Festivals

This Year’s Tacolandia Left Us Full, Sunkissed and Stoked for Dallas’ Taco Scene

Chilangos Tacos won for the best overall taco.
Chilangos Tacos won for the best overall taco. Kelsey Shoemaker
The Shed of the Dallas Farmers Market was packed by 4:06 p.m. for the Dallas Observer Tacolandia.

It's time like these, one says, "VIP is always the way to go." That got us in at 3 p.m., and we were able to get through a good chunk of restaurants before the massive crowd showed up.

That was helpful, as I had with me Philip Kingston, who writes for us when not doing lawyer things, and Adam Medrano, Dallas' mayor pro tem, to judge the tacos at the event.

click to enlarge Thanks to Philip Kingston and Adam Medrano for helping judge this year's tacos, even if you both make me look short. - PAUL HILLE
Thanks to Philip Kingston and Adam Medrano for helping judge this year's tacos, even if you both make me look short.
Paul Hille
Early on, Bailey Criado, our promotions and event coordinator, showed up, offering to help us skip lines so we could consume as many tacos as possible. "Nah," I said as politely as possible but thinking it would be easy enough; we had hours to make our way around.


Come those minutes after 4 p.m., I texted her that, sure, we could use her help. (Really I wanted to send a Bitmoji indicating dire distress, but I aimed to be a more professional judge of tacos.)

click to enlarge Just a small sampling of all the tacos we ate - TAYLOR ADAMS
Just a small sampling of all the tacos we ate
Taylor Adams
Kingston, Medrano and I ended up huddled over a table donned with a red tablecloth, surely meant for something more important than our spread of filled tortillas. Medrano and I tapped out sooner, but managed to keep tasting despite feeling so full. Turns out Kingston has a talent for really packing away tacos, at least when the onus is on him to make good judgment.

We survived, with the help of plenty of shade and decent beer. One of my favorite taco places ended up landing in a category, and the best overall taco resulted in the most wonderful excitement from the young woman.


Here are your 2019 Tacolandia winners:

  • Best non-traditional taco: House of Blues Dallas
  • Best traditional taco: Cuates Kitchen
  • Best vegetarian taco: Del Sur Tacos
  • Bests beef taco: Riki's Takos
  • Best overall taco: Chilangos Tacos
  • People's choice: Taqueria Taxco

Aside from telling you who won and that we were really hungry, I can give you one more thing. That's not tacos, but it is photos. Kelsey Shoemaker was there for the event, taking far better photos than I could possibly. So check them out to relive the day.
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.