Tamales to me are not unlike sushi: the difference between acceptable and extraordinary can be difficult for the non-enthusiast to perceive. And at the refined level, so simple a creation is differentiated by what may seem to be microscopic details.
I'm a California transplant-- SF to be precise-- and if there's anything we Californians do well food-wise its sushi and mexican. (Before you reprimand me, I forever bow in deference to Thomas Keller and Alice Waters (very approachable, you can meet her at local farmers markets), who transcend regionality of course.)
This said, I'm not interested in good tamales. I'm interested in great tamales. I'm interested in the Christmas tamales your friend's grandma makes who MIGHT sell you a dozen if you're lucky and you even know to ask for them. Those kind of tamales.
I've heard they exist in Dallas, much as I've heard Cuquitas' chilaquiles are best served at 3am. But I've not found them.
Where should I go?