“The cranberry tamal is probably one of the best tamal dulce that I’ve had,” says rworange of Tacubaya, which seems to be rotating its tamal menu: The dulce used to be raisin, the online menu lists pineapple, and now there’s cranberry. The cranberry filling has a touch of spice; the masa is light and moist, drizzled with not-too-sweet cajeta (caramelized milk) that sets it all off perfectly.
Mi Fiesta, which sells at farmers’ markets in Napa, has a tempting array of sweet holiday tamales: strawberries and cream, coconut-pineapple, and cinnamon-raisin. Coconut-pineapple is several cuts above the usual pineapple-flavored hunk o’ masa, says rworange, with big chunks of fruit and shredded coconut throughout. If you reheat at home, steam them rather than microwaving—it makes all the difference.
Tacubaya [East Bay]
1788 Fourth Street, Berkeley
Mi Fiesta Catering Company [Napa]
2827 Laurel Street, Napa