Salsa & Tequila Challenge Proved to be a Fine Way to Spend an Evening.

Last night the tequila gods prevented what could’ve been a minor catastrophe by keeping the rains away from The Fifth Annual Salsa & Tequila Challenge. Sponsored by SAACA, Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance, this event draws huge crowds to La Encantada Shopping Center in the Foothills.DSCN1888
I was lucky enough to be a judge along with a host of other local folks including Matt Russell, Don Luria. Dan Gibson and C.J. Hamm (some of my favorite foodie people.) DSCN1884
The plaza was packed exhibition tables from restaurants, caterers, bakeries and such all showcasing their best and most creative tequila cocktails, salsas and food pairings. We sampled so many different types of salsa it is impossible to write about any one special salsa. There were many featuring tomatillos and a few had fruit as the base. Some people stuck with traditional types, but the majority were in the alternative category. DSCN1887
The cocktails were varied, also. I’m not a tequila drinker but I enjoyed several of them. Two that stood out were the one with grapefruit juice from Pasco Kitchen & Lounge and Maria Mazon’s from Boca Taco Y Tequila that was made in the traditional Mexican fashion with lemonade.
There weren’t a whole lot of food pairings but all that we tried were great; a couple of tacos (Boca’s was fab), a pork dish from Pasco and sushi in various forms. Yum!
Money raised goes to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and various SAACA arts and therapy programs.
The judges weren’t the only ones handing out awards, there were also the Peoples’ Choice Awards. Categories included Hot Salsa, Mild Salsa and Most Creative Cocktail.DSCN1890
Boca just posted on Facebook that they won the People’s Choice Alternative Salsa with their Banana Habenero Salsa and Peoples’ Choice Cocktail!  I will post winners as I learn them.