Thursday, May 26, 2005

all star tamale stand, farmers market

summer is coming upon us and that makes me think of giant tsunamis of fog roaring over twin peaks every afternoon, farmer's markets exploding with produce from the central valley and delta, and...tamales. yes, tamales. i don't know about you but there is nothing like all that fresh green produce, deep burgundy cherries, bloody red beets, succulent peaches and snow white daikon radish to get me into the mood for something heavy and rib sticking. specifically, all star tamales, a little tamale truck that rolls through the bay area's farmers markets selling a huge variety of very tasty tamales, like: green pasilla, picadillo, chicken mole, pork mole, green chile and cheese, green pork, red pork, black bean and cheese, vegetable, beef, spinach and cheese, red chicken, green chicken and sweet corn. they're pretty big and at 2.50 each or two for 4.75, not a bad price.

this past wednesday at the farmer's market i picked up these guys.

the masa was very good, a fairly fluffy dough not at all leaden or overly dense with excellent corn flavor tightly wrapped in a generous few layers of corn husks.

the chicken tamale was your basic shredded chicken in a very light red sauce, just enough to keep if from being dry. nothing gourmet, just a nice honest shredded chicken-y bit of goodness.

the vegetable tamale was generously filled with a variety of veggies, including broccoli, which might make some purists shudder, but the very concept of a veggie tamale would probably do that anyway, regardless of the presence of broccoli. it was very tasty. in fact, the texture of the dough and it's nice flavor made me very suspicious that my old nemesis mr. lard might be lurking about, but since living in mexico i've adopted a policy not unlike the military's attitude towards gays - don't ask, don't tell.

the only downside was the salsas. they were pretty (but we already know that looks don't mean much) and the guy gave me a very generous portion (and size really isn't everything) of them, but sadly they didn't quite live up to the tamales. the green one was a tomatillo salsa that lacked both heat and zing, tasting watered down. the light red one was a tomato-chile salsa that also was very bland. the worst offender was the dark red salsa which tasted like straight watered down tomato sauce. granted these might be meant simply as a sauce to moisten up the tamales without imparting any flavor of their own, but to be honest, the masa was so good that additional sauce wasn't necessary, and that stuff just seemed like impertinence. speaking of salsa, go to my other blog here for the most awesome dried red chile salsa recipe.

so if you're at the farmer's market and your stomach's a-rumblin' or you don't feel like all those darn veggies for dinner, you can't go wrong with a little all star tamale. just bring your own salsa.

all star tamales can be found at the following farmer's markets:
walnut creek broadway street (sundays, 8-1)
san francisco civic center (wednesdays 7:30-4:30)
san francisco alemeny street (saturdays 7-2)
oakland 9th and broadway (sundays 8-2)
benicia (thursday night 5-9)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ought to try the habinero or chipotle sauce for that intense flavor your looking for. Unless you ask for it, most of the time those guys will keep it all for themselves.

7:18 AM  

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