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7th Annual Salsa, Tequila & Taco Challenge

Sunday, September 3, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm MST

Mark your calendars for Sunday, September 3rd as the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance joins forces with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona to present the 7th Annual Salsa, Tequila & Taco Challenge. Formerly the Southern Arizona Salsa & Tequila Challenge, this outstanding summer event has added a new culinary element in 2017 – Tacos!

The event will bring together some of the best chefs and mixologists in Southern Arizona with an emphasis on local food, brews and distilleries while tapping into the region’s growing love for tacos. Following the success of prior years the 2017 event has moved to the Sunday evening of Labor Day weekend to better accommodate the event crowds at the La Encantada Shopping Center while the retailers are closed.

The Salsa, Tequila & Taco Challenge pits participants against each other for both Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice awards. Each restaurant submits their menu of salsas, tequila cocktails and tacos to a judging panel of local culinary experts for anonymous scoring. Points are awarded for presentation, taste, texture and creativity.

Outside the judge’s tent, this exciting festival rages on with opportunities to engage in regional experiences, including learning the difference between tequila and bacanora with the Mexican Consulate, enjoy the regional sounds Mariachi Estrellas de Tucson and salsa late into the night with the sultry sounds of Orquesta Salsarengue. Attendees are also encouraged to vote for their favorite items as they sip and sample throughout the evening.

While the event competitors always bring the heat to battle it out for their chance of being crowned champion, they are also supporting important charitable causes in the community. The seventh annual event will again raise money for the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance Creative Arts Therapy Programs as well as the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Tickets to the event, $55 per person (21+ only), include chips, salsa tastings, tequila cocktail and taco sampling, delicious menu pairings, live music and dance performances, cultural activities, and more. Tickets will only be available for pre-purchase, there will be no day-of ticket sales.

All tickets include over 100 samplings of signature salsa recipes, tequila cocktails, tacos, Mexican beer, live music on multiple stages, AND the most fun you will have all year!

Experience some of the most creative chef interpretations of salsa, innovative taco recipes and Southern Arizona’s most talented mixologists for a cultural celebration like none other!

Join the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona for the signature community fundraiser of the Summer!

Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain – Chef Sam Flores & Chef Alejandro Mancilla
▪ Cayton’s Cowboy Salsa – Cayton’s Restuarant Orginal Cowboy Salsa
▪ Turquesa’s Signature Salsa – Turquesa’s Latin Inspired Southern Arizona’s Salsa
▪ Loaded Churro Tots – cinnamon sugar churro tots, dark chocolate ancho chile cream, strawberry cilantro salsa, white chocolate ganache

The Lodge at Ventana Canyon – Chef Issa Moussa
▪ Salsa Especial made with Tomato, Smoked Peppers, Cilantro, Onion, Lime
▪ Carlos’ Sangria – merlot, tequila, orange juice, pineapple, fresh lime, fresh lemon and simple syrup
▪ Ventana Chocolate Milk made with 1921 creme liquer, dulche de leche, abuelita, soy based cream, powdered sugar
▪ Dessert Taco crafted with Cinnamon Sugar Buñuelos, Dulce de leche marshmallow, Mexican chocolate, Home-made salted caramel ice cream

Estrella Jalisco – Hensley Beverage Company
▪ Sampling Estrella Jalisco, a new Mexican style beer
Click Café – Chef Armando Duarte
▪ Flavor City a unique Mesquite Charred Salsa and Salsa Frijol, a flavorful bean salsa
Calle Tepa
▪ Featured Salsa ▪ Featured Taco

GRINGO Grill + Cantina – Chef Andy Ceron
▪ Mesquite Smoked Plum salsa infused with mesquite smoke plum, roasted onion & chiles. Served with a Blood Orange Paloma made with blood orange puree, soda, water, and tequila.
▪ Smoked Salmon Taco prepared with smoke cured salmon with peach chutney

Popped Artisan Popcorn – Diana Klawitter-Gillihan
▪ Mole Caramel, Sonoran Caramel, Green Chile artisan popcorn

Queen Ceviche – Chef Feliz Zaborsky
▪ Queen Ceviche’s signature La Reina Margarita

Angie’s Gourmet To Go – Chef Angie
▪ Smoky Mesquite Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with a subtle smoky flavor

Omni Tucson National – Chef Jonathan Stutzman
▪ Smoked Jalapeno Salsa and a Hot Fruit Pico salsa made with muddled fruits and roasted spices with blistered tomatoes.
▪ Cabeza Jamon Iberico Taco made with prime beef & Iberico with smoked jalapeno salsa paired with a Cherry Tequila Raspado

Rigo’s Restaurant – Chef Oscar Gastelum
▪ Salsa Borracha or “drunk salsa” featuring roasted chiles & tomatoes with a hint of tequila and a traditional Salsa Antigua a hot salsa with dried chiles and olive oil.
▪ Mr. Taco filled with carne asada garnished with lime, cilantro, radish and cucumber
▪ Marimbas cocktail made with Clamato, Tequila, Lime juice and beer
▪ Mangoyadas with Mango Margaritas with chamoy and tajin

La Botana – Chef Osvaldo Silva
▪ Salsa De Lagrimas a super spicy pico de pajaro salsa with grilled vegies and a Taco Queso Crispy, grilled cheese taco on a tortilla and green chicharron

Finley Distributing
▪ Modelo Especial ▪ Modelo Negra ▪ Corona Light

Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine Tequila
▪ Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine Tequilas paired bites of fresh mango, cheese, and chocolate

Three Wells Distilling – Mixologist Matthew Montgomery
▪ Salty Agave an Agave Silver Cocktail
▪ Rebellion Pina cocktail featuring Agave Reposado

3 Amigos Tequila – Mixologist Ralph Gonzalez
▪ Ramona’s Café a unique drink made with Cold Brew Coffee and Ramona’s Reserve Tequila
▪ Cucumber Jicama Margarita with fresh Lime, lemon, cucumber, jicama sweetened with agave nectar highlighting 2 Amigos Blanco

Sierra Nevada Brewery
▪ Various select brews

Epazote Kitchen and Cocktails- Chef Josh Willett
▪ Otton’s Orange Habanero salsa comprised of oranges, habanero, mint, leeks, cilantro.
▪ Puesto Del Sol made with Patron Silver Tequila, Aperol, and simple syrup.
▪ Lamb Barbecoa Taco with Lamb braised in Southwestern Chilis and Spices

Reforma Modern Mexican, Mezcal + Tequila – Chef Jimmy Belden
▪ Reforma Salsa de la Casa made with traditional Roma tomato salsa with chiltepe and serrano chile
▪ Salsa Roja de Michoacan featuring Roma tomato with garlic and arbol chile
▪ Blood Orange Margarita Sauza Blue, Blood Orange Puree and Reforma’s house Margarita Mix

Gorditas HeartMade – Chef Fernando Ibarra
▪ Salsa El Patio a traditional salsa with a tomato base and spices
▪ Signature Gorditas Heartmade Quesadilla served with various toppings, meats and cheeses

Embajador Tequila – Mixologist Brandon Cancino
▪ Embajador Tequila Supreme a double-barrel aged Anjeo tequila with a unique flavor that is Silky smooth, with a hint of smoke with notes of butterscotch, maple and coffee

SpunLight Cotton Candy – Kate Keelen & Nick Breckenfeld
▪ Organic Lime Cotton Candy
▪ Habanero Cotton Candy

The Living Room – Chef Peter Matthews
▪ Tangy Tomatillo Salsa made with Fire roasted tomatillo and poblono pepper salsa
▪ Mini chilaquiles with shredded chicken In salsa verde

Pure Love Juice Bar – Chef Marisol Casal
▪ Jicama and veggies (Vegan) and one of a kind Wellness shots

Oskar Blues- Tim Matthews
▪ Various beer samplings

Nothing Bundt Cakes – Chef Tessa Miller
▪ Various flavors of bundt cakes

Barrio Brewing
▪ Barrio Blonde ▪ Barrio Rojo ▪ Barrio Citrazona IPA

Brush Fire BBQ – Chef Greystone LaPoint
▪ Serving both Red and Green salsa’s
▪ Mixed tequila cocktails paired with Brush Fire’s Paco’s tacos

Highwire Lounge – Mixologist John Hardin
▪ Unique Tequila Balloon Shot
▪ Tequila Infused Oxygen Old Smokey Margarita

Santiago’s – Chef Rob Page
▪ Santiago’s Salsa Brava (Spicy) -Fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, de arbol and jalapeno chile and select spices.
▪ Short Rib Taco – Braised and seared short rib, roasted corn, cilantro lime cabbage, pico de gallo and ancho sauce.
▪ Seabass Taco

Elvira’s Cocina Tequila Vino – Chef Ruben Monroy
▪ Elvira’s Signature Salsa – Tomato, Jalepeno, Red Thai Chile, Soy, Lime, Sea Salt, Red Onion, Cilantro, Toasted Sesame Seed
▪ Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Arbol – Roasted Onion, Roasted Garlic, Roasted Black Sesame seeds. Chile de Arbol, Peanuts
▪ Vic’s Margarita – Grilled Sesame, Orgeat, Pineapple, Guajillo Syrup, Joe Cuervo Tradicional Tequila, Lime, Cointreau
▪ Duck Confit Taco – Duck Confit, Corn Tortilla, Pickled Red Onions, Pineapple Pico de Gallo, Blueberry Mole, Cilantro.

Fini’s Landing – Chef Ben Hoffman Chef Garett Button
▪ Blue Pine Hatch salsa made with Blueberries, Pineapple, Hatch Chilies
▪ Blue Pine Hatchet! – Blueberry-pineapple and Hatch infused Tequila blended into traditional margarita

Tucson Tamale Company – Chef Todd Martin
▪ Traditional salsa
▪ El Pastor Tacos

Tequila Factory – Chef Ralph Felix
▪ Del Sol Borracha Salsa – Charred Tomatoes, Chiltepin Chile, Green Chile, Tequila
▪ Fire & Ice -Peaches, Pineapple, Grapes, Jalapeno Sorbet
▪ The Doc’s Swagger – Azunia Reposado tequila, spiced champagne honey syrup, peach brandy, lemon, mint, black pepper foam

Crossroads Restaurant – Chef Aracely Gonzalez
▪ Guacamole Salsa- Fresh avocados mixed with jalapeño peppers.
▪ Chipotle Salsa – Roasted chipotle peppers with grilled onions and fresh pineapples.
▪ Sonoran Sunrise – 100% Sonoran traditional Bacanora mixed with orange juice and a splash of grenadine.
▪ Azteca Tacos – Deep fried tacos with savory smashed potatoes with traditional carne seca and cheese. Topped with lettuce and cheese. Mexican Rice and refried beans.

Salzona Salsa – Chef Andrea Toledo-Leyva & Chef Mickey Martinez
▪ Salzona Original – Our “Original” Salsa is a time-honored family, homemade salsa that blends savory, organic ingredients native to Arizona and Mexico
▪ Salzona Salsa (Spicy) – For Salsa lovers who crave a robust, organic salsa with some heat, this blend will release your inner Salzona!

Saffron Indian Bistro – Chef Harjeet Singh
▪ Chicken Tikka Masala and Vegetable Biryani

+ $29 resort service charge per night.
Book 2 nights – Saturday & Sunday Night

2017 Southern Arizona Salsa, Tequila & Taco Challenge
When: Sunday Sept. 3 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: La Encantada Shopping Center, northwest corner of Skyline Drive and Campbell Avenue
Cost: $55 per person (21+ Event)
Phone: (520) 797-3959

About the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance
The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to ensure that, through engagement in arts and culture, our communities produce strong, inspired citizens. SAACA enlists artists, businesses, governments, and individuals to expand artistic and cultural opportunities in their respective communities. To enhance access to the arts and to promote cultural awareness in the communities it serves, SAACA presents large-scale festivals, events and other programs. The Alliance also promotes educational opportunities in the arts and culture for all ages.

For more information about programs and events produced by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, go to


Sunday, September 3, 2017
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm MST
Event Categories:
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Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA)
(520) 797-3959


La Encantada Shopping Center
Skyline and Campbell Ave
Tucson, AZ United States
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