There are not many things I like about Los Angeles; as far as major cities go it is one of my least favorite. But when my day-job related training took me there last week, I was determined to find something to like about the place. So always up for a challenge, I embarked upon the pursuit of Mexican street food.
It turned out karma was on my side and I did not have to look very far. The weekly Thursday market that had set up in the plaza adjacent to my office included an alluring tamale stand, Corn Maiden. Score.
So for lunch I passed on the boxed soggy sandwiches and stale cookies doled out to the training attendees and headed outside for a tamale. The ten tamale choices--ranging from pork to peppers to cheese—were dizzying, so I asked the proprietor for his help. He suggested a smoked gouda and roasted green chili combo.
I unwrapped the bundle, literally tied like a present to find a work of art--a rich purple cornmeal shrouding a bright green pepper, which enrobed the ample, gooey, gouda. The flavor was both smoky and sweet, with a subtle heat added in the form of New Mexico chili and garlic sauce.
This lunch, served with a side of black beans and rice, turned out to be a bright ray of LA food sunshine, and was quite the bargain at $5.50.
Though I found this only by happenstance, I later went to the company’s website and discovered that none other than Oprah had discovered this tamale company before me and recommends them shipped frozen as gifts. So this may be old news to some, but if you have not tried these tamales, and are in LA, they are worth the search.