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Tip-Off Time For L.A. TACO's Taco Madness

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Illustration courtesy of LA Taco
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While sports fans relish the arrival of March Madness, we here in the food world are cheering for one of our favorite annual throwdowns: L.A. TACO's Taco Madness.

This year's competition brings five past winners, as well as a eight newcomers.

Newbs include Coni'Seafood, Taqueria Las Anaya, Mondo Tacos, Rico's Tacos, Bar Ama, Guerrilla Tacos, Tacos Punta Cabra and Rocio's Moles de Dioses. Perhaps the most surprising addition to the bunch is Bar Ama, whose Tex-Mex style hard-shelled puffy taco defies many purists' belief in fresh, unadulterated masa.

But the folks at L.A. TACO are clear that this competition isn't about "authenticity" necessarily. They put together an A-list tasting panel of local bloggers, L.A. TACO readers, and chefs, and from their suggestions curated the seedings.

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"We wanted to put together a list that took all of L.A.'s tacos into consideration, from new places and icons to places specializing in gringo tacos, fish tacos, Korean tacos, and chef-driven tacos," says one of the site's co-founders, Hadley Tomicki. "All taco-styles are pretty much equal in our eyes. We like to ask the question of what really constitutes and defines a taco, as the definition continues to grow and evolve and inevitably people have a variety of closely held opinions on the issue."

The first round of voting has some interesting match ups, for sure, and there's bound to be some sort of Cinderalla story here, just as we usually see in college ball.

First up is what L.A. TACO is calling the Battle of Olympic Boulevard. "Everyday, Boyle Heights residents get to choose between two fine seafood taco trucks on Olympic Boulevard -- returning Champion Mariscos Jalisco and the popular Mariscos 4 Vientos truck that parks a couple blocks away," says the site.

Then there's the throw down between two heavy hitters, Eastside's King Taco (who happens to be a former champ of the competition) and the Westside's mainstay Tito's.

Tito's isn't the only one that's coming out of the West though. Past finalist Tacos Por Favor will go head-to-head with new kid on the scene with the rave reviews, Tacos Punta Cabra. That'll be an epic bout, to be sure.

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You can view the brackets for the Madness here, and don't forget to rock your vote.

Related:

7 of L.A.'s best tacos in honor of National Taco Day