Forget America’s Next Top Model — this month is all about San Diego’s Next Top Taco.
The quest? To create a winning dish for Puesto’s next Taco of the Month. More than 100 locals entered taco recipes between January and March to qualify for the competition and win the coveted spot on Puesto’s menu in June. Each recipe was required to be original and consist of ingredients totaling $10 or less per taco.
All contestants were judged by taste (75%) as well as creativity (15%) and recipe uniqueness (15%). Finalists were announced on Tuesday, April 9. The three individuals — and their recipes — advancing to the next round are: Phoebe Von Reis (Fried Avocado Taco), Jen Barthell (Garlicky Swiss Chard Sweet Potato Taco) and Cinthia Vega (Chicken Tinga Taco).
At the showdown, these finalists will recreate their taco creation, which will undergo a taste test by a panel of judges including local food critic Troy Johnson, media personality Jenny Milkowski, Puesto’s Creative Chef Katy Smith and Puesto at the Headquarters Executive Chef Edgar Chong.
In addition to earning the Taco of the Month crown, the grand prize winner will receive $1,000, two tickets to San Diego Magazine’s Best Restaurants Party in June, and Puesto swag. The two runner-ups will also receive Puesto swag, as well as a $100 gift card.
The event was inspired by Puesto guests who repeatedly pitched their taco recipes to the restaurant throughout the years. Although the window to participate in this year’s competition has closed, all San Diegans are welcome to cheer on contestants while enjoying complimentary tacos and drink specials during the showdown. The all-ages event is free but requires online registration.
Stop by the showdown on April 27 for some tasty tacos and healthy competition — or stop by Puesto’s anytime in June to try the winning dish.
Puesto’s Next Top Taco Showdown
When: 2-5 p.m., Saturday, April 27
Where: Puesto At The Headquarters, 789 W. Harbor Dr., Ste. 155, downtown