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Pearl Pushes Tamales


First, let’s get your attention: the first-prize winner in each of three categories gets $1000. That’s right, a cool thousand bucks. Now for the details.

The first annual Tamales at Pearl celebration will take place on Saturday, December 11 from noon to seven. Tamales! Musica! Live Dancers! Cerveza! Anticuchos! Empanadas!...y más will all be on parade. And, guys and girls, admission is FREE! OK, enough exclamation points.

But the celebration does promise to be exciting, in a family-friendly kinda way. Though it’s not the first tamale fest to take place in town (one, that YT has judged a couple of times, is now a Fiesta event), it’s good to see this local culinary icon getting its due. Yes, the holiday season also just happens to be tamale time in the Alamo City, but we’ll take them whenever they’re being offered—especially if there’s some incentive for folks to get inventive.

And by folks, we mean Real Folks; no restaurants, chefs, food purveyors or other professionals need apply—though culinary students are allowed. Given that the event is at Pearl, home of the C.I.A., they may even be encouraged; tuition isn’t cheap.

The three categories mentioned above are chicken, pork and “wild card”—under which umbrella we assume any and all sweet tamales would have to be entered, in addition to the ones with huitlacoche, smoked salmon and other exotic ingredients. For that matter, beans and cheese fall under this category, too.

For information, you are kindly directed to The Official Contest Rules are five pages long (OK, this deserves another exclamation point, so here it is: !), but the salient points are that only one entry per person per category is permitted and that the work must be the "original recipe and creative work of the entrant.”  As we said before, no pros. Which suggests to us that you either fire up tia Teresa, or get busy mixing masa yourself. We happen to be of the lard school, but won’t be surprised if numerous olive oil and other miscreant variants turn up. Hey, one might even win—if not first place, then one of four finalist’s prizes, consisting of $100 gift cards to H-E-B, in each category. But remember: application forms, available on line, must be turned in by November 22. Donations benefit the San Antonio Food Bank, which is especially in need at this time of year.

And while you’re in the ‘hood, note that Pearl is co-promoting the San Antonio Museum of Art’s 24th annual Bazaar Sábado, the folk art sale that sends the museum’s Friends of Folk Art on trips around the world in search of unique items. One can easily walk between the two events along the new River Walk, but for those who need transportation, shuttles will be provided. The hours of BS are 10 to 4 (get there early), and the entry fee is $3.

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