Here are your Top Tamales!

It was masa mahem yesterday at ¡Viva Tamales! as 12 competitors entered deliciously creative creations. Check out those who took top honors as voted by our illustrious judges and you, our attendees, who took your job very seriously:

2013 People’s Choice Winner: Team #111, Tacolicious – Pork mole tamale

2013 People’s Choice Honorable Mention:  Team #104, Evil Jerk – Arubian Ayacas

Judge’s Choice Best Vegetarian Tamale:  Team #105, Decolonize your Diet  –  Xocolatamal (chocolate)

Judge’s Choice Best Wildcard Tamale:  Team #107, Barbarian Gourmet  – El Pavo Loco (turkey)

Judge’s Choice Best Meat Tamale:  Team #110, Tamarindo Antojeria

Thanks to everyone who participated!

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HUGE Thank You to our Sponsors!!

We would like to extend a huge amount of gratitude to our sponsors for helping us make today’s ¡Viva Tamales! celebration possible!  Without their support, the event may not have been. Thank you for supporting La Clinica, the Oakland Food Community, and delicious tamales!

Ruth Stroup Insurance Agency


Somar Bar

SomaR B&W Address

Zeus Design Build and Walk Oakland Bike Oakland for all of their work on the garden!!
WOBO logo colorVertHR








Oakland Venue Management


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Just in! El Kool Kyle joining DJ Crimson

DJ Crimson
As we announced yesterday, we are psyched to have DJ Crimson (Record Rockers / MOM) providing the beats for ¡VIVA Tamales!  We just got word that  El Kool Kyle (El Superritmo) will also be doing a set.   They will be spinning cumbia, salsa, and other dancefloor favorites.  After you are done trying all of the tamales, these guys will get you moving.
We are so honored to have them supporting our Tamale Cook-off y Fiesta to benefit La Clinica.
Oakland Food Events presents…
¡VIVA Tamales!
A Cook-Off & Fiesta Benefit
Sunday, September 15, 2013, 12-4 p.m.
Tickets include tasting & an afternoon of music – $15 pre-sale, $20 @ the door
Hosted by Tina Tamale at La Borinqueña Mex-icatessen
582 7th Street
Oakland, CA 94607
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Tamales for All – Competitor Preview

Tamale VegIn the last in our series of  Competitor Previews, we are highlighting a few of our Vegetarian/Vegan category participants – Santuary Bistro and Decolonize Your Diet.  Both are bringing flavor rich entries that let their spectacular ingredients shine.  Be sure to get your tickets to have the opportunity to try these and all of the entries!

Sanctuary Bistro is a fine dining, plant-based bistro in the East Bay. By creating a sustainable bistro that is healthy for the planet, the environment and all living beings we create a sanctuary – a beautiful space to find peace while enjoying local, organic, healthy, vegan food with a farm to table philosophy.  Undoubtedly you will find sanctuary in their sweet potato and green chile tamale with a Mole poblano and verde sauce.

Decolonize Your Diet is committed to educating people about the health benefits of pre-Columbian foods (including chocolate!).  They will be making Xocolatamal: a dessert tamale featuring the perfect blend of nixtamal corn, Mexican cacao, and spices.

Their tamale will be one of a few entries that will take care of your sweet tooth!

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¡VIVA Tamales! Supporting La Clinica’s Efforts to Encourage Positive Youth Choices

La Clinica

La Clinica de La Raza is a non-profit that has been providing affordable health services to Bay Area residents for over 40 years.  All of the proceeds from ¡VIVA Tamales! will be donated to La Clinica’s   Health Education for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention.  Programs like this one have been in place since the organization began in the mid 1970s.

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program has been one of the most effective programs in addressing social, economic and health disparities affecting youth and families.  In the TPP program we are supporting, high school boys participate in leadership training to serve as mentors for other boys about being responsible and preventing teenage pregnancy. The funding that La Clinica received for many years from the State of California to implement these teen pregnancy programs has been cut in recent state deficit reduction efforts.

Despite lack of funding La Clinica has continued the TPP program with limited resources and the mentor program has become a volunteer program. The money we raise from ¡VIVA Tamales! will provide some funding for this program and help to compensate these young boys who contribute their time and energy each week to educate other young men and women in Oakland about the importance of sexual responsibility and delaying parenthood until adulthood.

A portion of each ticket sold will be donated to La Clinica’s TPP program.  If you would like to donate but cannot attend, you may do so here.  Be sure to mention Viva Tamales in the donation notes!

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Honoring Oakland’s Sense of Adventure – Competitor Preview

Oakland TamalesTina Ramos’ family founded La Borinqueña Mex-icatessen, our event venue, in Oakland 69 years ago this year.    While some aspects of the business have remained unchanged, the introduction of the Tina Tamale food truck and other mobile food ventures reflect a changing time in the Oakland food scene.  We introduced the “Wildcard” judging category to honor their entrepreneurial spirit and Oakland’s quirky resilience.  For tamale entries in this category, tradition is up for grabs and creativity is key.  The only rule is that it must be delicious.  Fist of Flour Pizza Co., Little Shop Artisan Box, and Common Fare Foods each think they have the creative spin that will bring home the title.  Be sure to get a ticket, you won’t want to miss their one-of-a-kind entries!

Fist of Flour Mobile OvenMost days, Fist of Flour Pizza Company is busy running a mobile wood fired pizza company that you can find throughout the Bay Area.  However, they are always up to try different things so they are taking one of their popular pizza combinations and rolling it up just for fun!  They will be making a tamale called the Fruitvale, containing a house made chorizo, fire roasted pasilla pepper, tomato sauce, and Oxacan cheese filling.  You can catch their daily pizza action on Facebook and twitter @fistofflour.

Little Shop Artisan BoxMaricela Yee, owner and Head Foodista of Little Shop Artisan Box, loves sharing food with unique and stellar flavors. She does this with her business but is unable to make tamales during the holiday season like she did with her family growing up because of the holiday gift rush for her giftboxes like the Oaktown Pride Box features strictly locally made snacks like Tina Tamale’s Lardy Tortilla Chips, pineapple basil beef jerky, strawberry pink peppercorn jam, candied bacon caramel corn, and a handmade chocolate candy bar. However, since ¡VIVA Tamales! is during the off-season, Maricela is excited to take this opportunity to fulfill her tamale-making urges with her pickled pepper, corn nibs and goat cheese tamale.

Common Fare FoodsCommon Fare Foods, who specializes in updated Southern classics, is bringing a little taste of the American South to Oakland.  Their entry will be honoring a little known Southern phenomenon called the Mississippi Hot Tamale Trail, where cornmeal hot tamales have been made and sold for over a century.  Their tamale, called The Delta, is a roast chicken tamale with spicy collard green salsa verde and their signature red onion jam.

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Honoring the Mexican Tamale – Competitor Preview

merged tamales-mexico

In Mexico, tamales are fiesta food — the edible equivalent of “Let’s Celebrate!”  Three of our competitors will be honoring that tradition with their entries — Moles y Tamales la Oaxaqueña, Evil Jerk with their Arubian Ayacas, and Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas.  As you can see from the descriptions of their tamales,  a ticket to this event means you are in for quite a treat! You will get to taste some the diverse styles of tamales found throughout Mexico and your vote will help determine which one is named the best.

Tamales La OaxaquenaMoles y Tamales la Oaxaqueña will be bringing the flavors of Southern Mexico, with their delicious tamales made with mole in banana leaves, Oaxaca Style. Banana-leaf tamales are popular in Mexico as well as Central America.  The leaf releases oils in cooking that lend a delicate aroma to the food. They are proud to represent the flavors of their homeland Oaxaca, and to share with the Bay Area their mole which goes back to the roots of Mexico.

Evil Jerk will be making Arubian Ayacas.  In Aruba, families come together to prepare the ayaca to wake up their Christmas Spirit.  They listen to Christmas music while cooking creating a wonderful atmosphere.  Arubians adopted the Ayaca mostly from Venezuelan immigrants and altered it a bit to infuse an Arubian flavor. Evil Jerk’s variation is slightly sweet and equally savory and features spicy chicken and pork filling with raisins, a prune, and an olive, a pickle, and a mamma jeanette pepper, native to Aruba.

Alicia VillanuevaAlicia Villanueva of Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas had a dream to start her own tamale cart as a means to spread her own Mexican traditions and customs. She had been making delicious tamales for her family and friends for years, and finally decided that it was time to let the rest of the world in on her amazing food.  She debuted her tamales at the 2010 San Francisco Street Food Festival and has not stopped growing her business since.   Her signature tamale contains chicken, a mix of vegetables and is topped with salsa verde.  For Alicia, the best tamales are stuffed with love, and the best people are stuffed with her tamales.

¡VIVA La Mexico!

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