If your March Madness brackets are already looking pretty dismal, look, as you always should, to tacos for your saving grace. L.A. Taco kicked off Taco Madness 2012 last week, its annual NCAA-style tournament that pits our favorite taquerias against one another to determine the king or queen of the tacos in Los Angeles. The tournament, now in its fourth year, should not be confused with KIIS FM's own coincidentally (or suspiciously) similar NCAA-style “Taco Madness” competition, which is pretty much the same concept as L.A. Taco's, only with more font colors and separate brackets for different geographic regions. (“On Air With Ryan Seacrest” writer Simon Bingham denied, via tweet, stealing L.A. Taco's idea: “Guess it's just not as original idea as we thought.”)

Seacrest and his radio station aside, Mexicali Taco & Company beat Mariscos Jalisco after a riveting volley of votes to win (L.A. Taco's) Taco Madness 2011, and we're hoping for that same level of excitement this year. But everyone first will have to survive the initial round, which includes Mexicali squaring off against El Taco Llama and Mariscos Jalisco against Rambo's Tacos. More interesting, perhaps, is the impact Guisados and the other new players will have on the whole bracket.

As part of the festivities, L.A. Taco is throwing a Taco Madness party with Echo Park Records at Guelaguetza on Tuesday, March 27, from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Fifteen bucks will buy you as many tacos as you can eat, and there will be a cash bar featuring mezcal cocktails. Proceeds from the party will benefit art education at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy.

LA Weekly