Set the GPS for Mama's Hot Tamales Cafe yesterday afternoon but they were closed when we drove by about 5:00 p.m. Their website states "Open everyday (including weekends) from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m." I should have checked before starting out on a 75-mile one way trip!
Plan B was to check out La Flor de Yucatan that has been mentioned on Chowhound several times. I entered 800 S. Hoover St. into the GPS and was again disapointed when neither I nor my passenger could find it. I checked my Chownotes and realized that it is 1800 S. not 800 S. so I re-entered the address correctly and a couple of minutes later we arrived.
We entered to find a fairly small front-end stocked with a myriad selection of both sweet and savory baked goods, a couple of coolers stocked with sodas and other drinks, (didn't see any Mexican sodas though) and shelves stocked with some Yucatan grocery items.
We ordered a couple of panuchos, (a freshly fried tortilla split and filled with a schmeer of black beans and topped with turkey, marinated onions and a slice or two of fresh cucumber. It was wonderful. I have not had this since my introduction to Yucatan cusine at the now defunct El Emperidor Maya. I tasted the red salsa that was served alongside and while tasty, it was pretty mild. I asked the very gracious guy behind the counter, Marc, if he had a hotter salsa and was given, with a warning to be careful, a green habanero salsa, that is one of the tastiest salsas that I have ever had!
Then came our two tamales, which we shared, both filled with a combination of chicken and pork, one with a typical masa and cornhusk wrapper and the other with what was described as a strained and thus finer masa. This was wrapped in a banana leaf. The first in the cornhusk was good but the banana wrapped tamale was, tamale heaven!
GF was full but as I had not eaten all day and realized that I had not tried the cochinita pibil, I was faced with a quandry. Taco or torta? My waistline said taco but I was in a bakery with yummy looking rolls on display so torta it was. Although smaller than tortas at a lot of restaurants and trucks, it was a very fresh crusty outside, soft inside roll surrounding juicy and flavorful cochinita. I was finally no longer hungry!!!
But I was in a bakery, surrounded by sweets. We shared a piece or tres leches cake and all I can say is order it! We got a piece of flan to take home and it was a great midnight snack.
As we were about to leave I noticed a Bunn type coffee flask with what looked like a little champurrado in the bottom. I asked about it and ordered a cup to go. Marc heated up some fresh and although I have only tasted this particular beverage twice before this was the best so far!
My only dissapointment was that when we initially ordered our food I was told that they did not serve my favorite Mexican beverage horchata. I did take home a bottle of concentrate from Merida, Yucatan, Mex.
Thanks to Chowhound and those of you that have posted about this place we had one of our most enjoyable Chow-adventures in quite some time. All this eating while standing up in a bakery!
Final note, Marc told us that they are working on plans/permits to expand and put in some tables.
La Flor de Yucatan Bakery
1800 S. Hoover St.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Tel: (213)748-6090 Span.
Cell: (661)917-3816 Eng.