Nikki Tries Two Dozen Tacos and Lives to Talk About It: Judging the Arizona Taco Festival

Taco story --Hamm's.jpg
Can a Hamm's help?
Each contestant presented six tacos (one for each judge) in a specially designed box with six compartments. Contestants were allowed to decorate the boxes to the hilt, just as long as they didn't identify their restaurant or team name in any way.

Some came plain; some came fancy. And I found, over time, that once I got past the cute little sombrero or the clever serving plate, what really mattered to me most was how the taco tasted. We'd been told to think of it in just that way in our how-to-evaluate-a-taco class the week before, and that little insight proved to be true. Who gives a damn if the box is cute when the taco sucks? And conversely, who cares what the box looks like if the taco is delish? Even a cold Hamm's beer, tucked in the box (contestants were encouraged to be outlandish; beer bribes were okay too) didn't really add to or detract from the taco itself.

As the first box hit the table, our team leader opened it to show us how it was decorated, then passed out the six identical tacos inside, which we placed in the first square (of six) on our tasting placemats, adding the number our team leader called out in the top right corner of the square. We added that same number to our score sheets, proceeding in this fashion until our placemats contained six different tacos and our numbers were plugged in. Now we were ready to start eating and evaluating.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

WOW! I'm so HUNGRY right now! Will def have to check out Milagro and Palacio.

Now Trending

From the Vault