Monday, November 30, 2015

Shop Local For The Holidays: Tasty Treats

I often tell people that this website is my love letter to the city of Dallas. I love shining a spotlight on the people, places and events that make Dallas special. We have many creative and talented designers and manufacturers right in our own backyard. Their contributions not only bolster our local economy, but impact our image around the world. Throughout the holiday season, I will be bringing you a series of posts called Shop Local, giving you great gift ideas from Dallas-area designers and retailers. Support local companies this season by considering their wares. Today I am talking about food products, because who doesn't love to eat!? Sweet or savory, here are a few products that will get you on Santa's "nice" list this year:

Frankie V's Kitchen

photo c/o Frankie V's Kitchen on Facebook
Frankie V's products hit my radar earlier this year when Southern Living, the authority on the Southern lifestyle, named his Habenero Infused Vinegar as one of the 24 best food products in the South in this year's first-ever Southern Living Food Awards.

Frankie V's award winning Hot Sauces vary from medium to very hot and include organic ingredients and flavors that are extraordinary! His new drink mix - Green Mary Cocktail Mix -has been a huge hit wherever introduced; is completely inspiring with vodka or beer, as a marinade or even a health drink by itself….include it in your detox plan! Frankie V’s Salsas are offered in a line of "savory and spicy" Classics or "sweet and spicy” Originals.

Frankie V's continues to transform the ordinary into exceptional with his handmade nut and seed Spreads. Completely peanut free, gluten and preservative free. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews and almonds are stone ground to extract flavor and oils, and then combined with 100% food based organic and locally sourced ingredients. Frankie V uses only organic Cacao which unlike processed dark chocolate, preserves much higher levels of the famous chocolate antioxidants. Proudly and lovingly made by hand in small batches in Dallas, Texas. Absolutely no preservatives, ever! Shop this brand at

Hail Merry
photo c/o of Hail Merry

Hail Merry is a snack food company born out of the yoga culture that celebrates raw plant based oils. Their award winning non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan and kosher certified snacks and desserts are created and manufactured right here in Dallas, Texas. Founded in 2008, the brand is now sold nationally at Whole Foods Markets, Costco and many other natural and specialty grocers, sports venues, airports, convention centers and distinguished hotels such as OMNI and the Gaylord. Click here for a complete list of retail stores or shop online at

They have a couple of items that are perfect for holiday stocking stuffers. I suggest the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Merry Bites ($3.99).  These macaroons are made from super-food ingredients - raw coconut oil, Fair Trade dark chocolate and coconut. They are melt-in-your- mouth super moist and the Vegan cookie dough is safe to eat. They are available at Whole Foods, Natural Grocers/Vitamin Cottage, Market St., Sun Fresh Market Inwood and select HEB locations.

Another yummy option is the Chile Pecan Mini Miracle Tarts  ($5.99).  A perfect Texas Southwest inspired dessert, the tart is made with sacred Chimayo Chile spice from Chimayo, New Mexico, Texas native pecans, Coconut Grenache and lightly sweetened with organic maple syrup from Vermont and fair trade coco. The Chocolate Chili Pecan Mini Miracle Tart (only 110 calories) is the newest flavor in the popular line of Miracle Tarts (seven flavors) and debuted in October 2015. It can be found at Central Market, Wheatsville Co-Op, Market St. and select Sprouts across Texas.

Texas Toffee Queen

photo: Texas Toffee Queen's website
Nancy LaBarba~Lalumia had always loved English Toffee and started making it for Christmas gifts when her sister in law suggested she bring some to their handmade ravioli (and more) shop. They sold it all and Nancy got a special order from DISD. That was the beginning of "Texas Toffee Queen, LLC ".

TTQ makes English Toffee in 11 unique flavors such as: Dark Chocolate Salted Jalapeno Toffee, White Chocolate Mango Chili Toffee,White Chocolate Peach Ginger Habanero Toffee, Cinnamon Sugar Lavender Toffee, Dark Chocolate Sicilian Sea Salted Toffee, White Chocolate Cranberry Toffee, Dark Chocolate Espresso Toffee, Milk Chocolate Toffee, Dark Chocolate Toffee, White Chocolate Peppermint Toffee and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Toffee.

You can find Texas Toffee Queen products at select Central Market and Kroger stores (click here to see locations) or you can shop online at