WALLINGFORD — Jose Lara always wanted to have a restaurant of his own after growing up in the restaurant industry. He recalled working as a bus boy, valet and in the kitchen while his father worked as a head chef.
Now owner of #Taco in Yalesville, Lara plans to showcase his culinary creations at the Connecticut Taco Festival. Lara participated in the festival in 2019, the same year the restaurant had its grand opening. In 2019 Lara was excited to get the brand out, but this year he is looking forward to sharing some traditional dishes from his native Mexico.
“With our tacos, we tried to implement different types, more popular ones that people haven’t tried before. People tend to be standoffish but then they like it. Being more adventurous with our taco selection is something we really like to do,” said Lara, who also serves in the National Guard.
The Day of the Dead-themed Connecticut Taco Festival will celebrate Mexican culture at Bushnell Park in Hartford on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
#Tacos will feature tacos al pastor, carne asada, and grilled chicken tacos. The taco placero is entered in the festival’s taco competition.
“It’s exciting because of the atmosphere and everyone there...To get in a little culture. Mexican beverages such as Horcachat and agua de Jamaica will be served. It’s an overall nice atmosphere,” he said.
Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead, “celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life,” event organizers explain. This year the Day of the Dead falls on Monday.
“Day of the Dead ties into a cultural aspect. People can involve their families…” festival director Veronica Parsloe said.
The festival will feature taco vendors across the state, Mariachi, Lucha Libre wrestling, margaritas, face painting, a taco eating contest, and live music.
Thomas Hooker Brewery will also be featured at the festival.
The taco contest will be open to all attendees. Those who participate will be given a ticket, which can be used to vote for Connecticut’s top taco.
Admission for children is free, general admission is $15, gate admission is $20. For more information or to buy tickets go to https://cttacofestival.com/food.