Thursday, December 07, 2006

Homesick Texan holiday gift guide

Living in New York City, I have friends and family scattered all over the place. Thank goodness for the advent of online shopping, which has made buying gifts for most people (especially those I may not see) a snap. If you have a homesick Texan on your gift list, especially one who might not make it back to Texas for the holidays, here’s a list of online gift ideas that will not only fill their bellies but will also warm their hearts with the taste of home.

Barbecue: If you can’t manage a trip to Lockhart, the good folks of Kreuz Market will ship their amazing beef, sausage, ribs or even a whole turkey anywhere in the U.S. Minimum order is three pounds. Brisket starts at $9.90 a pound. Jalapenos, pickles and onions not included. Kreuzmarket.com

Big Red: We’re talking soda, not gum here. They’ve expanded their distribution in the past few years, but it’s still difficult to find outside of the Southwest. For $23 a case, you can ship the beverage anywhere in the U.S. They don’t take credit cards, however, only checks or money orders. Bigredltd.com

Ice cream: In an age when pints of ice cream can cost over $9.00, and flavors such as wasabi, lavender and balsamic vinegar are not unheard of, sometimes it’s comforting to dip your spoon into a half-gallon tub of Blue Bell cookies ‘n cream. Now the little creamery in Brenham will send four half-gallons overnight for $89 (before you get sticker shock, it’s about $5.56 a pint) and that includes shipping. Ordering is a no-brainer, but it may be a challenge to choose between a selection of fine flavors such as banana split, pecan pralines ‘n cream, fudge brownie nut or peppermint. Bluebell.com

Kolaches: Anyone that makes the trip between Dallas and Austin knows the best place to fill up the tank and stretch your legs is the small town of West. Why? Because West is where you find kolaches, those scrumptious round Czech pastries stuffed with either fruit, cheese or sausage. The Czech Stop ships them by the half dozen or dozen, overnight. CzechStop.com

Rotel Tomatoes: Yes, finding these outside of Texas is still difficult, but TexMex Foods sells them for $1.50 a can or $32 a case. TexMex Foods also sells Hell on the Red salsa $3.50 a jar or $38 a case. Shipping not included. TexMex.net

Tamales: As I’ve said before, nothing says holidays more than tamales. Pedro’s Tamales, otherwise known as “Sirloin in a Shuck,” have been shipping tamales to far-flung fans for over 27 years. These are the classic Texan tamale, beef (go for the spicy), chicken or pork, served in a fluffy, spicy masa. $9.95/dozen plus shipping. If you prefer vegetarian tamales in a masa not made with lard, Texas Tamale Co. has them, stuffed with beans or spinach. They also make chicken and beef varieties. Four dozen for $60 or six dozen for $78, shipping and handling included. Tamales.com (Pedros); Texastamales.com

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27 comments:

Yvo said...

Heh heh heh, are these hints? :) Just teasing... sounds like some great suggestions. I've been looking for something foodie-related for our upcoming Yankee swap... perhaps some of this will work.

PS I'm not sure if I mentioned, but our holiday potluck seems to be southern themed. I'm trying to think of more southern dishes that are easy to make, hard to mess up, but delicious... anything you want to tell me I HAVE to make? Thanks :)

Homesick Texan said...

Yes! I would love each and every one of these gifts. But no...I wasn't hinting, just providing a service (I think...maybe subliminally I WAS sending out a message).

matt said...

My heart be still! Could you imagine all that stuffed into a big old stocking on the morning of the 25th?

I can't wait. I'll take some Big Red NOW.

:)

matt said...

Oh! And I forgot to say:

Thank god for your gift list!

vlb5757 said...

What a cute idea! I was reading the whole list and found one that really made me laugh; Big Red. A chef friend went to Texas one year over our summer break while in culinary school. When I saw him in the fall he called me out to his truck. He bought me a six pack of Big Red and said that only another Texan would understand what a thoughtful gift that was. I died laughing!

vlb5757 said...

I forgot to talk about the Kolaches from the Czech Shop. We have to drive through West to visit family from time to time and just like stopping at a local Whataburger, The Czech Shop stop is a must. My uncle used to bring sausage from there every year at Christmas for us to eat. Have you ever eaten a smoked turkey from Greenes? I think that's how you spell it. They are a great gift too!

Homesick Texan said...

Matt--I would have died and gone to heaven if all this was in my stocking.

VLB5757--Big Red is indeed a Texas thing. People ask me all the time, "What does it taste like?" And I answer, "Red. What else?"

My uncle brought kolaches from Czech Stop to my grandparents' farm at Thanksgiving--delish. We also had a smoked turkey from Greenberg's--is that the place you're thinking of? The best!

melissa mcgee said...

lisa - what a great idea, posting all of these purely texan culinary delights as gift ideas!!! and i have to say with the exception of pedro's tamales, i've enjoyed each and every one of the items on your list throughout my 35 years! i feel like i just passed a texan test ;) i gotta get on those tamales...

VLB5757 - i live just down the road from green's sausage house! we have sausage and meat from green's all the time, and the smoked turkey is AWESOME. i'll think about you next time i'm there!

and for the record - nothing beats tortilla chips from el fenix with hell on the red, washed down with the house wine of texas - big red. and i don't think i have ever made a trip to or from dallas without stopping at the czech stop for a klobasnik kolache!

TexanInNYC said...

You have made my day! Wow, this list makes me so happy. I had no idea I could get the kolaches shipped up here; that is fantastic!

A few other suggestions for your list:

Dr Pepper made with pure cane sugar, not corn syrup, from Dublin TX - http://www.olddocs.com/results.aspx?cat=Drinks&subcat1=Dr+Pepper 24 cans are $10 + shipping, and 24 glass bottles are $16.

Jr.'s Texas Best Smokehouse (on hwy 59 between Wharton and El Campo) will ship jerkey, smoked meats and sausages. And this isn't your old grocery store jerkey; they're big long pieces of meat that are chewy and tender and tasty. http://www.jrstexasbest.com/Index.html

Homesick Texan said...

Melissa--I don't think there was ever a doubt you'd pass a Texan test! And thanks for clearing up where and what is Green's smoked turkey--you and VLB5757 have introduced me to something new that I most definitely have to try!

TexaninNYC--Wow! Thanks for the other suggestions! Jr's Texas Best Smokehouse sounds amazing--I've been craving some true blue jerky!

suburban housefrau said...

Absolutely Dublin Dr. Pepper is a must! When we drive out there to visit family, we bring back cases for bribes and presents. ;)

The halfway mark of West from DFW to Austin is one of the few things that makes the visit to my in-laws bearable...

Jessica said...

I love that Czech Shop Stop...does anyone miss George's in Waco??Anyone?

vlb5757 said...

I was going to mention Dublin Dr. Pepper but wasn't sure how many folks would know what it is. I graduated from Dublin High School. We had our 30th reunion and they did it the same weekend as Dr. Pepper Days. Cracked me up. That weekend couldn't have been more Texan if they tried. We had BBQ and the trimmings,drank Dublin DP and then went to downtown Dublin to see the dedication of a mural dedicated to the city of Dublin. We actually brought back a 6-pack of glass bottled Dublin Dr. Pepper, which sits on the mantle. I can't open them because I know it will be a long time before I get back there to have some sugar laced DP.

S to the L said...

I'm sure ya'll have tried Lammes Longhorns or Lammes Pralines...I use to work at their flagship store during my college days in Austin. I miss their gooey, yummy taste. They ship also!

www.lammes.com

P.S. Check out their holiday "TEXAS CHEWIES" box!

Homesick Texan said...

Suburban Hausfrau and VLB5757--Looks like a post on Dublin Dr. Pepper is in order!

Jessica--I've only been to George's once, but probably would have been more times if I'd taken the scholarship Baylor offered me. What a place--very hazy but fond memories of that night out in Waco.

S to the L--I completely forgot about Lamme's--good stuff and was a constant source of sweet satisfaction when I lived in Austin--thanks for the reminder!

Traci said...

Is it possible I've been taking Rotel AND Bluebell ice cream for granted all these years? I don't know if they still make it, but the banana pudding flavor is to die for.

eliza said...

ah..tamales, my favorite food of all. sadly only i eat it in my house, so buying tons of them will do me no good, other than make me fatter! ;P

Homesick Texan said...

Traci--Yes! Appreciate those fine Texas foods while you're still there because if you ever leave, you'll discover they're difficult to find outside the state.

Eliza--Tamales freeze well and then whenever you have a craving you can pop one into the microwave or throw one into the steamer and get a quick fix. I can't believe, however, you're the only one in your family that likes them--how sad!

Lisa said...

I did not need to know that Czech Stop ships. Granted, I still live close enough to make a road trip down there (it's about an hour away) on a weekend sometime. But if I have a kolache craving and know I can't get away, they can send them to me? That's fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Love your site!!!
I live in Boston and I've seen Rotel in the Mexican/Latin section of my supermarket, though not in all the varieties available at H-E-B.

Rachel said...

Wow! I never imagined that all these places shipped! I can hardly wait! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

kolaches will be mine soon!!!!

Joanna said...

Wow! I am glad I came across your blog! My hubbie and I just moved to DE from Dallas. I grew up in Austin, and my grandmother used to make kolaches! I would often make a stop at West for some tasty kolaches to remember her by on my way down to Austin. Before we made our move, I started thinking about things I better try to stock up on and bring with me. I thought of Dublin Dr. Pepper andsalsa and yummy refried beans, but I forgot about Blue Bell! Summer isn't the same without a homemade peach cobbler and Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla! We do have good stuff in Texas! These East Coasters don't know what they're missing!

Jennifer said...

Haha! I love that Big Red is on your list! And it's so true. My boyfriend grew up in Seattle, but came down to San Antonio to visit his family every year. He still talks about how much he missed Big Red!

P.S. I love your blog! I'd like to add it to my blog roll! And I just adapted your apricot kolache recipe to make my own! Thanks for such great reads!

diamondfire42 said...

That's funny! I have lived in Central and North Central Illinois all of my life and grew up on Big Red! In fact, I buy one for myself at the end of every grocery trip as a treat for having to be there! Rotel tomatoes have been here as long as I can remember as well. The Wal-marts here all carry them. By the way, all my life means 46 years! Shhhh...:)

Mike Davis said...

@Jessica - there is a new George's now, too. My 10 year old says it's just like the old one but doesn't smell like a bathroom. It's out in Hewitt and every but as crowded but with old fogies, like myself, who don't fit in with the Baylor crowd anymore.

Karen Elizabeth said...

I know this is an older post but wanted to say thanks for a reminder! My dad as long as I can remember always gave Big Reds to those who came to see him at his office or his home. One of those little things easily forgotten. Thanks for the reminder!

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