Tucson Tamale Company is exactly the kind of restaurant UA students should seek out. It is the perfect change-up from fast food and the Student Union grub because it offers something those places can’t: charm.
The staff is incredibly friendly and can be seen referring to regulars by first name. The restaurant is located in a quaint and unassuming space on Broadway Boulevard, just east of Tucson Boulevard, only a short drive or bike ride from campus. The walls are covered in art by Melo Dominguez, depicting scenes of Dia de los Muertos skeletons and other themes that are near and dear to Tucson.
The tamales taste like they’re home cooked, but with a more clever and complex taste. There is even a viewing window into the kitchen so customers can watch as their tamales are made.
Tucson Tamale Company’s salsa, masa de maíz, guacamole and all of the tamale fillings are made in-house, making the entire dining experience much more local and delicious. Employees at the establishment are willing to answer any questions a diner may have about the tamale he or she is about to eat.
One tamale is $2.95. Two cost $ 5.59 and a side of beans and rice or chips and guacamole can be added for $6.95. The guacamole tastes incredibly fresh and is definitely worth the extra dollar. All of the sides at Tucson Tamale Co. are vegan-friendly, and it even offers several different kinds of vegan and vegetarian tamales. The New Delhi and the Puerto Rico variations aren’t traditional tamales by any means. The New Delhi tastes of Indian spices, flavored with a yellow curry and a medley of vegetables. The Puerto Rico is roasted plantains wrapped in yam masa and is perfect for anyone who is a fan of Caribbean food.
In the way of vegetarian tamales, the Tucson tamale and the Madison take the cake. The Madison is delicious because of the way in which the black beans and the spices interact with one another to form an intricate and powerful flavor. The Tucson packs a punch and works excellently with the “hot” level of salsa. Couple this with the fact that the Tucson tamale is filled with warm, melting cheese, and it becomes clear why the Tucson tamale is a must-try item.
There are still a lot of traditional tamale options, such as the Arizona tamale — which features spicy chipotle beef — and the Santa Fe, featuring pork loin, green chile and cheese.
As well as tamales, Tucson Tamale Co. serves breakfast. Breakfast includes such options as chorizo or “soy-rizo,” breakfast burritos, pancakes, huevos rancheros and the tamale omelet. This unique breakfast could be just what you need after a long night out.
Don’t get stuck eating the same old thing this weekend. Live a little and see what Tucson Tamale Co. has to offer.