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It’s Tacos and Tequila Time!

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A Paloma Blanca server carves the meat for tacos al pastor at Best of Mexico.

What’s hot? Mexican street food. Tequila.

For evidence look no further than Culinaria’s Best of Mexico where mini-tacos of all flavors were served up to hungry throngs who just couldn’t get enough and the tequila flowed like a river.

Marioli of Stone Oak offered a pair of tacos with rajas in a cream sauce in one and al pastor with a habanero salsa in another. Paloma Blanca of Broadway also offered tacos al pastor, but the emphasis was slightly different with a touch of roasted pineapple on top. La Gloria Ice House in the Pearl Brewery complex is known for its street food, and so it served up a mouthwatering variation, as did the San Antonio Food Bank.

Though the tacos were served in abundance, the menu at the event, held this year at La Villita, was much more varied. Visiting chefs from Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo offered a posole de mariscos, in which a spicy broth was brimming with flavors of shrimp, fish and other seafood as well as corn. El Bucanero from South W.W. White Road and El Siete Mares on West Commerce showed how varied and delicious ceviche can be.

Chef Jeff Balfour of Citrus in the Hotel Valencia offered his award-winning paella made from a whole pig, while chef Susana Trilling of Oaxaca kept things light with a salad topped with a grilled shrimp and pomegranate seeds. Nordic chef Trina Hahnemann’s pork with a side salad of kale, asparagus and peas fit right in.

Aldaco's margaritas: Any questions?

Blanca Aldaco greeted patrons near the entrance with a booth serving up her refreshing margaritas, while inside the center, plenty of tequilas were available for the tasting.

Among the spirits being poured were the winners of the the first Culinaria Tequila Competition. Milagro was overall champion. Other winners included:

Añejo

  • Gold — Semental Añejo
  • Silver — Avion Añejo
  • Bronze — Ambhar Añejo

Reposado

  • Gold — Semental Reposado
  • Silver — milagro Select barrels Reposado
  • Bronze — Avion

Silver/Blanco

  • Gold — Milagro Select Barrels Silver
  • Silver — 1800 Silver Tequila
  • Bronze — Avion Silver

Package Design

  • Cuervo Platino

The San Antonio Food Bank serves up tacos during Best of Mexico.

Culinaria continues Saturday with the Texas Two-Step Wine Seminar at 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton Palacio del Rio, 200 S. Alamo St. Tickets are still available for this session. Saturday evening’s Grand Tasting, however, is sold out.

Tickets are available for Sunday’s festival finale, Burgers, BBQ, Beer and Texas Spirits, which begins at noon at the Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St.

For more information on Culinaria, click here.

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