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Gustavo's Great Tortilla Tournament with Good Food's Evan Kleiman

Welcome to Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament. The winner is... Sonoratown!                        

Gustavo's Great Tortilla Tournament with Good Food's Evan Kleiman

Sunday
September•16

3:00PM•to•7:00PM
LA•River•Center•&•Gardens

In•Search•of
the•Best

Who will win the Golden Tortilla?

We’ve been narrowing down the best tortillas in greater Los Angeles since August -- now it’s time for the top tortillas to go head-to-head for one final tasting. Come out on September 16th and witness the masa madness!

Event festivities include:

  • A celebration of the late Jonathan Gold, beloved food ambassador, colleague, and an original Tortilla Tournament judge and co-host
  • Tortilla tastings, including from the final FUERTE FOUR
  • Multiple food vendors (think Vegan-Mex, quesadillas, churros and more)
  • Margarita and michelada bars
  • Tortilla art making with artist Joe Bravo
  • A live broadcast with KCRW Raul Campos
  • Live food and drink making demos, games, and much more for tortilla fans to enjoy!

Masa
Madness

32 corn, 32 flour. Winner take all.

Southern California loves tortillas. Everyone from home cooks to loncheras, mom-and-pops to high-end spots knows tortillas are more than just vessels for tacos and burritos. But which is the best?

SoCal muckraker and author of Taco USA Gustavo Arellano and Good Food host Evan Kleiman are scouring Southern California for the best corn and flour tortillas. They're visiting supermarkets and mercados, restaurants and factories, new spots and places that have been around for generations, using the following criteria: does the tortilla reheat well? Will it quesadilla? And, more importantly, how does it taste?

Follow along as tortillas from all over the Southland compete for the top spot. The final four will face off live on Sept. 16 at the LA River Center & Gardens. Find out once and for all: Corn, or flour? The winner takes home the Golden Tortilla—an actual, golden tortilla!

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Corn

Flour

2nd Round
La Princesita
La Tolteca
La Venadita
La Corona
Kernel of Truth
Amapola Market
La Mazorca
Trader Joe's
3rd Round
La Princesita
La Corona
Kernel of Truth
La Mazorca
Quarter Finals
La Corona
Kernel of Truth
Semifinals
Kernel of Truth
Semifinals
Burritos La Palma
Quarter Finals
Burritos La Palma
HomeState
3rd Round
Burritos La Palma
Mexicali Taco
HomeState
Jimenez Market
2nd Round
Burritos La Palma
Northgate
Romero's
Mexicali Taco
HomeState
Carrillo's Tortilleria
Jimenez Market
Loqui
Taco Maria
Ruben's Tortilleria
Los Cinco Puntos
Tortilleria La Fiesta
Miramar Tortilleria
La Gloria Mexican Foods
Tortilleria La California
Guisados
Taco Maria
Tortilleria La Fiesta
Miramar Tortilleria
Guisados
Taco Maria
Guisados
Taco Maria
Sonoratown
La Monarca
Sonoratown
La Azteca Tortilleria
La Monarca
Salazar
Sonoratown
La Azteca Tortilleria
Acapulco Tortilleria
La Monarca
Diana's
Graciana Tamale Factory
Salazar
La Fortaleza
Sonoratown
winner.png

Read•&•Listen

Gustavo's Great Tortilla Tournament, Grand Finale: And SoCal’s Best Tortilla Is Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament, Grand Finale: And SoCal’s Best Tortilla Is...

Wow, what a great time yesterday at KCRW’s Inaugural Great Tortilla Tournament! Throngs of people lined up to taste samples from our...

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Gustavo's Great Tortilla Tournament, week 4 recap: Behold SoCal’s four best tortillas! Round 4 recap!

The bracket has been narrowed, the comal is heating up, and the tortillas are being filled for this Sunday at LA River and Gardens Center in Cypress Park! Find out who the final four are and don't forget to RSVP for a day of micheladas, tortilla art, and live music. Here we are, folks: Our Fuerte Four! The two corn and two flour tortillas...

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If you've been following along with Gustavo's Great Tortilla Tournament, you've probably stumbled across some new terminology. Here's a glossary to help decipher what's being discussed. We’re now to our ¡Eso! Eight, the final ocho in our KCRW Great #TortillaTournament (don’t forget to RSVP to our grand finale September 16), and...

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The judges tasted each tortilla at our homes, from packs obtained that day to ensure maximum freshness. Each judge had their own personal criteria for taste, but it boiled down to whether corn tasted like corn, and whether flour had taste, period— because most retail flour tortillas in Southern California are little better than wallpaper.

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Welcome to Round 2 of the Great #TortillaTournament, which is another action round of quick recaps. We have finally reached our Suave (pronounce it in English or español—it’s the same thing, basically!) Sixteen! We tasted each tortilla at home, from packs obtained that day to ensure maximum freshness. Each judge had their own personal criteria for taste, but it boiled down to whether corn tasted like corn, and whether flour had taste, period— because most retail flour tortillas in Southern California are little better than wallpaper.

Read More
Round 1 recap! Round 1 recap!

What's a tournament without a few stunning upsets? Gustavo Arellano debriefs tortilla-loyalists on the first round of bracket cuts. Did your favorites make the cut? That was a lot of eating. Evan Kleiman, Nick Liao and Connie Alvarez and I plowed through the first round of 64 tortillas. And we now have our second round contestants!

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Let’s talk tortillas! Gustavo Arellano announces KCRW’s first-ever Great Tortilla Tournament, to choose the best tortilla in LA out of a bracket of 64. Bill Esparza talks tortilla makers in the L.A. area. And did you know that inside your tortilla is an ancient process, perfected over centuries? Also, L.A. Taco’s Daniel Hernandez recalls a Guadalajara taco crawl with Jonathan Gold.

Listen Now
Why Gustavo is doing a Great Tortilla Tournament for KCRW Why Gustavo is doing a Great Tortilla Tournament for KCRW

It's the perennial question: Corn or flour? We're putting 64 Southern California tortillas head-to-head in our #MasaMadness bracket to see who will win the Golden Tortilla trophy. Gustavo Arellano fills us in on all the details.

Read More

The•Quest

Go on your own journey to discover tortillas all over the Southland. Find out more about all the tortillas and their makers on Good Food.

F•A•Q•

What is Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament?

Gustavo Arellano and KCRW decided it was time to search for the best tortillas in the greater Los Angeles area. After many ideas and conversations, the Great Tortilla Tournament bracket was formed and the expert tasters began their hunt.

How were the tortillas selected?

Tortillas were selected to reflect the breadth of the culture in Southern California—tortillerias that have been neighborhood institutions for generations and mass-market ones. Tortillas made with heirloom, non-GMO corn from Mexico and those made from American corn. Tortillas from all of Southern California’s major Latino supermarkets (Northgate, Cardenas, Superior, among others) and those from smaller chains. And tortillas from Orange County, Los Angeles County, and the Inland Empire. Thick ones and thin ones and powdery ones and flaky ones.

How are the tortillas judged?

Easy--it’s all about the taste. Are they good, or not?

More detailed: Do they heat well? Does the corn taste like corn, and the flour like wheat?

Who is Gustavo?

Gustavo Arellano is a Southern California muckraker, former editor of OC Weekly, longtime contributor to “Good Food” and does the “Orange County Line” every Monday during All Things Considered.

When and where is the event?

Sunday, September 16, 2018 from 3:00p to 7:00p at LA River Center and Gardens.

What can and can’t I bring into the event?

You CAN bring:
Water bottles
Blankets (there is a small lawn)
Small/medium sized bags

Please DO NOT bring:

  • Alcohol
  • Ice chests
  • Chairs of any kind
  • Large bags
  • Pets (except service animals with a current rabies certification)
  • Medical or recreational use marijuana
  • Glass containers
  • Video recording equipment
  • Professional still camera equipment (no detachable lenses, tripods, large zoom lenses, and/or commercial-use camera assemblies)

Does RSVP guarantee entry?

RSVP does not guarantee entry, which is based on a first-come, first-served basis until the event hits capacity.

How will I know if the event is at capacity?

Listen to KCRW 89.9 and follow KCRW on Twitter or Facebook for real time updates on capacity the day of the event. We will also alert people who RSVP’d via email if the event hits capacity.

What does the event feature?

The event will include multiple food vendors (think Vegan-Mex, burritos, and the like), bars, tortilla art, music, kids activities and much more for tortilla fans to enjoy! Evan and Gustavo will also be narrowing down the FINAL FOUR tortillas to determine who takes home the Golden Tortilla.

What is the Golden Tortilla?

Exactly what it sounds like. This baby will be presented to the winner to take home on September 16th!

Will there be food and drink available for purchase?

There will be multiple food vendors and two cash bars for purchase.

Still have more questions?

Email events@kcrw.org and we will do our best to answer them for you.

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