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Eats Beat: ’Tis the season for ordering tamales

Posted 12:00am on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013

After turkey season comes tamale season.

While most of us were homebound last weekend, the Padilla family and crew used the time to make holiday tamales.

“We might easily sell 1,000 dozen tamales,” said Crystal Padilla at Mariposa’s Latin Kitchen, a west Fort Worth shop known for 18 flavors, including turkey-and-dressing tamales.

In the second holiday season at Mariposa’s, orders have doubled. The first orders came in October.

“We’re ordering masa by the hundreds of pounds, like I’ve never seen before,” Padilla said.

“People really want tamales.”

The Mariposa’s flavors include traditional pork, plus four varieties of chicken, vegetarian tamales and brunch tamales such as huevos rancheros tamales, bacon-cheddar or chorizo-and-egg.

They’re $13-$16 per dozen. Mariposa’s is open for lunch and dinner weekdays and Saturdays; 5724 Locke Ave. at Horne Street, 817-570-9555, mariposaslatinkitchen.com.

• The day-in, day-out tamale take-out shops in Fort Worth are both Esperanza’s Bakery & Cafe locations, now offering three flavors.

Esperanza’s sells thick pork tamales for $9.49 per dozen and beef or chicken for $9.95. If you need holiday chicken enchiladas, they’re about $15-$17 per dozen.

The busy cafes also serve a tamale platter, with or without the restaurant’s homemade chile con carne sauce ($7.29).

(The same tamales are served weekdays during lunch service at Joe T. Garcia’s, next door to the north-side Esperanza’s.)

Often ranked the region’s best interior Mexican food restaurant and one of Texas Monthly’s “50 Best,” Esperanza’s is open for breakfast and lunch daily at 2122 N. Main St. and 1601 Park Place Ave.; joets.com.

• In Arlington, Marquez Bakery & Tortilla Factory is a landmark tamale shop at East Division Street and Stadium Drive.

Marquez sells tens of thousands of tamales at $7.99 per dozen, and also serves a tamale plate.

The newest Marquez feature is green chile barbacoa enchiladas; 1730 E. Division St., 817-265-8858, marquezbakery.com.

• More take-out tamales:

Hot Damn, Tamales! is a south-side shop with the Stavron family’s gourmet tamales in 14 flavors, including the basics plus gingerbread, chocolate, cranberry and a Cajun “Mardi Gras tamale” for $24-$30 per dozen. The restaurant serves lunch and brunch; 713 W. Magnolia Ave., 817-926-9909, hotdamntamales.com.

The Supermercado El Rancho chain always has fresh tamales. The flavors are pork, chicken or cheese-jalapeño, $12.99/dozen; 1212 N. Beach St. and several other locations, elranchoinc.com.

Cardona Foods in far north Fort Worth is a tortilla factory with a cafe in the lobby. Pork tamales sell for $8.95; 850 Meacham Blvd., 817-625-6477.

The local Pulido’s restaurant chain now sells tamales to-go for $10 a dozen. Five flavors include Hatch green chile; pulidosrestaurant.com.

El Fenix restaurants also now sell beef tamales for $16 per dozen, at elfenix.com/store.

Tio Carlos Tamales to Go, 2405 E. Belknap St., has pork, beef or chicken tamales for $7; 817-222-9990.

• Two small restaurants selling homestyle, handmade tamales are Mi Cocinita, 3509 Bryan Ave., 817-923-0033 ( Virgie Martinez), and Aguilera’s Cafe, 2005 N. Grove St., 817-624-0189 ( Santos Aguilera).

They may or may not be able to take more orders. If they can’t make more by Christmas, ask for New Year’s.

Bud Kennedy’s column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com. 817-390-7538. Twitter: @EatsBeat Facebook: Bud Kennedy’s Eats Beat. Get alerts at RebelMouse.com/eats.

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