The Brooklyn Taco Experiment – It was everything and more

The awards presentation

The awards presentation

I might sound trite. I might sound like a sap. I might sound like an ego maniac. I might, I might, I might…

This is difficult for me to write, but the Taco Experiment was an utter success. What made it a success? The People. Whether chefs or audience, it made no difference. Everyone was prepared to have a good time. This was the most exciting event for me because of the grand prize. We had two round trip tickets to Mexico to hand over. It feels great to reward hard work. I wanted to secure this prize for the winner ever since we decided to put on this little shindig. I sent 50 emails looking for a connection. Finally, my friend Isela of Hernan Housewares emailed me with a contact for a representative of Aero Mexico, a cool cat named Oscar. I see why Bob Barker never wanted to retire or why Reggis Philbin asked who wanted to be a millionaire.

The chef’s made some incredible food. I am not exaggerating. I felt as if our chefs were hitting their stride.  It wasn’t just pork my friends. We had duck, short ribs, brisket, oxtail, goat, chicken, marrow, and a giant sized Lipitor. Even though I felt I had an alien bursting from the side of my gut, I could have had more. It took the judges a longer time than usual to come up with a winner, everything was so good.

It wasn’t easy for Nick and myself either. We had much debate over the winner of the Nick and Theo prize. To call it a debate might be a slight exaggeration, Nick was slipping in and out of a meat coma. After taco 20, we both started to lose it. Unlike other events, where we usually only have a bite of each competitors dish, we were eating entire tacos.  I have seen Nick in a meat coma once before at The Food & Wine Meatball Madness competition. The first symptom is broth flavored sweat, followed by confusion and hallucinating. It finally concludes with a meat bomb gently resting against all one’s major organs. Now I know where my spleen is located, I still do not know its function. Oddly enough, I left the stage, missed a taco, and in a state of panic rushed over to the competitor to get  a taste. I had already had 25 tacos!!! What was I thinking?? With meat filling all the space in our heads, making a decision was rough. I admire the Judges as they plowed through competitor after competitor looking for greatness.

Love it

Love it

The best was having secret judge, Fernando Martinez of the Red Hook Ball fields, examine the lot. He had a totally different perspective than the rest. After all, he makes meat tacos everyday. The last thing he is going to favor on his day off is another meat taco. Thank god I am not a betting man because I feel vegetarians are operating with a handicap when they enter these contests. YET, he chose the grilled Halloumi Cheese taco as his favorite, a VEGETARIAN option. The world is flipping sideways and now my Fiancee can stick a feather in her cap. Oy vey!

Fiancee Rockin the Voting Box

Fiancee Rockin the Voting Box

On a side note, we had the tortillas GENEROUSLY provided by Tortilleria Chinantla. The reason we sought out a tortilla sponsor was to relieve an expense to the chefs. We know its difficult – remember Nick and I compete (though I did retire recently for the second time). But, I did not think the logistics through. It was difficult for some chef to get the corn tortillas heated properly. I take blame for that and I feel guilty. I know its hard work. Our job is to make the chefs’ job easier, even though I give them shit. It’s out of love and respect. For the upcoming Egg Experiment, we will be providing eggs to everyone in advance.

Holy Goat

Holy Goat

I think anyone who credits themselves for the success of an event is an idiot. I am no idiot. The people to thank are numerous. Starting with the Chefs, all of you! and Mark Kupa, Dick Swizzle, Naomi (I am so sorry that the room was left a mess), all the various volunteers, the clan de Suarez, the judges, the sponsor, and most of all my Fiancee and future wife!


The Grand Prize Winner - Serious Business

The Grand Prize Winner - Serious Business


1st Place – #12 John Schnapp Serious Business Taco (2 Round-trip
Tickets to Anywhere in Mexico Courtesy of AeroMexico)

2nd Place – #24 Mike Leahy Fat Mikey’s ($100 Cash + $250 Jimmy’s 43
Gift Certificate)

3rd Place – #2 Jason Marcus Breakfast Taco ($50 Cash + Whisk Gift
Certificate + $25 Calexico Gift Certificate)


1st Place – #1 Andrey Ayrapetov Carnitas ($50 Calexico Gift
Certificate + Red Hook Vendor Private Tour + Red Hook Vendor’s Lunch
with 3 Friends

2nd Place – #20 Mike McGowan Shredded Beef Rib Tacos ($50 Cascabel
Gift Certificate + Red Hook Vendor Private Tour + Red Hook Vendor’s
Lunch with 1 Friend)

3rd Place – #24 Mike Leahy Fat Mikey’s (Bark Beer Growler + $35 Bark
Gift Certificate)

SECRET JUDGE PRIZE – Judge by Fernando Martinez – Country Boys Taco
Truck – 2009 Vendy Award Winner

#17 Sabrina Mossberg Halloumi Steak Taco (Hernan
Botanero/Tortillero/Tequilero Set + $25 Calexico Gift Certificate)


#15 Alyssa Lees Beef/Pork Chile with Tequila Creme and Spicy Toffee
Dessert (Ultimate T-shirt Prize + Crif Dog Skateboard + Tortilleria
Chinantla Clock + 4 Tickets to the Sold Out Lost Premiere at the Bell

2 Responses to “The Brooklyn Taco Experiment – It was everything and more”

  1. 1 Priya February 15, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    A gracious and delicious post! Congrats on the engagement, too, Theo 🙂

    lots of love,

  2. 2 TEDDY February 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you P…

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