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Blanca's Bakery 85B Broadway Somerville - Very Good Tamale

StriperGuy Nov 29, 2012 10:02 AM

On the way to my favorite salgadino place a bit further down Broadway yesterday I noticed this modest spot.

Central American is my guess.

I picked up a nice flat ricotta breakfast cake which was very good. They had many of the usual plainish South American baked goods, perfect for dunking in strong coffee, but I also picked up two excellent tamales to go. They came with a tiny side of nicely seasoned cole slaw.

The tamales were delicious. The place is so modest and unassuming. I think they also serve some lunches. The place deserves a thorough hounding taste-through, I'd hit it again in a sec.

Just the kind of place I love.

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  1. Infomaniac RE: StriperGuy May 14, 2014 06:06 AM

    What were your tamales filled with?

    15 Replies
    1. re: Infomaniac
      Allstonian RE: Infomaniac May 14, 2014 06:28 AM

      Unless StriperGuy's been back for other visits, he may not remember, since he wrote this post in Nov 2012.

      1. re: Infomaniac
        StriperGuy RE: Infomaniac May 14, 2014 06:31 AM

        Yah that was a while ago. I guess I need to hit it again to refresh my memory.

        Y claro que tengo que probar los pasteles, aunque son muy ricos, me gustan pasteles de tres leches...

        1. re: StriperGuy
          Infomaniac RE: StriperGuy May 14, 2014 07:26 AM

          Sorry for not noticing the date on my phone screen.
          I'm a sucker for good tamales, and will try to stop by soon and post back.

          1. re: Infomaniac
            opinionatedchef RE: Infomaniac May 14, 2014 11:01 PM

            info, maybe you've already been there/done that, but have you tried the very unusual and luscious Peruvian tamales at Machu Pichu's Las Brasas- the chicken place in Union Sq? They are huge and very moist/wet and deep orangish because of the rich pork broth used to make the masa. Contain big pieces of beef, egg, olive, and are 'wrapped' loosely in banana leaves. No snack, they are a meal in and of themselves.

            1. re: opinionatedchef
              LilBrownBat RE: opinionatedchef May 15, 2014 07:14 AM

              Mexican tamales -- that's what the Boston area has a shortage of. I'd go for Chilean-style humitas if they were available; otherwise I want Mexican tamales, and that's what we don't got.

              1. re: LilBrownBat
                Allstonian RE: LilBrownBat May 15, 2014 07:31 AM

                Yep - I actually dislike the huge wet tamales. Way too big, and while a dry tamale is its own kind of sad, those rather gelatinous ones are nasty.

                1. re: Allstonian
                  StriperGuy RE: Allstonian May 15, 2014 08:21 AM

                  I like em wet, dry, whatever as long as they are tasty.

                  1. re: Allstonian
                    LilBrownBat RE: Allstonian May 15, 2014 12:25 PM

                    Ew, "gelatinous", that's exactly the adjective I was missing. Well said.

                    1. re: LilBrownBat
                      StriperGuy RE: LilBrownBat May 15, 2014 12:46 PM

                      If you don't like gelatinous then definitely stay away from the related, Puerto Rican Pastel which is wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. I love em.

                      Scroll down for the Puerto Rican version:


                      1. re: StriperGuy
                        opinionatedchef RE: StriperGuy May 15, 2014 01:04 PM

                        I have a local Puerto Rican friend who is sent packages of these from his aunties, so i have been lucky enough to have them many times. yumola )

                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                          Matt H RE: opinionatedchef May 16, 2014 07:43 AM

                          My wife and her family make the Trinidadian version each year as well. I admittedly love the PR version the best though, not saying the Trini version isn't awesome as well.

                    2. re: Allstonian
                      opinionatedchef RE: Allstonian May 15, 2014 01:01 PM

                      Gelatinous has a very distinct meaning for me and the Peruvian tamales i described have no gummy/gelatin like qualities to them. None. i would compare them to wet grits in texture and i have never tasted gelatinous grits or polenta either.

                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                        Allstonian RE: opinionatedchef May 15, 2014 01:21 PM

                        More for you, then, clearly - I like wet grits just fine, but I don't like wet masa in my tamales.

                        1. re: Allstonian
                          El Guapo RE: Allstonian May 16, 2014 07:03 AM

                          Peruvian tamales aren't wet, they're at most moist. And they're definitely not gelatinous. Not sure I've ever seen a dry tamale of any ethnicity.

                          1. re: El Guapo
                            Jenny Ondioline RE: El Guapo May 16, 2014 09:13 AM

                            Poorly-made Mexican-style tamales can end up dry if they're steamed too long. And on the other end of the scale, I've definitely had poorly-made Central- and South American-style tamales that are more wet than moist.

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