I think one of my favorite things in life is watching the people I grew up with do great things.
SLC Taco Fest is an example of someone I know setting a huge goal, and knocking it out of the park.
Alexis & Marcelo Bayon are the founders of SLC Taco Fest. We shared schools, church, and a neighborhood together. Community engagement has always been important to their family, so it only makes sense that they would take on such a large endeavor to benefit our beautiful city of Salt Lake.
The idea came to them while discussing Taco Festivals they knew of in other states. They realized Utah was lacking, so in proactive fashion, they went about creating one. At the time, Meals on Wheels had been the victim of budget cuts. Given its importance, they decided that the profits of Taco Fest should benefit this organization.
SLC Taco Fest 2018 was a fantastic success, with 11 taco vendors + a churro vendor. There was live entertainment throughout the day, and various family-friendly activities. I wasn’t able to try something from all 11 vendors–my stomach has limits!–but I was able to get to six of them, (one not pictured!).
Here’s the low down on the SLC taco scene
My first taco at Taco Fest came from Culichi Kitchen. I had the Pastor and it was so flavorful! They served the taco with onion, cilantro, cucumber and a lime wedge. I had never eaten cucumber on a taco before, and it’s my new favorite topping. Their avocado salsa was INCREDIBLE. I could put it in a mug and drink it. I will absolutely be trying a copycat of my own.
They won “Best Taco of the Year,” for their shrimp tacos, which I’m bummed I didn’t get to. I’ve never had shrimp in tacos, only white fish and salmon. I’ll have to make a stop to try theirs.
Jurassic Taco won the award for the “Best Classic Taco” of the day, but I don’t know which taco captured that trophy! With a name like “Jurassic Taco,” you know the food is going to be no-frills, and aggressively good.
I went with a classic carne asada at Jurassic Taco, and I wasn’t disappointed. I loved the flavor on the beef, and the spicy salsa definitely packed enough heat for my taste buds. I also tried the carnitas, which were yummy but not as good as the carne asada in my book.
I chose the carne asada taco, but what I REALLY wanted was the Pambazo. However, they didn’t take cards and I was out of cash because it was my last stop. The carne asada taco was delicious, and didn’t have too many onions. I love a good onion, but I don’t need a half cup for one taco! [Maybe I’m just not legit enough…]
Each Taco Fest vendor had their own salsa’s, so I obviously tried as many salsa’s as possible. I must say, it was a tie between Aleph Catering and Culichi salsa. Culichi had an amazing avocado lime flavor, but Aleph had an amazing spicy red. My love for both avocados and spice made it so I couldn’t come up with just one winner.
I would would hire Aleph to cater an event any time! Now I just need to come up with an event…
San Diablo Artisan Churros
These things. I honestly don’t even know how to start. These are the best churros I’ve ever had. We stood in line over an hour, and I was the only person who ordered them. Everyone else regretted that after they had a bite.
I got the trio of classic flavors: nutella, dulce de leche, and sweet cream. I’m pretty sure the sweet cream was sweetened condensed milk, but I could be wrong. They had specialty flavors available, but I always try a classic before I get crazy. Their specialty flavors are seasonal, and they had coconut, pina colada, and raspberry.
The churro was cooked perfectly, and the fillings were so tasty. I loved how they were small, so you could have one of each, but I wasn’t a fan of $3 per 6-inch churro. I paid $7 for 3 small churros with filling, because that was the “deal” for three. That was a little steep for me. But, were they incredibly delicious? Absolutely.
El Calor Taqueria
First of all, let me tell you how SMART this business was to sell sliced fruit + salt, as well as Elote. They were the only vendor at Taco Fest doing so, and the line for Elote was crazy.
A simple street food, Elote is a Mexican classic and they made it well. The ratio of mayonnaise, salt, Cotija cheese, and chile powder was delicious. It tasted like they tossed some lime juice in too, but I can’t be sure. I also grabbed some Watermelon agua fresca here, because there’s literally nothing better than agua fresca on an August afternoon.
I didn’t try their tacos, but Yelp reviews rave about the lengua, so I’m thinking I’ll make a stop at their restaurant in the near future.
Taco’s are great, but it’s more than meat in tortillas…
Small businesses are the life blood of American society. While chain restaurants may be convenient at times, I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys their local Taco Bell over a local taco truck.
It’s important we take the time to find these vendors, grabbing our quick lunches or dinners there instead of the usual fast food fix. The ingredients are better, the price is lower, and the profits go right back into our local economy. If you want authentic, delicious food, it’s up to you to vote with your feet.
When you find a great vendor, take a few seconds to share the link on social media, tell your friends, or bring a friend the next time you visit. So many of these companies exist on word of mouth alone. By sharing positive experiences, you significantly broaden the audience for these small businesses.
For access to SLC Taco Fest’s full list of vendors and future events, visit them here on Facebook, or their Instagram: @slctacofest