For a while Collin had been saying to me that he had been to this place called Mom's Tamales last summer and he thought I might take a shine to it. I don't know if he was being understated or unnecessarily speculative, because I did take quite a shine to Mom's Tamales.
Located in a corner of Los Angeles so close to Grandma's yet so far away from anywhere I'd ever been, to call Mom's exterior and the industrial/residential block you find it on "nondescript" would almost be too descriptive. Except for the giant "Mom's Tamales" mural in front, the screened-in restaurant is absolutely nothing to look at . . . from the outside. But from the inside? This is the sort of place I daydream about. No, seriously a few weeks ago I was at work imagining if I ran a Mexican restaurant what I'd want it to be like, trying to imagine a foorplan, and Mom's essentially matched the dream restaurant I was trying to dream up.
Collin and I sampled four of the restaurant's seven types of tamales. Absolutely unimpeachable tamales these were. Each one an excellent example of what a tamal ought to be, I particularly liked the chicken in green salsa and beef in red sauce.
But here . . . this guy . . . let me present to you my Favorite Thing I Ate On My California Trip: the Mom's Tamales carnitas sope. Perhaps the most perfect sope I've eaten outside of Mexico City. The sope itself was crisp and hot on the bottom, softish and chewy on top. The carnitas, absolutely perfect and beans nice and flavorful with just the right amount of lettuce and cheese. I nearly had a fit.
Collin tells me very nice things about the chile relleno they've got there. Don't worry, little chile relleno. I will come back and eat you. Definitely.
So yes, Mom's Tamales. Big thumbs up. Highest possible recommendation.
And later Tuesday I met Keith and Leslie (that is not Leslie on the right but that is definitely Keith on the left) at a place Keith recommended called "Tacomiendo." First of all: What a great pun. Taco + Comiendo (eating) = Tacomiendo. And in certain accents, "'ta comiendo" can be understood to mean "he/she/they/it/you is/are eating." The name works on so many levels!
Keith and Leslie brought along young Milton who was making a really excellent worried-baby face the whole time, except for when a camera comes out. A camera comes out and then Milton knows it's baby camera-face time.
Basically this is what worried-baby face looks like:
Note the Fanta. Hard for me to say no to a bottle of Mexican Fanta. And note the year on the bottle! 1997, that was a great year for Mexican Fantas. I drank a lot of Mexican Fantas in 1997.
Also at the meal: Ricky and Ryan.
And the meal? A deep-fried chicken taco on the left and a carnitas torta on the right, both served with generous helpings of chips, and the taco with a grilled onion. Excellent. And they were both terribly delicious. I was about to type "I particularly liked my torta" but that's not true! Because I also particularly liked my deceptively awesome deep-fried chicken taco. But the thing I want to say about the torta: very soft bread and I liked it, didn't think I would, but I liked it like that. The whole thing was a little squishy, just the right amount of soft, you could say.
And that is my pawsitive feedback on Tacomiendo.
Oh, and also at Tacomiendo that night? Stacy, seen here moments before executing an awesome curb-jump and biking off into the sunset.
The After Party: Drove back to Keith and Leslie's, discovered Collin might be Keith's dad.
Almost done with the LA trip. Almost.