Unsurprisingly, Taconazo recieved an astounding 60 out of seventy votes in the readers' poll, but in my tastings the matchup was much closer. California Tacos To Go is less than a month old, but already turns one of the best fish tacos in the Bay area. The small filets are tempura battered and fried a crispy, crinkly golden brown -- the perfect foil for cool cabbage and bright cilantro. The little stand also has some killer pickled carrots given out as snacks and awesome tomatilla salsa that would cause me to make the drive all just for the sides.
But get past the fish and you'll find bland, tough carne asada and mediocre pork. In contrast, Taconazo does the whole range of taco goodness with suave success, from fantastic pastor to great barbacoa. Against another competitor, Cali might have advanced, but not against the might of the Taco Bus.
Voting was tighter in the Pinellas matchup, with Cabana del Tio winning by a mere 6 votes. The 13 people who voted for Carambas must never have visited Cabana, or their taste buds are as dead as their souls. Cabana's tacos are exquisite, with the most profoundly rich and satisfying cabeza I've ever had piled on hand-pressed tortillas griddled almost to order. This humble, tiny storefront could go all the way!
El Taconazo and La Cabana del Tio move on, in both the critic's and readers' brackets. Who will be next to rise, or fall? Will you readers continue to agree with my more refined palate?
You still have an opportunity to vote for Day Three's matchups. And keep checking back, as we post two more taco-a-taco battles every day until we finish determining the Savory Sixteen next Wednesday.
Confused? Read the intro to the tourney and find the contenders to start planning your own taco tasting trip.