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Eat & Drink

This is what a taco throwdown looks like

Posted by Guest Contributor / January 29, 2013

Taco ThrowdownDeath Row Meals Taco Throwdown II was an epic battle tucked into a tortilla that proved Toronto's taco chops once again. Rock Lobster Food Co. hosted the second annual event. Their Ossington restaurant took on 6 competitors and 80 hungry judges for the sold out match up.

Taco ThrowdownSupiCuCu's Rossy Earle was first up with Tacos de Tasajo en Sofrito, with refried beans, avocado, and crema de queso fresco paired with Beau's Ale. This modestly plated taco bursted with complex flavour. Every bite surprised, and the creamy and satisfying refried beans made me forget that meat was not the main event in this entry.

Taco ThrowdownTaco ThrowdownThough meat was not forgotten for long when Fidel Gastro's creation, TacoZuna!, appeared. Chef Matt Basile took his food truck status to the next level with a Tempura Fried Chicken and Banh Mi Slaw Taco, with wasabi aioli and hoisin sauce. Big props go to presentation, and the flavour met expectations. The crisp Vineland Estates Riesling served with it cleansed the palette for the next tasty entrant.

Death Row MealsA fellow food truck competitor El GastrĂ³nomo Vagabundo was next up with their Late Night Lamb Sandwich served with Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc. Adam Hynam-Smith's creation of braised lamb shank with garlic labneh, chili mint relish, and fried rosemary was an eccentric interpretation. The competition was filling out, as were our stomachs.

Taco ThrowdownNext up was our host's Rock Lobster's Dr. Seuss Taco paired with Tequila Tromba Sunrise. This combo racked up points for originality for Chef Matt Petit. The inventive creation of scrambled duck eggs and spinach, topped off with pork belly and hollandaise dared traditionalists. The taco was surprisingly light, and the creamed spinach nicely complimented the crispy pork.

Death Row MealsRounding out the competition was Fonda Lola. Andres Marquez served up deliciously spiced Tacos el Pastor paired with Sailor Jerry and Coke. Gourmet Bitches' chef Shontelle Pinch prepared our last taco of the day, The Mystery Machine Taco served with a Forty Creek Sour. These flavourful last morsels satisfied our final taco fix. We knew the matchup was tight as we were all left guessing who would be crowned Taco Throwdown Champion.

Taco ThrowdownTHE RESULTS

Writing and photos by Terri Tu.



andiwaslikeyeah / January 29, 2013 at 09:55 am
So, a chicken strip taco won?

I can't believe people actually shelled out 60 bucks for this.

TacoTaco / January 29, 2013 at 10:01 am
The taco you have pictured for El Gastronomo is actually Andres Marquez's entry.
Nick / January 29, 2013 at 10:05 am
Christ that girl in the first photo is hot.

Shame I missed this event, looks like it was a good time.
JJ / January 29, 2013 at 10:16 am
bet the grand electric scrapple could have dummied any of these
Tim replying to a comment from TacoTaco / January 29, 2013 at 10:59 am
Thanks for the note. This has now been updated.
CC replying to a comment from andiwaslikeyeah / January 29, 2013 at 11:14 am
It was $60 for 6 tacos, 7 drink pairings and proceeds went to charity. Not bad.
Ling Gu / January 29, 2013 at 11:43 am
I regret not being able to attend. Hopefully they will have a 3rd annual Taco Throwdown next year.
bobby / January 29, 2013 at 11:44 am
bobby / January 29, 2013 at 11:44 am
bobby / January 29, 2013 at 11:45 am
Daniel / January 29, 2013 at 01:33 pm
last few years its been burgers, donuts, pizza, bacon. 2012 was the year of the taco.

come on hipsters! we are almost done January 2013 and you are still eating tacos! what gives???
B / January 30, 2013 at 10:00 am
Stop serving baby tacos.
MGS / January 30, 2013 at 10:25 am
@bobby - Why are you yelling? Seven Lies makes fantastic tacos but these were all very talented chefs who created some unique pieces.

All proceeds went to charity and Death Row Meals put on a great event with great food and great people.
bobby replying to a comment from MGS / January 30, 2013 at 04:57 pm
Because it's so cheesy, tacos are street food. I find "elevated" tacos to be so try-hard and silly, and pairing them with wine etc. is just pretentious. Why did it have to be tacos anyways? They could have just left out the tortillas and stuck with elegant dishes. and PS I was not yelling, I was laughing.
Jess replying to a comment from bobby / February 22, 2013 at 01:42 pm
You think its pretentious, yet you feel the need to mock with your hateful comments?

Way to fuel the stigma of Toronto being a city of haters. Thanks!
Rob replying to a comment from bobby / February 22, 2013 at 02:00 pm
You're right, Bobby, but as usual, the cry of "haaaaater" bellows in the distance. In Los Angeles or Phoenix, a buck fifty gets you a taco more authentic than anything in Canada and the chefs don't even know what the hell a wine pairing is.

If anything is typical Toronto, Jess, it's paying several times more for a food that's supposed to be humble and then being a dick when people point this out.
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