RL Reeves Jr reports on the national tamale scene

It’s hot as Hades over here in the 9th Ward and we’re still getting up in the morning to steam hot tamales for our breakfast. One big, fat, hog-meat tamal with a couple fried eggs on top, and a generous ladle of jalapeno hot sauce starts the day off right.

Owners Luis and Manuela Téllez opened the first Téllez Tamales & Barbacoa restaurant in San Antonio in 1975. The Téllez tamaleras know their business, and just a year ago they opened a big tamale factory to better serve the Alamo City. Now they’ve been awarded best tamales in San Antonio. by the San Antonio Current. Best tamales in SA is like best cheese in Holland. It actually means something.

Estella Lucero is a 63 year-old great grandmother who makes tamales in her Arkansas home kitchen and delivers them to people who ring her up on the telephone. We knew plenty ladies like this in Austin but they are certainly a dying breed. Miss Estella grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico where she learned her craft back in the 60s when she was a child. If you live near Conway give her a ring at (501) 358-7577

We’re a little trepidatious over El Charro out in Arizona’s new hemp tamales. “hemp, flax and chia seeds, quinoa, olive oil, nopalitos and fresh corn” in our tamales doesn’t send us running for our checkbooks. Hemp is cannabis minus the THC so we avoid that stuff like the plague. It’s like near-beer. Why bother? Superfood tamales have made now made their appearance.

Virgie Martinez has retired. If you’re anywhere near Dallas/Fort Worth, and you’re a dyed in the wool chowhound you should check out Bud Kennedy’s article on the taquera and what she meant to her community. link

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