Tina 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!
Most 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.
Maricela 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 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.