So we’ve made it to the final category that I got to judge!
I definitely missed pictures on this last category. Sadly, I missed Delta Bound’s Catfish Taco with Corn Salsa that took the Runner Up spot. And I think I missed a few after that.
Unfortunately, we heard that a truck missed the turn in time by seconds. So we were sad to hear. Especially when I discovered it was Smoke Et Al with a pork belly taco. After the fact, I discovered that there were a few other trucks who were so busy serving up their eats to hungry Nashvillians, that they were unable to take the time to prep their food for the turn in! I can tell you that Best Taco was a VERY VERY VERY tight category. Everything that was turned in was enjoyed by the judges. I distinctly recall everyone just groaning with delight after biting into each taco.
These were not your momma’s tacos. These were not your tacos that “Live Mas”. These tacos were outside of the box and really defining in their flavors.
We started off with a seared tuna taco. I’m a huge fan of Tuna Tatake which I always order when I go to Peter’s Sushi & Thai in Franklin. So when I bit into this and saw the seared tuna, I got really excited. It had a wonderful fresh flavor and was surprisingly light (not in volume, but in flavor). I found out later that afternoon after the judging was complete that Jonbalaya had entered this taco. I was really impressed. It shows the versatility of Jonbalaya. This wasn’t a taco you were going to find on their truck on Saturday. It was created for the Best Taco category. And they really blew this taco out of the park. I cannot speak for the other judges, but I really did enjoy this a lot. Even now, when I look at the pictures of it, I still say to myself, “Man that was a really fresh and tasty taco.” So I was happy that this was a top 3 taco coming in as the 2nd Runner Up. It definitely was in my top 3 of all the entrants.
The catfish taco from Delta Bound was insane. The corn salsa was really sweet. The breading on the catfish was flavorful and it was fried to a perfect gold. I did eat the whole taco. But luckily our judge’s servings of the catfish taco was only a 1/2 taco. And it is truly unfortunate that I did not get the picture of this. I’ll get a picture next time I hit their truck, because I will DEFINITELY be ordering these up!
The winner of Best Taco ended up going to Riff’s Fine Street Food for their Korean BBQ taco. This was the one taco that every judge ate every bite of. Well, a few judges were smart and saved their remaining bites for after the judging was over. But ultimately every bite of every one of these tacos were gobbled up. Next time I see Riff’s out and about and they have the Korean BBQ tacos on the menu, I’m ordering a full taco. The flavors exploded in your mouth. It was insane and quickly vaulted into the top spot for myself. I cannot speak for the other judges, but seeing as this was the ultimate winner, I have to believe they felt the same!!!
The majority of the tacos received were smoked or bbq meat. It wasn’t ground meat mixed with a taco seasoning packet. It makes me wonder why I got excited all those years growing up when mom made “Do It Yourself Taco Bar” for dinner. I feel like my childhood was jipped because these food truck tacos were not in my world. The good thing is that they are now. And your kids don’t have to be deprived of good tacos.
I give super kudos to all of the trucks who stepped outside of their comfort zone to enter categories. Jonbalaya’s Vegetarian Sushi and Seared Tuna Tacos are 2 main examples. And I cannot give them enough cheers for that. And for the presentation points, RetroSno and Jonbalaya showed how it should be done!
Congrats to all of the entrants!!! I wish I could give more insight into the other categories, but alas, I cannot. I hope that next year, I will be able to be a judge again. This was TRULY one of the most spectacular events for any foodie.
Here are the pictures from Best Taco. Again, my apologies to those entrants that I missed (Delta Bound and Wrapper’s Delight are two of the ones I missed). The judging was going quickly and it was hard to keep up with all the containers being brought our way!
Thank you again to the Nashville Food Truck Association for asking me to be a judge!!! And thank you to all of the fellow judges as you made my experience THAT much more entertaining!!!!
Until the next food truck visit!!!! I really urge you Nashvillians to step out of the box when it comes to what truck you try. Don’t just go to the one with the longest line because you think they are trendy. You are missing out on so many amazing eats that you can’t make at home.
See you all at the trucks!