It’s officially the holiday season and, for many, that means time for tamales. But, since we don’t always have the time to make our own from scratch, there are plenty of spots around L.A. that will set you up with all the to-go tamales your celebration requires.
Wes Avila’s new project in Chinatown is offering duck mole negro, beef, green chile, and butternut squash tamales for preorder by the dozen. Act fast if you want a batch; the cutoff time for orders is 5 p.m. on December 18. 970 N. Broadway, Chinatown.
“Our family works nonstop through the holidays filling orders of tamales every year,” says Maria Elena Lorenzo of Tamales Elena. For the season, they add limited-edition sweet tamales in corn husks, and red sauce pork in banana leaf to the menu. 8101 Garfield Ave., Bell Gardens.
Beachy Tallula’s is offering chicken guajillo and frijol negro tamales by the half-dozen for the holidays. Starting December 11, they’ll be available for same-day or pre-order. A full menu, including kid-centric dishes and festive cocktails for the adults, is also available. 118 Entrada Dr., Santa Monica
In pre-pandemic times, Tamales Lilianas was known for attracting long lines–and presidential candidate Joe Biden–but these days you’ll want to call to place an order for take-away or order for delivery. 4629 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., East L.A.; 3448 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights.
Go semi-homemade with the build-your-own tamale kit from Guerrilla Tacos. They’ll supply pre-prepped masa and fillings, along with corn husks and salsa. Your family gets to assemble and steam them at home. 2000 E 7th St, Arts District.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Magaly’s produces between 5,000 and 7,000 tamales each day, so at this point, they’ve probably got it down. Order your tamales steamed and ready to eat or chilled to finish at home. Curbside pick-up or in-store take out available; delivery via third-party apps. 134 N. Maclay Ave, San Fernando.
If you’re looking for authentic Oaxacan tamales, or really any dish from the southwestern Mexican state, then Guelaguetza in Koreatown is your best bet. Guelaguetza is best known for its mole and offers a mole chicken tamal we love, and lots more. 3014 W. Olympic Blvd., Koreatown.
Gracias Madre has vegan options to fulfill your cravings. The meatless Mexican restaurant is offering tamales filled with jackfruit barbacoa, and artichoke mole. Gracias Madre is taking pre-orders now until December 20. 8905 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood.
For over 65 years, La Mascota Bakery in Boyle Heights has proudly supplied the community with pan dulce and other sweet treats, coffee, menudo, and of course, tamales. From pork to a newly created plant-based option, this bakery provides 13 different flavors to satisfy everyone in your holiday pod. 2715 Whittier Blvd., Boyle Heights.
Open since 1977, La Moderna Bakery and owners Martha and Guillermo Chaves can hook you up with all sorts of yummy, traditional Mexican foods; the bakery sells pan dulce, chicharrones, menudo, and other speciality treats. Six different types of tamales are available for pick-up. 8035 1/2 Norwalk Blvd., Whittier.
Valley dwellers can pop on over to the family-owned Me Gusta Gourmet Tamales, which specializes only in tamales. Using an original recipe from Puerto Vallarta, Me Gusta is serving up eight varieties, including strawberry, pork, and pineapple. 13752 Van Nuys Blvd., Pacoima.
Tamales Alberto got its start selling tamales from the back of another local bakery, and now has a loyal customer following. Choose from eight different types of tamales, including cheese and jalapeño, meat, sweet, vegetarian, and vegan options. 1644 W. Temple St, Historic Filipinotown.
Located in the Mercado la Paloma in DTLA, this small restaurant specializes in Yucatecan food and serves three different tamales, two steamed and one baked. The steamed tamales come filled with either achiote-seasoned chicken or vegetables. The baked tamale has a crunchy texture and is filled with achiote-seasoned chicken, hard-cooked eggs, sliced tomatoes, and epazote. 3655 S Grand Ave, Suite C6, downtown.
Maria’s Bakery in El Monte serves fresh pastries and four different types of tamales: red pork, green pork, cheese, and sweet. This hole in the wall opens at 5 a.m., with lines forming well before it opens. The tamales do sell out, so we suggest getting there as early as possible. 4743 Peck Rd., El Monte.
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