Logo | NH Food and Travel Photography

2013 Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge | NH Food Photography

The third annual Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge was a great success, and  bigger and better than ever!  Again there was beautiful weather (although a bit chilly), and with 38 participating restaurants (meaning: thirty-eight different tacos!), it was the largest event yet!

El Rincon, always a favorite with their amazing homemade Mexican flavors, took home the People’s Choice award and $1000 for their favorite charity.  This year they featured a delicious Discada taco (mixed meat with chorizo) with build-your-own toppings that you could add yourself: radishes, limes, cilantro, diced onion, and a variety of sauces. That beautiful pale green sauce was amazing.  Actually all their food just blows me away. The only way I have ever known to describe it, is that it tastes like LOVE.

El Rincon, Winner of the Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge 2013El Rincon, Winner of the Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge 2013

Heeellllloooooooo, newcomers Baked, Finesse Pastries, and Granite State Candy Shoppe! SOOOO happy to see additional dessert tacos on the lineup this year, and how creative they were!

Baked at the Hippo de Mayo Taco ChallengeBaked's first appearance at the Hippo de Mayo Taco ChallengeBaked | Manchester, NH

Finesse….well I could have just died of happiness. I don’t even know what Gianduja is but OH it was so good and felt so fancy!

Finesse Pastries Hippo de Mayo Taco ChallengeFinesse Pastries Taco Fromage

Granite State Candy Shoppe really got into the Mexican spirit with their Ice Cream Taco: homemade Mexican chocolate ice cream (Chocolate with Tahitian vanilla, and cinnamon), on a cinnamon-sugared flour tortilla, topped with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, and a special dark chocolate dipped chili pepper! So fun!

granite state candy shoppe taco tour

Firefly was looking poised, prepared, and delicious as always. This year they featured a Sriracha Lime Beef Taco which was awesome, and placed #5 overall. Below you can see the line stretching across the parking lot just before 7pm. Great crowd!

firefly hippo de mayo taco 2013firefly hippo de mayo taco 2013

Consuelo’s served a Chilango Mango taco which was chilango mango chicken  in a achiote chile sauce topped with a mango salsa–sweet and spicy at its best! AND, you’ll never believe it, but I was actually recognized there by a lovely woman and she even knew my name! I’d better be careful, I’m starting to get a reputation around here as the crazy camera food chick.

Consuelo's Tacqueria Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge 2013Consuelo's Tacqueria Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge 2013Consuelo's Tacqueria Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge 2013

Ignite and Hooked, sister restaurants, are always a strong performer with their Costa Rican Fish Taco.

Hooked and Ignite's Costa Rican Fish Taco for the Taco Tour 2013

Margaritas switched up their queue location again this year, and was cranking out the prep line like a BOSS. Their taco was FABULOUS. The Taco del Mar: white corn tortilla with beer battered haddock, red onion, cilantro, and slaw with a hint of orange. Served with three pepper sauce and a slice of avocado and wedge of lime.  It was outstanding, truly. It kinda brings a tear to my eye to look lovingly at this photo, remembering it. Hah!

Margaritas at Hippo de Mayo Taco ChallengeMargaritas at Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge

Republic was our very first stop of the night. We remembered their incredible falafel taco from 2011, and they sold out early last year, so we made it a big point to get there early this year. It paid off!!  They were just bringing everything out and getting set up. What, not everybody is in line at 4:57 like me and my husband? LOL  It is truly worth making sure you get there early for. One of the best tacos of the night!

Republic's falafel taco

A couple of other spots with lively crowd action: Ben & Jerry’s and Rouge Grille.

crowds at Manchester's Taco Challenge

So out of the ELEVEN tacos that I ate (and I am soooo not kidding about that) I’m just going to go out on a limb and name my favorites of the night:

1. Margarita’s Taco del Mar
2. El Rincon Discada Taco
3. Republic’s Falafel taco
4. Finesse Pastries’s Taco Fromage
5. Baked: Baked Cake Taco

Parker Street Food & Travel

Eating and Exploring in New England & Beyond