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ISO - authentic Tamales (the ones with the olive)

loree Jan 22, 2007 06:26 PM

I've been looking for a place where i can but authentic tamales, the ones like the "families" make at Christmas time, either pork, beef or chicken. Sometimes they have a bit of a bite & an olive in it?!?! HELP! Not looking for Corn Maiden or anything fancy, just the good stuff! :) I'm in the Long Beach area but working near LAX, I would drive for them!! :)

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    glutton RE: loree Jan 22, 2007 06:28 PM

    Mama's Hot Tamales is on 6th/Alvarado, which is downtown. They have exactly what you're looking for. Best tamales in LA (oops... I said "best," which only means a whole tamale firestorm will start any minute now on Chowhound...)

    2 Replies
    1. re: glutton
      loree RE: glutton Jan 22, 2007 07:45 PM

      I'll note that, thank you! BTW - best, your preference :) we are all entitled :)

      1. re: glutton
        Ernie RE: glutton Jan 22, 2007 10:17 PM

        Mama's are OK, but far from the best. Their red pork ones are on the dry side since they don't use lard in any of their tamales which is a tamale cardinal sin. I much prefer Sandra & Lolita's on Whittier Bl in ELA.

      2. tony michaels RE: loree Jan 22, 2007 07:53 PM

        Pretty close to LAX is Gallegos Mexican Deli in Mar Vista, (just west of Centinela on the south side of Venice Blvd.). They have pretty darn tasty tamales and they are nice people. Check out their web site:


        1 Reply
        1. re: tony michaels
          loree RE: tony michaels Jan 22, 2007 08:04 PM

          Thank you Tony, will definitely try that!

        2. David Kahn RE: loree Jan 22, 2007 09:26 PM

          Two long-time board (and personal) East LA favorites are:

          La Indiana (1142 S. Indiana St., (323) 262-4682). In my opinion, the pork tamales here are the best in town. Good cheese and sweet tamales too.

          Lilianas Tamales (4619 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., (323) 780-0989). Before Christmas, there is typically a line down the block.

          1. DanaB RE: loree Jan 22, 2007 09:34 PM

            Here's a link to a recent thread discussing a houndly tamale "taste-off" which took place last fall.


            Of those listed, Tamara's Tamales and the Tamale Lady in Culver City are both not too far away from the LAX area.

            3 Replies
            1. re: DanaB
              Mattapoisett in LA RE: DanaB Jan 22, 2007 10:02 PM

              The Tamale Lady is not a place. She is a person who sells out of the back of her mini-van I'm not sure what other neighborhoods she roams other than ours in Culver City but I do know she is from Mar Vista and may get around. her Tamales are relatively simple but good.

              Tamara's on the other hand are good with a wide selection but very pricey 3.50 to 4.75 per.

              1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                moto RE: Mattapoisett in LA Jan 22, 2007 10:28 PM

                hello, some of Tamara's might even go to $6; one of the best there has chicken, olive, and prune, which came to mind as soon as I saw the topic title. The quality of the ingredients and the friendly staff make the prices tolerable since we're not feeding a big family. have fun

                1. re: moto
                  Mattapoisett in LA RE: moto Jan 23, 2007 04:18 AM

                  After checking their website, you were right cheapest one is Cinnamon Sugar @ $2.50 and the most expensive is King Crab @ $7.50


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