We’re so grateful that we were able to be a part of the first ever Taqueando Festival this past weekend at the ROW, here in DTLA.
If you know us, you know that we’re super into tacos, the frequency with which we talk about and consume them is borderline-weird, we’re taco-lovers and we’re proud of it. You can imagine, then, our excitement when we found out we would be a part of Taqueando. Taqueando means, literally, “to taco,” and so we did. In addition to sampling just about every variety of taco and michelada under the sun, we offered festival-goers a reprieve, a place to rest between bites and sips, and to exercise their creative muscles with an adult, taco-themed coloring book (you read that right).
Our booth was a hub for anyone and everyone who needed a break from consumption in favor of creation. And plenty of people did. You can only eat so many tacos and our new friends greatly appreciated the opportunity for a little creativity and a chance to sit down and digest. We all chatted about our favorites while feverishly coloring. Some loved the spicy lamb while others preferred the cauliflower and chorizo. Yes, it was an explosion of flavor and we loved it!
As far as the event itself, it was incredible, and seamlessly produced. A little history for you: way back when, a man named Bill Esparza (James Beard award winner for his journalism of the LA taco scene) hosted an annual event called Tacolandia, which attracted upwards of 10,000 people annually. This new, slightly smaller, yet more refined venture is it’s replacement. Here’s what he had to say to Eater LA:
“I want it t be an experience that focuses on the vendors and the Mexican community,” says Esparza. “Jonathan Gold said tacos should be a verb. He was right to say that. (In Spanish), taqueando is the Spanish verb meaning ‘to taco.’ Eating tacos is an action, it’s a lifestyle and basis from our culture.”
In a word, it was epic. We can’t wait for next year.
When your brand identity is authentic, it shines bright.
Brilliance is fascinating. Brilliance is breathtaking. Brilliance is charming.
From Prada to Bentley, people like bright, shiny things. They attract us like spinning lures. Like the facets of a diamond. The sparkle of a smile. Brilliance draws us in, holds our attention and makes everything else secondary.
Unlike beauty, brilliance is not an accident of birth. It is not the random intersection of dumb luck and timing. In business, being brilliant is the product of truth, transparency and clearing out the clutter that separates your brand from your audience.
Effective branding doesn’t create brilliance, it reveals it. Trying to be brilliant is an exercise into itself.
Choosing to explore who you really are is a decision that every brand has to make in order to climb to the top of the mountain and leave competitors down at base camp. Whether you would describe your brand as the “Mercedes Benz” of software or the “Rolex” of apartment buildings, make sure it’s authentic to you.
Here are the things you need to consider to make sure your brand is truly brilliant and not just fool’s gold:
Make brilliance your priority. Consensus, especially at top company levels, is crucial. Sometimes brilliance is just a decision or two away. Getting everyone on the same page with an agreed upon goal and direction makes all the difference.
Know your funds. Polishing your brand so customers can see the light takes resources. Brilliance doesn’t happen in your spare time. Carve out a realistic amount of time and funds. The ROI when you pursue brilliance will be a point of light on your balance sheet.
Chart a course. There are a lot of good ideas and good people out there. Find one you like, from someone with a track record in brilliance and a methodology you can count on. Look for brilliance in their strategic approach, and make sure the chemistry feels right.
Never quit. Brand brilliance can mean instituting new programs, implementing new ideas and adopting new attitudes. People will try to knock you off course with negativity and fear. Brilliance can cause temporary blindness. Understand, acknowledge and move forward.
Get excited. There are nothing like the aha! moments that happen during a branding workshop. When everyone is excited about what’s happening, the process works better, moves faster and is a lot more fun. Open up. Get excited. Brilliance is on the way.
How do you craft a brilliant brand?
Start by taking time to mine for the gems that make you unique. They might seem insignificant to you at first — like a pebble. But inside those uncut stones there’s opportunity. That’s why having an expert at your side is so important— they’ll have the ability to recognize what’s most valuable.
Next, mark the facets to maximize your assets. It’s critical to clearly define the strategy that must be executed to reveal a brilliant brand. That’s the roadmap to success.
Use master craftsmen to do the work. Your raw materials are precious, and it’s wise to only trust a specialist to make the right cuts for your brand. Details are important in revealing brilliance, and even small flaws can reduce your brand’s lustre.
Finally, the talents of an artist will determine the best setting to showcase the splendor of your brand’s brilliance, making everything market-ready.
Great sculptors consider each work of art a unique effort because each piece of stone has its own character. They simply free the sculpture from the rock that surrounds it. Branding follows the same mentality— brands are revealed from the unnecessary material that surround them.
Is your brand brilliant? The answer is yes, but it might be hiding underneath layers of sediment that are covering its beauty. Find your brilliance, and your beauty will shine brightly.
In Los Angeles, tacos are symbolic, an integral part of our culture.
While the great debate of who makes the best tacos will undoubtedly continue for years to come, we have a few personal faves. Our studio is located in the hip and happening Arts District, a melting pot of creative people, places, and cuisine, and arguably the most exciting part of the city today. We’ve been downtown for the last eight years, and have seen tremendous change. Most significant? The food scene. While the hot new restaurants pop up almost weekly (and they are awesome), we still have our favorite lunch spots. Lunch must, of course, include all the important food groups like tortillas, salsa and chilis. Call it comfort food for the native Californian. Our go to spot on a busy day is Tacos El Hermano.
Tacos El Hermano might be what you call “a hole in the wall”, but what it lacks in real estate it makes up for in flavor. When you walk up to this adorable and authentic locale, you’re immediately taken far, far away. You can easily imagine you just walked in off the street in San Pedro Atocpan, even though in reality, it’s located just over the first street bridge in Boyle Heights. This little corner stand is covered in murals that look like a 3rd grader painted.
The menu is big enough to satisfy a variety of cravings, but our favorite items are the veggie burrito – the grilled onions and peppers take it over the top, and the spinach breakfast burrito (definitely a must-get if you stop in earlier in the day). The restaurant shares the same menu as Tacos Por Favor on the Westside; this could be another reason we love it since we’ve been eating at Tacos Por Favor for, well, let’s just say longer than we’d care to admit.
Do yourself a favor and check it out for yourself. Oh, and let us know when you’re going, we’d like to join you.