Tacos – from chile verde, birria, to asada o al pastor and even vegan tacos - were definitely a hot commodity Thursday night at the annual Taco Truck Throwdown 8 ‘The Ocho,’ the biggest taco event at the Chukchansi Park.
This is the second year the event has eaten up two days, Thursday being the kickoff to the world’s largest taco event with more than 30 of the Central Valley’s finest taco trucks open for business. Friday is the non-game day portion of the Taco Truck Throwdown with doors opening at 5 p.m. The event includes musical entertainment featuring Ramón Ayala and the World Taco Eating Championship.
No even 105-degree weather stopped tacos lovers from enjoying tacos with their hot salsa while keeping cools with cold drinks and hand fans.
For Alex López, 32 and his wife Gisela López, 33, this is the first time they take part with their taco truck Taquería La Auténtica.
“We were invited and we are trying it out to see how it is,” said Alex López. “We are excited.”
La Taquería La Auténtica was offering five kinds of tacos – asada, adobada, chicken, tripas and birria with approximately 60 pounds of asada to start and 30 pounds of adobada at the Inyo Lot, Gisela López said, adding that they got four cases of tortillas from La Tapatia Tortillas, the main sponsort.
Other sponsors included Save Mart, New Image Pool Interiors, A-Plus Signs, Eyeglass World and iHeart Media.
“We came prepared. Asada is like the No. 1,” said Gisela López.
Gisela López said they opened their taquería 10 months ago in September 2017 and they mostly do events.
She said her mother and herself came up with the name for the taco truck because they cook authentic Mexican food for their customers.
“We cook from the heart. Its great quality, it is good,” said Gisela López, whose parents are from Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Gisela López said they decided to make the birria (goat meat) tacos for the judges since most of the time the judges would get carne asada tacos.
“We figure we would throw in them a curveball and hit them with birria,” she said, adding the tacos included cilantro, anions and salsa roja and lime on the side. “I like it. It’s good so fingers crossed.”
And on the other side of the stadium at the Tulare Plaza, the La Jacka Mobile taco truck was ready to serve its vegan – chile verde jackfruit and al pastor jackfruit – tacos as well as its meat tacos that included asada, pastor, chicken, tripas, cabeza and chile verde.
This is the third consecutive year Miriam Martinez, owner of La Jacka Mobile, has taken part in the Taco Truck Throwdown.
“The first year we didn’t know what we were getting into,” said Martinez in Spanish. “The second year we came better prepared and we knew what was going on.”
Martinez said thanks to the first year of taking part of the TTT, her business began to get recognition in Fresno and people began to learn about the exotic jackfruit that can be used in tacos too as a great vegan option.
Rudy Sauceda and Patty López were many of the thousands that came to the taco event Thursday night.
For López, it was her third year, while for Sauceda it was his sixth year.
“I love tacos and a cold beer,” Sauceda said, who already had four carnitas tacos from the taco truck Jaliscience. But he was waiting to try a good tripas taco later in the game.
Both Sauceda and López were planning on attending the second day of the taco event to enjoy Ayala’s music.
Thursday event also included the local qualifier taco-eating contest, with the winner Zach Armas advancing to the take on the professional eaters in the World Taco Eating Championship on Friday night.
The 23-year-old Armas, of Clovis, hopes to get fourth or fifth place at Friday’s championship since last year he got sixth place.
This year the judges’ choice award went to El Mexicano taco truck, with Los Toritos taking second place and Pita Kabob taking third place.
There was a baseball game between the Fresno Tacos (nee Grizzlies) and the Sacramento River Cats Thursday night.
After falling behind 6-0, the home team bounced back with an RBI sacrifice fly from Antonio Núñez in the bottom of the 10th inning for an 8-7 win.
Derek Fisher smacked a grand slam to left field in the bottom of the eighth to help the Tacos cause.
The Tacos/Grizzlies improved to 56-41 on the season.