Holiday party food from La Palma (Mission, SF)
For a big CHOW holiday lunch last week, we ordered food from La Palma in the Mission. The meal largely consisted of tamales, since they are the dish of the month. We tried:
Turkey Mole Tamales
Blue Corn w/ Vegetable Tamales
Tamales de Elote
Chicharrones (the kind w/ both meat and crispy skin)
The meal was a great success, and I particularly liked the blue corn tamales and the tamales de elote. The blue corn tamales had a soft texture, and contained a mix of veggies. Unlike the cheese tamales, these were truly vegetarian, since they aren't made w/ lard.
The chicharrones were also awesome - a nice balance of meat and skin, and still very crispy even 1 hour after pick-up. I don't usually care for flavored sweet tamales, but I didn't think the strawberry ones were too bad—not overly sweet, though still bright pink in color.
Huaraches were good, though they didn't travel nearly as well as the tamales, as they didn't stay very hot. They came with cabbage slaw and some spicy salsa.
I was able to order food for 20 people easily on the phone (1 day in advance) and pick up everything hot. Good value, and high quality food....when I went to pick up last week, there were several people picking up food for large groups.
I wouldn't normally order tamales at a Mexican place--I just tend to go more for burritos, tacos, or flautas--but I thoroughly enjoyed our tamale lunch. I don't eat meat so I had the blue corn (very good, with a pleasant spicy kick) and the elote (actually surprisingly too sweet, considering I have a massive sweet tooth, but that might've only been because I was expecting savory). I liked both the strawberry and the cinnamon tamales (see: sweet tooth). I also LOVED the guacamole, and I wasn't the only one: It was being scooped up rapidly by those sitting around me. Liked the salsa as well, and the huaraches, which as Dave pointed out could've stood to be warmer. It all came out to about 10 bucks a person. Good food, good value, good fun.
re: Dave MP
I went to La Palma Sat 12/22/12 in the afternoon & waited a bit to get into the tiny shop. Ordered the blue corn tamales at the register on the Rt & another person went to look if they had some. She told me they had 2 doz. left so I bought 1 doz. for $28.68.
I found it had some of that weird cheese that's tofu-like & doesn't melt & some peppers, just ok for me.
Got 2 tamales elote (sweet) $1.65ea. Will try those another time.
Once I tried them, it was very hard to focus on anything besides the chicharrones. They were truly incredible. A great snack to accompany beer. Very crispy, with tender meat making them a substantial small bite. All in all, it made me wonder why more office parties aren't "catered" through places like La Palma. I attended another, larger holiday party the night before with more generic catered food...they should have just gone with chicharrones, tamales, chips and guac!