It's been too long since our food-related events calendar went into summer hibernation. Lucky for us all, the end draws near; we've got a few dates already marked on the books. From returning "love-ins" to first-time Phoenix events, here are three functions to mark on your calendar this fall.
Arizona Taco Festival
On Saturday, October 20 you can head to Salt River Fields for the third annual Arizona Taco Festival, a taco contest that can hang with the best. The "Taco-topia" will run for two-days, during which more than fifty teams will compete for a $10,000 prize. Expect everyone from Macayo's to Talavera and even a little El Hefe thrown in. Last year USA Today dubbed the taco and tequila blowout one of the 10 Great Places to Feast at a Festival and with a smorgasbord of $2 tacos, we're thinking they got that one totally right.
For the boozers, the event offers an expo on Saturday with more than 100 brands of tequila. Tasting passes for ten samples will be available for $10. Sunday targets suds-guzzlers with "beer passports" entitling the holder to eight samples from the Beers of the World tent.
Besides the general feasting and debauchery, you'll be able to check out Lucha Libre wrestling, cooking demos, live bands and more. Single-day general admission tickets are available for $12 at the Salt River Fields website. Two-day passes cost $20. VIP tickets also available.
November 4 food and gay rights meet again a la the Chick-fil-a debacle, albeit in what hopes to be a much more productive manner. This fall, Human Rights Campaign will host COOK Phoenix, a chance to sample (and judge) dishes from a selection of eight to ten Valley restaurants. After sampling small items from each of the competitors menus, guests will vote for the "People's Choice" award. Judges will also select a winner. The event will be held at Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix and will feature cooking demonstrations from a "celebrity chef" to be decided.
General admission will be $25 and includes an annual Human Rights Campaign membership. VIP admission with alcohol included $100. Tickets can be purchased at the Human Rights Campaign website.
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Bring your sweet tooth to the Hotel Valley Ho on November 11 for the annual Cupcake Love-In held to benefit the Project H3 Vets this year. The cupcake expo means stuffing our faces with mini-cupcakes and rubbing elbows with some of Phoenix's favorite bakers including Urban Cookies, Tammie Coe Cakes and Mind Over Batter. Sugar coma to ensure.