07:57 AM

UST's Two Saints & a Taco Event Raises Nearly $100,000 for Alumni Association Student Scholarship Fund

Two Saints & a Taco Event partygoersSetting the Scene

 With cantina lights strewn across the campus academic mall from tree to tree, the University of St. Thomas-Houston morphed its Montrose campus into a fun and festive taco-tasting extravaganza for the 11th Annual Two Saints and a Taco Tasting on Friday, Oct. 14. Tented taco vendors faced off in friendly competition, doling out their culinary creations – including a waffle tortilla and purple salsa — as alumni and friends gathered with the purpose of raising some serious funds for student scholarships.   

More than 400 fundraising partygoers sipped on beer and sangria while the Amin Safari Band filled the air with high-energy Flamenco and Latin-fusion melodies. Guests, including sponsors and underwriters, nibbled their way through eight competing restaurants – all vying to win the Best Taco Trophy, decided on by celebrity judges, and the People’s Choice Award.

Generous Sponsors and Event Chairs

Fifty-four generous sponsors supported the evening’s festivities, including the presenting sponsors Janna & Paul Vallhonrat ’95. 

Ahmed AlRawi ’12, MCTM ‘20, and Emily Cotton ‘12 served as event chairs along with honorary chairs Catherine (Loth) ‘12 and John Ruff ‘12 and Gloria (Luna) ’03, MBA ’05, and Jessie Bounds ’05 who helped secure corporate sponsorships and promoted the popular, adults-only event far and wide.

Nearly $100,000 Raised for Scholarships

The 2022 premier Two Saints & a Taco Tasting event raised nearly $100,000 for student scholarships awarded by the Alumni Association.

A Culinary Crew of Celebrity Judges 

Four celebrity judges weighed in on the best taco in town:  

  • Eric Sandler, CultureMap’s food editor;
  • Katie Stone, CEO of Houston Restaurant Weeks. Also President of The Cleverly Stone Foundation (named for her late mother), which produces Houston Restaurant Weeks;
  • Marco Torres, a freelance photographer and taco journalist, based in Houston; and
  • Ralph Palmer, local beer blogger, co-owner of the Craft BBQ concept Deckle & Hide, and co-host of the Beer, Blood, and the Bayou podcast.

Armed with bottle caps as the voting mechanism, the crowd chose the People’s Choice Award for Best Taco from the following participating restaurants:

  • Berryhill
  • Chilosos 
  • Chuy’s 
  • Escalante’s 
  • Gordo Ninos
  • Liberty Taco
  • Moon Rooster 
  • Velvet Taco 

¡hurra! Gordo Ninos Restaurant, “Mexican food like no other,” won both trophies!  The purple tent lights and signature purple “lean sauce” won over the judges and the crowd. Chef Trinidad “Machete” Gonzalez is a self-taught, Texas raised, culinary master known for his Asian/Mexican fusions.

At the event, the University celebrated its Rev. Vincent J. Guinan Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus of the Year awardee Cynthia Colbert Riley, MLA ’95.