Taos, New Mexico was the first time I ran into Tamales as a Christmas season tradition.
A restaurant and cafe that specialized in them in Arroyo Seco de Taos shut down a day or so after thanksgiving just to marshall all forces to fulfill orders for their tamales. The revenue from the rabid affection had for theirs could cushion a fiscal quarter.
Check out New Mexico Nomad if you’d like to deep dive on the cultural significance of La Tamalada in New Mexico.
I added one feast meal that features tamales in honor of the really cool holiday spirit I got to experience up in those mountains two winters in a row.
I had planned to try to make them this year ( sheer audacity and willingness to devour tasty mistakes) and then the surprise of VEGAS happened.
But the hilarious part was God repeatedly blessed me with mindblowingly delicious tamales Three different times. IN Las Vegas.
A spot called the Durango Taco Shop… out on East Flamingo road.
I got my first one on a whim, took it home, sat down, had my first bite & damn near wept for joy. Turned out they were homemade, perhaps only doing them old-school style for the season like in NM( I was too deep in feast mode to ask when I returned for seconds. & Thirds).
Whoever’s abuelita is making them needs a cookbook & a deal with whole foods or Something. They truly were the best tamales I’ve ever had so far, hands down. Talk about a surprising desert experience! I have been through the high desert of Las Vegas, New Mexico but this was just…
& If you’re curious about what makes a phenomenal tamale~ Hopefully this tutorial from Ray Garcia of Broken Spanish in LA will help.
There are a lot of Holy Days feasts coming up next week but I’m thinking of giving these the unofficial college try December 26th.
…If you’re game, gear up & I’ll see you then. BUY them. We will go from scratch once I find a Don to teach us solidly.