Tuesday, August 11, 2009

call me tamale

jemez, new mexico across from the visitor's center

growing up in new mexico, eating tamales are a way of life. everyone has their favorite tamale cart, recipe, restaurant, you name it. i have very fond memories of me and my father making tamales on christmas eve. when i go back to visit, i always have to stop and get a tamale from my favorite vendor in albuquerque, el modelo. or stop off at my favorite roadside stand in jemez. for me, tamales are a comfort food and a work of art.

this past holiday season during the great snowstorm of '08, lorenzo and his daughter surprised me with some they bought from a lady walking down hawthorne. they had tamales in one hand and a tree in the other. this definitely made it feel like a traditional holiday season for me and i will never forget how cute they looked walking down the street.

tamales are very labor intensive so can be challenging to make which is why it is important to have a favorite place to get one. lately lorenzo and i have been making them at home which has been a lot of fun but it is time consuming and very messy. this past sunday, he wanted to surprise us and take us out to dinner so imagine how happy i was when he pulled up here:

it's casa de tamales in milwaukie and i was so excited. i had been wanting to go here for quite a while but we just hadn't made it yet. it is just off of highway 99 in milwaukie on the main street where they are going through a major renovation. it was kind of quiet when we were here but i have a feeling things will pick up when the major construction is over.
casa de tamales is located at 10605 se main in milwaukie 503.654.4423

the interior is very cute and kitschy. i loved it!

complete with decor hanging from the ceiling.

here is our spread which included several types of tamales and a few chile rellenos. it was all very good. i do however, enjoy tamales that are a little smaller because that way you can try more than one flavor but these were still good. i had the chicken and asparagus tamale and some of an asparagus relleno, yum!

they even had mexican coke which you should try if you've never had one. they use sugar cane syrup instead of corn syrup and it is soooo good.

look at all of the great foods in the case. they also serve flan, which i love but i was way too full to have any. next time i need to save room.

so if you are in need of a tamale and don't want to spend an entire day making them, try one from casa de tamales. they even sell them at many local farmers markets including the one at the ecotrust in the pearl on thursday nights. just look for the cart that says canby asparagus farm.

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