Amid the various interpretations of "cocktail attire" on display at Wednesday night's Nutcracker Market VIP preview, I wandered the halls looking for this year's best food options. Vendors from all the country show up to sell their wares. While there are lots of prepackaged soups and more dips/sauces/spreads than I cared to count, a few items did stand out as being particularly worthy of attention.
Pie In The Sky - 1331
Simply put, the Pie in the Sky's pumpkin and chocolate pecan pies were the best things I tasted during my visit to the market. They have a nice flaky crust and flavorful fillings. Also, at two 6-inch pies for $20, they're reasonably priced enough to make excellent surprise gifts for pie-loving friends. Or eat one on the drive home and keep one for later. I'm not here to judge.
Bear Creek Smokehouse - 235
Since most of the food vendors at the market offer sweets, Bear Creek Smokehouse stands out with a variety of savory offerings. Sure, they're also peddling fudge and chocolate-covered bacon, but the brisket, ham and chili all tasted good. With everything available to sample, it's easy to pick out the right meat for an upcoming holiday meal.
Texas Tamale Company - 1855
Looking for an easy, filling meal on a cold night? Thaw one package of Texas Tamale Company's pork-filled treats and top with the company's chili con queso and chipotle pepper sauce. The result is a one-two punch of creamy and spicy that's hard to beat.
Gingersnaps/The Center/Willow River Farms - 1556
This booth's pitch is simple: buy treats that benefit The Center, a non-profit agency of The United Way that helps people with mental retardation. Given how closely associated all things gingerbread are with the holiday season, it's a win-win.
Susie's South Forty Confections - 224
Lots of places sell toffee, but Susie's toffee can be eaten straight from the freezer. As with Girl Scout cookies, it turns out that cold toffee is the best toffee. Consider it your new favorite midnight snack.