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Tamales for Christmas??

So, the family is all meeting up in Los Angeles and we want to celebrate like our ancestors and do Mexican--tamales specifically. We're not going to prepare them but order ahead.

After reading the LA board it appears that there the following are

Mama's Hot Tamales - 2124 W Seventh St, LA
LA Indiana's - 1142 S. Indiana Street, LA

My question is one better than the other?
what type are best to get there?
Should I order ahead?

Thanks!

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  1. Mama's Hot Tamales are OK but on the dry side as they don't use lard. I much prefer Sandra & Lolitas on Whitter Bl for their red pork tamales.

    1. Definately order ahead of time.

      1. Have you tried the tamales at Spanish Kitchen? They are yummy - and perfect for the holidays!

        1. First, East LA is perfectly safe during the day, and I have been there often at night, in a nice car, with blond hair, and have never meet with anything but graciousness and courtesy. Even at at food stand like Denise's. Also it is fun to kid around with the 20 somethings.

          Second, an excellent place, assuming that they are still taking orders, is Juanito's on Floral off of Eastern about a block. I have been getting them there for 30 years or more.

          I do not consider anyplace on the Westside to have wonderful tamales. Chichi tamales, but not wonderful ones.

          1. There is a tamale vendor at the Farmer's Market on Sundays in Larchmont. Some of the best tamales I've had and they have catering for pick up and such. Forgot the name, but you can't miss it...

            1. Mama's Hot Tamales were OK to good -- the masa was a bit dry when I ate them on the spot, though when I re-steamed the frozen ones at home they came out fine.

              My other rec would actually be Corn Maiden ~ (they don't have a store per se, but they do table at various Farmer's Markets across the LA County and you can place a phone-order and pick up your frozen tamales at one of those markets to save on shipping.) A must try from there is their raspberry-caramelized walnut-belgian chocolate tamale! (yes, non-traditional in every sense of the word) I also enjoyed their sweet corn & cheddar cheese tamal as well.

              ~AquaW
              http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

              1. If you are up to the drive and the hunt there is a place in Pacoima called Lenchitas, behind a market on Van Nuys Blvd. off the 170 freeway. Almost as good as my ex-mother-in-law (who I tried to keep as part of the divorce settlement) used to make. Well, almost.

                1. Chicken chili verde tamales from Gallegos Mexican Deli!!!! On Venice near Centinela in Mar Vista, in a mini mall. Sample one first, I promise you'll love them. Then order ahead. They're not spicy, they're creamy on the inside. SO GOOD. They're at the top of my top ten "deserted island" dishes. My family has been enjoying them for as long as I can remember. I've turned dozens of people at work and my son's daycare on to them, many agree that they're the best tamales they've ever had.

                  1. So many fantastic options! Thanks!

                    1. Oh, man. Today I realized that Christmas orders require one to order well ahead. Mama's Hot Tamales requires a 7-day notice. La Indiana is no longer taking orders; their order deadline was last Monday. They each have different deadlines, so beware.

                      1. How about Yuca on Hillhurst in Los Feliz. They are quite good.

                        1. Oh my I may be in troubble then. If I end up driving I can go to my source here in SF--La Palma. Thanks for the heads up!

                          1. I ordered 20 doz tamales from La Indiana last week, for friends and employees.
                            But my favorite tamale(Chile Verde) is at Maple and 26th(south of downtown) made by a lady who's only there from 6am-8am. Best I've had in LA.

                            (side note: Mama's Hot Tamales is only average at best)

                            1. Chef Cindy from Watercress in Sherman Oaks is making tamales for Xmas. You can buy them by the half dozen or dozen. And her chili sauce is nuclear. I'm going to find a way to get russkar a 1/2 dozen!