Dish: Grilled Umami Tri-Tip Tacos with Pickled Beets, Queso Fresco, and Cilantro Horseradish Crème; Black IPA–Braised Red Cabbage; Farro with Grilled Meyer Lemon Slices; and Shishito Peppers topped with Toasted Pepitas.
A curator and director of education at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, Emily Falke has done well in our previous grilling and cocktail contests, but this is her first win. She went with a traditional Santa Barbara County cut, the tri-tip, but looked to the Pacific Rim for inspiration and marinated the meat for a couple of days in a salty-sweet “umami” sauce. But the key to her dish is everything else that goes on the taco: the house-pickled beets, the smooth yet slightly spicy horseradish-cilantro aioli, and the farro with grilled Meyer lemon. Chase it all down with a shishito pepper, and it’s a full plate indeed.
Judges Say: “An interesting play of Asian with grill flavors. Good fusion.”