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Lard | September 09, 2019

Taco Maria wins the Golden Tortilla in KCRW & Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament

Taco Maria wins the Golden Tortilla in KCRW & Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament

Another year, another thrilling finale for the second edition of my KCRW #TortillaTournament!

New setting: at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, just across from Olvera Street. Some new vendors: El Ruso and Macheen drew long lines for their spectacular Tijuana-style and Alta California tacos, respectively. Two new finalists: HomeState and La Monarca Bakery showed up to battle in the flour tortilla category. And a slightly new format: fivefinalists instead of the Fuerte Four.

But the same commitment to excellence remained. And so did the finalists’ desire to win the Golden Tortilla.

And a hungry, happy crowd to cheer everyone on.

The competition was fierce. Taco Maria and Kernel of Truth returned in the corn category, their tortillas even better than last year. Burritos La Palma also returned, now facing off against HomeState and La Monarca in a triple-threat flour match that rivaled Triple H versus The Rock versus Kurt Angle. All the finalists deftly handled long lines of people eager to try the best tortillas in Southern California.

After tasting them, folks lounged around in LA Plaza’s ample grounds, dug the cumbias and rancheras spun by Raul Campos, and did tortilla art (which is exactly what it sounds like: adults and children alike painted on tortillas) gracias to the titan (and Tin-Tan!) of Tortillas himself, Joe Bravo.

For the finale, the contenders had to prepare fresh tortillas and present them as is. No butter. No salt. No salsa. Just the plain, unadorned tortilla desnuda. And they were presented fresh to the judges: myself, Good Food host Evan Kleiman, Good Food producer, Nick Liao, and KCRW communications chingona Connie Alvarez.

And joining us as a guest judge was comic genius Cristela Alonzo, who kept everyone rolling in laughter with her witty humor and tortilla insight (of one tortilla, she said she’d rather have it saved than her if they were both on the Titanic).