KCRW & Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament (with Good Food’s Evan Kleiman)

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We’re back for another year of KCRW & Gustavo's Great Tortilla Tournament! What IS the Tortilla Tournament you ask?

For the past five years, KCRW has teamed up with SoCal muckraker and author of Taco USA, Gustavo Arellano on his quest for tortilla greatness. Gustavo puts together an eclectic list of 64 tortillas found around Southern California — 32 corn + 32 flour, in four brackets of 16 — then let’s them have at it! He and three other judges have the difficult and widely sought after task of choosing which tortilla advances to the next round. Unlikely winners emerge. Upsets are had. It all comes to a head on Sunday, October 16 at Smorgasburg LA where we will 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?

Gustavo Arellano, and KCRW’s Good Food host Evan Kleiman will lead us through this exciting, momentous day. Get ready for DJ sets with KCRW’s very own Raul Campos and special guest DJ Junf from Global Beat Mexico, tortilla painting with tortilla artist extraordinaire Joe Bravo, an Ask a Tortilla Expert booth, and of course, live tournament rounds between our four finalists to determine who walks away with the coveted prize: The Golden Tortilla. This all happens at Smorgasburg LA, the city’s premier  weekly outdoor food market, featuring 90+ finely curated food, beverage, and shopping vendors. So come hang out at a party within a party!

RSVP for event info

KCRW Members, guess what? You’ll be able to sample the top four tortillas! The first 300 KCRW members to visit the street team table will receive a tortilla-tasting pass to sample each of the top four.

Members can also enjoy discounts from select Smorgasburg vendors all day. Sweet and savory details coming soon.


MEET THE JUDGES

Gustavo Arellano, LA Times columnist and KCRW contributor

My preferred daily tortilla is Miramar Tortilleria in East Los Angeles. Open since 1955, it's the tortilla that inspired the entire idea of a #TortillaTournament, but is also incredible: thick, chewy, flavorful, and so yellow with nixtamalized corn it's almost brown. For flour, I'm lucky to live near a Burritos La Palma, because their tortillas are thin but not too thin, big but not that big, and flexible for use as a quesadilla, a burrito, or just to tear off pieces to use as a spoon for whatever!

Evan Kleiman, Host of KCRW’s Good Food

A lot of my meals revolve around beans of some kind and I always need a tortilla in my hand for scooping. For that I rely on Kernel of Truth tortillas which I buy from the El Machete stand at the Hollywood Farmers' Market. If I run out between market runs I rely on Northgate. As for my choice of flour tortilla, I get the award winning Sonoratown now that it's walking distance from my house.

Mona Holmes, Reporter Eater LA

It helps to live a short drive away from three tortilla spots. La California Tortilleria which not only has both flour and corn options, but freshly made masa to-go. Then there's a quick jaunt to former tournament prize-winner HomeState, and when driving home from my cousin's house, the longstanding La Azteca or Burritos La Palma will always do nicely.  I always need flour and corn tortillas on hand, thanks to the preferences of my household. But if we're being honest, a lightly heated, plain flour tortilla with a touch of butter is the best way to feel good right away.

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!


Tortilla Bracket

Corn

KCRW & Gustavo's Great Tortilla Tournament with Good Food’s Evan Kleiman

Flour

1st Round
1 Taco Maria
16 La Banderitaia
8 Ditroit Taqueria
9 The Taco Shop Mexican Kitchen
5 La Canasta Tortilleria
12 Tortilleria Dios de Maíz
4 La Rancherita Tortilleria (Santa Ana)
13 Maria's Tortillas
6 Tortilleria Lilly's
11 La Superior Tortilleria
3 Carnitas El Rey
14 Rancho Grande Market
7 Crazy Coyote Tacos
10 La Fe
2 La Princesita
15 Tresierras Supermarket
2nd Round
Taco Maria
The Taco Shop Mexican Kitchen
La Canasta Tortilleria
Maria's Tortillas
Tortilleria Lily
Rancho Grande Market
Crazy Coyote Tacos
La Princesita
3rd Round
Taco Maria
Maria's Tortillas
Rancho Grande Market
La Princesita
4th Round
Taco Maria
La Princesita
5th Round
5th Round
4th Round
El Burrito House
Sonoratown
3rd Round
Ancho's
El Burrito House
Bar Amá
Sonoratown
2nd Round
Ancho's
Masa Catalina
El Burrito House
Graciana Tortilla Factory
Old Town Mexican Café
Bar Amá
Mírame
Sonoratown
1st Round
1 Ancho's
16 Sana
8 Masa Catalina
9 One Stop Taco Shop
5 El Burrito House
12 Maria's Tortillas
4 Graciana Tortilla Factory
13 Tortilleria Temecula
6 Old Town Mexican Café
11 Whole Foods 365
3 Bar Ama
14 Más y Más
7 Mírame
10 Mejorado
2 Sonoratown
15 La Banderita
1 Tallula's
16 Kroger
8 Umbrella taCO
9 El Molino de Oro
5 El Indio
12 Baja Ranch Market
4 Amapola Deli & Market
13 Zamora Bros.
6 La Parrilla
11 El Torito Grill
3 Mitla Café
14 Super A Foods
7 Moreno Foods
10 Ruben's Bakery
2 Trader Joe's
15 Número Uno
Tallula's
El Molino de Oro
El Indio
Amapola Deli and Market
La Parrilla
Mitla Café
Ruben's Bakery
Trader Joe's
Tallula's
El Indio
Mitla Cafe
Ruben's Bakery
Tallula's
Mitla Cafe
Burritos La Palma
HomeState
Burritos La Palma
Super A Foods
El Ruso
HomeState
Burritos La Palma
Tortilla Land
Manolo Farmers Market
Super A Foods
El Torito Grill
El Ruso
Poquito Más
HomeState
1 Burritos La Palma
16 Von's Flour Tortillas
8 Mama Blanquita
9 Tortillaland
5 Manolo Farmer Market
12 Baja Ranch Market
4 Salazar
13 Super A Foods
6 Macheen
11 El Torito Grill
3 El Ruso
14 La La's
7 Juanita's III
10 Poquito Más
2 HomeState
15 Great Value
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About Smorgasburg: Smorgasburg LA is the city’s largest weekly outdoor food market, featuring 90+ food, beverage and shopping vendors curated from the next wave of Southern California’s culinary scene and the best local makers, designers, and vintage collectors. Open every Sunday from 10am to 4pm at ROW DTLA, Smorgasburg L.A. combines food, shopping, a family friendly beer garden and more to create a perfect day with friends, family, or colleagues.

This event is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

Department of Cultural Affairs - City of Los Angeles