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Christmas tamale countdown in Tacoma, here’s where to find them

Los Tamales logo

TAMALE PSA. For those of you who are skipping making your own Christmas tamales, here’s a tip where to buy yours. Palmira Mendoza Martinez, whose family owns Los Tamales Restaurant in Tacoma (on 72nd), reports the family is taking tamal orders through December 22, with a deposit if ordered by phone.

Walk-in orders are welcome, supplies permitting.

The family expects to make a whopping 12,000 to 14,000 tamales this Christmas season. This is my go-to in the region for the finest assortment of tamales. Right now, they’re making pork with a red sauce, chicken with a green sauce, chicken with a red sauce, rajas with green and red peppers with queso fresco, and sweet corn.

Tamales are priced $18 a dozen and $1.99 for single tamales.

For those unfamiliar, the restaurant opened in 2016 with the area’s best selection of handmade tamales, plus a broad menu of taqueria favorites. The restaurant is as casual as they come with ordering at the counter, but the food is exquisitely handmade at exceptional prices. The taqueria also hosts one of that neighborhood’s best salsa bars (which is saying a lot considering nearby Taqueria El Grande and Tacos Guaymas both offer outstanding pickled vegetables and salsas).

The family behind Los Tamales collected a following for its tamales and handmade tortillas long before the family opened a restaurant in the shopping center that also held their wholesale tortilleria and grocery store, El Jalapeno. Alma and Efren Mendoza operate the restaurant and neighboring store with daughters Palmira and Alma.

Before Los Tamales opened, a rite of passage for any food lover in the region was walking into El Jalapeno on a weekend and watching the counter workers pull out fresh tortillas from a warming container. The fresh-made tortillas now can be found every day in that shopping center, not just as a weekend special.

Find Los Tamales at 1018 72nd St. E., Tacoma; 253-301-0849
Link to their Facebook here.