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2014 Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge | NH Food Photographer

hippo de mayo taco challenge 2014

This year I completed my fourth consecutive attendance of Manchester’s now-famous Taco Tour, and I have to say: the word is OUT. The attendance this year was beyond anything I have seen in previous years. Normally if you arrive right at 5:00 the lines are pretty short for a while, but that was not the case. It was slammed from the start! My husband and I started out  waiting in dual lengthy lines at The Gyro Spot and neighboring Republic.  The Gyro Spot (who as newcomers last year won Judge’s Choice) this year won the People’s Choice award! The lesson here is obvious: you must make The Gyro Spot one of your stops on your Taco Tour.

Tacos from The Gyro Spot and Republic

While my husband waited in line at Hooked and Ignite, I went up the block a little to check out Hanover Street Chophouse since this was their first year participating in the Taco Tour. What a line!!  They were set up efficiently, cranking out the tacos in record time despite the crowds. AMAZING taco. I have to think the fresh grilled tortilla really set it apart.  The delicious steak and little crunchy tortilla strips were a taste sensation. No wonder they took home the Judge’s Choice award!

Hanover Street Chophouse in the 2014 Taco ChallengeEl Chopo Taco at Hanover Street Chophouse

I liked the sound of N’awlins Grille’s taco this year:  THE SWAMP TACO. A Cajun Chicken Taco with a dash of hot swamp sauce, lettuce tomato, and mixed cheeses.  Overall I think it was a little bland. Sorry, guys!

Tacos from N

Margaritas, who last year served up probably my very favorite taco, also had a great one this year. I love how they change it up each year, always keeping it interesting. This year they served: SPICY CITRUS CARNITAS TACO. Slow roasted shredded pork simmered in a spicy citrus marinade and served with corn salsa and sweet avocado cream sauce, topped with crunchy corn chips. So colorful and yummy!

margaritas hippo de mayo taco challenge

While I waited in a very long line at Granite State Candy Shoppe (I’m not complaining about that; it was a very labor intensive taco they were creating), Dave ventured down to two different places in the time it took me to get through one. He hit up Midtown Cafe with their SHORT RIB TACO. Short ribs and Coleslaw.  And then to Portland Pie Company for their clever pizza-taco: SOUTHWEST PESTO. Each three cheese and monterrey jack, fresh pico de gallo. Southwest seasoned beef or chicken, diced tomato, fresh squeezed lime juice, cilantro.

tacos from Midtown Cafe and Portland Pie Company

Dessert Tacos

Now let’s talk about some of the dessert tacos!  I didn’t get to try all of them (the Ben & Jerry’s waffle taco cone looked and smelled amazing, but I didn’t get one). But I did try the following:

Granite State Candy Shoppe was a very popular destination, with long lines to try their two ice cream tacos. I of course got one of each….. hard to eat but easy to love!
GRAND MARNIER TACO: orange marmalade, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and chocolate jimmies

Chocolate Chambord Taco: raspberry jam, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and chocolate jimmies.

granite state candy shoppe taco challenge

Next , we have the dessert tacos at Baked and Finesse Pastries. They were both the same creations as last year, but that’s okay because they were both so excellent and worth repeating!

From Finesse: TACO FROMAGE. A cigarette cookie shell layered with a chocolate hazelnut cake soaked in Kahlua, orange mascarpone cream, white chocolate “cheese” and buttercream lettuce and tomato.

From Baked: BAKED DESSERT TACOa cookie taco shell with chocolate crumbles, frosting, diced strawberries and whipped cream.

dessert tacos hippo de mayo


By about 6:30, I have to sadly admit defeat because I was really full, and really discouraged about waiting in so many more long lines, that we had to call it a night. Unfortunately I did not get to Consuelo’s, El Rincon, or Firefly which have always been must-haves on my list.  Still, finishing up the night with TWELVE unique tacos had between me and my husband, I say we did a pretty darn good job. We are taco conquistadors!!


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