Taco festival is the talk of the town


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San Jose held its first Taco Festival at History Park in East San Jose.

The entrance fee was $10, and the average taco price was $2.00.  About 2,000 people attended the festival along with a few dozen taco trucks.

This eliminated the challenges of location, cost and ambiance from the normal judging criteria and allowed for more focus on the most important detail: the food.

Once inside, we made our way straight up the street and followed our ears to the western stage where the Tumbleweed Wanderers were performing some fantastic folk music. The band blended the sounds of mandolin, stand-up bass, acoustic guitar, banjo and a five-piece drum kit to give a fantastic festive atmosphere to the festival.

The first stop for tacos was Big Shrimpin’. After trying the grilled shrimp taco as well as the fried butterfly shrimp taco, we agreed the meat could use some new flavor.

As the day progressed, it became clear that the sauce Big Shrimpin’ uses was the most delicious taco sauce we had all day. It had some spice, but also a deep, savory flavor with garlic undertones.

Our next stop was the WoW Silog truck, which was offering up a spicy corned-beef taco with pico de gallo and nacho cheese. The nacho cheese overran the flavor of the taco leaving no real taste of the corned beef or the fresh-looking salsa.

We continued in our trek through the festival in search of a taco that could blow our minds, and tongues, out of the water.

Just a short walk away, we came across MoGo BBQ. Their chicken taco was marinated in a wonderful sauce and served with a blend of greens on top.

This sauce was almost as good as Big Shrimpin’s. The flavors were distinct, yet blended in perfect quantity and harmony to create a symphony of taste.

Right next to MoGo BBQ was the Louisiana Territory Cajun Cookin’ truck, which took the idea of a fish taco and gave it some sweet-hot cajun flavoring.

The catfish taco was so hot I began to sweat in the shade of the trees at the park, and the flavors in the taco rose above that heat to create a second tribute to the gods of flavor.

Offering the greatest variety of meat and condiments, Tacos de Los Altos’ selection boasts, “If you do not love the taco you receive you can only blame yourself.”

The taco was not disappointing at all, but it paled in comparison to the flavorful experiences already found that day. Tacos de Los Altos had the most authentic tacos at the festival.

The final stop was at the extremely long line of Treatbot, the lone dessert-taco vendor at the San Jose Taco Festival.

As a dessert, these tacos were literally in a league of their own. The Fried Horchata Ice Cream taco was served in a crepe rather than the traditional corn tortilla, and it was topped in shaved almonds.

It was the perfect mixture of sweet, flavorful and cold to soothe parched palates in the late afternoon sun.

As the day drew toward a close, we enjoyed watching luchadores wrestling, great music, live and recorded and had fun chats with many of the attendees of the festival.

San Jose offers a great selection of great food, so you can leave your heart in San Francisco, but I’m keeping my stomach right here in San Jose.


Score Breakdown:

Louisiana Territory            10 out of 10

MoGo BBQ                           10 out of 10

Treatbot                                  9 out of 10

Tacos de Los Altos                8 out of 10

Big Shrimpin’                         7 out of 10

WoW Silog Truck                  5 out of 10


Overall Event: 9 out of 10