Tamales in Sacramento?
I know that I'm a little late coming into this discussion, but:
Before I headed back to Tokyo after a wonderful two week stay in Citrus Heights, I had to stock up on some chili powders, dried chilis, and spices that I can't get here in Japan.
Went up the road a bit to Roseville, and got everything I was looking for at "Carniceria Familia Lopez Market", on Melody Lane. This place also has an amazing butcher shop and kitchen, which I'll be sure to check out the next time.
But,to your query: I went to the market on two consecutive Saturdays. Each time, in the parking lot, were two women selling tamales out of their car. Only one kind...cheese and green pepper. There is no sauce involved. Half a dozen for 5 bucks, dozen for 10. Hot out of the back of the car. Great, melted Mexican white cheese, with a big, green chili pepper in the middle. The heat (scoville-wise), was really, really good. Heat was just a little over a jalapeno. It was so balanced that I was saying "yeehaw", but could still appreciate the cheese, and the masa.
The ladies stay in the parking lot, and solicit tomales from anybody coming out of the market.
If you don't want to go into the market, look in the parking lot for the cars and trucks stopped at the back of a car. Not a drug deal, just great tomales!
Carniceria Familia Lopez Market
1000 Melody Lane
Roseville, CA 95678
I'm going to try La Superior at 4940 Stockton Blvd. this year. I called them the other day and they have chicken tamales Friday through Mondays, as well as the usual pork, etc. all the time. Tamales are $15 per dozen which seems reasonable. Don't recall what I usually pay at La Esperanza on Franklin Blvd. But La Esperanza's tamales are a bit thick and dense for my tastes, though they are extremely popular judging by the lines that form outside the store the day before and of Xmas Eve. Am hoping that La Superior's are lighter. If I can squeeze in the time to run over there and do a taste test, I will post the results. I do recommend that you order ahead as you will be assured of the quantity and type that you want.
re: Ann Vuletich
A lot of those people in line at Esperanza are buying ready-made masa to make their own tamales. It's also highly recommended that one reserve in advance for masa if you're making your own.
La Superior sounds a little pricey ($10-$11 per dozen is more common). I hope the premium is worth it.
re: Ann Vuletich
Well, I should have saved my gas. Despite telling me over the phone that they had tamales, La Superior on Stockton Blvd. didn't have them yesterday. I was going to order a couple of tacos ($1.49 each) instead but there was only one guy behind the counter and a number of hungry patrons who were assembled in something that only vaguely resembled a line. Didn't have time to wait, so no report on the food here.
I will be placing my order at La Esperanza today for 2 dozen tamales ($10.50 per dozen).