nina's Foods
Other Finalists: India Jones Chow Truck, Hot Dog Kings, Big Mista's BBQ, Grilled Cheese Truck, and Tacos el Galuzo
Fernando Xavier Abarca first became involved with the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) in the summer of 2013 as an intern on the Legalize Street Vending (LSV) Campaign. One year later, he is a Community Organizer on the same campaign. As a Community Organizer on the LSV campaign he works closely with street vendors and community residents in order to empower and build their leadership skills to fight for their right to work and make a living by legalizing street vending in the city of Los Angeles. As a community organizer on LASVC campaign, Fernando focuses on engaging vendors from the San Fernando Valley area and provide the tools necessary for them to advocate for their rights. Before joining ELACC, Fernando attended Occidental College where he graduated with a dual B.A. degree in Political Science and Spanish in May 2014. During his time as a student at Occidental College he also interned with the Legal Aid Foundation Los Angeles where he assisted attorneys on several housing cases affecting low income families across the city of Los Angeles.
Lalo Alcaraz is an award winning visual and media artist, cartoonist satirist, television producer and writer based in Los Angeles. He is the creator of the syndicated daily comic strip, "La Cucaracha" as seen in the L.A. Times and other papers nationwide. Lalo was Consulting Producer and writer at Fox Television's animated program, "Bordertown.” He is also consulting producer on a major studio animated film to be released in 2017. A prolific political cartoonist, Lalo is winner of five Southern California Press Awards for Best Editorial Cartoon, produced editorial cartoons for The LA Weekly from 1992-2010. Lalo's books include the just optioned for TV "A Most Imperfect Union" US graphic novel history book with Ilan Stavans, (2014 Perseus Books), "Latino USA: A Cartoon History, 15th Anniversary Edition" (2012 by Basic Books), "Migra Mouse: Political Cartoons On Immigration, (2005) "La Cucaracha."(2004) He is also Jefe In Chief of satirical website Pocho.com, co-host of KPFK Radio's satirical talk show, "The Pocho Hour of Power," heard Fridays at 4pm in L.A. on 90.7 FM. Lalo has taught illustration at Otis College of Fine Art & Design in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of San Diego State University (BA in Art) and UC Berkeley (Master's in Architecture). Alcaraz is a native of San Diego, so good luck trying to deport him.
Gustavo Arellano is the editor of OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, author of Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, lecturer with the Chicana and Chicano Studies department at California State University, Fullerton, and a consulting producer on FOX’s animated show, Bordertown. He writes “¡Ask a Mexican!,” a nationally syndicated column in which he answers any and all questions about America's spiciest and largest minority. Gustavo is a lifelong resident of Orange County and is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants, one whom was illegal.
Roberto Garcia-Ceballos is a community organizer with the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) Metro campaign, focusing on the leadership development of involved member-leaders. He first got connected with ELACC through the Right to The City Alliance (RTTC), where he worked with ELACC‘s staff and other member organizations of RTTC to create political education curriculum for the Homes for All campaign. Prior to coming to ELACC he organized with Springfield No One Leaves in Springfield, MA fighting no-fault evictions and foreclosures caused by banks and lending institutions. While in graduate school, he worked with the United Auto Workers 2322 as a labor and social justice educator and organized graduate employees. Roberto received a Master’s in Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and B.A. in Sociology at San Jose State University. As an immigrant born in Mexico City and raised in San Jose, CA - his interest in social justice and community organizing is rooted in firsthand experiences of the barriers that poor people, people of color, immigrants, and other oppressed people face while pursuing self-determination and survival in the United States. Because of these experiences, he feels a strong devotion to base building and conviction in taking the lead of those directly impacted by economic and political inequality.
Beto Duran is a Los Angeles based bilingual sports broadcaster who has covered Southern California sports since 2005, primarily for ESPN Radio 710, as well as on TV for ESPN and Time Warner Cable Sports Net. Currently, he’s the play-by-play announcer for Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Boxing shows that air world wide on Ring TV. He’s covered, the NBA & NHL Finals, MLB Playoffs, MLB All-Star Game, Rose Bowl, Summer & Winter X Games and called play-by-play action for prep baseball, basketball, football, and water polo games. His career started as a paperboy for the Daily Breeze. The Carson High graduate played baseball, ran cross-country and was the sports editor of the school newspaper.
John Echeveste is the CEO of LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a nonprofit museum and cultural center that documents and celebrates the Latino history of Los Angeles. Echeveste joined LA Plaza after a 30+ year in Hispanic marketing and has worked as a newspaper reporter, television documentary writer, corporate communications officer, Congressional aide and political campaign manager.
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor of Eater LA, and author of the book Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. His work appears nationally in the online, print, and digital video space, and you can follow him around the internet at @overoverunder.
Novelist Ryan Gattis lives and writes in Los Angeles, where he is a member of the art crew UGLARworks & a founding board member of 1888, a Southern California literary arts non-profit. His most recent book, All Involved: A Novel of the 1992 L.A. Riots, is grounded in 2.5 years of research & background spent with former Latino gang members, firefighters, nurses, & other L.A. citizens who lived through it. Winner of the American Library Association’s Alex Award & the Lire Award for Noir of the Year in France, the novel has been translated into 11 languages, & its film rights have been acquired by HBO. Food has always featured in his fiction, primarily because he lost his ability to smell & taste when his nose was torn out of his face at age 17. Due to the severity of the injury, Gattis was informed that the nerve damage would likely be permanent. However, one year & two facial reconstructive surgeries later, both senses returned—leading to a renewed appreciation of food & its ability to communicate culture, as well as care.
Ross Resnick is the CEO of Roaming Hunger. Inspired by a semester abroad to Hong Kong and in appreciation for the L.A.’s street eats culture, Ross created and grew Roaming Hunger to become the leading provider of turnkey food truck catering, concessions, and branded promotions, with a network of more than 8,900 food trucks, carts and caterers. Ross and Roaming Hunger have been featured in major publications including Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Associated Press, Goop, Entrepreneur, Thrillist, AdAge, Buzzfeed, Forbes and National Geographic and have won multiple awards, including Best Places to Work in Los Angeles. When he’s not turning people into food truck fans or working on making Roaming Hunger into a worldwide brand, Ross enjoys spending time with his family, eating from local hotspots and attempting to cook his favorite dishes.
Jess Rosales is a SoCal native currently living in the San Fernando Valley. She began her career in broadcasting with Time Warner Cable and could be seen on the sidelines covering sports for local high schools and as a host for “Beyond the Diamond” and Dodgers on Demand among many other programs. She also spent time covering movie junkets and red carpet events such as The World Premiere for The Lone Ranger and Boardwalk Empire's Season premiere red carpet. After her time with TWC she started a new venture in boxing with Golden Boy Promotions and Fox Sports 1 as the ringside reporter for “Golden Boy Live”. At the time, Rosales was also working as an Anchor for TVG, the horse racing network and spent a quick minute as the in-stadium host for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Rosales is still working in boxing, covering PPV boxing events and fights broadcast on HBO for HBO Latino and is back with the boys of summer, as an in-stadium host for the Dodgers. She has one dog (Baby) and one cat (Magic Michael) and enjoys watching sports with her godson Karmelo (favorite sports: boxing and baseball) as well as traveling (favorite place: London) spending time with family and friends (Favorite BFF: Lexina) and she enjoys long walks on the beach and eating (favorite food: anything that tastes delicious). This is her first time as a food judge and one item crossed off her bucket list. Bring on the tacos!
When Evelyn Taft isn’t telling us about the next SoCal heat wave every morning on CBS 2, you can find her eating her way through LA's finest food trucks and restaurants with her husband and two kids. Evelyn is a California native with Russian roots and has traveled extensively around Europe, Asia and Latin America enjoying local and regional cuisines wherever she possibly could. Her goto taco order is usually lengua and a horchata but she typically prefers her salsa less than spicy.
Ben Waters is the coowner and editorinchief of L.A. Foodie, a blog (lafoodie.com), social media hub & video source covering all the best food in Los Angeles. He also hosts podcasts for L.A. Foodie, with recent guests including Emeril Lagasse, Danny Trejo, and T.J. Miller. His writing has been featured on Food & Wine’s FWx site and he’s made appearances on CBS, NBC, KTLA, KPCC, and several other combinations of capital letters. When he's not focusing on the tastier side of life, Ben is editing features like the awardwinning comic strip documentary Stripped.
Lisa Waters knew the culinary arts would somehow play a big role in her life at a young age, proudly proclaiming that her favorite subject in school was “lunch”, and that she aced it everyday. Now she’s the coowner of and chief photographer for L.A. Foodie; a blog (lafoodie.com), social media hub, podcast & video source covering all the best food in Los Angeles. Her work has been featured on Food & Wine’s FWx site, Locale Magazine, and CBS. Lisa and her coowner & husband Ben both hail from Kansas City, which is a lot like L.A. minus the beaches, great weather, megarich people, and traffic.
Our Vendy host, Sarah Baicker, co-hosts Breakfast on Broad, Philadelphia's first and only morning sports talk TV show. That means there's no food she won't eat (or drink she won't drink) before 7 a.m. -- burgers, ice cream, beer ... she's had it all before you've had your coffee. Though she's best known for her coverage of the Flyers, Sarah is no stranger to the Philly food scene. She served as a judge for WIP radio's Food Hunt in 2015, helping to crown the region's best bacon dish. In 2013, she created a celebrity sandwich for American Sardine Bar that was met with rave reviews.
Danya Henninger is culture editor at Billy Penn, a Philadelphia-based local news site. She grew up in New York City, then moved to Philly and fell deeply in love with her new hometown. A freelance beer and food writer and photographer, she's also a restaurant critic for the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill. She has contributed to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Vice Munchies, All About Beer and Edible Philly. In 1997, she founded photo-video firm Imagic Digital with husband Mark Henninger.
A Philly-based food and drink writer, Drew Lazor has contributed to Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Lucky Peach, Food Network, Food Republic, the Philadelphia Inquirer, PUNCH and Serious Eats. More at drewlazor.com.
The 2016 Vendy Awards is a collaboration with LA Weekly's Tacolandia. For additional information on the event, including FAQs and venue information (maps & parking) please visit Tacolandia's website here.
Please also read more about the Vendy Awards and the Street Vendor Project here.