Saturday, July 26, 2014

La Casa de Los Tamales:La Bonita Restaurant

Have you ever gone to bed hungry because tamales were the only thing on the dinner menu?

For most of my life, I've hated tamales.

I learned to wrap them before I ever learned to eat them...

Chef Cynthia Martinez is a well-renowned Mexican chef with a passion for traditional Michoacán cooking. Her cooking school, Zirita, was one of just five that was written up by Saveur Magazine.

I participated in a class she taught in San Miguel last year as part of the San Miguel Festival Gourmet where we learned to wrap a Corunda, a variety of a tamal typical of the lake area and northern Michoacán.

Here was my Corunda. Looks perfect doesn’t it? Sorry to say that it took lots of practice, a half a dozen ruined corn leaves and lots of help from the experts to make it look this good.

Eating tamales at La Bonita...

The last time I tried a tamale back in the late 60's, I did so with my eyes shut. I couldn't stand to even look at it. I didn't like the texture or the taste. The masa tasted sour. I learned today that the masa was probably not fresh. Tamaleras extraordinarias only use the best and freshest ingredients.

Like at La Bonita where there are 27 types of tamales on the menu.

Classic tamales like the ones with mole. Or the Verde which I selected. I took a bite and the masa was almost sweet with just a hint of green sauce. Amazing to me I liked it.

I also tried the Chiapanecos in a banana leaf with mole, chicken, olives, almonds, prunes and pimento. This is my friend Melissa's favorite. She likes tamales and she loves the ones at La Bonita.

I preferred the Verde as it was less complex. It was the masa after all that I was learning to love.

This place is a vegetarian's delight with a wide-variety of options on the menu. Rajas, with cheese, Purlsan with nopales and Mediterranean with eggplant, goat cheese, black olives, zucchini, and tomatoes sauces with chipotle. They have Yucatan style too with achiote, epazote and habernero chile with pork or chicken.

Got a sweet tooth? Try one with raisins, pineapple and nuts, blackberry with creamy cheese, Guava, and of course Nutella and a sweet carmel.

They also offer 12 flavors of Atoles, Beer, Wine and Spirits.

My green tamale with a coke was 32 pesos. Most tamales run 16-19 pesos each.

At Canal 90.They are open from 9 am-10:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays and closed on Tuesdays. You can order on-line at

Although I'm not ready to host a Tamalada, I can honestly say that I'm beginning to acquire a taste for them.

And remember, you'll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.

Buen Apetito!