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What You Need to Know About This Year's Taco Madness Tournament

The popular local bracket is paring down and getting much more hardcore.

L.A. Taco
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

It’s Madness time, everyone. No, not that lame NCAA stuff — Taco Madness, the annual L.A. Taco-led expedition to highlight the city’s best taqueros, trompos, and tacos.

This year is a stark contrast to competitions past, however. Previously, 32 trucks, stands and restaurants would square off in an open seeded tournament, pitting heavyweights like Ricky’s Fish Tacos against outliers and up-and-comers, regardless of format.

This time, there are only 16 teams, and they’re seeded within their own ‘region’ of expertise — carne asada specialists battle other asada spots; pork takes on pork; mariscos trucks vie against other seafood operators. The competing corners only meet in the semi-finals, with a single winner still crowned overall.

So with a full 16 fewer slots this year, lots of top-notch talent was by necessity left behind, simply because it may not be the best in its individual category. There’s no Guisados on the board for 2015. No El Chato, and no Tacos Quetzalcoatl, which is one of the best overall trucks currently doing business. Last year’s winner El Coraloense didn’t even make the cut!

Any other surprises from this year’s shake up? Share your surprised-eyes emojis below, and don't forget to vote for your favorites.