Hot on the heels of Mardi Gras, the third annual Top Taco festival is at Woldenberg Park (1 Canal St.) March 14.
The festival features more than 40 restaurants and chefs, including "Top Chef: Colorado" finalist Carrie Baird and Jose Garces of Philadelphia’s Buena Onda. The list also includes Brian Landry of Jack Rose, Warbucks' Todd Pulsinelli, Justin Koslowsky of Seaworthy and Josephine Estelle’s Chris Borges.
At Top Taco, chefs, restaurants and bartenders compete for the titles in four categories: top creative taco, traditional taco, creative cocktail and traditional margarita.
Last year, Johnny Sanchez won the critic’s choice award for top creative taco and Cochon Butcher served the top traditional taco.
The restaurant lineup includes traditional Mexican and Latin restaurants and a variety of local eateries, such as Central City BBQ, Chilango’s Seafood, Cowbell, Espiritu, Fharmacy, Balise, Agave House, Marjie’s Grill, Nacho Mama’s, NOLA Cantina, Seed and Zocalo. There also are tequila and agave tastings and cocktails.
Entertainment at the event features music by Armando Leduc & Salsa Royal, Muevelo, Afro-Cuban jazz and groove band Otra and the Houston-based Selena cover band Siempre Selena. There will be Lucha Libre wrestling and a silent auction.
The festival and its sister event, Agave Week, raise proceeds for Foster Nola, a nonprofit that works with children in foster care in New Orleans who are preparing to transition to adulthood.
The event was initially held in Spanish Plaza and was moved to Woldenberg Park to accommodate larger crowds.
Tickets to the event are all-inclusive for food and drink. General admission is $75 and begins at 7 p.m. A $95 ticket gets guests entry at 6 p.m. and a “first tasting.” VIP tickets are $125 and include early entry and access to a VIP lounge.
For tickets to Top Taco and for information on Agave Week, visit the festival’s website here.