Sky Full of Bacon

For a Few Six Dollar Tamales More

So after spending much of the week debating the morality of the $6 tamale, I knew that I would have to go back to Green City Market and try the savory ones that everyone was raving about and at least some people considered worthy of the $6 price tag.

I approached the stand carefully, scanning it to see if a blurry photo of me with “DO NOT SERVE” was tacked up anywhere. Actually, they shouldn’t be too upset with me, considering the number of people I know who twitted something this morning about going to get “$6 tamales.” Blogging about overpricing— the new way to boost your business!

The coast was clear and after a brief wait in line, I was the proud owner of $12 worth of tamales. I will note that a woman came up, said “They’re six dollars— for one?”, and left while I was standing there.

Though it’s possibly the least appetizing-looking thing I’ve eaten in some months, I liked the spicy (hardly) chorizo one quite a bit. The chorizo had good flavor, there were some bits of zucchini mixed in, and best of all the grease from the chorizo had soaked into the masa in an especially appealing way.

The brisket one had the rich flavor of pot roast and the toothsomeness of masa… but that was kind of all it had. I wanted another flavor note to sneak in there— like the spices that would have been added to a Mexican pork one at a $1.50 tamale place.

I liked these pretty well, but I still found them a little small and sparse (if there’s anything you can be generous with, it’s zucchini in July), and I can’t say I see spending $6 on them regularly. Maybe it’s just me and tamales, which I think are fine, but would not rank among my favorite things, partly because of the soft, no-teeth-needed texture, which doesn’t appeal to me all that much in general (when Kennyz was raving about how well the polenta was cooked at Davanti, I just sort of nodded, yeah, whatever, it’s polenta). I’ve certainly heard from enough tamale-lovin’ folks this week to believe that Las Manas is doing something right for somebody— I’m just not them.

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One Response to “For a Few Six Dollar Tamales More”

  1. Nick Kindelsperger Says:

    I don’t want to get too involved with this tamale discussion, because I’m usually totally for any place that attempts to make high quality Mexican food. I’m not one of those people who think that the best Mexican food comes from the cheapest places. Like every other cuisine, Mexican food tastes better with seasonal ingredients. That is surely the case with the food I ate in Mexico City and especially Oaxaca, where there are restaurants that serve only rare varieties of corn. Tamales can be extraordinary.

    I just don’t think these tamales are quite there, yet. They have very good fillings, but I don’t think they are using quite enough fat in the masa mixture. It’s a hard balance to find, because you don’t want them to be too greasy. Still, right now these are a tad too dry and crumbly. I’ll gladly pay $6 for a tamale, and I’ll probably have one of these from time to time. But making a great tamale is an art and takes years to master.

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