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.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.