Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Taco Tuesday: Tamales Elena in Watts is a Beef Head of the Game

I guess it never occurred to me that I should order tacos from Tamales Elena, but now that I think about it I'm feeling a little dumb. I wrote about Tamales Elena some years ago while running around in Watts and the surrounding neighborhoods and thought their tamales were nice. They make typical corn husk tamales for $1 a pop that are geared towards locals--when not ordering tamales folks are grabbing carne asada burritos. That's kind of how it goes for this talented Guerreran family. Did I mention that this is the best family of Mexican cooks in town? They are--unless someone can show me better. I will get into that on a later date, on how a birthday party pozole and mole spread was one of the best traditional Mexican meals I've ever had. 

Their real tamales are large, flat, rectangular packages of southern Mexican comfort, but they'd never fly on Wilmington and 110th St., where their truck is parked. There was practically a riot when they decided to ask regulars to pay the full $12 for a dozen tamales--so, skinny, corn husk tamales it shall remain. There's no market here for the real cooking this family can do. 

On a recent visit, Elena's daughter Teresa informed me that they were out of tamales, but I wasn't about to have a carne asada burrito--no mames! I went with the tacos and I'm still kicking myself for not having known about the best lip, tongue, and cheek tacos in LA.