The 2017 Arizona Taco Festival took place at Salt Rivers Field in Scottsdale Oct 14 & 15 this year. They used a cashless system via a wristband that you exchange for your ticket that you load money on to for your tacos, bottled waters and Margaritas. Tequilas were a separate package or wristband.
Other activities offered were-
Lucha Libre Wresting (oh in 100 degree heat)
Hot Chile Pepper Eating Contest
Taco Eating Contest
Chihuahua Beauty Pageant (I hope this was cancelled because it is too hot for dogs to be out in this kind of 100 degree F heat) (I don’t know if people were responsible owners and hopefully left their Chihuahuas home)
“I’m 37% Chihuahua according to my DNA. I could have entered in the pageant. I don’t care if I would have won or not. I just wanted to get my teeth into some Forking tacos”
The Taco Festival also offered-
Margarita Mixology Expo
A special guest…The Most Interesting Man in the World Guy Version #1 that’s retired. (Person pictured below Johnathon Goldsmith )
Getting in seemed to move slowly. When we finally got to the person that gives out the money wristband he needed assistance with the transaction.
Tickets were $12.00 to get in and than there was $3.70 processing charge just to get in. Most of the tacos were $2.00 but one booth was selling special tacos that were $4.00. Water was sort of expensive because the bottles were a small size and were $3.00 and in 100 degree F heat you really needed about two bottles of water. I saw a list of the participants and didn’t know that you have to click each one to see if they are participating the day you are attending. I was a little bummed because I wanted to try tacos from T-Cooks, Tarbels, Crujiente Tacos and the Wigwam- all that I mentioned were only participating on Sunday.
Well Any Who-
We shared a bunch of tacos…For me it was a pretty good system. I took a bite and sometimes two bites and my husband would finish up the rest. That way I could eat threw as many as possible. Most (but not all) of the tacos were the very small street sized tacos. Some were filled more than others and some but not all were double shelled like tacos are in Mexico.
Of course with around 50 venders offering tacos I really tried only a small percent of what was offered but one that was among my favorites was the Chicken Taco from Gadzooks. The Tacos had all kinds of things listed in the ingredients such as sweet and spicy corn bread that I don’t see but I can tell you that this taco was among the most flavorful that I tried with a nice balance of flavors and acidity.
Our next stop was Superfarm Supertruck. For some reason I thought the “Cauliflower Maybe” Taco sounded interesting and different. I don’t know if my taco contained cauliflower…I didn’t see any and the cilantro they used was so super strong it was over powering everything in the taco. It was just like taking a big bite of cilantro. I do note that they are well known for making great tacos so this is just a bad batch.
Tried a Chicken Taco at Chico Malo. They had an assortment to sauces to add to your taco. This taco was spicy and the chicken seemed smokey. Different than the other tacos I tried.
We tried a Chicken Taco from the Ranch Market. They offered a variety of tacos and a list of a variety of taco shells. I thought a Red Hatch Pepper Tortilla sounded interesting. The Salsa in this taco was good….but the chicken under developed with flavor.
Maskadores Taco Shop. A pretty decent Chicken Taco.
Decent Fish Taco from Baja Caters. I don’t recall seeing many fish tacos offered. I think I only saw two….
Beef and Chicken Tacos from Two Brothers Tap House. The Beef Taco tasted just like the not the most flavorful pot roast…I think both taco meats just needed to be developed with taco seasonings or maybe something here was just missing?
My husband had this Pork Taco from Tacos Tequila Whiskey. He said it was OK.
The Tacos from Tacos Huicho look pretty authentic. They were good.
To my surprise my husband suggested trying the potato taco from Ajo Al’s. I didn’t expect this taco to be good because my dining experience at the restaurant wasn’t but honestly this was a delicious taco. My husband said it was the best taco at the festival. Somehow they crammed in a lot of flavors into the potato that was delicious. It was a big surprise for sure.
We were very lucky and came early as they opened. Lines moved slow but were bearable to get in. As we left the line was thousands of people long as they were expecting over 30,000 people this weekend. It would have been fun to stay longer and take part in the activities but as the day worn on it was pretty uncomfortable without shade.
This is a very small shot of the line. The line went all the way around. It must have been at least ten times longer. I can’t imagine waiting in this line with the hot sun beating down and the 100 degree heat.
Leaving wasn’t fun. There was a lack of signs and a lack of workers that could guild you out of the parking lot this year. We actually asked one of the lot workers on how to exit. He said he didn’t know. Then the next one we came across just tried to get us to park again. We figured it out ourselves.
That was my visit to the 2017 Arizona Taco Festival. I heard tail from others that entered after I left that have a very different story to tell but I can only tell my story and this was it.
Everything is subject to change and your experience may or may not differ.
The Forking Truth