Tamales Holiday Tradition in California

img

The tamale has been traced back to 1200-250 BC. Indio, Los Angeles and Oxnard all have Tamale Festivals, and while only a handful of cities host food fests for the holiday favorite, millions of Californians mix, bake or buy their Christmas tamales in weeks leading up to Dec. 25. Tamales are not that difficult to make, but it's a known fact that some make them better. And in California, when you see a line going out the door and down the street from a Mexican restaurant just before Christmas, it's a tip off that there's something cooking. Here are a few tamale shout-outs from a variety of tamale critics.

Find California Tamales 2016

  • LOS ANGELES: Tamales Alberto, 1644 W Temple St. (213) 484-4485 | Chichen Itza, 3655 S Grand Ave. (213) 741-1075 | Guisados, 2100 E Cesar Chavez Ave. (323) 264-7201 | Los Cinco Puntos, 3300 E Cesar E Chavez Ave. (323) 261-4084 | Sandra’s Tamales, 5390 Whittier Blvd. (323) 722-2961 | Guisados DTLA, 541 S Spring St. (213) 627-7656
  • SAN DIEGO: Las Cuatro Milpas, 1875 Logan Ave. (619) 234-4460 | El Borrego Restaurant, 4280 El Cajon Blvd. (619) 281-1355 | Cocina 35, 1435 6th Ave. (858) 309-5461 | Maritza’s Mexican Food Restaurant, 3582 Mount Acadia Blvd. (858) 279-8866
  • SANTA ANA: Flor De Mexicali, 1212 S Bristol St. (714) 751-4132 | Taqueria Azteca, 2610 Westminster Ave. (714) 554-5144 | Sabroso! Mexican Grill, 13129 Harbor Blvd. (714) 537-7080 | Taqueria El Zamorano, 925 W Warner Ave. (714) 884-4073
  • SAN FRANCISCO: La Palma Mexicatessen, 2884 24th St. 415) 647-1500 | La Espiga De Oro, 2916 24th St. (415) 826-1363 | Primavera, 1 Ferry Plaza | The Tamale Lady, Civic Center, Hayes Valley. (415) 218-1443
  • INDIO: Arriola’s Tortilleria,82721 Wilson Ave. (760) 347-7782
  • OXNARD: La Central Bakery, 600 Meta St. (805) 483-8434 | Sabor, 128 E 6th St. (805) 394-5102 | Money Pancho Mexican Restaurant, 155 E. 7th St. (805) 483-1411
  • SACRAMENTO: La Esperanza Mexican, 5028 Franklin Blvd. (916) 455-0234 | Emma’s Tamales, 8101 Elder Creek Rd. (916) 387-6324 | El Mercadito Mexican Market, 2868 Northgate Blvd. (916) 927-3161
  • PLACENTIA: El Cantarito Restaurant, 120 W Santa Fe Ave. (714) 528-6090 | Mi Casita Restaurante, 330 W Santa Fe Ave. (657) 444-2710
  • SALINAS: El Charrito, 122 W Market St. (831) 424-9446 | Leal’s Bakery, 805 E Alisal St. (831) 422-0315 | El Zacatecano, 655 E Alisal St. (831) 240-0086
  • SAN JOSE: Maya’s Cafe, 2616 Union Ave. (408) 559-8700

2013 List

SAN FRANCISCO: Mijita – Ferry Building taqueria sells tamales in bulk throughout the holidays. Email to Kevin@mijitasf.com or by phone at 415-399-0814, . mijitasf.com
La Oaxaquena – Oaxacan style with chicken or turkey topped with Oaxacan mole, wrapped in a banana leaf.
La Espiga de Oro – 24th Street staple sells overstuffed, Guatemalen tamale with a whole chicken drumstick/drumette inside. Location: 2916 24th Street at Alabama

LOS ANGELES Mama's Hot Tamales Cafe, across from MacArthur Park 213-487-7474,
La Mascota Bakery on Whittier Blvd. in Boyle Heights, usually opens at and 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve, call: (323) 263-5513
Whittier Lolita's Tamales from Scratch Since 1957, call: 323-724-4222
Mom's Hot Tamales Cafe in Lincoln Heights, call: 323-226-9383

ORANGE COUNTY
Rubalcava's Bakery in Placentia
Sarinana's Tamale Factory, Orange County's oldest Mexican restaurant, at 2218 W. Fifth St., Santa Ana, (714) 558-8650
El Fortin (restaurantelfortin.com), sellers of mole negro tamal, a brick of soft masa wrapped in a banana leaf and made with chocolate. 700 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 773-4290; also at 10444 Dale Ave., Stanton, (714) 252-9120
Las Brisas de Apatzingan: Michoacan-style restaurant at 1524 S. Flower St., Santa Ana, (714) 545-5584.
La Poblana Bakery 604 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 771-4465.
El Molino de Oro, 31886 Plaza Dr., San Juan Capistrano, (949) 489-9230.

SAN DIEGO
Panaderia Oaxaquena Y Restaurant is located in a strip mall at 1275 South Santa Fe Avenue.
El Tejate on Mission in Escondido
Old Town – Las Quatro Milpas in the Barrio Logan


Subscribe to our newsletter!

More Info



Advertisement