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Taste of Beverly Hills Day 4: A Tale of 4 Tacos

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At last weekend's epic four-day Taste of Beverly Hills event there seemed to be something indulgent around every corner. Some of the city's top chefs were manning tables set up in two large tents, offering up sample tastes of the best of their menus.

On the last night of the event, however, there was one section of the festival that was as relaxed as you could get, proving to be a refreshing change of pace from the more posh eateries represented, with tastes that set mouths afire and tongues wagging about the simplicity of the surprise tastes worth savoring.

Curated by blogger, musician, and street food aficionado Bill Esparza and KCRW's Evan Kleiman, a set of four taco stands created a congenial atmosphere with eats meant to be eaten standing up and using your hands.

Representing four different regions of Mexico, each bite showcased the spectrum of flavor and spice via foods we Angelenos are lucky to be able to find all over town, from Boyle Heights to Inglewood, every day.

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The hard-shell shrimp taco (tacos dorados de camaron) from Mariscos Jalisco was a firm, explosive bite. Encased in the welcome crunch of a fried hard shell, the plump shrimp stuffed in the taco was the perfect canvas for fiery salsa and the mellow smoothness of avocado.

Also serving up shrimp was Connie Cossio's Maricos Chente of Inglewood, who brought their shrimp, cheese, avocado and habanero salsa tacos (tacos de gobernador), as an example of her Nayarit-style Mexican seafood.

Antojitos Carmen's tacos de alambre wowed the pork lovers, thanks to the inclusion of ham and bacon, along with a smoky salsa.

For more of a spectacle, a station was set up for the grills and skewered meats of Tacos Guanajuatos. Guests lined up to watch them prepare their bold, bright, explosive Vampiros y Volcanes. Normally outside the Lady of Talpa School in Boyle Heights, they received a special blessing from the church to take part in this Sunday event. Mouths watering, we saw the cheese and meat sizzling on the grill, then plated up as a mound of piled flavors on a tortilla, which, like a volcano, exploded with each bite. Cool slices of cucumber on the side chilled the flames.

Beyond the other multiple plates of food, it was a special treat to see these hardworking vendors sharing their delicious signature dishes alongside big-name sit-down eateries, giving the guests of the Taste of Beverly Hills a taste of something maybe different, and definitely delicious.