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Tamales for Christmas Party

I'd like to serve tamales at our Christmas Party this year and want to hear your recommendations of places to purchase them. I have to say that I'm a tamale snob. My Grandmother made tamales at the Green and White Grocery store for 25 years, with her sister. My Grandmother passed away a few years ago. I'm not going to make them myself so...

I like tamales that have flavor and aren't too dry. I prefer traditional pork but would consider variations.

Thanks y'all.

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  1. Good luck. I tried to buy them at the "Tamale House" on Airport Blvd a while back and they acted as if I was crazy. Their recommendation, "Find somebody's grandmother." I ended up buying them from HEB; while not great, acceptable at a picnic.

    6 Replies
    1. re: thebodytx

      Tamale House doesn't actually serve tamales. Probably why they looked at you funny.

      1. re: tom in austin

        so why the heck do they call it the tamale house?

        1. re: rudeboy

          No idea. The mystery is enhanced by the full name, "Tamale House #3". There is no #1 or #2.

          This is just the way it always has been. I don't make the rules.

          1. re: tom in austin

            There used to be a tamale house #2-- it was at Guad and 29th and I ate there pretty much every day in college. They had a spoof Star Wars sign that said "Taco Wars." Sigh. Back when the tortillas tasted homemade and the papas were griddled to a dark golden perfection. Taco Shack bought it out. I can only assume there used to be a #1 also.

            1. re: femmenikita

              #1 was at 1st and Congress. It was big news when the owners sold the property because they made a huge killing on the sale. They relocated to College Ave just north of Congress Ave and Oltorf, but that location closed long ago. Tamales were actually for sale there.

              1. re: agoodbite

                Thanks for the history, y'all. That's what Chowhound is for.....clarifying the rules.

    2. Oh man, we used to get those Green & White tamales every year. They were so good. I was sad when they decided to stop making them a long time ago.

      I recommend a trip to San Antonio. I like the pork tamales at Adelita's on Fresno (http://adelitatamales.com/).

      Locally, the most reliable I've found are Pedro's at HEB (http://tamale.com/). They're made in Lubbock. Otherwise, I haven't found much here.

      1. Both Nueva Onda by the South Congress HEB and Habneros on Oltorf sell them by the dozen. At Nueva Onda you might have to order in advance.

        1. My office gives tamales as gifts to referrals, my boss always orders 50 dozen from Guerro's on Congress.

          1. Curra's has really delicious tamales. I'm pretty sure you can order them in bulk/catered, because we served them at our wedding.

            4 Replies
            1. re: bookgrrl72

              I second the Curra's recommendation. The masa is airy, the shredded pork filling is delicious and they are large. The best I've had in Austin.

              1. re: bookgrrl72

                Amen on Curra's, note that they are expensive. However, they are not the small tamales, they are large, meaty and wonderful. Also worth checking out the seet tamales. My in-laws from Mexico City always ask for me to bring them down when I go down to San Antonio when they visit.

                1. re: hnewburn

                  Seet tamales confused me until I looked at Curra's website. I think you must have been talking about their sweet tamales: http://www.currasgrill.com/4807906_37... Unfortunately, they stopped taking reservations for tamales on Dec. 16th. I tried Pedro's from Lubbock (from Randall's), and I don't love them. They are among the smallest I've ever seen (only slightly larger than my index finger), and it's mostly masa and spices with very little meat. They are much better steamed than microwaved, I discovered. I also tried the pork tamales at Habanero (their only flavor, and they were smallish), and they were quite good, with more meat, although the meat was a bit stringy at times. The best tamale I've had recently was one a coworker brought to work--it was an HEB brand pork tamale.

                  1. re: angusb

                    I'm still on the hunt from tamales like they used to do at Balderas Tamale Factory in Round Rock. Damn I miss that place. The owner told me they sold nearly 200K tamales at Christmas. Just got tired of all the work.