Author: Rachel Silver
At the Taco Taste-Off on Sept. 13, three taquerias, all within a five-minute drive from campus, submitted their tacos for the students of Occidental to taste, vote on and ultimately choose a winning taco. This time around, CaCao Mexicatessen took the crown, 36-30 over Señor Fish. Both, however, smashed Taco Spot, which received a sorry seven votes.
The Tiger Cooler was filled as an estimated 120 students wrapped around the interior of Samuelson Pavilion’s main room for free tacos and first-year senate debates. Choosing between a vegetarian or carne asada option, the students received one taco from each taqueria. A dry-erase board at the end of the tables collected tallied votes from greasy-fingered students.
CaCao’s inimitable cheesy flavor gave their tacos the edge they needed to secure victory. “I would say the thing that stood outx to me about [CaCao’s] tacos was the unique cheese. It seemed a little saltier but was really good, and the meat had a nice barbecue flavor,” said Mikayla Branz (first-year).
Their soft, almost-buttery tortillas contrasted with Señor Fish’s thick tortillas and tangy flavored tacos. Both stayed moist, though, unlike the dryness of Taco Spot’s. Austin Nelson (junior) was one of the few Taco Spot supporters. He did not hesitate when asked what made the third-place tacos stand out to him. “Guacamole!” he said.
While one election was held, another approached. First-year candidates for the ASOC senate debated at the Cooler during the Taco Taste-Off. First-years Martha Abbott and Ben Poor organized this pre-election debate, which is not a regular Occidental event.
They e-mailed the candidates, put up posters and wrote debate questions. “We actually came up with the idea [for the debate] this morning. And as we were talking to people, they were like, ‘Oh, well, [we’re] already doing free tacos,'” Abbott said.
The purpose of these events always goes beyond free food, though. “We show what’s around Eagle Rock, to get students to step outside the Oxy bubble so that Eagle Rock is happy to have our college here, and so that the students are happy to be in Eagle Rock,” Rachel Lapidus (sophomore) said. Previous taste-offs have been held for donuts and Thai food, and Lapidus chose another ubiquitously popular food for the first taste-off of the school year.
Although some items in the past have been donated to the taste-off, all three restaurants sold their food to OSL at a discounted rate. The discount came with the assumption that the Taco Taste-Off will increase business for the top restaurants, in this case, CaCao and Señor Fish. While each taqueria found its share of supporters, only the winner will receive a plaque made by Lapidus. Affirming its status as Occidental’s favorite spot for tacos, CaCao took home the personalized plaque. With such an impressive turnout for the first taste-off of the year, one can only expect bigger and better things for future taste-offs.
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