On the drive down to the chowdown at La Simpatia, I took the coast route passing through Pismo Beach and Oceano to do a little chow-spotting. The most exciting development was Los Tamales Poblanos in Oceano and I stopped to check it out on the way back. The one parking spot right in front seemed like a sign that I was supposed to be there. But alas, the "closed" sign was already up. Seeing people at work inside, I poked my head in anyway to ask if it would be open the next morning. The young man explained that it would be closed for a few days because they've been working so many events and needed a break from operating the restaurant. It's been open for about a year.
So I asked if I could buy tamales to-go. Yes, there were some frozen ones available --- pork, chicken or chile/cheese. Also Oaxacan style wrapped in plantain leaves, non-frozen. I explained that frozen would be perfect as I'd be taking these home to San Francisco. The lady who appeared to be the owner said that she did not get as far north as San Francisco, but if I liked her tamales, I could order and pick them up at the Tuesday evening farmers market in Old Monterey. This was great to hear.
Two pork tamales in corn husks and two Oaxacan style filled with chicken in mole negro came to $10. Steamed at home, both were very good. The pork was tender, not stringy, in hotter than medium-spicy red mole. The rough-textured masa's well-seasoned, fluffy and light, falling apart readily. The barely sweet black mole chicken filling the Oaxacan style was succulent and delectable. The masa for these was not as fine-textured and jelly-like as it should be, seeming to be kind of a compromise. Still, I would happily buy and devour both again.
Los Tamales Poblanos
1773 Front Street
Oceano California 93445