Our family has a tradition of tamales on Christmas Day. My sister sent some frozen ones home that she'd bought from La Borinqueña in downtown Oakland, along with a tub of the chili sauce. My ultimate is freshly prepared and hot out of the steamer. These were very good though when defrosted and heated by steaming (much better than microwave). Good size, one is enough for lunch. Dense and firm style of masa with the smooth unctuousness that comes from lard. Pork filling is moist cubes, not too dry and not too fatty. Chili sauce has good character, could have been more spicy hot.
The next generation, Christina and Isabelle, are in charge now and they've cleaned up the place and streamlined operations. At Christmas time, the tamale ladies start wrapping at 3am and go til after dark. The freshly made ones are a little more, frozen suited us this time to make the trip home.
La Borinqueña Mexicatessen
582 7th St. Oakland
Hours Open: Mon-Thurs 8:30am-5:30pm
Fri & Sat 8:30-6pm
Credit Cards Accepted: Yes