Are tamales a Christmas tradition in your family? In my family, no, but it should be. I just found out this summer while in Mexico that my mom is as obsessed with tamales as I am. To think of all the years we could have been eating tamales together! So where to get tamales today? Unless you’re one of the lucky ones to have a Mexican grandma who has been toiling away all night making homemade tamales, you’ll have to go out and buy some, and Zaragoza in the East Village is as good of a place as any.
Zaragoza sells two kinds of tamales: chicken with jalapeno and pork molé ($2.50 each). The chicken is good, but as always the case at Zaragoza, pork anything is the way to go. The shredded pork is juicy, although a little more fat couldn’t hurt, and the masa is moist and flavorful because of the savory mole sauce. The latter is key as dry masa is the number one enemy of a good tamal. Topped with shredded lettuce, cotija cheese, crema, and salsa verde, it’s even better; more flavor and more sauciness.
Zaragoza is closed tomorrow and closes tonight around 5pm, but get there early. The pork always sells out first. Feliz Navidad everyone!