Posts Tagged ‘tamales’

i ate this so you don’t have to

i ate them so you don't have to

If you ever thought to yourself “Gee, how good could a tamale bought in the frozen food section at Target be?”, wonder no more.

The answer is: not very.

Now, I’ve only had tamales twice before, both times at authentic Mexican restaurants, one of them where the owner/chef who learned how to make tamales from her great grandmother back in Mexico. They were so awesome, we got six more to go and ate them the rest of the weekend. You know what happens when you eat about five tamales over the course of two days? Just hope you have enough toilet paper and crossword puzzle books in the bathroom to get you through the aftermath. But they were worth it, man. I did learn my lesson and only ate one tamale in California.

About the Target tamales. I know what you’re thinking. Who the hell buys tamales at Target? And since when does Target have food? Well, our Target has this giant supermarket section. I don’t know if they all do. And I saw these tamales and I missed that cute little Mexican restaurant in Sacramento and I certainly wasn’t going to drive 40 minutes to here so I figured, what the hell. How bad can they be?

You know the answer. Pretty bad. The only thing about them resembling a real tamale was the corn husk, and I’m even questioning if that was real. The filling was a mess of melted cheese and chilies that tasted like three day old vanilla pudding licked off a leather couch where an old, sweaty drunk man laid down his back sweat.

Don’t ask how I know this.

Anyhow, if we didn’t already have sushi plans for tonight, I’d take the 40 minute drive to Fonda Coyoacan just to get some real tamales and wash the taste of drunk man sweat leather pudding out of my mouth.

I’m sure the wasabi will take care of that tonight, though.

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real mexican food!

Todd definitely gets homesick for California sometimes. One of the things he misses the most is the availability of authentic Mexican food. I usually say something about Del Taco then, and he waves a dismissive hand at me and goes into one of his lengthy rants on how chain restaurants like Chili’s have no idea what Mexican food is supposed too look or taste like. Which then turns into a story or two about the Mexican dives he used to go to in Sacramento or the guy in Fresno who used to sell tamales out of a cart.

So I was on a mission to find a good Mexican place. There were a few around my neighborhood – well, they called themselves authentic – but they all turned out to be just glorified versions of Mexican fast food. I know there are quite a few places that are probably closer to authentic around where I work, but that town is not somewhere I want to go during non-office hours.

A few days ago a friend of ours started talking about tamales. Not only had I never had a tamale, I wasn’t even sure what one looked like. Of course, I got a full explanation about them, how they are made, how you eat them, the varieties you can get, etc.

hot tamaleI wanted a tamale.

After some Googling, we found a place about 30 minutes from here that seemed authentic enough. The reviews all but called it a dive, but said the food is so good that “foodies” have been invading this little Mexican community to dine at Fonda Coyoacan.

We took a ride out there yesterday afternoon. It was worth the trip. We finally found a place that Todd could compare favorably to his favorite places back in California. It’s a very small (about six tables) storefront restaurant that has little ambiance during the early afternoon, but you can tell it’s the kind of place that comes alive at night.

We had tamales; I had mine with chicken mole and Todd had his with chicken and green sauce. They were interesting; basically cornmeal and chicken stuffed inside a corn husk. Then I had papa con chorizo. Todd had incredibly messy, but tasty, huaraches.

The food was awesome. Rich, flavorful and nothing like the “Mexican” food I had become accustomed to on Long Island. I discovered through some more research that our very friendly server was actually the owner, Elvia Cardenas, who came here from Mexico in 2001.

I wanted to go back today, but I have a feeling it’s going to be packed with locals watching the Mexico/Costa Rica gold cup game (US plays Canada Thursday in the seminfinals, if you’re interested).

We’ll be back at Fonda Coyoacan next Saturday. There’s quite a few things on the menu I want to try.

So, Saturday’s lessons: Mexican food is not chimichangas and burritos, Todd doesn’t have to go back to California to get huaraches, and I’m pretty good at spackling.

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