The concept is generally the same as Nate Silver’s Burrito Bracket.  This will be a 16 eatery, single elimination tournament.  

Selection and Seeding

Taco shops were selected based on feedback I received from an assortment of people who truly know their taco shops.  Seeding was established based on the reviews of these close advisors, and the reviews of the general San Diego community as found online.  I tried to include a representative sample of San Diego taco shops.  Clearly, there are a lot of great North County-coastal taco shops, but some had to be left out in favor of taco shops in other regions of the county.

Menu Items

I cannot possibly eat dozens of Carne Asada burritos over the course of a month.  To avoid getting sick of the same item, I will randomly select a menu item common to both eateries prior to the face-off.  Burritos, quesadillas, tacos, rolled tacos, tortas, enchiladas, and chips (aka nachos) are all in play.  Likewise, I will randomize the filling, selecting amongst carne asada, carnitas, beef, chicken, and fish.

I realize many of the fine establishments in this tournament specialize in a particular menu item, but it is my goal to anoint a “well-rounded” eatery the king of San Diego taco shops. 

Judging Criteria

Taco shops will be judged on the overall taste of the food item (25 points), service/atmosphere (5 points), quality of the hot sauce (5 points), freshness (5 points), affordability (5 points), and presentation (5 points), .  The taco shop with the highest aggregate score will advance to the next round.  Ties will be broken by first looking to overall taste.  If a tie still exists, the taco shop with the highest service/atmosphere score will advance.

Other Issues

Like Nate, I do not necessarily plan on doing a direct side-by-side comparison of the taco shops.  I will frequent one eatery, and take notes.  I will then make a debut at the second eatery sometime in the near future.  The system isn’t perfect, but it will have to do.


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