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The Tamale Store (www.thetamalestore.com): There's a reason why The Tamale Store nabbed a 2009 Best of Phoenix award, and it's not just because they seem to be everywhere -- First Friday, culinary festivals, street fairs... Their tamales are made with fresh ingredients, sans lard, in varieties from chicken mole and pork red chile to green corn cream cheese. They even have five vegan versions with flavors like Zesty Carrot and mushroom, corn and spinach. Call 602-435-2604 to order.
Food City Tamale Festival: Food City's annual tamale shindig returns to Cesar Chavez Plaza this weekend (December 12-13). If you're looking for one-stop tamale shopping, this is the place to go. Admission is free, and you can shop rows and rows of tamales all all shapes, sizes and colors. There's also a tamale tasting contest so you can see whose tamales fare best.
Sylvia's La Canasta: Sylvia's offers cocktail tamales, regular size tamales and Christmas tamales with red chili beef and black olives delivered to your doorstep. Cost is $15.99 for a dozen tamales, or $29 for 48 minis. If you're in the mood to play chef, Sylvia's has a Tamale Party Kit with plastic gloves, an instruction booklet and ingredients to make three dozen tamales, available for purchase online.