LA Weekly
Tacolandia 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014
3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

El Pueblo de Los Angeles
125 Paseo De La Plz
Los Angeles, CA 90012


LA Weekly's Tacolandia awards reflect our commitment to celebrating the hard working vendors that make Los Angeles a delicious place to live and to highlight one of our greatest national obsessions — that of the taco. We've carefully selected an expert panel to judge this year's awards from the LA Weekly editorial staff, and from recognized experts in the food world to ensure a meaningful ceremony — yes — we take tacos seriously here at LA Weekly's Tacolandia, where all your dreams come true.

Weekly Awards chosen by the judging panel:
Best in Show
Tacolandia's Best Traditional Taco
Tacolandia's Best Non-Traditional Taco
Tacolandia Hall of Fame

LA Weekly's Tacolandia is also excited to partner with the Los Angeles Vendy Awards who will be awarding the Vendy Cup award for the best street taco! The Vendy Awards will be judged by Zach Brooks, Bryan Petroff, and Colby Keller.

Simon Majumdar

Simon Majumdar is a broadcaster and author who has dedicated the second half of his time on this planet to fulfill his ambition to "Go Everywhere. Eat Everything". It is a journey that has taken him to all fifty states and to dozens of countries around the world. He has written two books; Eat My Globe and Eating for Britain. His new book, Fed, White and Blue which catalogues his journey to American citizenship, will be published by Hudson Street Press in 2015. If you spend too much time watching television, you may also recognize his bald head from Food Network shows such as Iron Chef America, The Next Iron Chef and Cutthroat Kitchen. He lives in Los Angeles.

Jet Tila

Celebrated as a culinary luminary, Jet was appointed as the inaugural Culinary Ambassador of Thai Cuisine by the Royal Thai Consul-General, Los Angeles and is the first-ever chef to represent his country's culture and cuisine in the United States.

Tila was also featured as the New York Times Dining section cover story for his monthly Thai Town tours in L.A. A born "culinary storyteller," Jet is also known for having set multiple World Records—world's largest fresh fruit salad at over 15,000 lbs., world's largest stir fry (4,010 pounds) twice; the largest seafood stew (6,500 pounds); and the longest California roll (440 feet)—and his recurring celebrity chef appearances on Cutthroat Kitchen, Guy's Grocery Games, Iron Chef America, Chopped, The Best Thing I Ever Ate (Giada De Laurentiis chose his Drunken Noodles as the best thing she ever ate with chopsticks), Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and CNN's Parts Unknown, Jet Tila is nationally recognized for his culinary expertise in Modern Asian cuisine. Growing up in L.A.'s Thai Town — home to the largest Thai population outside of Thailand (roughly 80,000 of California's estimated 120,000 Thai Americans live in Los Angeles) — Jet learned the ancient traditions of Asian cuisine from his Cantonese grandmother while lending a hand at his family's famed Bangkok Market — the first Thai Market to open in the U.S. in the 70's — and Royal Thai restaurant. Although Tila's culinary curiosity has allowed him to experience multiple endeavors from opening Wazuzu at the Wynn Las Vegas in a record 98 days to partnering with Compass Group — the world's largest food-service company — Jet has always remained deeply rooted to his Thai-Chinese culture which is prevalent in his cooking. Jet continues to share his culture and culinary expertise through his intimate and ever-popular "Melting Pot Tours" of L.A.'s vibrant Thai Town, offering participants a curated taste of his favorite hidden neighborhood gems. Additionally, in May 2013, Tila was honored with the prestigious "Dream of Los Angeles" Award by the City of Los Angeles for igniting a renewed interest in Pan-Asian cuisine through dedication to his Thai and Chinese roots and passion for the culinary arts inside and outside the kitchen.

Adam Goldberg

Adam Goldberg is a software engineer from New York and is the blogger and photographer behind A Life Worth Eating. The website has gone from being a personal restaurant blog to becoming a resource for chefs and culinary enthusiasts eager to try the world's top restaurants. Adam has lived throughout Mexico for nearly five years giving him a unique perspective to one of the world's great cuisines.

Gustavo Arellano

Gustavo Arellano is the editor of OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, author of Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, and lecturer with the Chicana and Chicano Studies department at California State University, Fullerton. He writes "¡Ask a Mexican!," a nationally syndicated column in which he answers any and all questions about America's spiciest and largest minority. The column has a weekly circulation of over 2 million in 39 newspapers across the United States, won the 2006 and 2008 Association of Alternative Weeklies award for Best Column, and was published in book form by Scribner Press in May 2007. Arellano has been the subject of press coverage in national and international newspapers, The Today Show, Hannity, Nightline, Good Morning America, Chelsea Lately and The Colbert Report. He is currently a consulting producer on Bordertown, a FOX animated show scheduled to debut January 2015. Gustavo is the recipient of the Los Angeles Press Club's 2007 President's Award and an Impacto Award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and was recognized by the California Latino Legislative Caucus with a 2008 Spirit Award for his "exceptional vision, creativity, and work ethic." Gustavo is a lifelong resident of Orange County and is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants, one whom was illegal.

Amy Scattergood

Amy Scattergood is the Weekly's food editor. A longtime food writer, she was formerly on the food section staff at the LA Times and has won a James Beard award for cookbook writing.

Besha Rodell

Besha Rodell has been LA Weekly's restaurant critic since 2012. Australian by birth, she has lived and eaten in Melbourne, New York, North Carolina, Atlanta, and too many other places to mention. She has been writing about food for over a decade, and has received multiple awards, including a James Beard Award in 2014. She likes tacos. And whiskey.

Zach Brooks (Vendy Award Judge)

Zach Brooks is the founder of Midtown Lunch, and host of the Food is the New Rock podcast where every week he and Chuck P (from KCRW and iTunes Radio) talk to a chef about music or a musician about food. His writing has been published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine and Food & Wine Magazine, who named him one of their "40 Big Thinkers 40 & Under" in 2010.

Bryan Petroff (Vendy Award Judge)

Bryan Petroff is the co-founder of Big Gay Ice Cream. Big Gay Ice Cream's seasonal truck debuted in NYC in June 2009, and since then, the business has seen a whirlwind of publicity and has become a New York favorite. After two successful pop-ups on the West Coast, Big Gay Ice Cream will open its first shop outside of Manhattan in the revitalized downtown section of Los Angeles in Spring 2014. In addition to that, Bryan and Douglas, his co-founder, are also finishing their first cookbook. Big Gay Ice Cream Book will be published in Spring 2015 by Clarkson Potter. Big Gay Ice Cream has been featured in numerous domestic and international publications, as well as TV and radio programs on network television, Cooking Channel, Food Network, VH-1, and more, in addition to featured guests on The Rachael Ray Show and contributors to Unique Sweets.

Colby Keller (Vendy Award Judge)

Colby Keller knows tacos. As a native Texan this veteran porn performer may have a platinum card in "queer studies," but his true passion is Latin cuisine. From Chihuahua to Jalisco, there's no salsa this one hasn't tried.