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Fast Food Tamales


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I don't have ready access to "homemade" tamales so I've welcomed the seasonal tamales offered by fast food chains.

 

Weinerschnitzel offers fully dressed tamales during the last few months of the year. They come covered with the chili cheese sauce they also use on their fries and hot dogs. The box they're served in is actually a hot dog box, but, hey, it works.

 

Then Del Taco (click) started offering their pork tamales during late November/early December. You can buy them plain (wrapped in the corn husks) if you prefer to dress them yourself at home. The tamales are also offered with three different kind of sauces: Red & Green, Chili Cheese, and Cholula-brand Sauce. They also sell a dozen to-go family pack. 

 

Does anyone know of any other national fast food chains offering tamales? 

And are you a fan of them? Or is it a case of "Perish the thought"?

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Not having tasted them, and to skirt snobbishness - I suppose a cheap experiment. Wienerschnitzel with that sauce does sound dreadful though. Will you give any of them them a go? Folks here have mentioned enjoying the ones from Trader Joes.

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Costco sells tamales, as well, both the in the refrigerated section and in the frozen section.

But as far as fast food goes, I've only found them at the two chains mentioned. Just wondered if anyone else had tried them.

I did attempt to purchase the Del Taco Red & Green sauces tamales but found out when I got home that they had given me the Cholula tamales instead. :(

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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17 minutes ago, Toliver said:

Costco sells tamales, as well, both the in the refrigerated section and in the frozen section.

But as far as fast food goes, I've only found them at the two chains mentioned. Just wondered if anyone else had tried them.

I did attempt to purchase the Del Taco Red & Green sauces tamales but found out when I got home that they had given me the Cholula tamales instead. :(

Not your preferred spice level or? Gotta love the wood cap. Taste verdict? So they doused it and did not just give you a packet of sauce? https://www.target.com/p/cholula-chili-garlic-hot-sauce-5oz/

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No East coast fast food joints do tamales that I know of.  No tamale I've ever had has even registered on the spicy-hot scale... is high capsaicin a hallmark of a good or traditional tamale?  Perhaps I've never encountered a good one then.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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38 minutes ago, heidih said:

Not your preferred spice level or? Gotta love the wood cap. Taste verdict? So they doused it and did not just give you a packet of sauce? https://www.target.com/p/cholula-chili-garlic-hot-sauce-5oz/

If you compare the Cholula-sauced tamales to, say, the chili cheese-sauced tamales, the Cholula tamales are a little on the dry side because they're skimpy with the hot sauce. I don't mind the heat...just that overall, it wasn't enough to consider that they had been sauced adequately. Without any sauce? A little on the dry side. It's just the masa and the pork.

At Del Taco if you order just the tamales (no sauce) you get two tamales wrapped in corn husks. Un-sauced would be ideal for someone who wants to add their own sauce at home (I am looking at you @Kim Shook :) ). Then you could put mild sauce on yours and those who like it spicier can do their own thing with the plain tamales.

 

 

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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1 hour ago, cdh said:

No East coast fast food joints do tamales that I know of.  No tamale I've ever had has even registered on the spicy-hot scale... is high capsaicin a hallmark of a good or traditional tamale?  Perhaps I've never encountered a good one then.

 

No it is the masa and the filling and the texture and ratio.  Some have just a touch of heat but the chile is for flavor - heat  is not the point.  The puppie are steamed so unless the masa was too dense - dry should not enter the description. See these 2

 

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/57782-making-tamales/page/4/

 

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/92298-tamales-cook-off-25/page/2/

 

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Don't be scared! xD

TamaleF.jpg.6cb931ce93a19f7e9312d75ff104d0dc.jpg

 

This is the tamale being sold by WeinerSchnitzel. As I previously mentioned, it's sold in a hot dog box.

The ruler is there just to show it's about 5 inches long.

Note that while it may look like their usual chili cheese sauce, I think it definitely has a tamale sauce flavor.

It's mild, not spicy at all. The tamale itself isn't just dry masa. I think it's been either steamed or microwaved and has a nice meat filling interior (I am assuming it's pork).

It is a limited time offering, to go along with the season of the Tamalada (traditional Hispanic tamale-making gatherings).

 

Edited by Toliver
To delete extra pic (log)
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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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20 hours ago, Toliver said:

If you compare the Cholula-sauced tamales to, say, the chili cheese-sauced tamales, the Cholula tamales are a little on the dry side because they're skimpy with the hot sauce. I don't mind the heat...just that overall, it wasn't enough to consider that they had been sauced adequately. Without any sauce? A little on the dry side. It's just the masa and the pork.

At Del Taco if you order just the tamales (no sauce) you get two tamales wrapped in corn husks. Un-sauced would be ideal for someone who wants to add their own sauce at home (I am looking at you @Kim Shook :) ). Then you could put mild sauce on yours and those who like it spicier can do their own thing with the plain tamales.

 

 

I looked and the closest Del Taco to me is in SC and, in these no-travel days, that might as well be California!  I don't remember if I ate restaurant tamales in California when we lived there for 8 months in 1970 when I was 10.  I grew up on Hormel canned tamales and what I particularly remember are taquitos with a thin, mild green sauce that I've never come across again.  Keep in mind that we didn't have anything like that in the Washington DC area where I grew up.  We didn't get Mexican restaurants that I remember until a couple of years after we moved back to VA.  

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1 hour ago, Kim Shook said:

I looked and the closest Del Taco to me is in SC and, in these no-travel days, that might as well be California!  I don't remember if I ate restaurant tamales in California when we lived there for 8 months in 1970 when I was 10.  I grew up on Hormel canned tamales and what I particularly remember are taquitos with a thin, mild green sauce that I've never come across again.  Keep in mind that we didn't have anything like that in the Washington DC area where I grew up.  We didn't get Mexican restaurants that I remember until a couple of years after we moved back to VA.  

I grew up with the Hormel Tamales, as well. Now I see Nally's brand on the store shelves at Walmart, too.

As a child, we never went out to eat...it was for special occasions only. There was one Mexican restaurant in the Hillcrest area of San Diego called Consuelo's (which I've written about on these boards before). It was even before chips and salsa was the thing to give out to everyone dining in. Instead, we'd get a large flat deep fried flour tortilla with Mexican cheese melted on top of it. My three brothers and I would fight over breaking up the tortilla into pieces and making sure you got your fair share of it.

Consuelo's likely had tamales on the menu but all I knew as a child was tacos which made me a fan of crispy shelled tacos for the rest of my life. 

 

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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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1 hour ago, Toliver said:

I grew up with the Hormel Tamales, as well. Now I see Nally's brand on the store shelves at Walmart, too.

As a child, we never went out to eat...it was for special occasions only. There was one Mexican restaurant in the Hillcrest area of San Diego called Consuelo's (which I've written about on these boards before). It was even before chips and salsa was the thing to give out to everyone dining in. Instead, we'd get a large flat deep fried flour tortilla with Mexican cheese melted on top of it. My three brothers and I would fight over breaking up the tortilla into pieces and making sure you got your fair share of it.

Consuelo's likely had tamales on the menu but all I knew as a child was tacos which made me a fan of crispy shelled tacos for the rest of my life. 

 

Great memories!  This is my favorite thing about eG - the stories and memories that come with cooking and eating.  

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No Del Taco or Wienerschnitzel here.  The former has tried twice, the most recent time in the last couple of years, and just hasn't been able to last.  Wienerschnitzel left 30 years ago or so but they are elsewhere in Texas and may be in some of the outlying suburbs.  I liked the hot dogs back when and usually stop for old times sake if II see one on the road.

 

I checked Taco Cabana out of San Antonio which labels itself fast-casual - no tamales.  Taco Palenque, a very good Mexican fast food chain out of South Texas (only one here) - no tamales.  Likewise a local taqueria 'chain' plus Taco Bueno (here and gone) and Taco John's (never here but I've heard good things)  Nada.

 

But El Pollo Loco (out of Sinaloa by way of Los Angeles) has tamale offerings on the Seasonal Favorites menu.

 

Our Food | L.A. Mex Menu | El Pollo Loco

 

I thought they had given up after a brief try at entering the market back in the 90s but there are a half dozen or so, including one within a reasonable distance from me.  I've never had any of their food but will try to make it over before the Season is up.

 

Incidentally the entrepreneur who started El Pollo Loco and still owns the Mexican company is the same man who started Taco Palenque.  This might be pretty decent.  They even have a crispy tamale bowl; the only place I've ever seen fried tamales is a Salvadoran tamaleria.  I'll report back if I'm successful.

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Fried tamale bowl - interesting.  I have a huge soft spot for El Pollo Loco. In the early 80's when they started here - only rotisserie chickens turning in front window, tortillas, and a "'salsa bar" of excellent fresh sauces. I respected the simplicity and the quality. My office mates and I walked over for lunch several times a week. 

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