The closing days of November are dominated by dining articles, and cuisine tips, and a thousand (or maybe a million) ways to cook sweet potatoes.
But the two T-starting icons do dominate that particular space (Thanksgiving, we tip our hat to you, and you as well, turkey). Still, though, when it comes to delicious foodstuffs and November's final adieu, another T-themed icon begins to make the savory scene: the tamale.
True, tamales tend to be a superstar staple of the Christmas and Christmas Eve tables, but around California we refuse to wait to dive into all of that masa-amazing, husk-holding goodness.
We get that particular party started in early December, and, in some cases, late November, because, fact: It is always the perfect time for a tamale. Wait, that's semi-incorrect: We meant two tamales (because tamales are best enjoyed in pairs, or even trios).
If you and your pals still are a few weeks out from your tamale-making get-together, you can find tamale tastiness now at an area tamale-terrific to-do. Dream masa dreams and leg it for...
La Habra: The annual happening follows Thanksgiving by a couple of days, so look for a Christmas-is-coming tree lighting at the Sunday, Nov. 27 festivity. Live music from a sizable line-up of bands, dance presentations, and more fair-like larks add flavor to all of the tamale eating that flavorfully serves as the celebration's centerpiece.
Oxnard: If you're near the downtown area on the first Saturday in December — that's Dec. 3 — look for the line-up of booths and all of the yummy zucchini-packed, carnitas-packed, cotija-laden goodies (the kind of filling goodies that fortify one out for an early December shop-and-stroll).
Indio: The Coachella Valley has roots in the early 1990s, and it has blossomed ever since, popping up on foodie-cool cable shows and in gourmet publications alike. It's so big it covers two days, and those two days in 2016 are Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4.
Plus, the desert in late fall? It's just about the prettiest of places. To savor something corn-luscious and handmade and hearty in such a place only adds to the experience.
Wherever you find your tamale joy, though, dig in. There's no need to wait for Christmas to connect with the ultimate anticipation that comes with unfolding that first warm husk and seeing the first puff of steam release.