Recap // Top Taco 2015

July 9, 2015
Nearly 2 weeks ago at sculpture park in downtown denver, over 50 restaurants, 30+ tequila brands and thousands of denver foodies, taco-enthusiasts and in general, hungry people, came together for a night dedicated to the humble taco. The massive storm that rolled into the city did not stop the crowds and after a bit of a delay, the evening was spent celebrating tacos and tequilas by the masses. It was denver's top taco and the night did not disappoint in the food and drink category by a long shot.

Some of denver's hottest and most well-known restaurants competed for the naming rights of top taco 2015. Each competitor submitted a taco for a panel of judges and for the public to vote on; the taco could be from the restaurants' menu or a specialty item they created for the night. Simultaneously, a pretty fierce margarita competition was in play; with every restaurant creating their version of the best marg to be voted on as well. There was an obscene amount of food and drink to consume and I only wish my stomach was large enough to sample my way through all 50 tacos. Sadly I will admit, I probably only made it through 1/3 of them before I had to throw in the towel.

(pictures of the many taco and margarita samplings along with an aerial shot via

There were some serious contenders in my book for 'top taco' of the evening. One of my favorites was ironically, the first taco I tasted from north country. They turned out a lightly grilled fish taco accompanied by chopped cabbage, a chipolte creama and a pico salsa; the balance of flavor and texture played perfectly in the hand-made corn tortillas. Work and class had a flavor-packed cochinita pibil taco... slow-roasted pork cooked in banana leaves that was then shredded and served with a cilantro-lime slaw and slivers of crunchy radish. A slightly out-of-the-box option came from kachina southwestern grill; the mojave navajo taco was an indian fry-bread 'tortilla' topped with rich duck confit, pickled cactus, crispy duck cracklings and a nutty manchengo cheese. The taco was reminiscent of chicken and waffles and tasted like brunch. I will admit, I probably ate 3 of these suckers they were so good.

Sweet cow ice cream brought their oh-so-good sweet treats out for the masses which was a nice break from all the taco tastings. In addition, edge restaurant did a dessert taco with macerated strawberries and la loma served up churros with chocolate to satisfy those with a sweet tooth.

(ryan and I  /  jalisco truck  /  ashley and ryan enjoying their dessert taco  /  margs with garnishes in vibrant colors  /  the dancing sculptures at dusk)

I sadly was unable to sample my way through the 30+ margarita offerings but lucky for me, ryan and our friends were more than willing sample and share their feedback. There were a ton of cocktails featuring fresh herbs, flowers and peppers which made for gorgeous presentations. Pinche taqueria shook up a chartreuse marg with sugar snap peas, cilantro, serrano pepper, agave nectar and fresh lime which tasted like a summer in a glass. Another hit was central bistro + bar's la flor margarita; a silver tequila mixed with hibiscus simple syrup, a splash of grapefruit and a chile-salt-sugar rim to bring all the flavors together. Road soda bar had a red-pepper infused marg that looked heavenly and apparently tasted fresh and flavorful. My girlfriend's ashley and tara were swooning over billy's inn cucumber margarita; the well balanced and light flavors were perfect to sip on as we strolled through sculpture park.

The evening as a whole was a major success. This was by-far the largest attended event which made for a bit of chaos getting to each food and drink stand but definitely brought an energy unlike any other food event I have attended before. I now have a handful of restaurants I will be itching to get into soon to enjoy their tacos again and this event will be one I am looking forward to attending again next summer too.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the denver's top taco, however, all opinions expressed here are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who allow me to continue creating new content for South on Broadway!


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