Must be 21 years of age or older with valid government issued identification to attend.
Join us for a weekend of tacos, tequila, taps and so much more! Featuring some of the nation’s and region’s top taqueros and chefs, attendees are invited to indulge in decadent hand-crafted tacos and Mexican inspired fare, relish in a variety of fine tequilas and mescals and wash it all down with your favorite local and national beers, wines and seltzers!
Bill Esparza, author of the book, LA Mexicano, and James Beard Award winner in journalism for his coverage of the LA taco scene, is considered one of the country's leading experts on Mexican food.
In addition to the curating services Bill provides for festivals, corporate events and Los Angeles restauranteurs, Bill is the behind the scenes curator as well as on-air contributor for numerous television projects. These include, season two of Street Food for Netflix, two seasons of the Emmy award-winning program The Migrant Kitchen, Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods, I'll Have What Phil's Having, Huang’s World and Top Chef.
Bill has appeared on CNN, and KCRW's radio show Good Food. Bill writes about Mexican food for LA Times, GQ Mexico, Roads & Kingdoms, Eater, Los Angeles Magazine, Food & Wine Magazine and others. A noted saxophone player, Esparza has traveled and eaten extensively throughout Mexico, Latin America, and, of course, Southern California.
Chef Jonathan Zaragoza was raised on Chicago’s Southside by a tight-knit family with strong cooking roots — he recalls standing on a step stool, helping his mother stir eggs as a five year old. At the age of 12, in the backyard of their home, Zaragoza began learning to make birria, roasted goat from Jalisco, in a wood-burning oven built by his grandfather and father. His task was to start the fire, tending to it until the goat was ready to go in for its overnight roast.
In 2007, Birrieria Zaragoza opened its doors giving Zaragoza a platform to create and continue learning from while diving headfirst into Chicago’s hospitality industry. From working at Sepia and Sixteen as a young cook, cutting his teeth on the Michelin circuit, to becoming the chef of Masa Azul at 22, Zaragoza’s culinary abilities have afforded him acclaim and the world as his kitchen. His path has taken him throughout Mexico, deep into its rich culinary heritage, to bring its traditions with him to London, Dubai, Paris and all across the US.
Lately, you’ll find Jonathan cooking at his restaurants Birrieria Zaragoza, Čálli and El Oso when he’s not raising his pup Wednesday.
Guillermo "Oso" Campos was born and raised in Tijuana. Backpacking through Mexico, Campos learned techniques and recipes from each place he visited. Campos traveled light, ensuring he could fill his backpack with gastronomic experiences and ingredients.
Campos appreciation for food stems from the grandmothers and "mayoras" who generously shared their hearts and prepared meals for him. “They have been a true inspiration to me,” said Campos. Furthermore, Campos’ inspiration comes from traditional techniques, expressing his philosophy and ideals by incorporating symbolism into the ingredients used to create each plate.
Just before creating Tacos Kokopelli in 2010, Campos served as the Executive Chef of Expo Parque Bicentenario in Guanajuato. During this time, Campos crafted special meals and menus for prominent figures such as the state governor and the president, Felipe Calderón, among other politicians. Campos eventually decided to leave Expo Parque Bicentenario and return to his native Tijuana, where he would establish a street stand made with recycled tomato wood boxes, embodying the essence of Mexican food with a borderless perspective in mind that comes from being raced in TIJUANA A.K.A. Tacos Kokopelli.
Over time, Kokopelli underwent an evolution and transformed into its present-day restaurant, Tras/Horizonte. With six years of operation and a much more extensive menu, it has become a joyful playground where Campos and team have the freedom to fulfill their creative desires. Kokopelli offers a wide range of culinary delights, including tacos, special dishes, desserts and beverages such as beer and cocktails, focusing on using natural ingredients and creating everything from scratch.
Teddy Vazquez is the owner and operator of Teddy’s Red Tacos, with over 11 locations throughout Southern California.
In 2015, the 38-year-old Los Angeles native was down on his luck, suffering from depression and alcoholism. However, a good friend of his from Tijuana with a popular birria spot invited Vazquez out for a change of scenery and to coach him on the ins and outs of the birria.
After his experience at the Birria, Vazquez ventured back to Las Angeles and opened a small taco stand with his mother in the back of an old warehouse. Nine months later, through the success of their taco stand, the duo was able to put a down payment on a food truck and Teddy’s Red Tacos as we know today was born.
“Thanks to the glory of God, we now own and operate 11 locates,” said Vazquez. Teddy’s Red Tacos has been highlighted on a Superbowl commercial, several celebrities have visited and loved their offerings and has been labeled with one of the best birria in Los Angeles by numerous publications.
Vazquez has stayed humble and focused and loves to encourage, motivate and inspire others to achieve greater things.
Raul Ortega’s food truck, Mariscos Jalisco is a must visit anytime you’re in the Los Angels area. Parked at the same spot in East Los Angeles since 2001, and one of the late Jonathan Gold’s favorite Mexican spots, it’s known for quick service, affordable prices and some of the freshest seafood in town. Famous for their Taco de Camaraon, Mariscos Jalisco’s deep-fried shell is stuffed with shrimp and topped with house-made red salsa and avocado. Among other stand-out items includes the Poseidon Tostada, a house-made crispy tostada piled high with fresh ceviche, octopus, shrimp aquchile, avocado, spicy red sauce and lime, and the Fiery Aquachile, shrimp marinated in chili pepper, lime, salt, cilantro, cucumber and onion.
Tacos la Carreta initiated its journey over 18 years ago. The family taco business was founded by Jose Morales R. with the help of his son Jose Morales Jr. The duo began catering for events with their Sinaloa-style cuisine. The small business began to grow and evolve, expanding to multiple locations including Paramount, Compton, Bellflower and Long Beach.
Tacos La Carreta offers a unique Sinaloa-style taco and a wide selection of exquisite items including quesadillas, chorreadas, vampiros, toritos, papas locas and tortas, all featuring mesquite-grilled meat, fresh home-made salsas and accompanied with delicious aqua de cebada.
Chef Esdras Ochoa is the founder & executive chef at Mexicali Taco & Co., a popular taqueria in Downtown Los Angeles, as well as the executive chef & partner at Salazar, a wildly popular Frogtown oasis of tacos, beer & cocktails. He is also in Hong Kong at his restaurant & bar 11 Westside in the Kennedy Town area. In 2018, he consulted on the opening of Sancho's, a Mexican restaurant in Mumbai, India. He was born in Mexico City & grew up in Mexicali and the U.S. border town of Calexico, CA. Much of his childhood was crossing the border on weekends to partake in the culture and street food of Northern Baja. He was a semi-finalist on Netflix’s The Final Table and is currently a Creator Partner for Buzzfeed’s Tasty.
THURSDAY, JULY 2OTH
Tickets: Sold Out
7:00pm | The Stadium Sports Bar & Grill
Omakase in Japanese means “leaving another to choose what’s best.” The ilani Tacos, Tequila and Taps Festival Omakase Taco Dinner is a multi-course taco tasting “leaving it up to the chef” to host and pay homage to Mexican street food, a staple of Mexican cuisine. The chefs will delight you and share interesting recommendations to perfectly pair their cuisine with drink pairings such as tequila, artisan beers, Mexican wines and mezcal. Every omakase meal is personalized to make it a special and unforgettable experience!
FRIDAY, JULY 21ST
7:00pm - 9:00pm
7:00pm - 9:00pm | ilani Rooftop
Experience the best of Tacos and Tequila. Enjoy high-end tacos and street food from your favorite taqueros and chefs, sample premier tequilas from preeminent distillers and dance the night away at the Hot Summer Fun Rooftop Tribute Party featuring Los Chicos del 512: The Selena Experience.
Session 1 | Noon - 4:00pm
Session 2 | 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Enjoy the best of Mexican inspired street food at ilani Tacos, Tequila & Taps Festival. Featuring some of the nation’s and region’s top taqueros and chefs, fine tequilas and mescals and a variety of local and national beers, wines and seltzers, ilani Tacos, Tequila & Taps Festival is the summer party you’ve been waiting for!
Ticket purchasers will receive a punch card for drink samples, $10 in food credits and $10 in Promo Play.
Must be 21 years of age or older with valid government issued identification to attend.