As you might have guessed, here at ALMA we’re big on food. Yes, Michelin stars are fine, but have you ever had curbside tacos? When we talk about food highlights we are trying to share our favorite places to eat, regardless of how casual or fancy they are. If they have good salsa we are in.
We have quite a lot of Tamales under our belt —figuratively and literally too. We have had them all, steamed in a banana leaf, filled with refried beans, slightly charred in totomoxtle leaves, savory, sweet, spicy and even sour (soured masa is a thing in Estado de México!). And yet we were floored when we had a meal at Tamales Madre.
The decor is simple and beautiful. You sit at the communal table which is also the primary work station for the cooking team. As you see the chefs expertly chopping up nopales and dressing up a plate you can really tell the challenge it must be to keep such a clean and orderly work station that visitors can actually eat on it. Definitely cleaner than our kitchen on a good day.
The Frijol y Hierba Santa tamal is a great vegetarian option. It is filled with a bean stew perfumed by hierba santa or “holy leaf”, an aromatic herb from the Oaxaca valleys. Their nopal salad is beautifuly bitter with xoconostle (a sharp species of prickly pear). The Pollo y Miltomate is a chicken and sour green tomatoes tamal that is probably the non vegetarian option (still amazing) with beautifuly tender chicken.
We shared a cacao tamal for dessert. It was perfect as it was not a chocolate but truly cacao tamal, rich with smokey and fruity notes and not at all sweet. A perfect ending for a light but filling meal.
We love places that are obsessive about sourcing their ingredients, that have an interesting concept and that are simply delicious to eat. Tamales Madre definitely ticks all the boxes, is not a hard hit on your pocket and is so transparent about their processes and quality that they’re willing to seat you at their work station. We are happy to have them as neighbors in La Juarez neighborhood. Make sure you have a tamal with them when you come visit us at the studio!