By now you should have had a chance to pick up your tamales, you should be ready for tonight, Christmas Eve, La Noche Buena (holy night) in Latin America, which is the last night of the posadas (meaning inn or lodge in Spanish). The posadas are a Catholic tradition celebrated more formally in Mexico with processions to reenact the biblical tale of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay. For nine nights, a gathering is hosted in different houses where dishes like tamales, pozole, buñuelos (fried flour tortillas with Mexican brown sugar and cinnamon), and ponche (warm tropical fruit punch) are served, among other foods.
Here in L.A., we're more likely to throw a Christmas party and focus more on the food. If you haven’t been invited to a posada yet, and you don’t have a Latina grandmother—no problema. You can create your own with these easy-to-find foods.
Find giant buñuelos at the Mercado de Los Angeles in Boyle Heights on the second floor of the tri-level complex and along the walkways to the first floor.
Rocio’s Moles de Los Dioses in Sun Valley has excellent ponche—just call in and they’ll get it ready for you.
For pozole, I recommend the Oaxacan-style, pork head pozole at Sabores Oaxaqueños—like many Mexican restaurants, you can bring your own pot to carry out large orders.
It doesn’t end there—keep the fiestas going through Dia de Los Reyes (more on this later), and finally to Día de la Candelaria (February 2), when the nativity scenes come down at the last tamale party of the holiday season.
Mercado de Los Angeles, 3425 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights, 323-262-4507.
Sabores Oaxaqueños, 3337 1/2 W 8th St., Koreatown, 213-427-3508.
Rocio’s Moles de Los Dioses, 8255 Sunland Blvd, Sun Valley, 818-252-6415.