After having the BBQ tamale and strawberry pecan tamale from Indios Carbonsitos, I was hungry for more unique tamales. When I first heard of Tamale Wizard and saw the menu, I thought it would be a must stop on my tour of authentic Mexican joints. Man, was I surprised when I walked in the door and saw a bunch of Gringos behind the counter! I thought I had just been dooped, but after talking to the guys, they are just a bunch of Gringos that share my extreme affinity toward Mexican food (but are much better at making it than I am).
A little background on the culinary genious that is Tamale Wizard. The propriator's son told us that he (the son) learned how to make tamales by cooking with his ex-girlfriend's family. His dad owned a food cart and began letting him sell his interesting takes on this Mexican classic. They got started as a food cart, then a food truck, now a restaurant. The rest, as they say, is history.
What you see to your right is as follows:
Mallory's plate (top of photo): black beans, green chile and cheese tamale (topped with jalapeno lime salsa), smoked pork tamale (topped with mango banana salsa).
John's plate (bottom of photo): black beans, smoked pork tamale (topped with mellow habanero salsa), sweet potato and black bean tamale (no salsa), and green chile and cheese tamale (topped with jalapeno lime salsa).
All of the food was amazing! I was a bit hesitant to try the sweet potato and black bean tamale, even though I pretty much love everything that is made with sweet potatoes blindly, I just didn't know how it would work as a tamale. I was pleasantly surprised with it, as we both agree that it was far and away the best tamale that we tried. The mellow habanero salsa was very good, it had the flavor of the habanero, but is very mellow, as the name states. The best salsa was the mango banana. I am just a sucker for that sweet flavor on the spicy tamale, I guess that is what growing up around KC BBQ has done to me.
We walked in late on a Friday night and they were sold out of almost everything. Most people would have been offended by this, but I take that as a sign that they have good food. I would much rather have food from a restaurant that is nearly sold out over a restaurant that has not sold a thing.
One big takeaway that I got from our visit to Tamale Wizard (aside from noting that they had a full collection of Mexican drinks and Boulevard beers) was that they have multiple vegetarian menu items. I am not a vegatarian, nor do I care if a place has vegatarian options ("why then would you notice that?" you ask?). I noticed that the black beans, sweet potato and black bean tamale, and green chile and cheese tamales were all vegetarian selections because that means that they were able to make these delicious tamales while making them slightly more healthy by omiting the lard that you get in a lot of tamales.