From condiments to red chile caramel popcorn, the C&I editors have rounded up the best expertly crafted foods of the West.
There are those meals or sauces that you can tell immediately they have been expertly crafted. From the spices, to the cooking time, to the toppings these items have been meticulously chosen. Our C&I Editors found the best from across the West that you can have shipped directly to you, so you too can enjoy expertly crafted food.
Truffle-based pasta sauces, hot sauces, oils, and mayos offices in Austin, Texas, made in Huntington Beach, California.
If there’s such a thing as the secret sauce, this might be it. And the secret here turns out to be truffles — you know, that pungent underground fungus/delicacy that looks like a weird potato and is sniffed out (especially in France) by specially trained dogs or pigs. You can thank founders Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni for sniffing out a winning recipe using truffles and then building a business from the Instagram handle for their popular food and lifestyle blog, @sauce. With the release of their first hot sauce in 2017, they went viral, and now TRUFF is the No. 1 best-selling hot sauce on Amazon and at Whole Foods. And to think that the guys initially got to know each other while competing in business competitions in college and then saw their brand become the fastest-growing company in the hot-sauce space. With its distinctive flavor profile (“Wow, what is that flavor?!”), over-the-top packaging, truffle-inspired cap, and of course the coveted Instagram account @sauce, it’s so much more delicious and addictive than your average guilty pleasure.
Fan Favorites: Signature Black Truffle Hot Sauce, Spicy Black Truffle Mayonnaise, Black Truffle Pomodoro Pasta Sauce, Black Truffle Oil.
Fun Facts: The founders spent a year and a half testing more than 300 iterations to arrive at the winning recipe for their original sauce. The brand has been recognized on Oprah’s Favorite Things twice.
To Order/Buy: TRUFF.com, Amazon, Whole Foods
Peruse what’s on offer through Goldbelly’s online curated marketplace of regional and artisanal foods and you’ll realize just how apropos that name is. Indulge your tastebuds and order from amazing local food purveyors — restaurants, bakeries, delis, etc. — from all 50 states. With shipping, all that serious yum can get pricey, but when you see what delectables can be delivered to your door from around the West, you’ll probably pony up. Pulled pork pierogis from Baba & Pops in Colorado and Bullwhip Kelp & Piri Piri Hot Sauce from Barnacle Foods in Alaska? Trash Can Nachos from Guy Fieri and Hatch greenchile corn chowder from Flying Star Café in New Mexico? Yes, please! goldbelly.com
'Tis Tamale Season
Texas Lone Star Tamales in Fort Worth, Texas, wants everyone to know that as delicious as tamales are at Christmas, they’re great year-round. Consider their Gourmet Combo Pack, which includes five sassy favorites: Habanero Pork, Habanero Chicken, Filet Mignon, Jalapeño Cheese, and Gourmet Pork. Based in the Lone Star State as we are, we’re also partial to the Texas Family Party Pack, which includes all of the above, plus Cinnamon Raisin Apple and Sweet Chocolate. We couldn’t agree more that these steamed babies wrapped in their cute little cornhusk packages are great any time, but they still taste like presents to us. It’s not too early to order for Christmas. texaslonestartamales.com
The most exciting olive oil frontier isn’t Spain or Italy, Greece or California — it’s Texas. See for yourself in Carrizo Springs in South Texas, where pioneering olive rancher Jim Henry and his son, Josh, wrangle more than 50,000 Arbequina, Arbosana, and Koroneiki olive trees thriving in the region’s sandy loam. The olives are harvested, sorted, washed, and cold-pressed right on Henry’s family-run Texas Olive Ranch, where he chose to plant because the soil reminded him of the famous olive regions of the south of Spain. Now producing world-class olive oil, Henry bottles his crop as Texas Olive Ranch Everyday Use EVOO, Texas Reserve, and flavored-oil favorites that include roasted garlic, Meyer lemon, Chili & Chipotle “Rattlesnake,” Happy Jalapeño, and Rio Grande Valley Orange. texasoliveranch.com
There are too many quintessential yummies in New Mexico to pick just one, which is why Taste of New Mexico is such a boon. The online store features handcrafted artisanal food products grown and produced in the Land of Enchantment. And are they ever enchanting, from the state’s official cookie, the rightly famed biscochito, to the red chile caramel popcorn to the blue-corn pinyon pancake mix. There’s a Turquoise Trail gift box to help you sample some of the best and a Christmas chile tote to corral all those delicious flavors of New Mexico. tastenewmexico.com
Chili for Everyone
Authentic, down-home Texas chili couldn’t be easier to make when you have this magical box kit on your counter. With more than 50 years of experience operating in the tiny East Texas town of LaRue, Ballow’s can ship these charming boxes in packs of 12 — perfect for little gifts that you’ll hear big raves about later. ballowschili.com
From the October 2021 issue
Photography: (All images) courtesy vendors