Tamale Transformation

I want to do right by this restaurant: Casa de Tamales.

I'm not a tamale fan, but this place has transformed me into a believer. Tamales are good--not the heavy, tasteless items that I once thought they were. Almost every tamale I've ever had has had too much masa, not enough filling.

Casa de Tamales gets it right. The tamales are small, but with just the right proportion of filling and masa. The chef makes traditional tamales, but s/he also experiments with a "gourmet" menu. The owners are from Michoacan, according to Alex, from the same town that his family is from. For Alex, eating at Casa de Tamales is like having his mother's home cooking, so we went there to celebrate Mother's Day.

I thought and thought before selecting. I decided on two--a soyrizo version and the chicken alfredo tamale. I wanted to try the soyrizo tamale because I like soyrizo, but also because it was topped with nopal. Since eating a nopal soup in Oaxaca, I've been longing for good nopal . . . which is what I found at Casa de Tamales. The soyrizo was good, but the nopal was what really stood out to me with its crunchy, fresh taste.

I loved the second tamale for the filling: chicken, roasted poblanos, potatoes, and casero cheese. The restaurant uses a jalapeno masa topped with a creamy tomatillo sauce and a black bean salsa. I know it sounds strange, but this was delicious, a fabulous combination of creaminess and spiciness.

The combination dishes come with sides of rice and pinto beans. I loved the rice, which is not something I say very often.

I want to try the more traditional tamales, too. Alex's shredded beef tamale with guacamole looked really good.

And Kyle's tamale with mole and chicken with tomatillo sauce looked tasty, too.

We also ordered dessert tamales. My chocolate cake tamale was forgettable, but Kyle and Alex seemed to love their raisin and cinnamon tamale.

I'm so glad to have finally eaten a good tamale. No other version will ever live up to it, I fear.

Casa de Tamales
3747 W. Shaw
Fresno, CA

2 thoughts on “Tamale Transformation

  1. Anonymous


    Read your blog.

    Was at WalMart, casa de tamales was across the street, so I figured I'd give it a try.

    Right on the money.

    Loved the green tomatillo chicken. Got daring and tried the blueberry & cream cheese (never thought I'd see something like that). Surprisingly, it was very good.

    Prices are okay, but the tamales are a steal by the dozen. I bought a half-dozen for my dad. He inhaled them.

    Did you check out their corn mill? Very cool. They actually make their own masa. That's a first, here in Fresno.

    Thanks for the post.

    Oh, btw, I picked up a flyer there about an official grand opening on June 5th. Ribbon cutting, music, raffle for a flat TV, etc..., and raising money for Valley Animal Center.


  2. Kathee

    Today, I went back to Casa de Tamales to celebrate a birthday. This time, I ordered the spinach and artichoke tamale (divine!) and the shredded beef tamale (good). The restaurant also gave us a coconut-pineapple dessert tamale. I would never have ordered this because I'm not a pineapple lover--but I loved it, too! If you stop by, tell Liz, Roger, and Perla that you read my blog. They actually emailed me this evening to thank me for blogging about their restaurant (first time that has ever happened to me). I love their tamales so much that I want to make sure they stay in business.


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