Zocalo Magazine

September 26, 2012

Tuscon Tamale Company storefront

Good Eats: Tucson Tamale Company

September 26, 2012 | Hannah McCain

I’ve always been a big tamale person (I’m going to take this moment to ask: does anyone else picture a giant, anthropomorphized tamale when I write “tamale person”? That happens to me with “fan,” too, like, “I’m a big hot dog fan,” and then I have this mental image of a big ceiling fan made of hot dogs. A mental image, incidentally, that makes me kind of uncomfortable. But I digress) — so when my friend and I passed Tucson Tamale Company the other day, we decided to stop in and give it a try. My impressions:

Efficient service. Not overly friendly, and vaguely distracted, but I tend to give the people behind the counter a break — great attitude is a bonus for me, not a requirement, especially at a busy spot like Tucson Tamale.

Bright! I loved the orange walls and the array of colorful hot sauces on the counter. The design was warm, inviting, and completely unpretentious.

Bad choice (mine). I was starving when I ordered, so I barely glanced at the menu — I noticed something that sounded good and got it without taking the time to consider all my options. I got the tamale salad with a Sonora tamale (chicken with green chile sauce). If I did it again, I’d get a more adventuresome tamale and pair it with beans or chips and guacamole instead of a salad. (A salad? Really? At a tamale place? I don’t know what I was thinking.)

I’ll be back. I’m intrigued. Like I said, I’d like to try some of Tuscon Tamale Company’s more adventuresome tamales — if I’m sticking to the basics, I’d be happy to get my tamales homemade from someone wandering around selling them at 11 p.m. at a bar. At Tucson Tamale, I’m looking forward to trying the — well, the Tucson Tamale! “Lots and lots of cheese in grilled jalepeño masa” gets a big ol’ “Yes, please,” from me. I’m thinking I might buy a selection of frozen tamales and keep them around the house for lazy dinners. What’s your favorite tamale at Tucson Tamale, or where’s your favorite spot to eat tamales in Tucson? Tweet me @hannahzocalo.




Hot from the rollers!

Sign up today to learn more about how to make your next meal shine.