Last Saturday saw the first ever North Texas Taco Festival take place in Deep Ellum. Contributor Robert Strickland is here to recap the event in all its taco-licious glory.[All text and photos: Robert Strickland]
Dallas played a perfect host on Saturday as the first annual North Texas Taco Festival put on a show along side this month's Deep Ellum Outdoor Market. Over 4,000 taco lovers lived it up while some of the best taco shops in DFW did their thing and free sparkling water flowed like a carbonated river from the Topo Chico booth.
Amongst the flurry of taco slinging, the NTTF gave festival goers more than just tacos on a plate. Here are some observations from this chapter of the tacolution:
1) This much we know for sure: DFW loves tacos. Hard. The festival saw a crazy-good turnout that lasted for most of the day.
2) People were clearly hearing the siren song of Urban Taco's tacos de trompo. They consistently had one of the longest lines of the festival, despite being hidden away a bit.
3) Extra long lines made the festival a little hard to deal with at times, but in general, the taco fans in attendance seemed in good spirits and willing to wait for the deliciousness the vendors were serving up. Nice work, people. Way to love thy taco neighbor.
4) The "Taco Talk" brought educational value to the festival, as a panel of taco experts held court in the Curtain Club. It was something special for sure, but it would've been nice to see it promoted a little more and staged in a locale with a few more seats.
5) Even Mother Nature has a sweet spot for tacos. That weather? That weather was the very definition of ideal. Wow.
6) Also within the cozy confines of the Curtain Club, the "Taco Throwdown" put five chefs into a taco battle royale — all judged by Alice Laussade (Dallas Observer), Daniel Vaughn (Texas Monthly), Jay Jerrier (Il Cane Rosso) and Alejandro Escalante (La Tacopedia). While the competition was close, Omar Flores (Driftwood) wowed the judges with a taco that made him a near unanimous winner against the other chefs playing taquero for the afternoon.
7) One of the vendors, Fort Worth's Revolver Taco Lounge, showed up late to the party (at least their food did), but that problem turned out to be a blessing in disguise. While a few of the other vendors ran out early due to the higher-than-expected turnout, Revolver was able to keep serving up until the end of the festival.
8) To top everything off, there was a even a photogenic burro made available by the folks at Revolver Taco Lounge. Surrounded by cameras for most of the day, the burro hung tough as kids, adults, and even one pug climbed on it's back for a chance at a fun photo.
9) Spontaneous dancing will break out at a taco festival. It's an unavoidable fact of life. Just go with it.