Taco Festival Detroit

Several months ago an advertisement popped up on my Facebook, which normally I would ignore, but this one had something that really got my attention. There was a Taco Festival coming to the riverfront in Detroit. Now either this was a completely random advertisement or Facebook’s algorithms finally picked up on the amount of times I post about tacos. Either way, I immediately logged in and purchased tickets. $12 general admission tickets that promised tacos, live music, Lucha Libre wrestling and alcohol. What could go wrong?

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Now I’m not normally the guy that just dives into something like this. I’ll admit, the promises of unlimited tacos and masked wrestlers dug deep into my emotions and basically took over my credit card. I’m usually the guy that will read who is putting the festival together, what additional costs there will be and other details before I pull the trigger on something like this. After purchasing tickets, I started to read and discovered that Taco Festival is actually a traveling festival that hits one or two locations per month. They recruit local vendors, which they actually did a really good job of – more on that later, who pay a deposit to have a booth and then receive a percentage of the money for the tacos that they sell. I searched everywhere trying to figure out who the owners of the festival were but could not find anything. You’re so mysterious, Taco Festival.

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The festival was very well put together. There were several beverage tents selling beers that ranged in price from $4-$8 depending on regular or tall can, a main stage had live music throughout the day and taco tents stationed the perimeter of the festival grounds. There were close to forty different Michigan vendors offering various tacos and other Mexican specialities. They did a good job finding, or being found by, a number of legit taco trucks and taquerias, but there were a few I wasn’t about — See Qdoba and something called the Crazy Gringo Mexican Cantina. Most vendors were offering several cuts of meat — mostly pork, chicken and steak. There were a few vendors who decided to not offer pork and none of these vendors received any money from me. Selling tacos without pork is like Harold Melvin without the Bluenotes.

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My personal favorite? Loncheria El Parian, a taco truck that sits on Dix ave. It was the only vendor I saw that had their Al Pastor on an actual spit, the way it’s supposed to be served, with a pineapple dripping all over the spinning column of pork. Their place included pickled onions and pickles. Absolutely delicious. I will be checking them out for some of their other goods and services at a later date.

Now here’s where I have to get a little negative on the festival. The cost for the festival was $12. The wife and I went together so our total cost of admission was $24. We like beer so the first thing we did was buy two beers. That was another $6. I’m not a normal human being so I ate eleven tacos. That was another $22. My wife is a normal person so she had three tacos. That was $6. We also paid for parking, which was $10. All together, this festival ran us $62.

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I understand their pricing because they need the up front money from the tickets to rent the venue, pay their employees and set everything up. I swear I’m not trying to be a complainer here but the beauty of tacos is they are cheap. They typically house less expensive cuts of meat and can be bought in bulk at various places for a buck or two. When you organize an entire festival around a food item that is typically very cheap and somehow make it an expensive experience it’s just kind of weird to me. I also believe that visiting a small taqueria offers a different kind of experience that is just as fun. That could be just me though.

I also understand that I’m paying for the experience of having all of these different vendors in one place. The only thing I can think about when I apply that logic is information about the best tacos in Detroit is readily available on the Interwebz and I can go directly to the source and give them 100% of my money. I realize not everyone wants to research everything they eat and this type of festival is great exposure for local businesses.

So in summary, Taco Festival is a great thing for your average eater and the city of Detroit. For me, not so great. They claimed this will be an annual event and if you have some disposable income and are looking for an unconventional experience, this is probably for you. I’m glad to say that I attended a festival completely centered around the taco,but I probably won’t be back next year.

Lobster Week at Mudgie’s – It’s Here!!!

Before I begin, I have to start off with a story. If you are regulator reader of my food writings you should continue to read. If you followed a link simply to hear about and see lobster rolls you can feel free to skip these ramblings.

I do my best to not operate this site as a “food blog”. I know, I know it’s pretty much a food blog but there’s now thousands and maybe millions of people with a cell phone that take pictures of food and write a few paragraphs about it. I try to do things a little differently here. Generally what happens on this site is I eat or cook something really delicious and then immediately write something on my phone and post about it. I try to keep the time between experience and reaction as short as possible. My attention span demands this type of production.

What happened today goes against my typical MoorsFood production schedule. Truth be told, I wrote a really great piece about my visit to Mudgie’s Lobster Week and in between a couple of glasses of Wild Turkey I lost the entire thing. I don’t know what happened between me hitting the publish button and my web host accepting my content but my post went by bye.

So this is a disclaimer. I lost my original content. I then drank more Wild Turkey. Then I drank some Basil Hayden. Then I drank some Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. Then I finished with some EH Taylor Single Barrel. I’m a full twelve hours removed from my experience and under the influence of some really great bourbon. Let’s get on with it.

Actual Mudgie’s Lobster Week post begins here.

I’ve previously documented my love for Mudgie’s and warned of you of their lobster week, which only comes to us one week out of every summer. Mudgie’s is the greatest, and lobster week is their greatest week. Easily translated, lobster week is the greatest week of the year.

A quick summary if you aren’t a fan of clicking links — Every July Mudgie’s has lobsters overnighted from Maine every day for an entire week and serves up lobster rolls downtown. Some might say “But John, I can get lobster rolls at any number of locations in the Metro Detroit Area”. That’s great, but let me tell you why lobster week is a little more special. Maine lobsters are known to be the best and fisherman in the area go to great lengths to ensure this. Small details such as building traps in certain sizes so smaller lobsters are allowed to escape and continue their growth. Female lobsters are labeled and released so they can continue to mate and produce more lobsters. June is the season for soft shell lobsters, which produce more sweet and tender lobster than what you would typically find from a year around lobster. The climate and the temperature of the water are also factors in producing delicious lobster. Getting this type of lobster fresh in Michigan is a big deal.

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So all of these different factors brings us back to lobster week where Mudgie’s has these Maine lobsters shipped in fresh every day. I showed up today at 10AM, a full hour before opening time. I fully expected to hold the “first in line” title but there were already seven or eight people ahead of me. This should be a warning to you — Lobster week has grown in popularity and causes on average of a twenty minute wait, depending on when you get there. They also run out daily, even though they increased production from last year. My advice to you, stop what you’re doing right now and get over there. It’s 9:15 AM. Call off work. Get a babysitter. Hell, steal a car if you need to. Lobster week is worth both unemployment and/or a length prison term.

So this is completely my bad if I missed this last year, but Mudgie’s has now added a lobster bisque to their lobster week menu. I’ve had a few bisques over the years but in no way do I call myself a lobster bisque expert. I can say, however, that this lobster bisque tastes like a lobster bisque people that know a lot about lobster bisques would say is one of the better lobster bisques. This isn’t a bowl of orange colored cream with some lobster flavor. This is a savory, chunky bowl of greatness. It’s easily the best lobster bisque I’ve had. Fully worth the $10 it will cost you for a bowl.

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But the lobster rolls, what can I say about the lobster rolls. They’re delicious and fresh. Not too fishy fasting and unbelievably tender. The bun is a buttery baked New England style roll that contains the generous portion of lobster meat. The only other ingredient, which to me is normally unacceptable, but lettuce on this sandwich adds a needed crunch to each bite. If you’re one of those people that does things the right way, you’ll have a seat at their outdoor Tiki bar, order a cocktail in a Tiki glass and ask for both the roll and the bisque.

Now as I said before this is a hugely popular week where lines form and lobster eventually runs out. There are rumors of a 100lb lobster order in the coming days so hopefully everyone is able to get their share. My advice for you is again, get there early and prepare yourself for a brief wait. Trust me, it’s worth it. If you arrive later on and they are sold out, don’t complain. If you complain about Mudgie’s, you don’t deserve Mudgie’s It’s that simple.

This event runs through the 29th of July and ends with a lobster themed brunch. If you were wondering if I’ll be there on Sunday I can absolutely promise I will be in attendance.

These lobster shenanigans are going down at 1300 Porter in Corktown.

Countdown to Lobster Rolls

For normal people, Summer means warm weather, pools, sunshine, going outside and other activities.  For me, Summer means food.  This shouldn’t be surprising because every season means food for me.  I was having a nostalgic moment that sent me back to Summers in the past and luckily when you search for ‘Food’ in Google Photos it will automatically filter every food picture you’ve ever taken.

More specifically, I am looking forward to lobster rolls at Mudgie’s Deli in Detroit.   Every Summer for one week only, Mudgie’s gets Maine lobsters overnighted in every day for lobster rolls.  This week has begun to gain quite the following.  Years ago you could walk right in and order one but now you need to line up early and hope they don’t run out. Last year they went through 700-pounds of lobster, averaging 75-80 pounds per day.  On the final day of the week, there is a lobster themed brunch that I will be in attendance for this year.  If you have never had a good lobster roll, I’m going to have to require that you spend a day downtown this Summer waiting for one of these.  You don’t be disappointed.

My personal recommendation is the “High Roller Deal” which gives you two rolls and a bottle of Rosé.

Be sure to pick up a charcuterie board while you’re there.  Actually, just get everything. Mudgie’s is the best.

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