While Taco Fest celebrated its inaugural year last year, 2022 proves to be the year it flexes hard: Bringing in a stunning list of taco offerings, it cements the festival as a premiere event among a seemingly endless list of taco festivals.
This is a part of Flavors of Long Beach, a season-long celebration of local food from Brian Addison, James Tir (aka @LBFoodComa) and Long Beach Living, with stories, events, dinners and more.
Last year’s inaugural Long Beach Taco Festival wasn’t, by any means, an unsuccessful story: The folks behind LB Living, particularly including owner Sal Flores-Trimble and marketing director Dan O’Brian, wanted to start a tradition that lifts up the humble-but-mighty taco to new heights in Long Beach.But this year’s festival seems to be a bit more of a flex toward achieving that goal, bringing in some of the region’s best taco joints—not just Long Beach—something that showcases Long Beach is as much its own entity as it is a neighbor with its bigger sister, Los Angeles.
“It’s obviously more than just about tacos,” Flores-Trimble, a Jalisco native and longtime Long Beach resident, said. “For me, it is about uplifting my own heritage and Long Beach itself: The tacos, the music, the classic cars… It’s really a celebration of where Mexican and Long Beach cultures meet.”While it includes local heavyweights like Chef Ulises Pineda-Alfaro will be bringing the tacos from Retro Row’s El Barrio Cantina, Chef Manuel Bañuelos’s vastly underrated Fonda Tobalá, the also-underrated Honduras Kitchen, guisado masters La Chancla, Chef Beeline Krouch’s Cambo-meets-Mexican grub wonder that is Chinitos…
It is also bringing in L.A.’s “gothtromp” masters Evil Cooks, husband-and-wife, king-and-queen Elvia Huerta and Alex Garcia’s pastor heaven that not only earned them a spot on the Los Angeles Times’s Best 101 Restaurants (despite not having a brick-and-mortar) but has rightfully garnered them a cult-like following.Joining them from Los Angeles will be asadero kinds Chikali, whose massive following is rightfully earned with their massive, handmade flour tortillas and masterful takes on guisado-style tacos.
But for Evil Cooks, it also marks a return home.
In Los Angeles, they are known as the Gothtrompo pioneers, using their own take on the Yucateco adobo-like paste called recado negro to create pitch black versions of pastor that are as visually luring as they are tasty.In Long Beach, they were known as the humble Torta Wednesday masters at the now-closed Los Primos restaurant near 6th and Atlantic, the very gig that brought Evil Cooks to life.
“Long Beach is my house and I’m excited to return back,” Alex said. “It was the place of my first pop-up ever and it only feels right to come back with some tacos and love.”
Joining the Long Beach and L.A. legends will also be a slew of top-tier taco trucks, including the much-loved Mini Birrieria, Gone Loco, 600 Tacos,
Of course, as Flores-Trimble noted, it’s not just about the tacos: Live music—including cumbia—, a lineup of classic cars to peruse while downing some beer, and a full-bar brought to you by none other than local legend Lola’s.
Long Beach Taco Fest 2022 takes place on Saturday, June 18, at the Scottish Rite Theater in DTLB. For tickets, click here.