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Birmingham-Need tamales, quick

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I promised mi familia I'd bring a bunch of tamales for our day before Thanksgiving dinner. I went to El Mercado this morning and bought some pork tamales, but they didn't have any chicken today. I was told that they won't have them tomorrow (Sunday) either. Tried Gordo's with no luck.

I was really counting on bringing a mixture. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Tomorrow is probably my last shot, since most carnicerias do tamales only on weekends.

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  1. Best tamales I know of are at V.J.'s On The Runway, a diner on the service road behind the runway at the Birmingham Airport. They have them everyday and sell them by the dozen. I believe they only make pork. But these are the biggest tamales I have ever seen. HUGE. Come with a great sauce. Good luck.

    2 Replies
    1. re: SkippyLeBeef

      I know VJ's, as I work out of the airport. I've been as recently as 3 weeks ago, but had no idea they make tamales. I'll give 'em a shot. Thanks.

      1. re: G200

        I'm pretty sure Los Amigos on Clairmont next to the Pig has tamales on their menu. I believe I had one once and it was fine, not necessarily as good as those found at El Mercado. It might also be worth calling up some of the other area restaurants.

    2. My daughter's driving down from Chicago today to spend Thanksgiving with the family. With her are a couple of dozen tamales from street carts in the Pilsen area of Chi-town which is heavily Hispanic. I can't wait!!! I can have turkey any day, but not tamales!!

      1. I have not tried them, but there's a place called Williams Orchard out on Hwy. 11 in Argo that sells them frozen; they make their own and have been trying to replicate the Mancha's recipe.

        1. I know this is too late for you this year, G200, but the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama's annual Christmas tamale sale has begun.
          They sell chicken, pork and poblano tamales, by the dozen or half-dozen, as an annual fundraiser. Here is a link to their Web site:
          http://www.hispanicinterest.org/

          Also, they are contracting out all of their tamale orders to local restaurants and tiendas, so perhaps the coordinator at HICA can give you leads on chicken tamales for your familia next Thanksgiving.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Big Daddy

            I didn't get around to ordering from HICA last year, but will do so this year. Thanks for the link. I did end up finding my chicken tamales on Sunday at El Mercado in Hoover. I didn't know there was another El Mercado other than the one on Green Springs. Nice store, too.

            1. re: G200

              It is a nice store, with a killer meat counter. Too bad they don't make tortillas there, too (although they bring them down from the Homewood store). That panderia is almost as good as the one at Gordo's on Valley Avenue.
              Glad you were able to find your chicken tamales.