Austin Food Challenge Taco Tourney Round 1
4/17/2012 5:04:00 PM
This past Sunday I participated in the Austin Food Challenge's Taco Munch Madness Round 1. For those unfamiliar with AFC, here is a little break down of what it is and how it works: AFC puts some of Austin's best foods against each other in a blind taste test where selected Austin foodies get to vote on which is their favorite. To participate in this food challenge all you have to do is go to their site and register.
The Monday before the scheduled event, names are picked at random to participate in that week’s challenge. AFC not only puts some of Austin’s best foes against each other, but each event is a fundraiser for a local visual artist, where all proceeds go to a selected local artist to help them raise money for an upcoming project.
On Sunday, my partner in crime Tasha and I drove down to a private residence in South Austin, where Austin Food Challenge founder Jay greeted us with hearty thanks for our participation. As we made our way to the backyard, the patio was already filled with fellow foodies talking and having drinks. Among the beverages of choice were freshly made Aqua Fresco de Sandia (with optional Serrano peppers) or Stoney's Beer (one of the event’s official sponsors). As we got ourselves situated, Jay addressed us on how the event would be structured – we’d be taste-testing four tacos; two of which would be eliminated, and two that would go on to the next round at the next event. We’d rate the tacos on a 1(best)-5(worst) scale, based on two main factors - taste and presentation.
Not only would tacos have to battle it out; cupcakes were up for judgment, too. After the tacos were cleared away, there was a cupcake challenge, pitting 2 cupcakes against each other. The catch? As participants, we’re kept in the dark about the winning items, so that they can move on to the next round blindly.
As taco A and taco B were set alongside our scorecards, we all geared up for the tasting. Taco A was a very simple steak taco wrapped in a flour tortilla. Taco B, however, had more depth to it as it came with tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce. It seemed pretty clear that most of us liked taco B over A. White rice, chips and salsa were soon set in front us to compliment our tacos as we all discussed which we liked and why. Our gracious hosts offered up some wine to go with the tacos while the second taste-test was being prepared.
Taco C came with grilled onions and was a good tasting taco, but as soon as I bit into D it was over for me. The meat was tender great flavor and came with grilled green onions. Same as before, it was clear that Taco D was the favored taco and to many was the best one of the event.
Soon after the second taste test was cleared the cupcake challenge was underway. We had two chocolate cupcakes - one with rainbow sprinkles and one with chocolate sprinkles. Both were quickly eaten, and a discussion followed on which was the best. I’m more of a chocolate sprinkles guy, myself, so cupcake A won out for me.
Scorecards were collected and Jay opened the floor up to Jennifer Sherburn - one of the reasons we were all there. As a collection bowl was passed around, Jennifer (a long time choreographer) explained to us what the money raised at the event will be used for her upcoming project, 90 Knots for the Fusebox Festival. As a thank you, she will be performing a private show for all her contributors before her Fusebox performance.After much anticipation, Jay came out and told us the results, which were not a surprise -taco B and taco D would be advancing to the next round alongside Cupcake A. With some food left over we all snacked on more tacos and cupcakes and continued our conversations on this wonderful Sunday afternoon. It was a great way to spend a lazy Sunday and I’m personally looking forward to many more AFC events.
Two down. Fourteen to go.
Adios, Sazon and El Mercado.
Sugar Mama's James Brown narrowly defeated Hey Cupcake!'s Double Dose.
(click image to enlarge)