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Stuff tacos, not ballots!

Jay-zus! Must the Current always defend the virtue of its Best of SA winners? Last year, a disgruntled local blogger (hi, Erik!) as much as said that we sell the winners' slots, implying that our readers' favorite joints are just well-heeled heels. Now "On the Street" investigator Mark Jones reports that a review update in the June print issue of the state's premiere resource for (paid) plastic-surgeon referrals casts a shadow of doubt on local taqueria celeb Taco Taco. During a recent visit to the 2008 Best of SA Breakfast Taco winner, the reviewer reports, someone could be observed "filling out a tall stack of Best of ballots for a local rag," implying that maybe it's a talent for self-promotion and WOM marketing that accounts for the dependable weekend line out the door.

Yes, "rag" made me think X-News at first, too, but the daily's contest is called "Readers' Choice Awards."

We can't argue with the assumed cultural influence of our annual Best of SA issue, published during Fiesta every April, and accompanied by a raucous party. Winning one of the Readers' Picks categories is, in fact, an honor worth fighting for (love you right back Taco Taco!), but it's simply unfair to give us credit for Taco Taco's enduring popularity. The Current examines paper ballots for signs of stuffing and tosses any found to have remarkably similar handwriting and ballot entries. We wouldn't want to reveal our sleuthing secrets, but even organized group ballot stuffers give themselves away pretty easily. Even if Taco Taco, god bless 'em, managed to sneak a passel of ballots past our keen eyes and suspicious natures, this year a full 88 percent of voters exercised the Best of franchise online, which is much harder to end-run (so our webmaster tells me). So maybe a handful of cleverly concealed, fake paper ballots could make the difference in a close vote, but ... well, what the hell, let's have a look:
(pause while I dig up the tally sheet and doublecheck the vote count...)
Taco Taco received almost twice as many votes as the number-two winner, Las Palapas!

More to the point here, SA's breakfast-taco votes were all over the map. We don't care if you don't like our favorite taco joint -- you might know about some great little mom-and-pop joint around the corner from your house, and we sure want you to tell us if you do. So we won't be insulted if you say, like Jones, that the best taco in town belongs to Garcia's on Fredericksburg, not Taco Taco. C'mon, glossy mag, tell us who you think has the best breakfast taco, and none of this skirt-the-issue, "62 (or whatever) tacos you must eat before you die" silliness. If you could only eat one more breakfast taco before you die, whose would it be?

I'd be having the Chella's Special at Tito's. Or maybe the Torres Special at Taco Haven. Until I find that perfect machacado con huevo that is.


Posted by Elaine Wolff on 5/27/2008
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