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Tamara’s Tamale ~ Mar Vista

10:35 AM PDT on August 1, 2006

Tamara's

13352 West Washington Boulevard @ Glencoe ~ Mar Vista ~ TACO MAP

Taking home a box of Tamara's tamales hits you with that same feeling you get from the intro to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. A cavalcade of colors and experiences await your senses in the multi-flavored varieties of banana-leafed/corn-husked little beauties, just like the "whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers" in Hunter's classic tome.

Tamales

Tamara's waits in a corner of a Mar Vista strip-mall that is heavy on ex-pat eateries popular with the Costco crowd from across the street. This gem is the most pleasing, both in cuisine and atmosphere. Tamara's is a blur of icons homegrown like Frida and the Virgin Guadalupe, as well as imported, like the Haile Selassie we so appreciate making his way onto the collage of religious iconography...

Tamales
Tamales
Tamara's
Tamales

Just a stone's throw from Venice and Culver City, Tamara's is the brainchild of two tamale afficianados, one obviously named Tamara and the other Alice Tapp. When not working on a cookbook, they recommend asking your server for the freshest selections to get the best results. We took our most recent batch to a friend's home to cook ourselves (they earn excellent potluck points), but the best call is to get them in-house prepared by the experts. Be aware they sometimes close the restaurant before they do the take-out.

Tamara's has over 30 kinds of tamales. They are all soft and savory, wrapped firmly in their ground corn cases that easily crumble apart in your mouth. You can go normal and get amazing tamales filled with hot and juicy pork, shredded machaca steak, ground chorizo, gooey cheese, and sharp chiles.

We like to throw in a couple of the more exotic varities like the Nacatamal, filled with steamed chicken, olives, peppers, raisins, and plums, among other treats. It looks as though it emerged straight from the jungles of its homeland Nigaragua, a giant wet banana leaf enveloping a dense square wrapped like a stocking-stuffer with a rough piece of string. Inside is a tamale like none we've seen, more a lump of hot lasanga, with a lively taste no less comforting.

Tamales

Tamara's also has a king crab tamale with a jalapeno sauce that we're yet to sample. The sweet ones range from milk chocolate, and cinnamon sugar, to a divinely sweet pumpkin. It's hard to go wrong with an order from Tamara's and since two pretty much fills you up, it's best to go with friends, order more, and spilt them so you can try a few different flavors. Their horchata is the bomb too, with a strong almond taste that connotates a true homemade elixir. The tamales are about $4.65 each, though some of the specialties can go up to $7.00.

Tamales
Tamales
Tamara's
Tamales
Tamara's
Tamara's
Tamara's



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