100 Favorite Dishes: No. 47, La Loma's tamales
There's a reason that La Loma, when they cater public events, often run out of their tamales. It's because there's not another place in the Twin Cities offering anything close to these handmade snacks, steamed in either a corn husk or banana leaf and filled with a finely ground corn flour and delectable meat or sweet corn.
Topped with mild-to-hot salsa (depending on your personal taste), this tamale makes for a singular, hearty item that's neither dry nor overly moist. It holds together and, while best with utensils, can hold up as a handheld snack in the right circumstances. It's warm, filling, and a pleasant mixture of grains and meats/corn. But be warned: Though it's hard to order just one, two or three of these will definitely slow down the heart rate and send you straight into an afternoon nap.
While getting a tamale at catered events can mean waiting in long lines, the shop's outlet at the Midtown Global Market is usually a quick, fast-food-paced move through line to get the signature item. Also available in a lunch platter with a side of beans and rice, it comes in chicken, pork, and vegetarian options, all of equally high quality. The ambiance of the Styrofoam plate and plastic dinnerware may not be fit for fine dining, but they suit the "something to hold you over" purpose of a warm, fresh tamale when you're out and about and feeling a bit peckish.