KCRW & Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament

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Looking for a fun Sunday AND the best tortilla in SoCal? Well, come spend a food-filled day with KCRW at the finale of Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament!   There will be music, friendly competition, and more culinary delights than you could ever imagine. Gustavo Arellano and KCRW’s Good Food host Evan Kleiman will lead us through the day which will feature…

  • DJ sets with KCRW’s Raul Campos and Wyldeflower
  • Tortilla painting with tortilla artist extraordinaire Joe Bravo
  • Mariachi Tierra Azteka
  • I Love Micheladas beer garden
  • Tons of perks for KCRW members (scroll down for the list <3)
  • An Ask a Tortilla Expert booth (ask them ANYTHING tortilla)
  • Live tournament rounds between our four finalists to determine who walks away with our coveted prizes: The Golden Tortilla, and the Chiquihuite Cup
  • 90+ (yeah, 90!) finely curated food, beverage, and shopping vendors because…

This all goes down at Smorgasburg LA, the city’s largest weekly open air food market. Smorgasburg is FREE (in THIS economy?) and so is our party within it. RSVP and we’ll send you the good details.

RSVP for event info

Need some background on KCRW & Gustavo's Great Tortilla Tournament?

KCRW has teamed up with L.A. Times columnist and “Taco USA” author Gustavo Arellano (for the sixth year in a row!) on his quest for tortilla greatness. Gustavo created an eclectic list of 96 tortillas found around Southern California, from Sylmar to Ojai to Coachella to Chula Vista, and whittled them down to 32 corn + 32 flour, in four brackets of 16. He and three other judges have the difficult and widely sought after task of choosing which tortillas advance to the next round. Upsets have happened, unlikely winners have emerged. And now it all comes to a head on Sunday, October 8 at Smorgasburg LA where we'll get to the bottom of the question that plagues us all: what is the best tortilla in Southern California? And is it corn, or flour? RSVP now to find out!

Each of the Fuerte Four will receive a 4-pound tub of lard, courtesy of Coast Packing. The ultimate winner will walk away with the Golden Tortilla, get to host the Chiquihuite Cup for a year, and receive a $500 store gift card courtesy of Northgate Market. 

Bronze Comal People's Choice Award

For the first time this year, we’re also awarding the Bronze Comal People’s Choice trophy to whomever among our 16 finalists receives the most votes from the public! Your favorite tortilla didn’t make it to the Fuerte Four? Well, step up and make sure they don’t leave this year’s tournament empty handed! The tortilla contender with the most votes will win the coveted Bronze Comal, which comes with a trophy and a $300 store gift card courtesy of Northgate Market! We'll announce the People's Choice winner at the Tortilla Tournament on October 8.

*By voting, you consent to receive communications from KCRW regarding the Tortilla Tournament. You will also receive KCRW’s weekly newsletters and invitations to future events. You can unsubscribe at any time. KCRW will never sell or share your personal data.

Member Perks

KCRW Members, guess what? The Fuerte Four are bringing samples just for you! The first 300 KCRW members to visit the Street Team table will receive a tortilla-tasting pass to sample tortillas from HomeState, Pan Victoria, Taco María, and Heritage BBQ!

Members can also enjoy discounts from select Smorgasburg vendors all day. Check out all the sweet & savory details here.


Gustavo Arellano, LA Times columnist and KCRW contributor

Doing the #tortillatournament for five years has shown me just how many people are doing it right in Southern California, whether in tortillerias, restaurants, mercaditos, supermarket chains and even Walmart, which stocks Romero's thick flour tortillas, my go-to for quesadillas. As the years go on, more and more folks are ditching the unholy GRUMA trinity — Maseca/Mission/Guerrero — and upping their tortilla game.

Evan Kleiman, Host of KCRW’s Good Food

I eat tortillas all the time, even when the meal they are accompanying is not Mexican. For corn tortillas I rely on Northgate Market. As for my choice of flour tortilla, I get the award-winning Sonoratown now that there's a location walking distance from my house.

Sean Vukan, #TortillaTournament scout

As a scout, I've been able to see how many tortillerias and restaurants are doing it right, and even the not so great ones are worth supporting over the Thanos that is GRUMA. At the minimum, I know there's a Stater Bros. near me where I can pick up a pack of Romero's or a Northgate where I can get my corn tortillas. I've always preferred flour tortillas, so it was a stroke of luck to be assigned that in my first year as a Tortilla Tournament judge. I hope I can fill Mona Holmes's shoes.

Connie Alvarez, KCRW Communications Director

What's my day-to-day tortilla? Well, thank goodness that when it comes to corn, Trader Joe's tortillas are actually flavorful and hearty. As for flour, I go out of my way when I can for a few packets from La Monarcha –– but in reality, it's usually Trader Joe's again. If that bursts your bubble about what a tortilla judge should be eating on the daily, then please take my kids to school and soccer for me while I live out our shared tortilla woman-about-town fantasy!