Californians love few things more than a Taco Tuesday. You’ll be hard-pressed to meet someone in Southern California that hasn’t enjoyed a mid-week taco. But until you’ve tried six of the best tacos in Los Angeles while sipping on mezcal in an exclusive members-only club near the beach, you haven’t done Taco Tuesday the Reserve way.
Last Tuesday, Reserve sponsored its first Chef Battle: The Ultimate Taco Tuesday. On a warm summer evening in Santa Monica, the smells of saltwater mixed with fresh tortillas as guests mingled in 41 Ocean’s ivy-covered courtyard. El Silencio poured premium Mezcal drinks as guests eagerly waited to sample tacos from three of LA’s favorite chefs — all to benefit charity!
Each taco aficionado brought his A-game to the battlefield, keeping guests’ taste buds on the edge of their seats…
The home team, 41 Ocean, took over the inside dining room to serve up their premium tacos. While representing LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade, Chef Patrick Florendo presented a Crispy Fish Taco with arbol chile salsa and a Portobello Mushroom Taco. The lightness of the crispy fish was perfectly balanced with the heat of the arbol chiles. The unsuspecting Portobello Mushroom Taco demanded the crowds recognition with it’s heavy hitting flavor.
Dynasty Taco Co. brought flavors to the table from the far east on behalf of the Concern Foundation. Chefs Daniel Vasquez and Anthony Huynh’s Pho King Taco perfectly simulated a bowl of Vietnamese pho using a tortilla as a vessel. The Hanzo Taco, named after the infamous samurai sword from Kill Bill, was handcrafted with care and featured multiple fresh ingredients including eggplant karaage, Kewpie mayo, okonomi sauce, red cabbage and serrano chili.
The champion, Tacos Punta Cabras, gave the crowd of attendees a taste of their critically acclaimed taco shop. With Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign in mind, Chefs Josh Gil and Daniel Snukal exhibited a Crispy Shrimp Taco as well as a Crispy Asparagus Taco using hand-picked, organic and sustainable ingredients. A firm believer that the tortilla is the most important piece of the taco puzzle, Tacos Punta Cabras had tortillas freshly made onsite in front of all attendees. Tempura battered and lightly fried asparagus sat atop a brown butter corn pudding showered with cherry tomatoes, avocado and a mild chipotle salsa. In contrast, the Crispy Shrimp Taco was assembled with a more traditional approach, dressed with a fresh cabbage slaw and dash of tomatillo salsa.
The evening proved to be an Ultimate Taco Tuesday, made possible by the lovely diners, all-star chefs and tasty Mezcal El Silencio premium cocktails.
Congratulations to Tacos Punta Cabras, our first Chef Battle champion!