This weekend, I went down to Tribeca Cinemas where the fifth annual NYC Food Film Festival was taking place. Let me just say that there were plenty of enticing events to choose from, from Chef Reichler’s Burgerlution screening (which kicked off the festival on Thursday) to the extreme eats at Chef Farmerie’s Food Porn Party.

But, for the sake of not having to buy a whole new wardrobe of winter pants, I decided to limit myself to just one day of indulgence in this foodie playground. Once I found out about the taco competition taking place on Saturday, hands down, the choice was a no-brainer for this Southwestern transplant.

Matt Timm’s Tribeca Taco Takedown – sponsored by Daily Candy, Chipotle and Google and benefitting the Food Bank of NYC – had two parts: a screening of five short food films, then an all-out battle between six of the city’s top taco-ologists to see who could make the most mouthwatering tortilla creation. It was quite a showdown, but I’ll get back to that in a moment.

The five films included “Hangover Tacos” by Hilah Johnson of Hilah’s Cooking; “Danny Macaroons” by Dan Cohen; “La Newyorkina” with owner Fany Gerson; “Robicelli’s Cupcakes” with owners Allison and Matt; and “Rockaway Taco” with owner Todd Selby. All entertaining and about 5 minutes long, the films depicted a day in the life of some pretty cool people, including one hungover hipster and a barefoot/surfing/rooftop-sleeping/bee keeping entrepreneur.  The event was hosted by ‘Made in America’ host, George Motz.

And the treats were aplenty, if not a bit unorthodox. We were served Danny’s chewy coconut caramel macaroons as well as a taste of the Robicelli’s latest creation: buffalo chicken cupcakes. I know that sounds a little shady, but trust me on this one: the cupcake was moist, the buttercream was perfection, and buffalo chicken is well, buffalo chicken. Who wouldn’t want that?

Next to the theater in the Varick Room is where the taco showdown went down. Chipotle, Dos Caminos, Dos Toros, Nixtamal, Rockaway Taco, and The Harrison were all fighting for the Silver Spoon award – much to their hungry spectators’ delight.

Rockaway’s fish tacos and salsas had a line out the door, and The Harrison made irresistibly buttery banana tacos with whipped cream.

Ultimately it was Dos Toros’ traditional take on the taco that won top votes. Brothers and Dos Toros co-founders, Leo and Oliver Kremer, celebrated their win by dancing to their original music single, “Guac It Out.”


Guests also enjoyed strips of bacon appetizers throughout the event, as well as an open bar of beer, seltzer, root beer, and Bloody Marys. On the way out, attendees were treated to a gift bag of free Chipotle burritos, socks from Google, a slinky, and a taste of La Newyorkina’s all-natural popsicles.

– Tracey Lewis