As I mentioned earlier, we participated in a really fun event called A Taste of Tamales by the Bay. Joan and I went more to help a good cause but ended up having a great time and meeting some wonderful people. And the tamales were really fine.
There were tamales in all styles, from the American Southwest to the Yucatan. I particularly loved these bean filled tamales from El Salvador made by the very vivacious Estrellita of Estrellita's Snacks. Tamales in El Salvador are moister than many of the Mexican ones and Estrellita's were wrapped in banana leaves.
The whole event was worth it to eat the mole tamales from the famous Huarache Loco, owned by Veronica Salazar. I love mole as much as I love Frida Kahlo and chipotle chiles but all of these things are being overdone and could use a rest. This tamal was like eating mole for the first time. Magnificent and memorable!
The event went from noon until 4pm and also included Ceja Vineyards and some great wines, 10 Speed Press and a margarita competition. I was lucky enough to be next to the renowned Mateo Granados who is really making his mark in the North Bay with his Yucatecan cuisine. The tamales are moister and softer but the flavors are bolder.
Who made the best tamal? It's subjective and irrelevant but the prizes went to Mateo Granados and Veronica Salazar. They both deserved a prize but I didn't eat anything that wasn't wonderful the entire day. Here's a shot of Veronica and Mateo receiving their prizes from judge Augustin Gaytan, a local teacher specializing in Mexican food, often at Ramekins in Sonoma.
I'd encourage you to go to the Benchmark press website and sign up for their newsletter so that you can plan to attend next year. And to learn more about the group, which describes itself as a training and performance development organization dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of legal services to low-income communities.