PICTURED: Taquería Tepátitlan has created a special FFT, or fish fajita taco, for Avenue Taco Week Sept. 16-19.

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

Avenue Taco Week
Sept. 16-19
Noon-9 p.m.

In July, we had the Old Boney Mountain International Hot Sauce Competition in Thousand Oaks, and the Tequila and Taco Music Festival at Surfer’s Point Live at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. If you’re craving more south-of-the-border flavor, then head out to Ventura’s Westside for the first-ever Avenue Taco Week!

The all-taco celebration takes place Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 16-19, along Ventura Avenue from Main Street north to Lewis Street — aka Ventura’s “Taco District” — and will include more than a dozen participating taquerias, restaurants and markets. During this period, diners can sample any number of meat, seafood and vegetarian taco options normally offered by the eateries. Restaurants, however, will also offer a unique taco “as a special for their adventurous patrons,” according to the blog post for Avenue Taco Week.

Taco de Papas con Rajas, with potatoes, mushrooms and chiles, will be available during Avenue Taco Week from Taqueria Cuernavaca.

One of these specially crafted items is “The Talk of the Town,” courtesy of El Taco De Jerez — a combination of simmered tongue, spices, onions, cilantro, cucumber and lime. Pablito’s Tacos is presenting “El Keto,” a carne asada taco served on a circle of cheese that has been melted and grilled to create a starch-free tortilla. Potatoes are a featured ingredient for two different vegetarian tacos. Mushrooms, potatoes and Poblano chiles are used to create the cheesy Taco de Papas con Rajas from Taquería Cuernavaca, while Taquería Ventura Doña Raquel will be offering a crispy hard shell taco filled with potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes and onions. Herrera’s Bakery is satisfying the local sweet tooth with a special dessert taco. 

The traditional taquerias up and down the Avenue are of course the backbone of Avenue Taco Week. But a few non-Mexican restaurants are getting into the spirt as well. Himalaya Restaurant, a local favorite for Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine, has an “Indo-Surf Fusion Taco” made with your choice of butter chicken or tandoori vegetables. Lovers of tikka masala will want to try the “Naan Taco” from Indian Rasoi, while the Polynesian-inspired “Tiki Taco” from J Wolf Catering and BBQ is perfect for pork and pineapple fans. 

Avenue Taco Week was originally suggested by local resident Richard Carradine, and came to fruition through the efforts of the Westside Community Development Corporation, the city of Ventura and the Westside Community Council. It’s an excellent reason to come out to this vibrant and one-of-a-kind community — but there’s so much more here than tacos! Diners can stroll the neighborhood for a self-guided Avenue Mural Tour, taking in more than 20 works of public art. On Saturday evening, vintage and souped-up cars will gather for Cruise Night, which starts at 5 p.m. at Kellogg Park. In between courses, be sure to check out the local shops and art galleries. 

No matter what day you come, or how you choose to enjoy it, Avenue Taco Week offers community-based, family-friendly food and fun at its finest.