On Saturday, Quintas los Cobanas Grove (formerly Blue Falls Grove) hosted the first annual Berks County Taco Fest.
Julie, Jakob and I made the trip to the Leesport-area campground about an hour after the event started (it ran from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.). We paid the $5 to park and then bought $25 worth of food tickets before descending to the creekside parking lot where the vendors were ready.
Unfortuantely there were a couple stands that weren’t quite ready yet, including Taqueria Los Rancheros. This was a real disappointment for me as the restaurant recently joined Instagram – and the food looks incredible.
One retaurant that was set up early was Castaneda’s. I love Castaneda’s, but because they already had a long line (and because I have already blogged about them), we decided to skip over their stand.
Instead, we started our tasting session at the Comalli Taqueria, a locally owned and operated Food Truck that is scheduled to be everywhere from Lancaster to Allentown to Philadelphia, with plenty of stops here in Berks County throughout the year.
Comalli offered five distinct varieties – el gallo (chorizo), al pastor (pork and pineapple), el nopal (cactus), el jefe (steak) and tinga (pulled chicken).
Julie wanted to try to the al pastor, and she really enjoyed it. The pork was delicious and she liked the “zing” from the pineapple. It was also topped with onion and cilantro, the traditional toppings.
I am a big fan of cactus so I had to order the el nopal. In addition to the grilled cactus, it also was topped with pico de gallo and fresh avocado. I loved it. The taco had some heat to it but not too much that the avocado didn’t tone it down.
We had also bought a tinga taco, hoping that our 18-month-old would eat it. I enjoyed it instead. The marinated chicken was perfect. And all three tacos were served on fresh corn tortilla that were served hot, which made them even better.
Our second stop was to Chilangos, a Lititz restaurant that caught our eye thanks to the giant cauldron of pork that was stewing next to the stand.
That was for the carnitas, which unfortuantely wouldn’t be finished for another half hour. Instead we did a double order of cochinita pibil tacos.
Cochinita pibil is another slow-roasted pork dish – I had to look it up. Chilangos’ had DIY toppings. I went with the standard while Julie got pico on her’s. They also had two salsas, a spicy red and a slightly-less-spicy salsa verde.
I loved it, especially with the salsa. The meat was tender and well-seasoned while the green salsa added a nice jolt of flavor to every bite. The fresh corn tortillas brought everything together nicely.
Our last stop of the afternoon was to Taco Town Catering. The Allentown-based food truck was hard to miss with its bright red and green paint proclaiming “best tacos.”
Julie’s final taco of the day was a chorizo taco. It was good, and the meat was very flavorful, but chorizo is always a little drier so it wasn’t as enjoyable as the others.
What we both enjoyed were the elotes, grilled street corn. It’s such a simple thing – corn on the cob brushed with mayo and doused in cheese and chili powder – but it’s so good. Even Jakob loved it, though he just wanted the toppings.
In addition to the taco stands there were two beer stands. Candy’s Homemade Ice Cream also brought their food truck in from Shoemakersville to serve dessert, but we were way too full for that by the end.
By the time we left, the number of cars on the parking lot had more than doubled. And by the looks of the photos and videos that I saw, the festival stayed busy well into the evening.
And that’s a great thing because I thought this was a great effort for the first year. Hopefully the event comes back next year because we had a great time – and great food – and we can’t wait to do it again.