La Bamba Chicken Tamale
I'm nibbling on a Salvadoran style tamale from La Bamba in Mountain View that my brother pulled out of the 'fridge and microwaved for me. I wouldn't reheat a Mexican tamale that way, but the moist and creamy style of cornmeal and the paper wrapping make it more amenable for this one.
This is the first chicken one I've had from La Bamba and it's pretty meaty with three big hunks of meat, about the same amount as the cornmeal, plus some potatoes. This is one of the few of this style that I really like. The key seems to be the seasoning in the cornmeal, it tastes of chicken stock and other spices. Just right for a light late dinner.
While you were nibbling on your La Bamba chicken tamale we were chowing down on La Borinquena pork tamales based on your Dec. 31, 2000 recommendation. Got rave reviews from all. While waiting for the tamales I explained to current owner, Christina and her mom that I was there bec of Chowhound. They were thrilled and took me through the restaurant's history corner (La Borinquena's current owners--Christina and her sister Isabelle, are third generation). The guy in front of me in line was buying masa--he confessed he has never made tamales before so mom patiently walked him through the process.
La Borinquena Mexicatessen
582 7th St; Oakland (across from police station and jail)